Thursday, May 3, 2018

Dead Pretty + Empire Girls - Mini Reviews

Rating:  Not For Me
Source:  Publisher

While a colleague struggles to solve the recent killing of a man too vile to have mourners, Aector McAvoy, Detective Sergeant of the Humberside Police's murder squad, is still haunted by the past. His devotion to his cases is unshakeable, but it's been nine months since Hannah Kelly disappeared in the quiet English countryside, and it is becoming harder to convince himself that she is just missing instead of dead... especially when another young woman is found brutally murdered.

As McAvoy looks for connections between the women, his boss Trish Pharaoh is preoccupied with troubles of her own. Reuben Hollow--a man convicted of murder with the help of perjured testimony from the Humberside Police--has just been released from prison after a high-profile wrongful conviction suit, putting Pharaoh's reputation at stake. But when her house is broken into and her children threatened, she soon learns it is not only her good name that's in danger.

As the cases intertwine and Pharaoh's behavior becomes more erratic, McAvoy must question who he can trust if he is to uncover Hannah's fate and find justice for the dead--without joining them himself.

Gritty, atmospheric, and endlessly entertaining, David Mark's Dead Pretty is an absorbing, twisty ride readers won't soon forget.

My Impression:
  This is about darker than my usual read but that was kind of what I was looking for.  What didn't work for me was the style of the book itself.  I found the mystery of what happened to Hannah compelling and at first I wanted to find out what happened but after about ten percent I found I just didn't care anymore.  I love a police procedural and I enjoy a dark and twisty plot and I don't expect my police detectives to be likable but McAvoy and I just didn't get along from the first.  He had that dark convoluted feel of an unreliable narrator but I don't think he was supposed to be unreliable.  As well there's a lot going on with McAvoy's obsession with the old case as well as what is happening in the current time line with new cases, old cases, and politics.   Overall this didn't end up being a book I enjoyed and after about 20% I decided it was time to put it down.  I wasn't invested in the plot and just wasn't enjoying the reading experience.  However, if you enjoy darker police procedurals with a bit of a psychological spin you might enjoy this one.

Source:  NetGalley

Ivy and Rose Adams may be sisters, but they're nothing alike. Rose, the eldest, is the responsible one, while Ivy is spirited and brazen. After the unexpected death of their father, the women are left to reconcile the estate, when they make a shocking discovery: not only has their father left them in financial ruin, but he has also bequeathed their beloved family house to a brother they never knew existed. With only a photograph to guide the way, Ivy and Rose embark to New York City, determined to find this mysterious man and reclaim what is rightfully theirs.

Once in New York, temptations abound at every turn, and soon the sisters are drawn into the glitzy underbelly of Manhattan, where they must overcome their differences and learn to trust each other if they're going to survive in the big city and find their brother. Filled with unforgettable characters and charm, Empire Girls is a love letter to 1920s New York, and a captivating story of the unspoken bond between sisters.

My Thoughts:
  After the above book I was looking for something that was light and fun and this one perfectly fit the bill.  I enjoyed this book about two sisters dropped into 1920s New York after growing up in a small town.  They're very different though both a bit out of their element (though Ivy doesn't really know it at first).  It was fun to read about them finding themselves and each other.  The two sisters had never been close but here they're forced to lean on each other and they learn a bit about the other which was sweet.  I liked this look at 1920s Greenwich Village which isn't the grand houses I've seen so often in historical fiction but isn't the poorest of the poor either.  This isn't a silly romp and there's a good bit of heart but there's no grit or real staying power.  I don't think it's one that will stick with me long after I've turned the last page but it is one that I thoroughly enjoyed while reading and was exactly what I wanted.


  1. Ohhh sorry that you only enjoyed 20% of this book but you still wrote a great review!

  2. Nice reviews. I'll likely add both of these to my reading list. I enjoy books set in English countrysides and New York.

  3. Sometimes a light, fun read is exactly what you need! I always enjoy books about sisters -- probably because I have two and know all about sister drama :) I'll definitely check EMPIRE GIRLS out.

  4. Sometimes the best things to do is to set a book aside when it isn't working for you. Empire Girls sounds like a really great read.

  5. Sorry to hear Dead Pretty didn't work but Empire Girls sounds fun. I do think a look at '20's Greenwich Village would be fun!

  6. I might like Empire Girls. I love books set in New York City and I love the 1920s

  7. That's too bad about Dead Pretty. Empire Girls sounds good though. I love the time period and setting.