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Friday, March 21, 2014

Reckless Abandon (Holly Barker #4; Stone Barrington #10) by Stuart Woods {Audio}

Reckless Abandon (Holly Barker #4; Stone Barrington #10) by Stuart Woods
My Rating:  2 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  Reckless Abandon
Author:  Stuart Woods
Narrator:  Tony Roberts
Series:  Holly Barker #4Stone Barrington #10
Length:  Unabridged; 7 hours; 20 minutes
Publisher:  Brilliance Audio
Published:  June 10, 2004
Source:  Library
Format:  Audiobook
Genres:  Fiction; Mystery
Subjects:  Private Investigator; Fugitive from Justice; Stone Barrington; Holly Barker; Police Women; New York

Synopsis: 
      Stone Barrington is, once again, right at home in New York City; but this time he is joined by the tenacious Holly Barker from Orchid Blues, the lady police chief of Orchid Island, Florida. In Reckless Abandon, Holly finally makes it to Manhattan, hot on the trail of an evil fugitive from her jurisdiction. Stone is, well, glad to see her, right up until the moment when her presence creates a great danger to both of them - and to their surprise, she becomes the pursued, not the pursuer.



My Review:
Goodreads lists this book as book #4 in the Holly Barker series, however, it is mainly listed as Book #10 in the Stone Barrington series.  As I was preparing this review, I found that if you look on the Stuart Woods website, he only has this book listed under the Stone Barrington series, and not at all under the Holly Barker series, which really makes sense given that the whole time I was listening to this book, I kept telling myself, man this book is more about Stone than Holly, and getting agitated with that fact.

I found myself not really liking this story.  Now I've never read any of the Stone Barrington books, so maybe if I had a little more background of him, I may have enjoyed it a little more, but I haven't, so I didn't.  Even though I didn't care for Reckless Abandon, it won't stop me from finishing the Holly Barker series.  It appears that the last two books in the series are back to Holly, and she is a character that I have really come to like, so I'm glad to hear that!

Previous Holly Barker books have had two narrators, a male and a female, but Reckless Abandon did not.  I did not care for that at all!  I believe that book 1's narrator was a single female, and she did fine, but having a single narrator as a male, in a female series book, just didn't work out well, in my opinion.  It wasn't that Tony Roberts was a bad narrator, because he wasn't, but I didn't feel that he tried at all to distinguish between the characters, especially the different gendered characters.  I was disappointed with this audio version.

The plot was different from which I am used to reading, so it was nice to have the uniqueness, however, I feel like the story drug on quite a bit.  I almost think that this could have been a novella and still equally entertaining.  There just didn't seem to be much to work with.  There were also other sub plots going on that took the lime light away from the main plot at hand, finding Holly's fugitive from justice.  I just didn't feel like that particular part of the story developed very well!

Overall, I really didn't care for this nearly as much as I have the past three Holly Barker books, but I do look forward to book 5, Iron Orchid, and hope that it focuses more on Holly!  I don't typically read male author's, and I feel that the plots and characters always have a more masculine feel to them, but change is good and I have come to appreciate the writing of Stuart Woods.  I believe that Reckless Abandon could have solely been a Stone Barrington series book, so I look forward to getting back to more Holly Barker soon!


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Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Amersham Rubies (Molly Murphy #0.5) by Rhys Bowen

The Amersham Rubies (Molly Murphy #0.5) by Rhys Bowen
My Rating:  4 of 5 Stars

Title:  The Amersham Rubies
Author:  Rhys Bowen
Series:  Molly Murphy #0.5
Length:  38 pages
Publisher:  Minotaur Books (MacMillan)
Published:  May 10, 2011
Source:  Purchased (Amazon)
Format:  Kindle
Genres:  Fiction; Mystery
Subjects:  Women Sleuths; Detective Stories

Synopsis:
       Before Molly Murphy crossed the Atlantic or even had an inkling that she might someday become a much sought after private investigator in New York City, young Molly lived in Ireland in a small cottage with her father, brothers and little else.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    While keeping herself and her home together, Molly receives a request from Lady Hartley—the lady of the country estate where Molly lives, and the family that employs Molly’s father and brothers. The Hartleys are hosting a ball at their manor house, and there will be so many fine gentlemen and ladies in attendance that Lady Hartley needs Molly to help some of her guests prepare for the ball.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Beautiful debutantes, dresses of the finest fabrics, and sparkling chandeliers are all on display, as are heirloom jewels like the Amersham rubies—a stunning and priceless ruby necklace that has been in the Amersham family for generations. When the rubies go inexplicably missing from Lady Amersham’s neck in the middle of the party, the high-spirited Molly must rely on her wits to solve her first case in Rhys Bowen’s charming prequel to her beloved Anthony and Agatha Award–winning historical mystery series.
My Review:
I was traveling and in the mood for something short and sweet, and that's exactly what I got with this gem!  I previously read Murphy's Law, which is Book 1 of the Molly Murphy series, about a year ago, and have been meaning to continue on with the series for awhile now, but just haven't made time for it!  This short story was just enough to rewet my tongue and remind me why I enjoyed this series so much the first time around.

I think that Rhys Bowen has a special talent to her writing.  I am not typically a Historical Fiction reader, but I found a great deal of interest and entertainment in both this novella, and book 1 of the series!

There's not a whole lot one can say about a story that is only 38 pages long, but for as short as it was, I thought that it was written nicely with strong characters.  The writing was solid and suspenseful enough for what you had to work with!  I found enjoyment out of the story and wasn't bothered by its shortness!  I thought that length fit the story at hand!

Overall, I have found that I enjoy Rhys Bowen's writing.  I look forward to reading more by her and continuing on in the Molly Murphy series and even dabbling in the Her Royal Spyness Series, even though cozy's are just something that hasn't peaked my interest yet!  Ya never know, Rhys Bowen could change that all for me!




The Killing Hands (Sophie Anderson #4) by P.D. Martin

The Killing Hands (Sophie Anderson #4) by P.D. Martin
My Rating:  5 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  The Killing Hands
Author:  P.D. Martin
Series:  Sophie Anderson #4
Length:  400 pages
Publisher:  MIRA (Harlequin)
Published:  November 15, 2012
Source:  Library
Format:  Kindle
Genres:  Fiction; Suspense
Subjects:  Serial Murders; Serial Murder Investigation; Psychics; Criminal Profilers


 Synopsis:
            Just as Aussie FBI profiler Sophie Anderson is settling into her job in the L.A. bureau, she's pulled into a case that's different from anything she's ever seen—the victim has had his throat ripped out. But what weapon could have caused such devastating injuries? And who is the John Doe?
           Sophie and her team are dealing with a skilled killer, someone who leaves virtually no forensic evidence. When the team links the body to an Asian criminal organization, things get even more mysterious. The victim has been missing for fifteen years, so where has he been and why has he returned? More important, who wanted him dead?
                          As L.A.'s underworld rears its ugly head, Sophie will have to draw on her experience and her developing psychic skills to find a brilliant killer who's carved a trail of death in organized crime across the U.S. He leaves only one thing behind him—horrifying murder scenes.


My Review:
I first read this book a few years ago without even knowing that it was part of a series, and I must say that I absolutely loved it without any of the history.  Now, I must also tell you that I have never re-read a book, that is until now!  This is the first book that I have ever even had the desire to re-read, but I thought that since I now know the history, that it would make The Killing Hands that much better, and I was right!!

I have quickly fell in love with P.D. Martin, and I will keep saying that I am deeply saddened and become more anxious with the completion of each book, because that means I am that much closer to the final book in the Sophie Anderson series!  Too often I find that as the series progresses, my interest in the books begin to diminish, but that isn't even close to the case with this series!  After book 4, I still find myself dying to start the next book as soon as I finish the one that I'm reading!  It's not often that I finish a whole series so close together, but with Soph, I just can't help myself.

I find P.D. Martin's writing to be so informational and entertaining.  She writes with such intensity and uniqueness, that it's hard for me not to get lost in her writing.  I find equally impressive that even though she's Australian, there doesn't seem to be any language barriers.  Yes, I am aware that Australian's do speak English...what I mean is that by reading her books, you would never believe that Martin is from Australia (other than the fact that her main character is!!)  Extensive research had to have been done in order for her to write this book, and I appreciate her passing the information along in her writing!

Other reviews that I have read discussed their troubles with reading this book and feeling like it was slower than the other books, but I must say that I enjoyed this book more than I enjoyed book 3, Fan Mail.  I found the plot to be unique and riveting, not to mention thoroughly enjoyable!

Overall, I think that I have found myself a new favorite author, and I really hope to see her release something else in the very near future!  I enjoy the extra tid bits of knowledge that I get from reading each of her books, because I certainly learn something new with every book of Martin's that I read!

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Roll of the Die by Sean Patrick Bridges {Audio}

Roll of the Die by Sean Patrick Bridges
My Rating:  2 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  Roll of the Die
Author:  Sean Patrick Bridges
Narrator:  Bob Dunsworth
Series:  Stand Alone
Length:  Unabridged; 8 hours, 48 minutes
Publisher:  One 11 Productions
Published:  January 6, 2014
Source:  Author via Audible
Format:  Audiobook
Genres:  Fiction; Suspense; Thriller
Subjects:  Gambling; Las Vegas; Crime; Robbery

Book contains content that is not appropriate for children!!  Strong language is present, with intense subject matter.  Reader discretion is advised!


Synopsis:
     An ex-con on the straight and narrow is pulled into a twisted game of Russian Roulette in Las Vegas to save his wife. 666. Six Contestants, six chambers in a revolver and six sides of a die.
     Riley Toback is at a crossroads. After serving a four year prison sentence for Armed Robbery, he's determined to make a fresh start in Atlantic City. Until his brother-in-law, drowning in gambling debt, convinces him to pull a heist at a Jersey Shore nightclub. In the aftermath of the botched robbery, Karim Rashid, a vicious Indian gangster, tracks them down. And he makes Riley an offer.
     Triple Six. One round is loaded into a revolver and the chamber is spun. The Contestant rolls a die, with the face value dictating how many times the weapon is fired. If you can survive three rounds, you win. With his wife and life on the line, Riley takes the deal.
     ©2011 Sean Patrick Bridges (P)2013 Sean Patrick Bridges (Writer) & Bob Dunsworth (Voice Over Narration)
My Review:
I can't say that I've really ever read a book of this calibre before.  The synopsis was interesting to me and appears to have great promise!  I first have to mention a huge peeve of mine though, which is, the title of the story is Roll of the Die, however, the at least one of the covers for the book (Goodreads eBook cover) depicts "dice" not "die".  So I believe that the cover of the book is politically incorrect.  It does appear that Audible's Cover is "politically correct", as well as Amazon's, so maybe Goodreads cover just hasn't been updated!

I didn't care for the Narrator, Bob Dunsworth, too much, however, during the game portion of the book, he did an awesome job as the Commentator for the game being played!  There was one point during the audio book that apparently the character he was reading for was eating, and I must say it was the most disgusting sounding thing that I have ever heard to hear the narrator sound like he was eating as he was reading.  I felt that even though the character may have been doing that particular thing, that that particular thing could have been left out!

The characters in this book were something else!  During the game part of the book, it was hard to follow who was who by the simple identification of each person by color.  I was constantly forgetting who Mr. Red was, or when they spoke about White, I found myself really having a hard time remembering who White was.  This is part of the reason that I found such difficulty in enjoying this book.

I can't say that I've ever read a book that was anything like Roll of the Die, but I must admit that Sean Patrick Bridges really had good thoughts that were put into this book.  As I understand, this is one of his first major book productions, and that he has mostly written playwrights in the past, and that seems evident by his writing style.  This book was a little more vulgar than what I am used to and the contect is certainly of an adult nature.  I did find myself having a bit of trouble following along with the story throughout a few different parts of the story!

Overall, I think that as an author, Bridges has much potential of becoming a great author.  This particular book wasn't of my liking, however I think most of those reasons were just because of my own personal preference.  I did find a few things that really swayed me toward a lower rating, but generally speaking, overall, I just couldn't say that I loved the book.  I didn't think that the book was horrible by any stretch of the imagination, it just wasn't a book that jumped out as a favorite of mine.   These reviews are the hardest ones to write because I felt that the concept was a great idea, I believe that the book just needed a little more deliverance in order to garner more stars from me.  However, I believe that the book has very unique plot, one of which I believe could be easily transposed onto the big screen!







Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo 

Disclaimer:  This book was provided to me by the author Sean Patrick Bridges, via Audible in return for an honest and unbiased review.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
My Rating:  3 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  Someone Else's Love Story
Author:  Joshilyn Jackson
Series:  Stand Alone
Length:  321 Pages
Publisher:  William Morrow (HarperCollins Publishers)
Published:  November 19, 2013
Source:  Library
Format:  eBook/Kindle
Genres:  Fiction; Love Stories
Subjects:  Life Change Events; Georgia


 Synopsis:
      Someone Else's Love Story is beloved and highly acclaimed New York Times best-selling author Joshilyn Jackson's funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about falling in love, and learning that things aren't always what they seem - or what we hope they will be.
      Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents. She's got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up and falling in love with William Ashe, who willingly steps between the robber and her son.
      Shandi doesn't know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It's been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his world. But William doesn't define destiny the way others do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in facts and numbers, destiny to him is about choice. Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.                                                                                                                     ©2013 Joshilyn Jackson (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers


My Review:
I must admit that this is probably going to be one of the harder reviews that I have to write because I have such mixed feelings about this book.  In the end, I found it to be quite close down the middle when it came to the good or the bad, thus the 3 star rating!

This is my first read by Joshilyn Jackson, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  I found some of the book to contain extremely lengthy descriptions, whereas I think that less may have been better.  There were so many words going on, that it was sometimes hard to follow and stay interested.  I had extreme difficulty in getting through the first chapter, but it certainly started picking up more and more for me, each chapter that I finished!  I am all about learning new things and new words, but in my opinion, I felt like the author was trying to use every unique word she could possibly think of, which made some of the writing seem like rambling more that concise and cohesive thoughts.  I do feel that some books could really use some more pizazz, however, this one had just a little too much pizazz!

I thought that the characters were a very unique set of characters, but I found myself entranced in their lives, waiting with bated breath to find out what was going to happen next.  I found myself having very vivid photographic descriptions of the characters, more so than I have had with any other book that I read.  I think as a reader, you always try to imagine what the character looks like, but with this book, I felt like I knew exactly what these characters look like!

The first chapter of Someone Else's Love Story was quite confusing.  Perhaps if a Prologue would have been included, that would have saved on the confusion, but I sure can tell you that I was as lost as one could be reading Chapter 1.  I did feel like the chapters bounced a little, which also made the story harder to follow.  I also found myself struggling through the incredibly long chapters.  I seem to prefer more shorter chapters, rather than a few really long chapters, and this book seemed to have the some of the longest chapters that I have seen.  However, I did enjoy reading the story from the different points of view.  

This book is something of a different breed.  It seems like I am complaining about everything, but there were such wonderful things about this book, which is where my problem came in when reviewing and rating this book!  I really enjoyed the premise of the story and the thought process, especially with the ending.  I found myself continuing to read just so I could figure out what happened.  Jackson does a great job of keeping you hanging enough so that you just had to keep reading.  
Overall, I wouldn't consider this my favorite book of the year, however, I also wouldn't totally discount Joshilyn Jackson as an author.  I haven't really looked at any of her other books, but should I find one that peaks my interest, I wouldn't hesitate giving it a try!



Monday, March 10, 2014

In The Blood by Lisa Unger {Audio}

In The Blood by Lisa Unger
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Title:  In The Blood
Author:  Lisa Unger
Series:  Stand Alone
Narrators:  Gretchen Mol & Candace Thaxton
Length:  Unabridged; 10 hours, 4 minutes
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster (Touchstone)
Published:  January 7, 2014
Source:  Publisher via Audiobook Jukebox
Format:  Audio CD
Genres:  Fiction; Suspense Fiction; Psychological Fiction
Subjects:  Murder; Missing Persons; Mental Illness


Synopsis:

In the Blood  is the Lisa Unger novel we've all been waiting for - and a return to the dark psychological suspense that made Beautiful Lies a bestseller around the world.
     Lana Granger lives a life of lies. She has told so many lies about where she comes from and who she is that the truth is like a cloudy nightmare she can’t quite recall. About to graduate from college and with her trust fund almost tapped out, she takes a job babysitting a troubled boy named Luke. Expelled from schools all over the country, the manipulative young Luke is accustomed to controlling the people in his life. But, in Lana, he may have met his match. Or has Lana met hers?
     When Lana’s closest friend, Beck, mysteriously disappears, Lana resumes her lying ways—to friends, to the police, to herself. The police have a lot of questions for Lana when the story about her whereabouts the night Beck disappeared doesn't jibe with eyewitness accounts. Lana will do anything to hide the truth, but it might not be enough to keep her ominous secrets buried: Someone else knows about Lana’s lies. And he’s dying to tell.
     Lisa Unger's writing has been hailed as “sensational” (Publishers Weekly) and “sophisticated” (New York Daily News), with “gripping narrative and evocative, muscular prose” (Associated Press). Masterfully suspenseful, finely crafted, and written with a no-holds-barred raw power, In the Blood is Unger at her best.
     ©2014 Lisa Unger (P)2014 Simon & Schuster

My Review:
I wasn't sure what I was going to think of this book, going into it, but I was pleasantly surprised, especially by the ending.  The only other book that I've read by Lisa Unger was Fragile, and I wasn't too thrilled with at least the audio version of it.  I had a lot of friends that liked it, so maybe it was the narrator that did it in for me, but let's just say it wasn't my favorite book of the year, month, week or even day!

For those of you that enjoy psychological fiction, then this is the book for your!  What are you waiting for?  Why haven't you reserved it from your library yet?  Oh, that's right, because you are still waiting to see what I have to say, right?  So lets get to it!

The two narrator's definitely do this book justice.  I have learned from my time of listening to audiobooks that the narrator can either make or break a book, and these narrator's help make this book!  They are clever and witty and are easy to listen to and follow.  They definitely make it a good book to listen to!

Lisa Unger fills In The Blood with so many different plot twists and turns that it's unbelievably awesome to read and try to figure out what is going to happen.  Just when you think you've got it all figured out, Unger puts your blinders up again, taking you into the land of the unknown.  She truly shows the best of all of her writing talents in the book!!

Sure, some things about the plot are your standard, ordinary plot, like the missing best friend, but this plot and story are anything but ordinary.  It is probably one of the most unique stories that I have ever read, and probably one of the hardest stories to figure out!  This certainly renewed my faith in the fact that I should continue to read books by Lisa Unger.

Her characters are probably the most complex characters that I've ever met in a book and I loved that!  They were flawed and imperfect...humans.  They had issues, more than most normal people, and that's what made the book that much more interesting.

This book shows you that life and your friends and family, aren't always what they seem.  Life's obstacles can certainly take you on the ride of your life with more than your normal loops and up-side-down turns, but it also shows that you can survive those loops and the ride.  You might be slightly damaged, but you'll survive!  It also goes to show you just how poisonous secrets can be on a family and your relationships!

I absolutely would recommend that, now that you have finished listening to all of my most inner, deepest, darkest thoughts, that you run out to your library, or open your browser and either loan this book or buy it because chances are it may be one of the best books that you read this year!!  If you haven't picked this title up, you are missing out, especially if you like suspense and thrilling plot twists and turns!  Thank you Simon & Schuster and Lisa Unger for very well one of the best books that I am likely to read in 2014!

Disclaimer:  This book was provided to me by the Publisher, Simon & Schuster (Touchstone), via Audiobook Jukebox, in return for an honest, unbiased review. 



Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fan Mail (Sophie Anderson #3) by P.D. Martin

Fan Mail (Sophie Anderson #1) by P.D. Martin
My Rating:  4 of 5 Stars

Title:  Fan Mail
Author:  P.D. Martin
Series:  Sophie Anderson #3
Length:  Kindle - 475 pages
Publisher:  Harlequin MIRA
Published:  November 15, 2012
Source:  Library
Genres:  Fiction; Suspense; Mystery
Subjects:  FBI; Criminal Profilers; Serial Murder Investigation; Novelists; Los Angeles, California

Synopsis:
Getting into a killer's mind is both a blessing and a curse for FBI profiler Sophie Anderson. The agent suffers through brutal premonitions in order to save lives. Now a resident of Los Angeles, Sophie is working on a case where fiction has become fatal. A popular crime writer is sexually mutilated, strangled and marked with an eerie lipstick kiss…just like the crime scene in the dead author's last book.

As more writers are punished for their dark imaginations, there is a recurring theme—a chilling fan letter that arrives before each murder. In order to stop the slaughter, Sophie must delve into the writings of the dead authors. But the sinister mind behind the crimes is linked to an unsolved case from Sophie's past. And that person is determined to create a killer ending.

My Review:
I have very quickly come to know and love the Sophie Anderson series!  I don't typically read series books back-to-back, but I find myself wanting some Sophie when I haven't read about her after a few days!  She is a character that has just taken me over and I must say, one of my favorite fictional characters!

I just randomly came across this series, and actually accidentally read book 4 first, but thoroughly enjoyed it!  I had book 1 on my TBR for quite some time, when finally, for some odd reason I picked it up from the library, thus what started this wonderful addiction!  I was so excited about how great book 1 started and finished, that I wanted to share it with everyone, which I did!  This series is now all of my friends new favorite series!!!

I find myself getting amerced into the writing of P.D. Martin.  I get lost in her words and have much appreciation for the fact that she takes the time to explain procedures that other writers assume the reader already has a working knowledge of what he or she is writing about!  There is always at least one word that I have to look up in every book that I read, but I appreciate Martin's attempt to give the reader greater knowledge about the happenings in her book.  I feel like each book of hers that I read, gives me a broader sense of enlightenment, and that I have further extended not only my vocabulary, but also have better recognition and comprehension of the life of an FBI Profiler!

I think that Martin has such unique plots and characters that make me smile just sitting here thinking about them as I type out this review!  I am always ecstatic to see what she has come up with next with each new book, and Fan Mail was no exception!  I enjoy the detailed and skillful profiles that Martin provides via Sophie throughout each book, as she is working each case.  Martin writes fast-paced stories, that keep the reader engaged throughout and seems to have an excellent knowledge base about the stories she is writing!  Martin has such a knack for awesome endings and each book brings a new excitement about what is coming up next!

I appreciate the extension of Book 2, The Murderers' Club, as at the end of the book, I just had a feeling that the story wasn't over, and I couldn't have been more right, nor could I have been more thrilled, because let's just face it, that book was pretty flipping awesome!!  The outcome of that part of the book was still left pretty open, so I'll be very interested to see if it comes up again either in book 4 or later in the series!

Overall, I just love this series and can't wait to jump right into Book 4, (again...since I read it first several years ago!) Killing Hands!  I am so thrilled to have found this excellent author, and am starting to get worried because I am nearing the end, so I certainly hope that Martin has plenty more in store for us, and am anxiously awaiting an announcement for the release of book 7 in the Sophie Anderson series!


My Rating:  4 of 5 Bookworms

Lethal Intent by Sue Russell

Lethal Intent by Sue Russell
My Rating:  1 of 5 Stars

Title:  Lethal Intent
Author:  Sue Russell
Series:  Stand Alone
Length:  Kindle - 576 pages
Publisher:  Kensington Publishing
Published:  December 3, 2013
Source:  Library
Genres:  Biography; Case Studies
Subjects:  Aileen Wuornos; Serial Murders - Florida; Women Serial Murderers

Synopsis:
"A graphic portrait of evil." --M. William Phelps
"One of the best true crime books of all time." --Examiner.com
"The book to read about Aileen Wuornos--a case that has fascinated true crime fans from around the world." --True Crime Book Reviews
As a child, she was abandoned, abused and raped. By her teens, she was deep into a lifestyle of hitchhiking, petty crime, and the sex trade. In her twisted mind, uncontrollable bouts of violence were pure survival skills.
In 1986 she began a lesbian relationship with Tyria Moore. Three years later, tired of turning tricks, she fired four bullets into one of her clients--then robbed him. She claimed she killed six more victims before authorities finally locked her behind bars.
Award-winning journalist Sue Russell updates her harrowing and definitive real-life thriller with new details of the most famous female serial killer's decade on death row, her execution in 2002--and the lasting impact of her dark deeds.
The case that inspired the Academy Awarding-winning movie Monster
"A riveting and fascinating tale." --Robert Scott

My Review:
I just have to start out by saying that I have never in my life rating a book a 1-star book, and it absolutely kills me to do so, but I have to admit that it was probably the most painful book that I will ever force myself to complete, and that's what it was, total force!

I was quite excited to read this because after watching the movie monster, it was a subject that caught my attention!  But once I got started reading, I quickly realized that it was going to be difficult to finish this horrendously long novel!  I also quickly realized that there was so much unnecessary banter going on throughout the whole book!  Sue Russell could have cut this book in half, if she would have left out all of the things that weren't necessary to get the point across.  I felt that the story drug on throughout the entire book, without concise thoughts!  I felt like there was way too much going on in each and every chapter and that they were all over the place.  I recall one chapter I was reading where it was talking about Aileen when she was 16 then it went back to when she was younger, then when she was older than 16.  It just did not flow smoothly at all.

This book had such potential because Aileen Wuornos is quite the subject to write about, but I believe that this book was an epic failure!!  I really wanted so much more for it and from it and didn't get either!  Given that the book was just published, I would have seriously thought that there would have been some information about Aileen's execution, but the book just stopped after her trials.  With all the extra stuff that was included that could have been left out, I would have thought at least the whole entire story would have been told, but it wasn't.

On an upper note, I do think that Sue Russell really did devote to extreme research and really had the facts straight on Aileen and her life, I just felt that she didn't do the best job of putting that together in a story format.  There was just no semblance of order!  When a dear friend asked me what I thought about it, I told her that I felt like I was reading the world's worst and longest research paper!  I do think that Sue Russell was her own worst enemy, when it comes to this book!  I don't think that ALL of the research that she found, needed to be included.  It almost felt like the information was put together as she found it, rather than it being compiled in a timeline like format!

I have this thing that once I start a book, I just do not want to give up on it and just want to see it through until the end, so I felt somewhat obligated to finish this book, although most people would have tossed it (and have based on many other reviews!) after the first chapter!  I'm not sure if the author just isn't an experienced writer, or maybe isn't experienced in writing biographies, but I'm sure that this isn't her best work!  There aren't many books that I can say that I just straight out did not like, nor have I EVER rated a book a 1 star, but I just couldn't find any love in any crevice of my body for this book!  I hate that I had to give it such a low rating, however, I've NEVER had such difficulty in finishing and lack of enjoyment in a book...EVER!



My Rating:  1 of 5 Bookworms
Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher {Audio}

The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher
My Rating:  2 of 5 Stars

Title:  The Killing Woods
Author:  Lucy Christopher
Narrators:  Fiona Hardingham & Shaun Grindell
Length:  Unabridged; 9 hours, 25 minutes
Publisher:  Blackstone Audio
Published:  January 7, 2014
Source:  Publisher via Audiobook Jukebox
Genres:  Fiction; YA Fiction; Juvenile Fiction; Mystery; Secondary Fiction
Subjects:  Mystery & Detective Stories; Games

Synopsis:
Fatal attraction, primal fear, survival in the forest - from the author of the Printz Honor Book Stolen comes the highly anticipated thriller about deadly games played in the dark.
Ashlee Parker is dead, and Emily Shepherd's dad is accused of the crime. A former soldier suffering from PTSD, he emerges from the woods carrying the girl's broken body. "Gone," he says, then retreats into silence.
What really happened that wild night? Emily knows in her bones that her father is innocent - isn't he? Before he's convicted, she's got to uncover the truth. Does Damon Hilary, Ashlee's charismatic boyfriend, have the answers? Or is he only playing games with her...the kinds of games that can kill?
©2014 Lucy Christopher (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

My Review:
Usually I find it harder, especially when it comes to listening, to books that take place in other countries.  I also find it hard to listen to narrators with an English accent.  However, I didn't seem to have any trouble with this book.  Although I didn't have difficulty listening with the accent, I did have a bit of trouble with some of the things referred to in the book.  I'm not certain with some of the happenings in the book.

I was a bit confused with "The Game" that the book kept speaking of, and was slightly confused at the age of Damon, based on the fact that he was punishing Emily at what I gathered to be school (in which he also appeared to be a student).  I also couldn't figure out why, PTSD or not, Emily's father refused to speak about anything!  Another thing that I felt was off was the total disconnect that Emily's mother had.  So I guess that I really didn't have a huge connection with any of the characters.  I found myself to be in more of a state of confusion than enjoyment while listening.  I was also quite confused with Emily's dad's drawings and where what was in the drawings came from!  Without the confusion, the book did have great potential.

The narrators did a wonderful job of reading, and I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated having both a male and female narrator to distinguish the characters of different genders!  As I mentioned before, I have had a hard time listening to an English accent in the past, but both narrators, Fiona Hardingham and Shaun Grindell, did a great job of keeping it clean and crisp and easy to listen to!

Even with struggling with the confusion, I didn't seem to have a hard time finding the drive to finish the book, as I have with other books that I didn't care for.  I easily finished it in two sittings, I do believe, and listened with ease both times.   I originally rated this book 3 stars, however, reconsidered and would technically give it 2.5 stars if I could, so I left it at 2 stars, because I did feel as if it was okay!  I didn't hate it and I didn't love it but I also didn't find myself dreading reading/listening to it!

I think that Lucy Christopher did do a good job of writing (story development and character development), and possibly people from that area would have a better time reading/listening to this story because perhaps they would have a better understanding of what was going on and what certain things meant, more so than I did.  I struggled a bit with the continental divide (differences between the two countries and how they each do things!), which is exactly why I don't typically read these types of books!  Confusion aside, the story was interesting and suspenseful, and Christopher did a great job at keeping the reader at bay when it came to who Ashley's killer was!

Overall, I didn't mind listening to this book at all, however it didn't leave me with enough excitement for me to scream from the mountain tops how much I loved this book!  Now, I do have to disclose that YA/Juvenile Fiction is not my typical genre, so that could have been where some of the love was lost.  Even though this wasn't my favorite book, I wouldn't mind trying something else from Lucy Christopher!

Disclaimer:  This book was provided to me by Blackstone Audio, courtesy of Audiobook Jukebox in return for an honest, unbiased review!

Stand Alone or Part of a Series?
Stand Alone


My Rating:  2 of 5 Bookworms

Let Me Go (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #6) by Chelsea Cain {Audio}

Let Me Go (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #6) by Chelsea Cain
My Rating:  5 of 5 Stars

Title:  Let Me Go
Author:  Chelsea Cain
Narrator:  Christina Delaine
Length:  Unabridged; 13 hours, 3 minutes
Publisher:  MacMillian Audio
Published:  August 13, 2013
Genres:  Fiction; Mystery
Subjects:  Archie Sheridan; Susan Ward; Women Journalists; Murder Investigation

Synopsis:
Detective Archie Sheridan just has to get through the next few days, then his birthday and Halloween will be over. But with escaped serial killer Gretchen Lowell on the loose, the investigation into the murder of a DEA agent demanding his attention, and journalist Susan Ward showing up at his apartment needing a favor, it’s going to be a long weekend.
Soon Archie finds himself crashing a masked ball on a private island owned by Jack Reynolds, a notorious local drug kingpin. By morning, Archie is back on pain killers, a guest is dead and Archie quickly realizes that little is what it seems. One thing is clear: Gretchen is back, and Archie’s nemesis and sometimes lover has something special in mind for the birthday boy, something she’s been planning for a long, long time. On Halloween Eve, with time running out, and the life of someone close to Archie on the line, Archie knows his only chance is to give Gretchen exactly what she wants. But Gretchen will prove more horrifying, and unpredictable, than Archie could ever imagine.
Back with her most thrilling novel yet, Chelsea Cain delivers the pinnacle of what fans of this series have come to expect: sex, murder, twists, dark wit, and some of the best characters in the genre.
©2013 Verite Inc. (P)2013 Macmillan Audio

My Review:
I just have to start out by saying that boy I am sooo thankful that Chelsea Cain kind of got back to her roots with this book, and came back to all that I have come to know and love about the Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell series!  Cain captivated me first with Heartsick, and it was just as good reading Sweetheart and Evil at Heart, but I found myself not so much disappointed, but not nearly as happy with The Night Season as the first two books, then there was Kill You Twice, that started to pick back up, and BAM...she's back and as fully great with Let Me Go!

Chelsea Cain sure has a knack for writing sick and twisted stories that absolutely capture and suck the reader in, leaving you wanting for nothing but more at the end of her stories!  It didn't take me long to become obsessed with her writing and the Archie/Gretchen series!  You will not find another author that writes so twisted but yet elegantly as her!!  I love her as an author!  You can't get much better than her writing, especially for her subject content!

I think that Cain's characters are flipping awesome and addicting!  I love Susan Ward and her unique quirkiness, and Archie with his sick and twisted obsessions, and of course Gretchen, gosh there are way too many adjectives to describe her psycho tendencies!  I feel that Cain has really strong dominant characters and stories that stick with you long after reading!

Overall, I was so happy after reading Let Me Go, especially after not caring for the last two books as much!  I certainly hope that this isn't the end for the Sheridan/Lowell series clan, because I have come to need to read some psychotic Cain stories at least once a year, if not several times a year, so I really hope that Cain has more in the works for us, and if so I just can't wait to see what she will deliver this time!!

Stand Alone or Part of a Series:
Part of a Series

  • Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell
    • Book 6

My Rating:  5 of 5 Bookworms

Disclaimer

All blogs and reviews posted here are the sole property of the blogger and represent my very own opinions. In some cases, books reviewed are supplied to me in exchange for an honest review. Such cases will be noted on the blog post.

All other books reviewed have been purchased or borrowed through the normal channels.

2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge
Andrea has read 65 books toward her goal of 100 books.
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