Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Harvest Man (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, #4)The Harvest Man by Alex Grecian (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad #4)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Historical Fiction





Holy Crap Is All Of Got To Say!
I read many reviews over on Goodreads about The Harvest Man and one person I am friends with on there and whom I really respect her opinions on books gave it two stars so I didn’t have my expectations to high about liking this book, and I was right, I didn’t like it I loved it.
By far The Harvest Man is the bloodiest and most grotesque of the Scotland Murder Yard book series that I’ve read so far. I mean people are getting their faces cut off bit by bit while they're still alive for crying out loud, yak!
We first meet the Harvest Man when he escapes prison with a bunch of other murders in book #3 of the series, The Devil’s Workshop, but as quick as he appears in the story he disappears just as quickly and there is nothing else because we are all focused on Jack the Ripper. However, I can honestly say that I would rather meet Jack the Ripper in a dark alley than the Harvest Man for he is a creepy crazy little man at least in my imagination and in the imagination of Alex Grecian Jack the Ripper might be a murderer, but at least he is smart and calculating not just plain old bat shit crazy!
Inspector Day has a lot going on not only is he recovery from injuries he sustained in The Devil’s Workshop, but Nevil was also fired from the Murder Squad at the end of the last book to, so imagine Inspector Day as our Sherlock without his Watson! Sad really. Walter also has two new babies in the house, twins, whose arrival has also brung about the arrival of Walter’s in-laws into a rented house on the same street that the Day family resides on. Tensions are not only thick on the homefront because Walter is riding a desk at work since he is still recovering from those injuries but it is like making someone with ADD/ADHD sit at a desk all day long, so not a very pleasant experience for him at home or at work. Then Saucy Jack is playing with his mind which is enough to drive a stress free person nuts, but poor Walter has all these other pressures in his life so Jack’s tormenting is just bad sport in my opinion. The ending was like “what the *#&%”! But I won’t give it away I promise just be prepared for it cause it is a doozy!
The Harvest Man case has everyone at the Yard overwhelmed with these grisly murders and even though we know who the murderer is, the hunt for the murderer is the main focus in this book, and even though it is not very conventional to already know who the villain is in a detective story I felt it actually heightened the suspense in this one making it an awesome read!
I highly recommend this one and the Scotland Yard Murder Squad series. I don’t however feel that they would be as good as stand alone reads, I think if you are going to read one you should definitely make time to read the others to. Book #5 in the series, Lost and Gone Forever has an expected publication date of May 17th, 2016 so I am really looking forward to seeing what happens next!




Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Devil's Workshop (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, #3)The Devil's Workshop by Alex Grecian (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad #3)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Historical Fiction






So book three starts out with an almost unreadable account from a man who is being held against his will and who is being systematically tortured. A few pages into the book I then realized who he was and that he deserves this torture, but it didn’t take away from those first few chapters of that sick feeling in my stomach and the unbelievable anguish I felt for this person. So that was literally the best part of the book, I was disappointed in this installment in this series because it just seemed a huge hot mess of horrendous criminals walking about trying desperately not to get caught after their prison escape while all the while they are trying to commit more horrendous crimes.

Cinderhouse, our evil police killer from the first book makes a reappearance in this installment and of course he is all bent out of shape and is looking for revenge against Inspector Day for catching him and putting him in prison. The Harvest Man, whom we will be introduced to more thoroughly in the next book is also one of the escapees, but other than that most of the other escapees are just minor characters in the story.

The chase to find these criminals lends lots of fast paced action to this book, but I just was not feeling this one there just seemed to be something off about it. Maybe it was Jack and the whole back and forth thing with him and Cinderhouse, but I just didn’t get into this one as much as the others. Now don’t get me wrong I did enjoy the book I just didn’t devour it like I did the other books in the series.

Definitely worth the read as a part of the series, but as a read alone I probably wouldn't have even bothered to read it.


Monday, December 28, 2015

The Black Country (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, #2)The Black Country by Alex Grecian (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad #2)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Historical Fiction






In the second installment of the Scotland Murder Squad series we find our heroes, Inspector Walter Day and the newly promoted Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith traveling from the grimy streets of London out to a section of the British Midlands, called “the Black Country”. A family has disappeared, well not the whole family, just the mother, father, and youngest boy; the other children, two girls and another boy are perfectly safe and sound at home. And boy are the other three children acting a bit shady. Actually every single person in this mining town acts shady making them all suspects in my book.

Uncomfortable in their surroundings, Nevil and Walter, walk right into a town full of superstitions and secrets. Actually keeping secrets seems to be this town’s forte. What I don’t understand is after they were almost poisoned why did they not run for the nearest train station, I know I would have! The town is sinking into the mines and there is a sickness going around that no one quite understands including the town doctor, but Walter and Nevil are as dogged as ever to figure out this crime, especially considering one of the victims is a small child.

This book gave me the heebie jeebies, especially with suspiciously creepy children in it, it is like the movie, The Good Son!! I wanted to hide from my own children in case they held murder in their hearts, lol, just kidding I had to be a bit theatrical about it!

Another awesome read, but it was a bit slower paced than the first book in the series was. Another bit I didn’t to much care for was the prose that included the ground caving in and houses going with them, the words just left me feeling a bit dizzy and off balanced, but other than those two minor things I really, really liked this one. Oh and also prepare yourself for the ending you will be like “what the *#%!”. Seriously.





Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Yard (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, #1)The Yard by Alex Grecian (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad #1)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Historical Fiction





Victorian London. Sigh, some of us are just born in the wrong time period and in my case the wrong country also! Then they went ahead and put Jack the Ripper's name on the front of the book and what self-respecting mystery lover could possibly even resist. I know I couldn't.

Now this was a re-read for me, I did read it about two years ago, but at that time I was on so much medication for my back that that whole period is just a fuzzy haze of half memories. So when I couldn't remember over 75% of what I read I decided to read it again, well maybe if you can't remember such a large amount of the book then maybe it isn't a re-read after all, lol!

The book starts not long after Jack the Ripper stops killing and there has been a lot of changes at the Scotland Yard Murder Squad, including the leaving of one of the Detective Inspectors that hunted Saucy Jack himself and the arrival of Detective Inspector Walter Day, who came from solving small town crime to being thrust into the cesspool of London crime. Newly married and new to London you would think it would all have overwhelmed Inspector Day till he moved back to that small town, but he has a keen mind and a dogged determination to catch the bad guy. Partnered up with Constable Nevil Hammersmith and Dr. Bernard Kingsley, the coroner (who is actually based upon a true historical figure), Inspector Day must find out who has been brutally murdering members of Scotland Yard's Murder Squad before another member finds himself stuffed in a steamer trunk.

I wouldn't call this a fast paced thriller, but it is a great detective story! And even though some of the historical facts are a bit off in some aspects it is not huge mistakes that would take away from the story I won't compare it to Sherlock Holmes because well it wouldn't live up to that but if you enjoy detective stories like those of Sherlock Holmes I really think you'll enjoy The Yard to.




Friday, November 13, 2015

The Marriage of OppositesThe Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction






Alice Hoffman is one of my favorite writers of literature, what with The Museum of Extraordinary Things being on the list of my all time favorite books, so I couldn't resist plucking this right off the shelf at the library when I saw it there, all while being quite surprised that it was even checked in, guess I'm the only one in this small town that loves a good book.

So Rachel, one of the main characters, gives up her dreams of Paris to marry a man she doesn't really know to help save her father's failing business. The husband is ancient in age compared to her own, a widower still in love with his deceased wife, and the father to three children that Rachel must care for and make her own. The continued love for the deceased spouse doesn't bother Rachel and I don't believe it would really bother me that much either as long as their was love in the marriage, but Rachel takes it one step further and visits the grave of her predecessor and talks to her! See Adelle, the housekeeper/cook at her parent's home, believes that Rachel is something special that she is closer to the veil between worlds so to speak and can sense things that others cannot. So Rachel hinges a lot of her premonitions of future happenings on the fact that she is on the good side of her husband's deceased wife. This element of the story adds a paranormal feel to the book, but when you look at the setting, both time and place, and realize how superstitious people where during the early 1800s in St. Thomas it fits perfectly in with the rest of the prose which shows the work of a great historical fiction writer, one who does their research!

Life moves forward for Rachel, her husband dies and so does her father, and soon Rachel finds that she is just a woman with the only two men in her life dead and that will not stand for her to keep taking care of the business so the side of her deceased husband's family that lives in Europe decides to send his nephew to oversee the business and their now predominant interest in it since Rachel is a woman and cannot own nor run a business. This encounter though with her deceased husband's nephew opens up a whole new life for Rachel one for of so much living and love!

A really terrific piece of fiction that any historical fiction lover would devour!



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Siege WinterThe Siege Winter by Ariana Franklin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction






Historical Fiction is one of a few genres that I truly enjoy to review and Ariana Franklin is up there as one of my all time favorite authors. She wrote the Mistress of the Art of Death series which I consumed one right after the other, I was addicted really! So when I saw this one at the library I automatically was drawn to pick it up and bring it home with me, "Even if she wrote it with someone else", I thought. Little did I know that Franklin died while working on this book and her daughter, the other author, who's influence on the book I was dreading is in fact Franklin's daughter, Samantha Norman, who finished the book after her mom died. I also soon discovered that Samantha inherited her mom's writing genes because I couldn't tell where Franklin's writing ended and Norman's started it was very seamless in its flow, which is not an easy task to accomplish. Wonderful characters and settings with everything researched well, as all good historical fiction is, so everything was very authentic! There is a lot of heartbreak in this book but all so a great deal of strength and love, all ingredients to a spectacular read!



Saturday, November 07, 2015

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike, #3)Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike #3)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Crime





I have really enjoyed all the books in this series so far and #3 didn't disappoint. I love a good whodunit! Loves about this book is not just great writing but character development which is phenomenal, I actually would want to know these people if they were real. And holy moley the sexual tension between Strike and Robin, oh geez, they just need to get together and put us fans out of our misery. The only thing that caused me lots of confusion was when they were hopping back and forth between the suspects in conversation for some reason I had a hard time remembering which was which, they were so much alike that they sort of just ran together in the prose.



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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Head Full of GhostsA Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Genre: Horror






So I'm all ready to get freaked out by this book and well it didn't happen, I mean there is definitely a psychological thriller type thing going on, but horror, no! And the story when I read it played like a monotone voice in my head so it was kind of boring and dry, however, I did finish it because I wanted to know the ending so the stories subject matter was at least interesting.



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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sea Lovers: Selected StoriesSea Lovers: Selected Stories by Valerie Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Short Stories





I have often said that it is difficult for a reviewer to write a review for a collection of short stories but once again I'm giving it a go so bear with me!

I began the stories while I was waiting for my daughter to get an MRI and you could tell that the first few stories were earlier works of the authors because they are unpolished and raw but in a good way not a bad way you can feel the bluntness the author is trying to express in each of the first few stories. As I progressed through the book you could feel the author growing as a writer not only were the stories a bit longer but they were more refined, more self-confident and you know what they say practice makes perfect! My favorite stories were in the "Among the Artists" section of the collection, they just really drew me in and even though all her stories are wonderful these few really hooked me on this book and renewed my love for the short story! The only reason I am giving it four star instead of five is because the last story while still very good was a bit of a let down for me, subject wise I just didn't care for it.

The books reviewed here have either been sent to me free of charge, or borrowed from my sister or the library, or they were bought (it is an addiction really). However, my reviews have never been, nor will ever be, affected by whether a book’s a freebie or not. A review is just one person’s opinion. It’s always best to check out a book for yourself.



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Monday, March 23, 2015

The Mysterious Affair at StylesThe Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot #1)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Crime





Classic Poirot! You can never go wrong with an Agatha Christie mystery.



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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Still AliceStill Alice by Lisa Genova
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Contemporary 






This book was absolutely remarkable and I cannot wait till I get the chance to see the movie. The way that Alzheimer's Disease was explored in this book was pure genius on Lisa Genova's part! Read it you won't regret it, ever!



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Monday, March 16, 2015

Gray MountainGray Mountain by John Grisham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Thriller





I have always loved John Grisham, all the way back to his "The Firm" days. His book "The Client" is one of my favorite books of all time! So there for awhile when he stopped writing legal thrillers I was sad and others that write in the genre did keep me occupied but didn't entertain me like John Grisham did. So when he came out with Sycamore Row I quickly bought it and then let it sit on my shelf sort of in your face John I'm not reading your book even though I bought it, this is for leaving me, lol!!! Then I walked into the library one day and there was "Gray Mountain" on the new releases shelf (we have a very small library) and I just gravitated towards it knowing that this was going to be the one to break my Grisham drought and I was right. Gray Mountain will not go down as my all time favorite Grisham novel but after I read it I knew he was back and I really enjoyed the story line and the characters. Plus he completely surprised me multiple times during the story by not choosing more traditional story lines like guy and girl meet they fall in love and live happily ever after, but Grisham's novels have never been like that but I had forgotten that this is one of the things I love about it him, it was a very long drought! Just a highly, entertaining great read the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because Grisham was a little windy when it came to talking about mining, he just went on and on, to much in my opinion, but that was the one and only downside to this book.


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Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Skeleton Road (Inspector Karen Pirie, #3)The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid (Inspector Karen Pirie #3)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Crime




I read this as a stand alone read even though it is Book #3 in McDermid's Inspector Karen Pirie series and it can definitely be read by itself and not as a series should you choose. The story line was very entertaining and the way the story enfolds the Balkan Wars had me thoroughly engrossed as I do love my history! I was kept on the edge throughout the whole book and would highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in the crime/thriller/mystery genre!



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Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Thriller/Mystery




Wow so this one is a hard one to review because everyone seemed to love it so much but for me it just wasn't as good as Gone Girl was and personally I wasn't all that "psychologically thrilled" with it! I mean don't get me wrong it was okay but it was all over the place and just not as calculating as I thought it would be, but I guess that is what we all get when we compare books to other books, Unrealistic Expectations. Gone Girl was such a huge hit and I am not surprised that more authors are trying to take advantage of the psychological thriller market right now but credit should not be given where it is not earned and in the case I shouldn't have listened to all the hype. Character wise it was okay at least the female characters which were all quite developed but the male characters lacked so much even Tom that I just had a hard time developing any type of emotional connections with the male characters at all even sad, tormented Scott. It did hold my interest because I wanted to see how it ended but I could still put it aside to do other things it just wasn't one of those "I can't put this down" kind of book. So my final say is that for me it was just an okay book and that pretty much sums up the mediocrity of this book.


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Friday, February 13, 2015

Sherlock Holmes, The Missing Years: JapanSherlock Holmes, The Missing Years: Japan by Vasudev Murthy (Sherlock Holmes, The Missing Years #1)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Historical Fiction



A wonderfully written account of another Holmes/Watson adventure and even though Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did not pen this particular account the author Vasudev Murthy did an absolutely amazing job with his prose so that it sounded like Sir Conan Doyle was at it again, regaling us with the adventures of Holmes and Watson! I am gushing quite a bit and even though I didn't give it five stars I have very good reason for it, this particular tale was much longer than other Sherlock Holmes story so there was of course some rather dry parts that is not often seen in the shorter adventures written by Sir Conan Doyle and also the length has given the author more time to elaborate on not so important details and happenings which slowed the story from moving along at the normal more direct retelling that is more characteristic of Sir Conan Doyle's Watson. Though these things stood out they were just minor things I noticed and for them I did take away one star but as an over all read I would say the book was fantastic and any fan of Sherlock Holmes and Watson better be ready to get to the bookshop on the 3rd of March 2015 to scoop up their copy fast!!!



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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Divorce Papers: A NovelThe Divorce Papers: A Novel by Susan Rieger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Contemporary Chick-Lit





Of course the one thing that really stood out in this book was how Rieger laid out her prose in the book in the form of memos, emails, legal documents and such, every word is in some type of form for communication. So not being laid out like a regular book ups this book in my opinion I think the way that Rieger decided to present this story is nothing short of genius! I am actually in the middle of a divorce so I found some of the things in this book frightening and others humorous but overall it was an entertaining, solid read. Life changing, no, but it definitely put certain things into perspective for this reader! If you love a good entertaining chick-lit read than you need look no farther than The Divorce Papers.



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