Archive (page 1 of 7)

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City’s Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case That Captivated a Nation by Brad Ricca

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City’s Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case That Captivated a Nation by Brad RiccaMrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 3, 2017
Genres: Nonfiction
Pages: 432
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
two-stars

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes tells the true story of Grace Humiston, the detective and lawyer who turned her back on New York society life to become one of the nation’s greatest crimefighters during an era when women weren’t involved with murder investigations. After agreeing to take the sensational Cruger case, Grace and her partner, the hard-boiled detective Julius J. Kron, navigated a dangerous web of secret boyfriends, two-faced cops, underground tunnels, rumors of white slavery, and a mysterious pale man — in a desperate race against time.

Grace's motto "Justice for those of limited means" led her to strange cases all over the world. From defending an innocent giant on death row to investigating an island in Arkansas with a terrible secret; from the warring halls of Congress to a crumbling medieval tower in Italy, Grace solved crimes in-between shopping at Bergdorf Goodman and being marked for death by the sinister Black Hand. Grace was appointed as the first woman U.S. district attorney in history and the first female consulting detective to the NYPD. Despite her many successes in social justice, at the height of her powers Grace began to see chilling connections in the cases she solved, leading to a final showdown with her most fearsome adversary of all.

This is the first-ever narrative biography of this singular woman the press nicknamed after fiction's greatest detective. This poignant story reveals important corollaries between missing girls, the role of the media, and the real truth of crime stories. The great mystery of Mrs. Sherlock Holmes —and its haunting twist ending—is how one woman could become so famous only to disappear completely.

Ugh. This book was so boring. Considering the subject matter, you would think that Ricca would have an easy home run on his hands.

Considering everyone’s current love of all things Sherlock Holmes and all of the YA books out there trying to show a different version of Sherlock Holmes, you would think a non-fiction book showcasing Mrs. Sherlock Holmes (Mrs. Grace Humiston) would have all kinds of intrigue in it. Instead you have flip flopping time lines, cases upon cases where you don’t know what you are supposed to think, multiple people thrown in this book, and then a cause to question Grace herself for some of the things that she started to accuse the NYPD in not looking into with regards to missing girls cases.

I really think if Ricca had just straight up wrote a biography on Grace Humiston and making the case she got well known for (Ruth Cruger) another case she worked among many cases this book could have worked better.

Instead Ricca focuses on the Cruger case, and throws in some other ones, gets into Grace accusing the NYPD and others of covering up missing girls being sold into white slavery and then goes back and forth from the U.S. to Italy and I think backs away from showing that maybe Grace was led astray by many people claiming that some of this missing girls were sold into slavery. That is where the book lost me at this point. There is no real evidence based on what Ricca shows or what Grace says in this book that shows there was some mass cover-up going on with white girls being sold. It seems though that the police were definitely derelict on doing their due diligence in ensuring that missing girls cases were worked appropriately.

When Ricca focuses on the Cruger case the book shines better. You get to see that due to detectives questioning Ruth’s morals and that she probably just eloped that they gave her killer (no spoilers people, this took place in 1917) time to get away and I felt sad that justice was not found for Ruth or her poor family who never believed she run away. I think that Ms. Humiston did a very good service in getting involved with the case and showing how preconceptions ruined the search for Ruth. But when Ms. Humiston gets into the whole hundreds of girls and other are being kidnapped and forced into sex trade I had a hard time with. There are no real facts there that I thought held water.

The writing was so-so in this book. I felt like Ricca needed to look up some better adjectives here and there when describing things. The book read as blah after a while. He seemed focused on what people were wearing at all times and what people’s faces looked like. The sentence structure was confusing too a lot of times.

Also I would say that for those who think that this is just focusing on the Ruth Cruger case it is not. It jumps around a lot looking at most of Grace’s cases and then circles back here and there to the Ruth Cruger case.

The ending of the book does a tidy up on what happened to everyone in the book that felt like there were a lot of details missing.

This book also made me think of the recent D.C. Missing Girls issue that came up a few weeks ago.

The DC police started tweeting out pictures of missing girls and many claimed that the law enforcement were not devoting their time in finding these girls and many claimed that these girls were being kidnapped and forced into prostitution. It took a while to come out, but the media finally found that for except a couple of cases, most of the missing girls returned home, and or had run away before and returned home after a period of time.

Is it good that so many in law enforcement and elsewhere did not seem concerned about these girls that they labeled a certain way? Absolutely not. But I also don’t like people jumping into huge conspiracies with no basis in fact about what was going on with these girls as well.

Do the DC police need to do a better job broadcasting missing girls and making sure that they use as many resources as possible to find out where these girls are and make sure they ask the right questions such as why are these girls running from home? Absolutely.

Was I disappointed that so many people I follow on social media just retweeted out insane theories with no facts? Yep.

two-stars

Mad Love by Nick Spalding

Mad Love by Nick SpaldingMad Love by Nick Spalding
Published by Lake Union Publishing on December 6th 2016
Genres: Romance
Pages: 316
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
four-stars

Can two people who have never met make a marriage work? Popular dating site Sociality thinks so, and is marrying London lad Adam to California girl Jessica to prove it.

What better way to show that your ‘love algorithms’ work than to put two complete strangers together in an expensive publicity stunt? But, as livewire Jess and lazybones Adam quickly discover, just because a computer says you’re the perfect match, it doesn’t make it so!

Two million Sociality subscribers and the media are following the happy couple’s progress, and they have to make a go of it or they’ll lose everything, look like idiots, and destroy Sociality’s reputation. But can the mismatched pair, who seem to be constantly at each other’s throats, put their differences aside and work their way into each other’s hearts?

Nick Spalding, bestselling author of Fat Chance and Bricking It, will make you cry with laughter at this story of marital warfare—complete with sinking boats, badly aimed flatulence, well aimed tennis balls and some very suggestive pastry.

I seriously love Nick Spadling. There have been only one book that was a miss for me so far. The other ones have been hilarious though. In “Mad Love” Spalding takes a look at a man (Adam) and woman (Jessica) who agree to get married via a dating website (Sociality). With the promise of a new flat that they can call their own and a split of thousands of pounds Adam and Jessica are trying their best to give their marriage a go. But they both realize that when one tends to fib (lie people) on their dating profile, that Sociality’s algorithm may be wrong about what a perfect match they should be.

Adam works as a video game journalist. I was going to say something about ethics in gaming, but that is bringing bad memories up for me, so let me say that Adam is not an ass. He is currently living in a place with a lot of flatmates and a cross eyed rat, so I can see why he would leap on being married to Jessica when he finds out about her. The beginning depicting Adam waking up and going to a video game con was hilarious. I just cracked up. Spalding always does a great job with the guy POV in these books.

Jessica is an American living in London trying to get her masters in Nutrition (I am to lazy to look that up to make sure that is accurate). She is also working at a strip club as a bartender. Once again, Jessica’s POV had me laughing at so many times in this book.

When Adam and Jessica agree to their marriage and realize it means that Sociality’s owner is going to be up in their faces for the next several months, you realize that both of them are trying to put their best face forward until it turns into a War of the Roses thing that the book did a great job with.

The only misstep I will say that happens, that really is what besides the ending made me knock a star from this book, is that Spalding gives us insight into why Adam was so focused on staying married to Jessica. I maybe rolled my eyes a bit. It felt like it came out of nowhere since there are no hints to this during Adam’s POV that Spalding could have at least hinted at so we could see what secret Adam was keeping.

The writing was great. Spalding does a great job of depicting relationships (see Love From Both Sides) and he has a great voice for both male and female characters. He chooses to tell the story from both Adam and Jessica’s POV with each chapter beginning with a question and answer they responded to on the Sociality website. I laughed so hard many times I started howling. There are just some scenes I don’t want to spoil for you. But let me just say, the scene with them getting married. It was inspired.

The book setting switches between London and Jessica’s birthplace of California. Spalding does a great job of depicting where Jessica grew up to the point I want to visit there sometime.

The ending was a bit eh to me though. I thought it was just too over the top and not realistic.

four-stars

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

The Last of August by Brittany CavallaroThe Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on February 14th 2017
Genres: YA
Pages: 336
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
one-star

Watson and Holmes: A match made in disaster.

Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter-break reprieve after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But Charlotte isn’t the only Holmes with secrets, and the mood at her family’s Sussex estate is palpably tense. On top of everything else, Holmes and Watson could be becoming more than friends—but still, the darkness in Charlotte’s past is a wall between them.

A distraction arises soon enough, because Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring. The game is afoot once again, and Charlotte is single-minded in her pursuit.

Their first stop? Berlin. Their first contact? August Moriarty (formerly Charlotte’s obsession, currently believed by most to be dead), whose powerful family has been ripping off famous paintings for the last hundred years. But as they follow the gritty underground scene in Berlin to glittering art houses in Prague, Holmes and Watson begin to realize that this is a much more complicated case than a disappearance. Much more dangerous, too.

What they learn might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.

I am so annoyed. Since I gave book #1 three stars, I hoped for another three star read or higher this time. But due to the lack of any mysteries to solve and just more teen angst and a love triangle that only one person was interested in (Jamie) I was over this book before the end.

I haven’t read all of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock stories, but I never got from him a sense of disdain for Watson. Or that Sherlock didn’t know right from wrong. I don’t know if putting this in the YA setting is the issue or what. I really enjoyed “A Study in Scarlet Women” so you can have a gender flipped Sherlock Holmes that doesn’t make you loathe the character.

As others may recall based on the last book, the Moriarty family realizes August is alive and they want him back and Charlotte Holmes and her family punished. Charlotte and Jamie head back to England for the holiday break and while there stay at both their homes. While at Charlotte’s family home, Jamie finally meets Leander Holmes. Leander is currently undercover looking into some art forgeries and then goes missing. Jamie and Charlotte believe it may be the Moriarty family or the case he’s working that’s behind his disappearance. The trail leads Charlotte and Jamie to go to Berlin to figure out what’s going on. This leads to the not dynamic duo staying with Milo (Charlotte’s older brother) and Charlotte connecting with August Moriarty again.

Good things:

We get to meet August Moriarty in this one and he’s more developed than most of the other characters. He has a lot more patience for Jamie’s jealously than I would have and the fact that he even speaks to Charlotte is a point in his favor. It’s like everyone but Leander Holmes gets what Charlotte did was wrong with ruining August when he rejected her romantically. He’s too good for Charlotte and I felt the most for him since he is torn between the Holmes family and his. Even with everything we readers get to see, Jamie constantly keeps needing him to be a villain and sorry I was not here for that.

Leander Holmes is another character I enjoyed we just didn’t get to spend much time with. He definitely has a better sense about things than any Holmes besides Charlotte’s mother. We get more insight into him due to emails he sends Jamie’s father, but I don’t think anything Jamie is reading sinks in at all.

I liked the cover.

Everything else:

Dear authors, if one of your characters is raped, and another character who wasn’t raped keeps complaining about how that rape is affecting him throughout the entire book your readers may hate the character. I know I did. As readers know we find out that Charlotte Holmes was raped in the last book. She rightfully is still dealing with the aftermath of that. But due to Jamie being in love with her and wanting to be with her “that way”, he’s frustrated. I hope you enjoy teen fights since that’s a good 2/3 of this book. And Jamie stating he loves Charlotte, but gets angry at her every five seconds. Honestly he acts like a spurned lover and I started hoping something would fall on his head.

Charlotte was a contradiction throughout the book. We do her her POV in this one against me it was welcomed since I wasn’t reading about Jamie and his feelings anymore. But, this character says plainly what she needs from Jamie a lot and then he ignores her. She has bad reactions from him touching her sometimes and tries to do tests to see if she can cure herself of that. I don’t know why, but scenes like that bugged. When we switch to her POV and she mentions seeing Jamie like a knight errant I maybe laughed out loud. Okay I did laugh out loud. Her depiction of him doesn’t gibe with the Jamie we’ve been given for two books.

I wish that Cavallaro had shown more of Charlotte and August interactions when the action moves to Berlin. But we unfortunately do not get that here. And once again we get a book showing Charlotte is not as great as deductions as she think she is.

Cavallaro has pretty much depicted the Holmes family as monsters, the Moriarty’s too, and the Watson’s just enablers of the Holmes.

I actually got Emma Holmes (Charlotte’s mom) more at the end and wished we had gotten a chance to spend more time with this character. Also even though Milo is supposed to dangerous and intelligent he does something beyond stupid at the end of the book that doesn’t even fit.

We get Tom and Lena in this one again and they were not necessary. Actually they felt shoehorned in.

The writing was repetitive after a while. The majority of the book is told from Jamie’s first person POV. He’s in turns rude, angry, jealous, and sad throughout the book. When Jamie meets August he seriously becomes more of a pain, and I didn’t know it was possible. The POV told from Charlotte’s POV was welcome so you could get out of Jamie’s head for a bit. We also get to read emails from Leander Holmes to Jamie’s father and that definitely gives us more clues into their friendship. And honestly I be more interested reading about them then the younger generation at this point.

Also can I say that based on how Jamie’s father acts, he wants Jamie to show up Charlotte and solve the case (Leander’s disappearance) but it definitely doesn’t sound like anything that he would have done while working with Leander.

The flow is actually okay in this one. It’s just nothing happens for a good majority of the book. You find out the how behind the forgeries right away, but solving Leander’s disappearance takes a while.

Moving the setting from the school to England and then Berlin was a bad idea. I didn’t get any sense of Germany in this one. We don’t get much details while they are in Germany besides Jamie describing rooms.

The ending was a travesty. I think this book was set up to be along the lines of His Last Bow maybe. I honestly don’t see how there can be a third book in this series. Jamie and Charlotte have a highly toxic relationship and I am not here for them together. She needs therapy and he needs to get over himself.

one-star

The Next Always (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #1) by Nora Roberts

The Next Always (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #1) by Nora RobertsThe Next Always by Nora Roberts
Published by Berkley on November 1, 2011
Genres: Romance
Pages: 353
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
dnf

The historic hotel in Boonsboro has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. Beckett is the architect of the family, and his social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen.

After losing her husband and returning to her hometown, Clare Brewster soon settles into her life as the mother of three young sons while running the town’s bookstore. Busy, with little time for romance, Clare is drawn across the street by Beckett’s transformation of the old inn, wanting to take a closer look . . . at the building and the man behind it.

With the grand opening inching closer, Beckett’s happy to give Clare a private tour - one room at a time. It’s no first date, but these stolen moments are the beginning of something new - and open the door to the extraordinary adventure of what comes next . . .

I would feel bad about this if I wasn’t prepared for this exact outcome. I was initially going to read this trilogy along with a friend who bought all three books. She’s also the friend who always prods me to keep reading the In Death series that Roberts writes under JD Robb as well. I was worried this book would not work for me (it didn’t) but since I do love reading HGTV Magazine and other magazines dealing with decorating I didn’t think it would be too bad. I was wrong.

I had to stop reading at the 20 percent point when I realized that the majority of this book was just a plug for real life businesses that Roberts own. She owns an inn at Boonsboro and it also sounds like the pizza place and bookstore are also owned by her as well. Which just makes the book a weird brochure to stay at this inn and go to this town to eat at this place and also buy books there. I honestly think this could have worked if Roberts had included pictures of the inn and the pizza shop and bookstore in this book. Or did something like have a character designing a website and talking about setting it up for the inn and then readers could click on it and it would take you to the site. I did like the first page which showed a diagram of the town and the locations of the other places (pizza shop and book store) so I think something like that could have made the book more fun. I guess I am just used to looking at graphic novels and comics on my Kindle Fire now that I am in love with anything that has illustrations these days.

The hero and heroine in this one (Beckett Montgomery and Clare Brewster) were dull as dishwasher. I don’t even know why Beckett was attracted to Clare since there didn’t seem to be anything about her that stood out to me. Roberts depicts Clare as a widow with three young boys and honestly the first thing that stood out for me is that she made her a younger version of the character in Black Rose (In the Garden #2) Rosalind Harper. Rosalind was also a widow with three sons. I also saw mixes of Zoe McCourt from Key of Valor (Key Trilogy #3) as well. I maybe rolled my eyes at Clare being widowed after her husband was killed by a sniper in Iraq. I honestly had to stop reading some of Macomber’s books for a while since every heroine was a widow and her husband died while working for special forces in Afghanistan. My friend who got further than I did let me know that some random dude appears and starts to stalk Clare so I guess that was what Roberts threw in between the long descriptions of rooms, decorations, and how people smelled.

Most of the men in these books fit one of three archetypes (nerdy guy who is deep down a very sexual being though you wouldn’t know it, the guy who is uptight who also may be afraid to commit/is ready to commit, and the bad boy). Sometimes the male characters are all three at once, but not usually. I guess that Beckett (the name alone people) is going to fit archetype #1. I honestly thought he was interested in the owner of the pizza shop first since he had more to say to her and noticed her changing the color of her hair. But when Clare was introduced, I had to go back and double-check she wasn’t the pizza shop owner.

There really wasn’t enough that I read for me to comment on other characters. Beckett is one of three boys so his other brothers Owen and Ryder. Based on the names alone, who do you think is what archetype? Owen seemed humorless to me and Ryder was a smartass. That’s all I got.

The writing was just one big love letter to the inn. Once the ghost entered the picture I was out. Once again, I saw shades of In the Garden and felt too annoyed to go on after that piece. The flow was hampered too since we would just randomly have one character talking about furniture or decorations and my eyes would glaze over.

I have to say though, that starting this book and DNFing it made me think about the In the Garden trilogy which honestly was the last trilogy I really enjoyed. I think I am going to go and re-read that soon.

dnf

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

We Are Okay by Nina LaCourWe Are Okay by Nina LaCour
on February 14th 2017
Genres: YA, Glbt
Pages: 240
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
three-stars

"You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother."

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

So I fell in love with the cover of this book and decide that was it I was getting this book. I have to remember that a great cover does not always equal a fantastic book. I think I am getting a little burned out by YA books about grief. This book reminded me of all the worse parts of The Square Root of Summer. I get that people respond differently to grief. But I had a hard time with the main character (Marin) shutting everyone away similar to how her grandfather did when she finds out about things he has kept hidden from her all her life. And honestly the flow of this book was pretty bad. I was bored for about a good 3/4 of it. I just felt like the majority of the book was too angsty for me to really get into. I also had a hard time with Marin being able to just quit her life so to speak. I think if we had more developed secondary characters it would have come together to me. But Mabel felt like an archetype and her parents were too perfect to be real. Heck even Marin’s grandparents friends’ were too perfect in their reactions to Marin just ignoring all of them for months. I wanted someone to yell, scream, to call her selfish, to suggest you get counseling, etc.

“We Are Okay” has Marin at her first semester of college. She is nervous because her best friend (Mabel) who she has not seen since the summer is going to come visit her at her dorms in New York (Marin’s dorms). We don’t know why at first that Marin is staying in New York and not going home, but eventually the story starts to unfold and we find out that her mother died when she was 3 and her grandfather died fairly recently.

I guess my main thought is that I don’t think I could have done what Marin did. I don’t think I could run out on my whole life and abandon friends and especially a best friend and just ignore everyone for months. Heck, I wish we had gotten the perspective of Mabel in this one since I don’t get how she was able to persevere and still make sure that Marin saw her after months of silence. I don’t think I could have been that forgiving. I would want to be, but God knows I am not perfect so I would have held a grudge. That said though, I did end up feeling nothing but pity for Marin from the beginning of this book til the end. It is a long meandering story, but eventually you get to see the real grandfather that she had and you realize that she has been cheated of a life where she could have grown up listening to stories about her mother, looking at pictures of her mother, even getting her mother’s hand me downs. A character tells Marin late in the book that she has been betrayed, and honestly she was. There was a scene earlier in the book that I felt was off based on her grandfather’s reaction (he is angry that a nun dares to talk about grief with him over losing his wife and then his daughter) and of course later I get to the reveals and realize why it read as off to me.

But since most of the book is Marin hiding the truth about her life for most of the book until the very end you may get bored and quit before the revelations are brought forth.

Then I think that LaCour made a mistake with her ending. I think since most of the book was in a deep/dark place, to have it change pretty suddenly the way it did, didn’t feel realistic. For me, I wanted someone somewhere to sit down and have a conversation with Marin about her options and how maybe going out of state and spending a crap ton of money on school was not the smartest thing.

I can see how for Marin it may have been easier for her to just go off and pretend to be some other girl, but honestly it strained credibility with me that she would be able to just go off an hide and no one from the police, insurance company, mortgage company for their home/car, etc. would just quietly went away. I mean a freaking bill collector called me the day of my mother’s funeral and did not give two craps about the fact that I was about to head to the Church. Also, Discover, this is why I loathe you to this day.

Anyway, we hear through the whole book about her roommate Hannah and of course Mabel. And I wish that LaCour had added in more information about Hannah. Cause for me, Hannah was the unsung hero in this book. She realized that something awful had occurred with Marin and drew her back into the world. And I smiled at the scene we get of Marin finally decorating her side of the room and texting a picture of it to Hannah who sends back two high fives with a heart in between the high fives. So when Mabel asks Marin about someone else maybe being there that Marin is interested in, my first thought was honestly of Hannah.

I was already guessing where things were going with Mabel, but reading about Marin angsting about it through the majority of the book just left me bored. I will say though that LaCour does a great job of showing that just because Marin wanted to pretend the world stopped that other people had to go on.

The writing I found to be too descriptive though. There’s a lot of commentary about loneliness, ghosts, Jane Eyre, etc. I know as a reader I am supposed to be thinking about how Marin has lived with her mother’s ghost all her life and how she doesn’t even know much about her due to her grandfather not discussing her with him. But by the end of the book we definitely get clued in how a person’s ghost can leave some people gutted past healing.

Image result for miss havisham gifs

LaCour keys you into timelines though cause at the very bottom of a chapter ending in text she will show you the month you are reading about. If there is nothing there though (date wise) just know yo you are back in the present with Marin (December).

The flow was up and down through the whole book and I found some of the chapters choppy.

The setting of New York felt cold, dark, and lonely. I can’t imagine just sitting in a dorm over the holiday break for about a month. Also, am I just too old now, but I recall when I was in school no one was allowed to be in the dorms during the holiday breaks and over the summer.

The ending I know was supposed to leave me warm and happy, but instead my first thought was that someone needs to hog tie Marin and take her back to California.

three-stars

Divine Evil by Nora Roberts

Divine Evil by Nora RobertsDivine Evil by Nora Roberts
Published by Bantam on 1992
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 568
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
one-star

A decade ago, sculptor Clare Kimball fled Emmitsboro, Maryland, to take the art world by storm. Now she’s celebrated as the artist of her generation. But no amount of success can eclipse the nightmares that haunt her—or the memories of her father’s suicide. Just as her star is shining brighter than ever, Clare leaves it all behind to face her demons.

Emmitsboro sheriff Cameron Rafferty loved Clare from afar all through high school. Now that she’s back, they form a bond that grows stronger each day—fueled by an attraction that’s been simmering for years. But Clare’s past soon rises up with a vengeance, rocking the town with a sinister murder that is clearly linked to her return. As an investigation gets under way, Clare and Cameron will learn that evil can linger anywhere—even in those you love and trust the most. But it’s a discovery that may come too late to save them.…

This was so long and tedious. Also there’s barely any romance and what there is you quickly forget about it when it comes to reading about the group sex, rapes, murders, and animals being killed. Heck we even get a scene of a man being beaten to death which actually turned my stomach. I don’t think the main characters or secondary characters were very developed. And there’s a topic of racism introduced and dropped quickly which was odd. The ending was a total nonstarter. I can see if Roberts had wrote a sequel to this, but since she didn’t, this book has an odd and menacing ending.

Clare Kimball is a sculptor living in New York. Even though she is on the cusp of making a name for herself she still feels unsettled by her father’s death years earlier. Coming home she found him dead of what looked to be an apparent suicide. And a dream she had as a child which comes back to her now and again haunts her. When her mother remarries and goes on her honeymoon, Clare decides to return to her former home in Emmitsboro, Maryland. She thinks she can stay there and work on new pieces and maybe come to terms other her father’s death and her anger towards her mother for moving on.

So Clare sucks. She has a best friend named Angie, who runs an art gallery with her husband Jean-Paul. Apparently she has no other friends though her twin brother Blair makes random appearances. She also is divorced though you don’t hear much about her first marriage. You quickly find out that Clare is angry/upset about her mother and her moving on. She feels stuck and thinks returning to a town she hasn’t lived in in about a decade is definitely the answer. When she returns she runs into Cameron (Cam) Rafferty. Can has also returned to the hometown after being a cop in DC. He’s now the new sheriff and is dealing with a lot of bad memoires due to his mother and his stepfather.

Obviously theses two are romantically interested in each other. But Roberts breaks that up with allowing readers POV of a young woman being raped and murdered and then a young teen boy who is apparently into Satanism and is obsessed with Clare.

Clare hides what she starts to discover about her father’s interest in the occult. And Cam gets into it with his stepfather and locks him up. When the man is found naked and beaten to death more things come to light in the supposed sleepy rural town.

I honestly felt like this was two stories meshed into one. Either Roberts should have had Clare investigating once she realized some truths about her father. Or Cam should have been the focus with him trying to reconcile with his mother. Instead neither characters center stage in this book. I felt more for Cam especially when there’s a reveal about how his father died and I hated that I don’t think he was told during the course of the story. I did want him and his mother reconciled but sadly that doesn’t happen.

Either way Clare does her sculptures and then all of a sudden gets emeshed in a case when a young woman she accidentally hits with her car that was running from men in the woods. Though she still wants to hide any thoughts about her father. Her brother and then Angie and Jean-Paul are in Emmitsboro trying to keep and eye on Clare. It honestly doesn’t make any sense why anyone is afraid of Clare’s return. She doesn’t go around asking questions or anything related to her father. Whatever.

Can I say that these Satanists are stupid? Who goes around abducting and murdering people thinking they will get away with it? And these seem like 80s TV movie versions of Satanists. I wish Roberts had introduced more information on how these dumb men were even lured to do things like this. Roberts tries to with the ending, but it was so out of left field I rolled my eyes.

The setting of this small town didn’t feel like Maryland to me. It felt more Midwest to me. With the talk of the smallness of the town and barely any stores or shops and small farms I had a hard time with that.

As I said above, the ending left things open ended and was a weird note to end this book on. I don’t recommend this.

one-star

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silveria

More Happy Than Not by Adam SilveriaMore Happy Than Not Published by Soho Teen on June 2, 2015
Genres: YA, Glbt
Pages: 304
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
three-stars

In the months after his father's suicide, it's been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again--but he's still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he's slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron's crew notices, and they're not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can't deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can't stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

This was recommended to me since I loved “Everyone We’ve Been.” This book has a similar setup teen gets to a tough moment in life and wants to go an institute and get his memoires suppressed. However, there’s a twist and then even more after that. I felt for the character of Aaron Soto. However, I found the teen to at times be selfish when the truth comes out and he demands that other people who are not ready are weaker than him which made me uncomfortable. Some of the other characters motivations in this book felt off to me and the ending didn’t work.

Aaron Soto is a typical teenager who is in love with his girlfriend. He is nervous about losing his virginity to her and that he will be terrible. He is also still recovering from the fact that his father committed suicide. We don’t get a lot of details until the middle of the book to find out what caused Aaron’s father to commit suicide. Aaron’s mother and brother are distant from him and he only feels connected to his neighborhood friends. When Aaron meets newcomer Thomas, all of a sudden Aaron starts to feel different and finds himself leaning on Thomas when his girlfriend goes away to art camp. When Aaron comes to a realization that he is gay and in love with Thomas he seeks out the Leteo Institute in order to have his memory of bring gay removed.

I give insta-love crap no matter the setup, and the insta-love in this book between Thomas and Aaron didn’t work. I think they hung out for two weeks or so and it seems weird to me that Aaron would all of a sudden go from I am in love with this boy I just met. Speaking of Thomas, he felt like a blank slate. I didn’t get his character period. Aaron constantly asserts that Thomas had to be scared of coming out and implies that Thomas is in love with him. Everytime we “see” Thomas he looks bad and like he’s slowly being drained of life. Due to an attack that happens to Aaron, I got the worry, but everything after that felt like an over reaction. Maybe Silvia was just showing us that Aaron’s perspective was skewed, when it came to Thomas, I don’t know.

I really can’t say much about anyone else in this book without spoilers, so I’ll skip over them. I will say that Aaron’s father’s suicide doesn’t make sense to me when we find out why he did it. I guess I just don’t see it as something believable. I don’t know. Also there were so many vague details concerning Aaron’s father I was once again wondering what was going on until pretty much the end.

The writing was okay and I think since I read “Everyone We’ve Been” the twist was expected. Everything after the twists though felt rushed. The flow was up and down and too and I still scratched my head a bit about some of the narrative choices Silvia takes.

The setting of the Bronx in this type of futuristic setting seems poorer and more brutal than what I think it is like in real life. What I thought was odd was this world feels pretty mundane even with the idea of the institute.

The ending was sad and I think a bit of a cheat.

three-stars

Flying Too High (Phryne Fisher #2) by Kerry Greenwood

Flying Too High (Phryne Fisher #2) by Kerry GreenwoodFlying Too High by Kerry Greenwood
Published by Poisoned Pen Press on 1990
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 167
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
three-stars

Phryne Fisher has her hands full in this, her second adventure. And just when we think she’s merely a brilliant, daring, sexy woman, Phyrne demonstrates other skills, including flying an airplane and doing her own stunts! Phryne takes on a fresh case at the pleading of a hysterical woman who fears her hot-headed son is about to murder his equally hot-headed father. Phryne, bold as we love her to be, first upstages the son in his own airplane at his Sky-High Flying School, then promptly confronts him about his mother’s alarm. To her dismay, however, the father is soon killed and the son taken off to jail. Then a young girl is kidnapped, and Phryne—who will never leave anyone in danger, let alone a child—goes off to the rescue. Engaging the help of Bert and Cec, the always cooperative Detective-Inspector Robinson, and her old flying chum Bunji Ross, Phryne comes up with a scheme too clever to be anyone else’s, and in her typical fashion saves the day, with plenty of good food and hot tea all around. Meanwhile, Phryne moves into her new home at 221B, The Esplanade, firmly establishes Dot as her “Watson,” and adds two more of our favorite characters, Mr. and Mrs. Butler, to the cast.

I think this book is firmly a three star read. We get introduced to Mr. Butler, though in the book series he has a wife. We have Phryne once again being led by her libido. At least she has good deductive reasoning though. Though I will say that whole last act was unnecessary with Phryne and I found myself bored senseless reading about her clothes and how much food she had eaten. She also makes an agreement with one of the culprits in this book that I found to be gross and offf-putting. I am still going to read the next book in the series though.

“Flying Too High” is the second book in the Phryne Fisher series. I fell in love with the tv show and then decided to start reading the books afterwards.

Image result for miss fisher gifs

 

Image result for miss fisher gifs

In the second book we have Phryne investigating two cases. One involving a kidnapped child and another a murder of a man who was detestable in every single way.

The two cases do not relate to one another at all so you are going to have to follow two plot lines.

I can honestly say I don’t care that much for book Phryne at all. She is smart, but I find her ability to sleep with anyone and not care if they are in a relationship or not, not something to be admired.

Book Dot is a bit judgmental of Phryne, but loyal. I did like the parts of the book showing how Dot was so happy to have a room of her own with a door she can lock.

We get reappearances of Detective-Inspector Jack Robinson who has learned to not underestimate Miss Fisher. And we also get Bert and Cec.

The kidnapping case was okay, but I still feel dirty about the deal that Miss Fisher makes with one of the kidnappers. And we find out that Miss Fisher’s grand scheme was unnecessary in the end so I was annoyed about reading it. It didn’t make much sense honestly.

The murder case was a bit too much to swallow for me. I did like the characters in that one, it be nice to see what happens to Amelia and her brother Bill.

The writing was okay, but at times I found myself bored with the endless description of Miss Fisher’s clothes, shoes, and hats. Also I don’t really care what she eats for dinner or tea. There were long soliloquies about tea and I found myself yawning.

The setting of Australia does make this series appealing to me and I do like trying to get a sense of the country from this time period (pre-WWII).

The ending was a little odd though both cases are wrapped up rather neatly.

three-stars

Roadside Crossed (Kathryn Dance #2) by Jeffrey Deaver

Roadside Crossed (Kathryn Dance #2) by Jeffrey DeaverRoadside Crosses by Jeffrey Deaver
Published by Simon & Schuster on June 9th 2009
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 397
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
two-stars

The Monterey Peninsula is rocked when a killer begins to leave roadside crosses beside local highways -- not in memoriam, but as announcements of his intention to kill. And to kill in particularly horrific and efficient ways: using the personal details about the victims that they've carelessly posted in blogs and on social networking websites.

The case lands on the desk of Kathryn Dance, the California Bureau of Investigation's foremost kinesics -- body language-expert. She and Deputy Michael O'Neil follow the leads to Travis Brigham, a troubled teenager whose role in a fatal car accident has inspired vicious attacks against him on a popular blog, The Chilton Report.

As the investigation progresses, Travis vanishes. Using techniques he learned as a brilliant participant in MMORPGs, Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games, he easily eludes his pursuers and continues to track his victims, some of whom Kathryn is able to save, some not. Among the obstacles Kathryn must hurdle are politicians from Sacramento, paranoid parents and the blogger himself, James Chilton, whose belief in the importance of blogging and the new media threatens to derail the case and potentially Dance's career. It is this threat that causes Dance to take desperate and risky measures...

The only reason why I gave this book two stars is honestly because I was kind of fascinated by how Deaver looks at internet blogs, comments on those blogs, and how you can start to see how something that he looked back at when this book was published has morphed into what it is today with a lot of people on the internet claiming to be experts on something or how easy it is to spread a rumor about somebody with no factual basis and how it could be picked up and be counted as real news. Other than that the book lost me on multiple levels.

In book two “Roadside Crosses” we have Kathryn Dance still dealing with the fallout from the events of book number one. It appears that this book takes place a couple weeks after those events. Dance and her colleague and friend, Mike O’Neill or off to give a deposition about what transpired in book number one.  He and Dance are determined to make an agent who they believed murdered people pay. They are called back from an oddly arranged romantic interlude and are brought in on an abduction of a young girl who was placed in a trunk of a car. Dance and O’Neil find themselves trying to use a local blogger for clues to what could be behind this abduction and what appears to be planned murders of people.

Dance and her skills definitely take a backseat in this one. I think that there were only two times that she got to use her skills as a body language expert and the rest of the time was just her flailing around and listening to men give her lectures on what the internet is and gaming. I found myself really bored by her character and she doesn’t seem like the strong smart woman that she was in “Cold Moon.” And I don’t know what Deaver’s deal is with having every man that comes across Dance be a potential love interest, but I really hope that stops in the next book. I thought it was a little bit weird and odd that she seems to be developing friends feelings for her married colleague but also was attracted to a professor that they just met who was called in to help out on this case. And I maybe I wouldn’t say anything except the last guy that she liked turned out to be a murderer so maybe her sense of who’s a good person to date is just flawed.

A really big problem with what I think pushed me away from Dance this time though was the fact she’s in her late thirties and has two kids, one of who is 12 and she seemed completely baffled by the internet. She did not seem to understand how to use it, what blogs were, etc. I mean I don’t work with computers for a living but even I know about all that stuff so I thought that was very far-fetched. Especially since Dance has her own website. We find out in this book and I think that’s it in the last one as well that Dance and a friend of hers go about recording what’s considered folk music songs and record it and sell it on her website. So if she does that she has to be able to use a computer.

I can’t really speak about any other characters. Everyone else was very paper-thin and we didn’t really get a chance to get into other characters mindset.

Dance’s partner O’Neill was missing in action for half of the book but every time he and Dance are in the same room together it was awkward.

There was also something involving Dance’s mother that I had a hard time with and I don’t know why it was even introduced in this book. I think Deaver was going for some intrigue but it totally totally lost me. If you read the first book you know that a colleague of Dance’s died after being injured on the first case. We find out in this book that somebody did a mercy killing because he would not have lived long. Dance’s mother is accused of this. There doesn’t seem to be any real evidence why she would have did this and I thought it was a big stretch. But I think that that really got me there was that  Dance is completely oblivious to the problems and trouble her mother is in and even has a dinner party to have people come over and insist that her mother and father come over after she’s (the mom) been arrested for murder.  I kind of scratched my head at that one.

I also rolled my eyes at Dance and her mother questioning O’Neill’s wife parenting cause she dared to travel.

Say something nice. It was interesting how Deaver tied the book into the internet with actual links that a reservation could go to and read. I think he wanted to make it as immersive as possible. Unfortunately I don’t think he thought about what happened a if you’re not reading on an e-reader or computer though. I assume hardback or paperback readers just were out of luck.

I do think that Deaver’s description of gamers was off the mark though.

The flow was pretty awful in this one. Every chapter seemed to hang on a mini cliffhanger and we get some twists thrown our way that don’t work. Ot of nowhere we have the solution to who is behind these abductions, but wait, here’s a twist. And the twist didn’t even make any sense. Same goes for Dance’s mother’s arrest.

The book ends on an odd note with it looking like Dance may be torn between two men.

two-stars

The Sleeping Doll (Kathryn Dance #1) by Jeffrey Deaver

The Sleeping Doll (Kathryn Dance #1) by Jeffrey DeaverThe Sleeping Doll by Jeffrey Deaver
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on July 26th 2007
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 448
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
five-stars

When Special Agent Kathryn Dance -- a brilliant interrogator and kinesics expert with the California Bureau of Investigation -- is sent to question the convicted killer Daniel "Son of Manson" Pell as a suspect in a newly unearthed crime, she feels both trepidation and electrifying intrigue. Pell is serving a life sentence for the brutal murders of the wealthy Croyton family in Carmel years earlier -- a crime mirroring those perpetrated by Charles Manson in the 1960s. But Pell and his cult members were sloppy: Not only were they apprehended, they even left behind a survivor -- the youngest of the Croyton daughters, who, because she was in bed hidden by her toys that terrible night, was dubbed the Sleeping Doll.

But the girl never spoke about that night, nor did the crime's mastermind. Indeed, Pell has long been both reticent and unrepentant about the crime. And so with the murderer transported from the Capitola superprison to an interrogation room in the Monterey County Courthouse, Dance sees an opportunity to pry a confession from him for the recent murder -- and to learn more about the depraved mind of this career criminal who considers himself a master of control, a dark Svengali, forcing people to do what they otherwise would never conceive of doing. In an electrifying psychological jousting match, Dance calls up all her skills as an interrogator and kinesics -- body language -- expert to get to the truth behind Daniel Pell.

But when Dance's plan goes terribly wrong and Pell escapes, leaving behind a trail of dead and injured, she finds herself in charge of her first-ever manhunt. But far from simply fleeing, Pell turns on his pursuers --and other innocents -- for reasons Dance and her colleagues can't discern. As the idyllic Monterey Peninsula is paralyzed by the elusive killer, Dance turns to the past to find the truth about what Daniel Pell is really up to. She tracks down the now teenage Sleeping Doll to learn what really happened that night, and she arranges a reunion of three women who were in his cult at the time of the killings. The lies of the past and the evasions of the present boil up under the relentless probing of Kathryn Dance, but will the truth about Daniel Pell emerge in time to stop him from killing again?

I was really intrigued by the character of Kathryn Dance in “Cold Moon.” Having a character that uses kinesics in order to get witnesses and suspects to open up and or confess.

In “The Sleeping Doll” we get more information on the character of Kathryn Dance. She works at the California Bureau of Investigation (think of a state office set up like the FBI) and is about to interrogate a man who murdered a family decades earlier (Daniel Pell). Pell is seen as similar to Charles Manson due to having his own family (teenage girls) who he commanded to steal from stores and homes in order to support the family. When new information comes up linking Pell to a murder Dance is set in to break him and get him to confess. Too late Dance realizes that Pell is up to something and then he escapes. This books follows Dance’s efforts to track down and stop Pell as well as following Pell as he continues to wreck havoc.

There are multiple POVs in this book per usual for a Deaver book. We get Dance, Pell, and some of the teens (now older women) who came under Pell’s spell decades earlier. We also get a POV from a writer who is going to write about the family that was murdered and the lone survivor of that murder (the so called Sleeping Doll). Deaver manages to do a good job shifting from each POV. I was honestly surprised since I thought it be too much.

I can say I wanted more of Dance though. Deaver was slow to reveal details about Dance, but at least I had questions answered about her from “Cold Moon.” Due to Dance being a widow she has a lot of trouble trying to establish a new relationship without dealing with her kids disapproval. And because of Dance’s special abilities she does a lot of analysis of her friends and family. It’s kind of like being around a human version of a Vulcan.

Deaver gets a bit too in depth at times when explaining Dance’s methods when interrogating cooperative and uncooperative witnesses. We also get to see how Pell manipulates people around him. And we definitely focus more on people’s motivations, thought processes, and even body movements. I found this whole thing pretty fascinating.

The flow worked nicely in this one and of course we get typical Deaver twists, though they work in this one. Unlike with the Rhyme books I didn’t feel like these were meant to shock. If you’re paying attention you realize that Deaver was giving clues all along the way.

The setting of this one takes place in California. What I wish we had gotten more details about is the areas near Dance. Deaver provides details on Dance’s home and her deck (which features prominently in this book) but I would have liked the same attention of detail regarding the history of the state and town they are in like he does in the Rhyme books.

The ending left me with some questions regarding Dance, her romantic relationships, and her family. I can’t wait for the next one.

five-stars
Older posts

© 2017 Bookish Pursuits

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑