Friday, January 18, 2019

Friday Linkups - What to Eat When

It's Friday linkup time!  I'm linking up with the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, and the Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
Is there anything that drives you bonkers when you're reading a book that makes you want to tell the author a thing or two?

My Answer:
When a big plot point is just wrong.  I get not researching every single detail but for example I once read a mystery where the main character worked for the government and had a security clearance and the whole plot revolved around this character getting classified information by essentially assuring people that she had a Secret clearance and therefore they cold tell her whatever it was even though it was something she had no legitimate need to know.  I spent the entire book shrieking "That's not how that works!" at the book.  

This week's book is a bit of a departure for me.  I don't read much self help but after being sick last year I am looking to improve my diet and feel better this year so I thought What To Eat When by Michael F. Roizen, M.D. and Michael Crupain, M.D., MPH sounded like it might be interesting and useful.  While interesting so far it doesn't provide the most fascinating snippets!

The Beginning:
Food is powerfully evocative and has the ability to convey some of our sturdiest memories.

My Thoughts:
This is most definitely true.  Certain dishes will take me right back to a specific time or place.

The 56:
If your day starts like ours, it's probably a tornado of to-does: shower, brush teeth and hair, shave face and/or legs, get the household going, check your phone 437 times before you get in the car and get rocking. 

My Thoughts:
Sounds about right.  None of us here are morning people so getting out the door in the morning is always a bit chaotic.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?  What drives you bonkers in books?

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Untouchable - Romantic Supsense Review

Rating: Good
Source: NetGalley

Quinton Zane is back.

Jack Lancaster, consultant to the FBI, has always been drawn to the coldest of cold cases, the kind that law enforcement either considers unsolvable or else has chalked up to accidents or suicides. As a survivor of a fire, he finds himself uniquely compelled by arson cases. His almost preternatural ability to get inside the killer's head has garnered him a reputation in some circles--and complicated his personal life. The more cases Jack solves, the closer he slips into the darkness. His only solace is Winter Meadows, a meditation therapist. After particularly grisly cases, Winter can lead Jack back to peace.

But as long as Quinton Zane is alive, Jack will not be at peace for long. Having solidified his position as the power behind the throne of his biological family's hedge fund, Zane sets out to get rid of Anson Salinas's foster sons, starting with Jack.

Genre: Mystery - Romantic Suspense

Why I Picked This Book:
I've enjoyed the two previous books in this series and Krentz's books are always a lot of fun.  

My Impression:
This is the third book of  this series centering around Quinton Zane, three of the surviving boys from the cult he ended in a fiery blaze, and their foster father.  Jack was a bit different from the other two.  He was a bit more awkward and academic than the other two and less action oriented.  Winter is an interesting character with her mediation and hypnotist abilities and I did love her family story.  This was a quick read and definitely kept me turning pages.  It was exactly what I expected from her books - fun and suspenseful.

This book wasn't perfect.  While Jack and Winter were different characters the relationship felt like the same relationship I'd seen in the previous two books.  As well, I'm not sad to see the end of the Quinton Zane plot.  I'm not a fan of the whole master criminal plot and Zane is the master criminal to end all master criminals.  I was satisfied to see the conclusion and I will miss Anson Salinas, Max, Cabot, and now that I've gotten to know him Jack.

This is a fun read that is perfect for some escapist destressing post-holiday reading.  While it's not the most memorable of reads it was thoroughly entertaining and Jayne Ann Krentz will always be a must read for me.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Of course.  Even if it isn't my favorite Krentz it's always a fun read.  

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you're new to Kretnz I start with the first book in this series.  While the series doesn't need to be read in order I just think the first two were better.  If you've been reading this series than I think you'll enjoy this one.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Au Pair - Mystery Review

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher 

Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.

Who is the child and what really happened that day?

One person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her.

Genre:  Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:
This sounds creepy and I've heard comparisons between this book and Kate Morton's books so there was no way I could resist!

My Impression:
  "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive".  My grandmother is big on quotes and this Sir Walter Scott quote is one of her favorites.   It came to mind quite a bit as I read this book.  What a tangled web this book is!  Seraphine is haunted by the day of her birth -  a day she couldn't possibly remember but still has shaped her life from the very beginning. Everyone has refused to answer any questions - something becomes an issue when Seraphine discovers the picture and the force of the unknown lands fully on her.

This story ran to the convoluted but in the most fascinating of ways.  The story unraveled slowly with lots of tension and heaps of creepy atmosphere.  Just what did happen on the cliff so long ago and what was the Au Pair's part in it all?  This was one of those books that I looked down and was shocked to discover I'd read 100 pages as I was so pulled into the world on the pages.  I can definitely see the Kate Morton comparisons.  The twisted world laden with secrets is reminiscent of Morton's books but is still wholly unique.  This was an interesting page turning read that pulled me in from the start.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  I would.  I'm curious to see just what Emma Rous comes up with next.  

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy psychological characters with twisty plots than I think you'd enjoy this.   

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - New To Me Authors I Read in 2018

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl is New To Me Authors I Read in 2018.  I love this topic because finding new authors I love is one of my favorite things but I never think to track this so I had a lot of fun looking through my 2018 reads and seeing just what authors I discovered last year.

1.  Rosemary Simpson - I was on a winning streak with historical mysteries in 2018 and this series featuring a society girl with a mind of her own, a former Pinkerton detective and a whole cast of characters all in Gilded Age New York.

2.  Emily Brightwell - Another historical mystery though this one features the servants of a Victorian era Scotland Yard detective along with a sprinkling of friends and neighbors - all with a fun cozy feel.

3.  David Bell - David Bell wasn't an unfamiliar name to me but I had never tried his work until this year  It was creepy and unsettling and totally compelling.

4.  Catherine Ryan Hyde - I wasn't sure I was going to like this story about a former executive who threw up everything and ends up living out in the middle of nowhere with an eclectic cast of characters but it ended up being a total delight full of humor and poignancy.

5.  JoAnn Ross - I love a good small town contemporary romance and thoroughly enjoyed this series set in Honeymoon Harbor in the Pacific Northwest.

6.  Jennifer Ashley - Did I mention I was loving historical mysteries this year?  The Kat Holloway series from Jennifer Ashley that centers around a cook is one of my favorite discoveries.

7.  Liane Moriarty - I've been meaning to read Moriarty for years and finally did in 2018.  She completely lived up to my expectations.

8.  Tess Arlen - Another historical mystery and another author I'd been meaning to read for quite sometime.  And another series that did not disappoint.

9.  Anna Lee Huber - Okay last historical mystery but another one that I went into expecting good things and fell completely in love with.  I'm glad I have a few

10. Jessica Fletcher (Jon Land) - I've watched Murder, She Wrote since I was a little girl but never read any of the books because I had it in my head they wouldn't be very good.  Happily I was proved very wrong!

What authors did you discover in 2018?

Monday, January 14, 2019

An Anonymous Girl - Mystery Review

Goodreads:  An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Rating: Good
Source: Publisher

Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.
When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.

Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?
But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking… and what she’s hiding.

Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?
As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?
From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us comes an electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.

Genre: Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:
  I haven't read nearly as many psychological thrillers as I'd like and this sounds really good.

My Impression:
  This is one of those books that I can't quite wrap my mind around how I feel about it.  I didn't really care for any of the characters and I did feel frustrated at times at the pacing but at the same time I just couldn't stop reading it.  I'd think "when I turn on my Kindle I'm going to find something light and fun to read and take a break from this one" but somehow I found myself reading this one every single time and what's more I had to make myself put it down.  Yes, I wanted the plot to go faster and while I didn't care about any of the characters I found myself needing to know just what happened next.  I also found myself incredibly relieved that I never participated in any of the studies that the psychology department were always advertising in college.

Jess and Dr. Shields were both incredibly frustrating.  Their decisions were puzzling and maddening and I never felt particularly connected with them.  Since I typically read character driven books this took some getting used to.  However, I felt compelled to find out just what was going to happen next.  I liked the changing POVs - especially with Dr. Shields' chapters feeling like journal entries.  This was a compelling read that kept me reading far into the night even when I didn't like any of the characters in it.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  I would.  While this isn't a book I really loved it was one I really enjoyed reading and I'm curious to see what other kinds of craziness the authors can come up with.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy a slow building psychological thriller and don't mind not liking the characters then this is a good read that will keep you turning pages.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Saturday, January 12, 2019

This Week in Reading - January 13

It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week.

What I Got:

Final Exam by Carol J. Perry - I'm so behind in this series but I love it so much and am looking forward to getting caught up and reading this one! (NetGalley)

One Potato, Two Potato, Dead by Lynn Cahoon - I never turn down a book by Lynn Cahoon and the title made me giggle so I couldn't pass it up!  (NetGalley)

Pinot Red or Dead by J.C. Eaton - Eaton is another favorite and while this isn't my favorite series there was no way I could pass this one up! (NetGalley)


Reading:  Cloaked in Malice by Annette Blair and Governess Gone Rogue by Laura Lee Guhrke

Listening:  I finished A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie and was in the mood for romantic suspense so I'm going with Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz

Watching:  I made the mistake of watching 5 episodes of Criminal Minds in a row so I'm a bit jumpy right now.  I'll be sticking with The Great British Bake Off for awhile.

Off the Blog:

My Granddad and me in the early 80s
I'm in South Mississippi this weekend celebrating my Grandfather's 95th birthday.  It's been a rough couple of years starting with a fall where he broke his neck and while not paralyzed is in a wheelchair.  He gets around amazingly well and I'm always so impressed with how he adapts and finds work arounds.  We have a good time watching movies and doing projects and I'm so glad to have this time with him.  

This was the first week back at school and I did not enjoy getting back to the early mornings!  The Tornado did remarkably well and I think has enjoyed getting back into his routine and spending time with his friends.  Next weekend is a three day weekend here and I'm already looking forward to getting to sleep in a little for all 3 days!

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  An Anonymous Girl - Mystery Review
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday - Ten New to Me Authors I Read in 2018
Wednesday: Au Pair - Mystery Review
Thursday:  Untouchable - Romantic Suspense Review
Friday: Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

A Good Marriage - Thriller Review

A Good Marriage by Stephen King (Amazon Link)

Rating: Very Good
Source: Purchased - Audio

Description: What happens when, on a perfectly ordinary evening, all the things you believed in and took for granted are turned upside down?

When her husband of more than 20 years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband. It's a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends a good marriage.

Genre: Thriller

Why I Picked This Book:  I've wanted to read Stephen King for years but the length of his books were a bit off putting.  This novella seemed like the perfect thing and the blurb intrigued me too.

My Impression:  Well that was unexpected!  I've always associated Stephen King with straight up movie horror.  Lots of blood and screaming running people and a crazed serial killer chasing them.  But this novella had none of that - well not really.  Everything in this book was perfectly ordinary.  The marriage was good but ordinary, the characters perfectly nice.  Bob and Darcy are the kind of people you pass the time chatting with at a kid's birthday party and smile when you pass them at school open houses.  That's what made what was lurking in the shadows so terrifying.

Everyone knows that you can't really completely know what's going on in somewhat else's head but in a marriage - especially a good marriage - you can get pretty close. And King uses that instinctive knowledge as manipulation and as a weapon at times and it's so easy to identify with Darcy that it was uncomfortable at times to listen to it.

This was terrifying in this most ordinary of ways which I think made the terror 100x more real.  This wasn't aliens dropping from the sky looking to take out humanity this was an ordinary husband with an ordinary job and a horrific secret hiding in the shadows. It was eerie and unsettling and a completely compelling listen.

Audio Note:  Jessica Hecht does the narration for this novella and she's the perfect Darcy. Her voice has just enough inflection to catch and keep my attention and have me holding my breath at times but not so dramatic that I can't imagine her reading the minutes at a PTA meeting.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I'm not sure.  I really enjoyed this but it was so unsettling that it might take me a little while to get the courage up to read another!  However, when I get the courage up I won't hesitate to pick up The Shining or one of the others I've been wanting to read for years.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you've been wanting to read Stephen King for a long time but have always chickened out I think this is a great place to start.