Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review: The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 533 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (July 8 2014)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A2C6EWO

  •  Book Description

    Every August, four women would gather together to spend a week at the beach, renting a new house each year. The ritual began when they were in their twenties and their husbands were in medical school, and became a mainstay of every summer thereafter. Their only criteria was oceanfront and isolation, their only desire to strengthen their far-flung friendships. They called themselves the Girls of August. But when one of the Girls dies tragically, the group slowly drifts apart and their vacations together are brought to a halt. Years later, a new marriage reunites them and they decide to come together once again on a remote barrier island off the South Carolina coast. There, far from civilization, the women make startling discoveries that will change them in ways they never expected.

    About the Author

    Born Sybil Anne Rivers in Atlanta, Georgia, she was raised in Fairburn, Georgia, and attended Auburn University, where she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority. 

    While at Auburn she wrote a column for the student newspaper, The Auburn Plainsman, that favored integration. The university administration attempted to suppress the column, and ultimately fired her, and the column garnered national attention. She later became a senior editor for Atlanta magazine. At the age of thirty she married Heyward Siddons, and she and her husband now live in Charleston, South Carolina, and spend summers in Maine.

    My Review

    The Girls of August is a good beach read but I was expecting more from an Anne Rivers Siddons book. I keep expecting surprises and twists that weren't there. So disappointing in that sense. It was easy to read and I finished it quite quickly. I would recommend Siddons' earlier books.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

    Review: The Bone Orchard (Mike Bowditch #5) by Paul Doiron

    • eries: Mike Bowditch Mysteries (Book 5)
    • Hardcover: 320 pages
    • Publisher: Minotaur Books (July 15, 2014)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1250034884
    • ISBN-13: 978-1250034885

    Book Description

    In the aftermath of a family tragedy, Mike Bowditch has left the Maine Warden Service and is working as a fishing guide in the North Woods. But when his mentor Sgt. Kathy Frost is forced to kill a troubled war veteran in an apparent case of "suicide by cop," he begins having second thoughts about his decision.

    Now Kathy finds herself the target of a government inquiry and outrage from the dead soldier's platoon mates. Soon she finds herself in the sights of a sniper, as well. When the sergeant is shot outside her farmhouse, Mike joins the hunt to find the mysterious man responsible. To do so, the ex-warden must plunge into his friend's secret past—even as a beautiful woman from Mike's own past returns, throwing into jeopardy his tentative romance with wildlife biologist Stacey Stevens.

    As Kathy Frost lies on the brink of death and a dangerous shooter stalks the blueberry barrens of central Maine, Bowditch is forced to confront the choices he has made and determine, once and for all, the kind of man he truly is, in The Bone Orchard by Paul Doiron.

    About the Author

     Paul Doiron is the author of the Mike Bowditch series of crime novels, including The Poacher's Son, which won the the Barry Award and the Strand Critics Award for Best First Novel and was nominated for an Edgar Award, an Anthony Award, a Macavity Award, and a Thriller Award for Best First Novel, and the Maine Literary Award for "Best Fiction of 2010." PopMatters named it to its Best Fiction of 2010 list.

    His second book in the Mike Bowditch series, Trespasser, won the Maine Literary Award for crime fiction, was an American Booksellers Association Indie Bestseller and has been called a "masterpiece of high-octane narrative" by Booklist.

    The third novel, Bad Little Falls, was a Bookscan Bestseller and is a nominee for the RT Reviewers Choice Award.

    Massacre Pond, the fourth in the series, was an Indie Next pick and an Indie Favorite, as well as Bookscan Bestseller.

    The Mike Bowditch novels have been translated into ten languages: German, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Romanian, Slovenian, Hungarian, and Czech. The UK editions of all three books will be published in 2013 by Constable & Robinson.

    He is Editor Emeritus of Down East: The Magazine of Maine, having served as Editor in Chief from 2005 to 2013, before stepping down to write full time. A native of Maine, he attended Yale University, where he graduated with a degree in English, and he holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. He is a former member of the Maine Arts Commission and a current member of the Maine Humanities Council. Paul is a Registered Maine Guide specializing in fly fishing and outdoor recreation and lives on a trout stream in coastal Maine.

    The Bangor Daily News named Paul one of its 12 Mainers to Watch in 2012.

    My Review

    The Mike Bowditch Mystery series is one of the best series currently available. Paul Doiron brings Maine to life in this series. When an author can transport a reader to a local through his words, you know he is a writer worth his salt. 

    Mike Bowditch is a rebel, a non-conformist, but a man of integrity. The kind of man you would want as a friend. Kathy Frost is lucky to have such a friend. She is very rightly annoyed with him for leaving the warden service. Because Mike is a natural. He has the deductive reasoning skills combined with a knowledge of the outdoors that makes him perfect for a warden's job. But Mike has been disillusioned and he is spending his days as a fishing guide. Until he talks to his friend...then tragedy strikes. Is a suicidal ex-soldier's death to blame or is it something else?

    Mike Bowditch may no longer be a Maine Game Warden but he can never stop investigating...he can never stop being a warden. Bowditch is relentless in his search for the truth and his hunt for the shooter who shot his mentor Kathy Frost. As with each book in the series, Mike Bowditch grows up more before his eyes. As always there is plenty of action and twists and I loved the ending!

    Fabulous addition to a wonderful series. Download or pick up your copy today....The Bone Orchard is on sale now!


    Monday, July 14, 2014

    Review: NIV The Journey Bible Revealing God and How You Fit into His Plan Published by Zondervan

    • File Size: 6019 KB
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
    • Publisher: Zondervan (April 21, 2014)
    • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B00JD4V7Y2

    Book Description

    “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”—Jeremiah 29:13

    The NIV Journey Bible is uniquely designed to help readers discover the practical aspects of Christianity and better understand God. Patterned after the Willow Creek model of ministry and intended for those in the investigative stage of their spiritual journey, The Journey’s exploratory approach addresses key questions inquisitive readers may have about the Bible and its relevance today. Notes and insights are woven throughout the complete NIV Bible text, drawing readers into the message and pointing the way to a relationship with Jesus. Icons trace six seeker themes throughout Scripture: "Discovering God," "Addressing Questions,” “Strengthening Relationships," "Reasons to Believe," "Knowing Yourself," and "Managing Resources." Also included in The Journey are introductory articles that define key concepts involved in being a spiritually open person, book introductions, indexes, a dictionary/concordance, and a "Fire Alive" reading plan covering Genesis, Deuteronomy, John, Acts, and Romans.

    The Journey can be used as an evangelism tool and makes a perfect gift for new believers and those looking for answers to life’s deepest questions. It is also a helpful guide for veteran Christians who want a refreshing perspective on the basics of their belief.

    My Review

    This is a fabulous bible to give to new believers. Or just to people who are looking for the Truth and for answers in an easy to follow format.

    There is great introductory material in this bible:

    o   What Is A Spiritual Explorer?
    o   How To Seek God
    o   A Summary of the Bible
    o   Who is Jesus?
    o   Jesus’ Famous One-Liners
    o   Crossing the Line: How to Follow Jesus
    o   Defining Moments of the Old Testament
    o   Defining Moments of the New Testament
    o   Five Alive

    Five Alive is a sensible reading plan for reading key parts of the bible over 30 days. Great introduction for new believers. I love the introductions to each book of the bible with the Bottom Line, Central Ideas and Outline. This bible is relaxed and non-threatening. You will not fill overwhelmed with this version.

    Great addition to my bible collection!

    Review: Justice in June (Mary Magruder Katz #2) by Barbara Levenson

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 1879 KB
    • Print Length: 275 pages
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
    • Publisher: Barbara Levenson; 2nd edition (May 4 2014)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B00K59ZMBI

    Book Description

    Miami in June: it's raining, it's pouring, but the life of criminal defense attorney Mary Magruder Katz is anything but boring-especially when she gets caught up in a whirlwind of three different cases. Judge Liz Maxwell's job, sanity, and reputation are at stake, and she needs Mary to ferret out wrongdoing in Miami's courts. Solving this case won't just mean going out on a limb; it will mean risking life and limb. Luis Corona, a family friend of Mary's boyfriend, Carlos, needs help with a legal matter that, to Mary's horror, turns out to be a terrorism charge. And this case will leave some catastrophic damage-and unwelcome notoriety-in its wake. Just when Mary thought things couldn't get worse, Carlos gets in his own nasty legal quandary-one that could cost him everything. Three cases. One Mary. One torrential downpour of turmoil. Can she weather the storm? Ride out the cold front that settles over her once-hot romance? Salvage what remains of her-and her clients'-reputations? For Mary Magruder Katz, this month's forecast calls for trouble.

    About the Author

    Barbara Levenson has lived in Miami for the past 32 years. A cum laude graduate of the University of Miami Law School, Barbara has served as a prosecutor and run her own law practice where she focused on criminal defense and civil rights litigation. Barbara and her husband, a retired financial consultant, bred and showed German Shepherd Dogs for 20 years and finished 11 champions in the show ring. They have two sons.

    My Review

    Justice in June is a fun summer mystery read. I have always enjoyed zany mystery stories such as those written by Janet Evanovich...Justice in June is just as zany!

    The author, Barbara Levenson, is a lawyer so you know that the legal information and court scenes are accurate. It really does rain a lot in Florida in June...I was just does.  

    Criminal defense attorney Mary Magruder Katz is working on three cases and is very overwhelmed as she is being pulled in different directions. She is defending a judge in a tricky case...and then there is her boyfriend Carlos pushing her help his cousin Luis who is somehow caught up in a national security threat.

    Fun book. Great beach read!


    Review: This Private Plot: An Oliver Swithin Mystery by Alan Beechey

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 847 KB
    • Print Length: 301 pages
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
    • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (May 1 2014)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B00K2H3WSS

    Book Description

     If a blackmail letter drives a man to suicide, is the sender guilty of murder? “Yes,” says Oliver Swithin, author of bestselling Finsbury the Ferret children’s stories and amateur sleuth, who is on holiday in an ancient village.

    A midnight streak with his naked girlfriend—Scotland Yard’s Effie Strongitham—abruptly ends in the discovery of a corpse. Retired radio broadcaster Dennis Breedlove has hanged himself from the old gibbet. Evidence suggests blackmail may have driven this celebrity to suicide. Irresistibly intrigued, Oliver believes discovering the dead man’s secret will lead to the identity of the blackmailer. But in Britain today, when shame is a ticket to fame, why suicide? What if it wasn’t?

    When the mystery abruptly turns inside out, black-clad strangers attack Oliver in the night. The Vicar behaves strangely. So do the village’s ¬ five unmarried Bennet sisters, a mysterious monk, the persistent, self-effacing Underwood Tooth, and Oliver’s Uncle Tim, Effie’s superior at the Yard and a part-time Shakespearean actor. Plus Oliver’s aunt and his mother. Who else might play a role in This Private Plot? Two William Shakespeares?

    It’s time to put the laugh back into slaughter with the long-awaited third chapter in the career of Oliver Swithin. Yet under the clever wordplay and bawdy jokes lies an inventive and, yes, scholarly plot.

    About the Author

     Alan Beechey was born in England and grew up in London. He moved to Manhattan in his twenties and now lives with his three sons and his rescue mutt, Leila, in Rye, New York. This Private Plot is Alan Beechey’s third mystery featuring children’s book author and amateur sleuth Oliver Swithin and his girlfriend, Scotland Yard detective Effie Strongitharm.

    My Review

    What a fun read! This is the first book that I have read that is written by Alan Beechey.  This Private Plot is the third book in the Oliver Swithin series. It can stand alone but now I am planning to go back and read the first maybe reading them in order would be a good idea!

    Blackmail...suicide....streaking...and that is just how the book starts. Sometimes a little raunchy and filled with puns. This is definitely a fun read. I has been available since May and is a great mystery filled with secrets and British shenanigans!

    Review: Never Coming Back (David Raker #4) by Tim Weaver

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 2163 KB
    • Print Length: 376 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0525426868
    • Publisher: Viking Adult (July 3 2014)
    • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B00G3L16LC

    Book Description

    A bestseller in the UK, this gripping thriller of a family that vanishes into thin air is Tim Weaver’s American debut

    Emily Kane arrives at her sister Carrie’s house to find the front door unlocked, dinner on the table, and the family nowhere to be found—Carrie, her husband, and two daughters have disappeared. When the police turn up no leads, Emily turns to her former boyfriend David Raker, a missing persons investigator, to track the family down. As Raker pursues the case, he discovers evidence of a sinister cover-up, decades in the making and with a long trail of bodies behind it.

    Tim Weaver’s thrillers have been hugely popular in the UK, and now Never Coming Back will introduce his beloved character David Raker to American audiences. Set in Las Vegas and a small fishing village in England, the novel is a smart, fast-paced thriller sure to keep readers guessing until the very end.

    About the Author

     Tim Weaver is the bestselling author of the David Raker missing persons series. His fourth novel, Never Coming Back, was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club, and his work has been nominated for a National Book Award. A former journalist and magazine editor, he lives near Bath with his wife and daughter. Find out more about Tim and his writing at

    My Review

    Tim Weaver is a British author whose books are now becoming available in North America. I had not previously read any of Tim Weaver's books before Never Coming Back. While this book is part of the David Raker series, it can stand on its own.

    I always enjoy missing persons cases so I looked forward to reading Never Coming Back. David Raker, the main character in Weaver's novels, is a missing persons investigator. Tim Weaver is a wonderful surprise! He is an excellent thriller writer. This novel which is set in Las Vegas and in England, will keep you on the edge of your seat.

    North American readers are in for a treat. Just went on sale in early sure to pick this one up.

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

    Review: Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • Print Length: 368 pages
    • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Aug. 26 2014)
    • Sold by: Macmillan CA
    • Language: English

    Book Description

    High summer in Acker's Gap, West Virginia—but no one's enjoying the rugged natural landscape. Not while a killer stalks the small town and its hard-luck inhabitants. County prosecutor Bell Elkins and Sheriff Nick Fogelsong are stymied by a murderer who seems to come and go like smoke on the mountain. At the same time, Bell must deal with the return from prison of her sister, Shirley—who, like Bell, carries the indelible scars of a savage past.

    In Summer of the Dead, the third Julia Keller mystery chronicling the journey of Bell Elkins and her return to her Appalachian hometown, we also meet Lindy Crabtree—a coal miner's daughter with dark secrets of her own, secrets that threaten to explode into even more violence.

    Acker's Gap is a place of loveliness and brutality, of isolation and fierce attachments—a place where the dead rub shoulders with the living, and demand their due.

    About the Author

    Julia was born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia. She graduated from Marshall University, then later earned a doctoral degree in English Literature at Ohio State University.

    She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and has taught at Princeton and Ohio State Universities, and the University of Notre Dame. She is an essayist for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. In 2005, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

    Julia lives in a high-rise in Chicago and a stone cottage on a lake in rural Ohio.

    My Review

    Summer of the Dead is the third installment in this incredible series by Julia Keller. Bell Elkins is a fascinating character who we get to know better with each book. Her sister Shirley is out of that a good or bad thing?

    West Virginia is brought to life with Julia Keller's haunting words. Acker's Gap, West Virginia is gritty and rough and desperate...just like most of its inhabitants. It is world being pulled down by poverty and prescription drug abuse. And in the heat of summer you can feel the desperation of the people. When murders are added to the mix, people are more on edge than is imaginable. 

    Bell Elkins, the prosecutor in Acker's Gap is reeling from the cancellation of her daughter's trip home to spend the summer with her. She is getting used to Shirley living with her. She has this overwhelming need to interfere in Shirley's life. Can she ever compensate Shirley for saving her in their childhood? Can she let Shirley make her own mistakes...

    Young Lindy smart...her future could hold so much being dragged down by her father's dementia. And by evil outside sources she doesn't even know are plotting against her. 

    The scene is set for a tension-filled tale that you cannot stop reading. I couldn't put it down. Julia Keller is an amazing writer and storyteller. The author gets better with each book in this series. Love the twist-filled conclusion. If you have not read this series, then you need to. Highly recommend Summer of the Dead.