Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review: Memory Man (Amos Decker #1) by David Baldacci




  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 796 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (April 21 2015)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00N7TDP8K


Book Description

Amos Decker's life changed forever--twice.

The first time was on the gridiron. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to go pro. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field for good, and left him with an improbable side effect--he can never forget anything.

The second time was at home nearly two decades later. Now a police detective, Decker returned from a stakeout one evening and entered a nightmare--his wife, young daughter, and brother-in-law had been murdered.

His family destroyed, their killer's identity as mysterious as the motive behind the crime, and unable to forget a single detail from that horrible night, Decker finds his world collapsing around him. He leaves the police force, loses his home, and winds up on the street, taking piecemeal jobs as a private investigator when he can.

But over a year later, a man turns himself in to the police and confesses to the murders. At the same time a horrific event nearly brings Burlington to its knees, and Decker is called back in to help with this investigation. Decker also seizes his chance to learn what really happened to his family that night. To uncover the stunning truth, he must use his remarkable gifts and confront the burdens that go along with them. He must endure the memories he would much rather forget. And he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

MEMORY MAN will stay with you long after the turn of the final page.




About the Author

David Baldacci published his first novel, Absolute Power, in 1996. A major motion picture adaptation followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 28 novels, all of which have been national and international bestsellers; several have been adapted for film and television. His novels have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries; over 110 million copies are in print worldwide. David has also published four novels for children. He has received numerous accolades for his writing; most recently, he was inducted into the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame and received the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award.

A lifelong Virginian, David received degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia School of Law, after which he practiced law in Washington, D.C.

While David is involved with several philanthropic organizations, his greatest efforts are dedicated to his family’s Wish You Well Foundation®. Established by David and his wife, Michelle, the Wish You Well Foundation supports family and adult literacy in the United States by fostering and promoting the development and expansion of literacy and educational programs. In 2008 the Foundation partnered with Feeding America to launch Feeding Body & Mind, a program to address the connection between literacy, poverty and hunger. Through Feeding Body & Mind, more than 1 million new and used books have been collected and distributed through food banks to families in need.

David and his family live in Virginia.


My Review

Hurray! A new series by David Baldacci who is one of my favorite thriller authors. Memory Man is the first book in the Amos Decker series.

Amos Decker is a unique character who can remember everything...thus Memory Man. He acquired his enhanced memory from a pro-football injury when he died twice and came back. The story opens with him barely making a living as a private detective; the biggest highlight in his life was moving from the streets into a residential hotel suite. His wife, brother-in-law and daughter were brutally murdered sixteen months ago. A mass murder at the local high school brings Decker back to working with the police; he had left the department after the killings. Could the mass murder be connected to Decker's family? You'll have to read it to find out.

Hard to put down. Enjoyable read. Looking forward to the next Amos Decker.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review: The Magician's Daughter: A Valentine Hill Mystery by Judith Janeway








  • Hardcover: 227 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; 1 edition (Feb. 10 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1464203385
  • ISBN-13: 978-1464203381


Book Description

 Magician Valentine Hill always introduces her act by announcing Reality is an illusion. Illusion is reality, and nothing is what it seems. When Valentine is reunited with her grifter mother, nothing is what it seems becomes true in real life. A wealthy socialite turns out to be a ruthless criminal, a car mechanic a psycho killer, and a cab driver a seductive gangster. When an FBI agent who'd befriended her is killed, Valentine takes on the hated role of a con artist to get evidence to put the criminals away. Will her skills as a magician prove enough to help her maintain the illusion?

About the Author

 Judith Janeway believes that she was born with a Ticonderoga no. 2 pencil in one hand and a canary yellow lined pad in the other, because she can’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing stories.
She attended the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Bordeaux, France, and San Francisco State University and emerged with a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature. She took up teaching at a men’s college, which wasn’t as much fun as it sounds. After seven years it finally occurred to her that having a passion for literature didn’t correlate with having a passion for teaching literature.

She left teaching in favor of the study of Health Psychology and the Philosophy of Science. She received a PhD from the University of California, San Francisco, and has pursued a career in social science research, studying people coping with serious/terminal illnesses and their caregivers.
Just to be clear, she is a research psychologist, not a clinical psychologist. She has she never been reimbursed for handing out advice to people foolish enough to tell her their problems.
During this time of teaching, not teaching, pursuing an advanced degree, conducting research, and publishing scholarly articles, she married, divorced and acquired a number of children—not necessarily in that order.

And, of course, she wrote fiction. She wrote in the library when she should have been studying for comprehensive exams. She wrote in hotel lobbies while attending professional meetings. She wrote while waiting for children at swimming, piano, violin, and guitar lessons, or at soccer, baseball, and basketball practice. She wrote while on the commuter bus to and from work. She wrote while family members waited impatiently for food to be put on the table.

She entered a romance novel in a contest and won first prize—an opportunity to show her manuscript to an editor. The editor bought the book and a second one. Since then, Judith has turned her writing focus to mystery/suspense, which has always been her favorite genre. The Magician’s Daughter, which will be published February 2015 by Poisoned Pen Press, is the first in a series of Valentine Hill Mysteries.
Currently, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and continues to write in the interstices of a life that encompasses work, travel, fun with family and friends, and far too much Sudoku.



My Review

Reality is an illusion. Illusion is reality, and nothing is what it seems. 

 The Magician's Daughter by Judith Janeway is the first book in a new series - Valentine Hill Mysteries.  Judith Janeway is a new-to-me author. As it is published by Poisoned Pen Press, I knew it would be a well written and thoughtful novel.

Our main character Valentine Hill is an enigma. She has no idea who her father is except that he is a magician. Her mother is a grifter..a successful con artist. Her mother is elusive and evasive. Valentine has no idea what her real age is or where she was born. You can tell this is going to be an interesting book!

Valentine is a magician working the streets in Las Vegas. In search of her missing assistant she heads to San Francisco. There she is caught up in one of her mother Elizabeth's schemes. There is a lot of craziness going on! A murder, con artists, mobsters, federal agents...what a world Valentine has stumbled into..the world of her mother Elizabeth.

Lots of twists and turns to keep you flipping the pages. Fun book...looking forward to the next one in the series.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Review: Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton




  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (July 2 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00QDGVFJU

Book Description

 In such a small community as the Falkland Islands, a missing child is unheard of. In such a dangerous landscape it can only be a terrible tragedy, surely...

When another child goes missing, and then a third, it’s no longer possible to believe that their deaths were accidental, and the villagers must admit that there is a murderer among them. Even Catrin Quinn, a damaged woman living a reclusive life after the accidental deaths of her own two sons a few years ago, gets involved in the searches and the speculation.

And suddenly, in this wild and beautiful place that generations have called home, no one feels safe and the hysteria begins to rise.

But three islanders—Catrin, her childhood best friend, Rachel, and her ex-lover Callum—are hiding terrible secrets. And they have two things in common: all three of them are grieving, and none of them trust anyone, not even themselves.

In Little Black Lies, her most shocking and engaging suspense novel to date, Sharon Bolton will keep the reader guessing until the very last page.


Reviews

   • "A dark and haunting thriller. It creeps under your skin and doesn't let you go." --Paul Hawkins, bestselling author of The Girl on the Train 

   • "I loved it! I stayed up entirely too late and completely ignored my family. It is the perfect thriller. A riveting portrait of small town secrets and big time betrayals. Friends, lovers, neighbours, everyone has something to hide..." --Lisa Gardner

   • "Sharon Bolton is a very talented writer and it is always thrilling to see a new novel from her on the shelves." --Belinda Bauer

About the Author

Sharon J Bolton was born and brought up in Lancashire, the eldest of three daughters. As a child, she dreamed of becoming an actress and a dancer, studying ballet, tap and jazz from a young age and reading drama at Loughborough University.

She spent her early career in marketing and PR before returning to full-time education to study for a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Warwick University, where she met her husband, Andrew. They moved to London and Sharon held a number of PR posts in the City. She left the City to work freelance, to start a family and to write.

She and Andrew now live in a village in the Chiltern Hills, not far from Oxford, with their son and the latest addition to the family: Lupe, the lop-eared lurcher. Her daily life revolves around the school run, walking the dog and those ever-looming publishing deadlines.



My Review

Three words to describe Little Black Lies: Brilliant. Dark. Intriguing.  Sharon Bolton just keeps getting better and better with each novel. Little Black Lies was impossible to put down. It was a fascinating tale and it kept me riveted until the very end. Oh...what an ending!

The setting of Little Black Lies is completely unique. Who really knows much about the Falkland Islands? Definitely not me...but now I do. Bolton completely educated me regarding the remoteness of these barren isles. I remember the war in the Falklands but was really quite ignorant about it. The Falklands are like a small town in the middle of the ocean.

Three people tell us their tales in Little Black Lies. During the first narrator Catrin's story I was completely swayed to her side of the story. Then when Rachel presented her story, I was team Rachel! Bolton is able to develop characters so beautifully that you love them for all their strengths and weaknesses...for all their faults and all their good qualities. They are believable people going through life.

What is happening to the children of the Falklands? Children are missing...one each year...Catrin's two sons died three years ago while left in her best friend Rachel's care. Rachel nor Catrin have not really been living since that horrific day. Now other families are grieving as well. Are they alive...are they dead? Did they perish in accidents as well? Rachel and her friend Callum find the current missing boy. Instead of everyone being jubilant in the capital city of Stanley, people are starting to question Catrin's sanity. Catrin's decision regarding a beached whale situation does not help matters.

Secrets and lies abound in this dark tale. What do we really know about other people..All I know is that Sharon Bolton is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors! She has a wonderful writing style and she writes such satisfying thoughtful books. Highly recommend Little Black Lies!






Monday, April 13, 2015

Giveaway! Great Escapes Blog Tour: Bridges Burned by Annette Dashofy






  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 582 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Henery Press (April 7 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00RY9ZW94





TOUR PARTICIPANTS
March 31 – A Blue Million Books – Interview
April 1 – Jane Reads – Review
April 2 – Tea and A Book – Review, Interview
April 3 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Guest Post
April 4 – deal sharing aunt – Interview
April 5 – Christa Reads and Writes – Guest Post
April 6 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
April 7 – readalot – Review
April 8 – Marie’s Cozy Corner – Guest Post
April 9 – Community Bookstop – Review
April 10 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview
April 11 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – Guest Post
April 12 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
April 13 – MysteriesEtc – Review
April 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review



Enter Here to Win:

 a Rafflecopter giveaway



Book Description



 Paramedic Zoe Chambers is used to saving lives, but when she stops a man from running into a raging inferno in a futile attempt to rescue his wife, Zoe finds herself drawn to him, and even more so to his ten-year-old daughter. She invites them both to live at the farm while the grieving widower picks up the pieces of his life.
 

Vance Township Police Chief Pete Adams, of course, is not happy with this setup, especially when he finds evidence implicating Zoe's new houseguest in murder times two. When Zoe ignores Pete's dire warnings, she runs the very real chance of burning one too many bridges, losing everything--and everyone--she holds dear.

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

“I’m a huge fan of Dashofy’s Zoe Chambers series and I loved Burned Bridges. The action starts off with a bang and never lets up. Zoe's on the case, and she's a heroine you'll root for through the mystery's twists and turns—strong and bold, but vulnerable and relatable. I adore her, and you will, too.” – Lisa Scottoline, New York Times Bestselling Author of Betrayed

“So polished, so intriguing, and so darn good.” – Donnell Ann Bell, Bestselling Author of Buried Agendas

“Dashofy has done it again. Bridges Burned opens with a home erupting in flames. The explosion inflames simmering animosities and ignites a smoldering love that has been held in check too long. A thoroughly engaging read that will take you away.” – Deborah Coonts, Author of Lucky Catch

“Sheer enjoyment. Dashofy has created a mystery you can get your teeth into. The characters are well-written and have depth…Highly recommended!” – Any Good Book

 Books in the Zoe Chambers Mystery Series:
  • CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE #1
  • LOST LEGACY #2
  • BRIDGES BURNED #3
Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all…


About the Author




Annette Dashofy, a Pennsylvania farm gal born and bred, grew up with horses, cattle, and, yes, chickens. After high school, she spent five years as an EMT for the local ambulance service. Since then, she’s worked a variety of jobs, giving her plenty of fodder for her lifelong passion for writing. She, her husband, and their two spoiled cats live on property that was once part of her grandfather’s dairy. Her short fiction, including a 2007 Derringer nominee, has appeared in Spinetingler, Mysterical-e, and Fish Tales: the Guppy Anthology. Her newest short story appears in the Lucky Charms Anthology (December 2013).


My Review

Bridges Burned by Annette Dashofy is the third book in the Zoe Chambers Mystery series. I really enjoyed it. It was well written and was a good story. I enjoyed the mystery aspect...there were plenty of red herrings to keep the reader enthralled.

Zoe Chambers is a paramedic in a small Pennsylvania town. She rents part of a house on a farm owned by an elderly couple. Zoe also boards her horses there and teaches people to ride. There is a developer lurking about looking to buy up farms cheap and build monster houses on them. Zoe's romance with the local sheriff is heating up...well until Zoe offers a local man and his daughter who have suffered a tragedy to live and work on the farm.

There are plenty of twists in this enjoyable mystery. This was the first book of Annette Dashofy's that I have read. I will be looking out for her next one!



 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Review: Asylum: A Mystery by Jeannette de Beauvoir




  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1145 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (March 10 2015)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00MSYOCNC

Book Description

Martine LeDuc is the director of PR for the mayor's office in Montreal.  When four women are found brutally murdered and shockingly posed on park benches throughout the city over several months, Martine's boss fears a PR disaster for the still busy tourist season, and Martine is now also tasked with acting as liaison between the mayor and the police department. The women were of varying ages, backgrounds and bodytypes and seemed to have nothing in common. Yet the macabre presentation of their bodies hints at a connection. Martine is paired with a young detective, Julian Fletcher, and together they dig deep into the city's and the country's past, only to uncover a dark secret dating back to the 1950s, when orphanages in Montreal and elsewhere were converted to asylums in order to gain more funding. The children were subjected to horrific experiments such as lobotomies, electroshock therapy, and psychotropic medication, and many of them died in the process. The survivors were supposedly compensated for their trauma by the government and the cases seem to have been settled. So who is bearing a grudge now, and why did these four women have to die?

Not until Martine finds herself imprisoned in the terrifying steam tunnels underneath the old asylum does she put the pieces together. And it is almost too late for her...in Jeannette de Beauvoir's Asylum.



About the Author

 JEANNETTE DE BEAUVOIR is an award-winning author, novelist, and poet whose work has been translated into 12 languages and has appeared in 15 countries. She explores personal and moral questions through historical fiction, mysteries, and mainstream fiction. Home is an old sea captain's house on the tip of Cape Cod, although she spends some part of every year in Montréal and in Great Britain.


My Review


Asylum: A Mystery by new to me author Jeannette de Beauvoir is a fantastic book. This is an excellent mystery story with two stories being told concurrently...one in the past and one in the present. It is a story about the shame of a political and religious system that colluded on a horrific scale for monetary gains. Martine LeDuc, who is the director of PR for the mayor's office in Montreal, is tasked with working with the police to ensure that four murders in Montreal do not derail tourism. What Martine and young police officer Julian Fletcher discover brings Quebec's moral failure once again to light and almost ends Martine's life.

Canadian history is quite amazing once you start looking into it. The Duplessis Orphans were the victim of a political scheme in which approximately 20,000 orphaned and abandoned children were falsely certified as being mentally ill by the province of Quebec and confined to psychiatric institutions...all in the name of greed to obtain federal subsidies. I had completely forgotten about this horrific tragedy until I read Asylum. The horrors that I read of in Asylum have sent shock-waves through my imagination about what could have happened to the children of these young mothers who gave up their babies after being subjected to guilt and promises of eternal damnation by the nuns and priests they had sought shelter with. In fact, it is bringing clarity to a situation that I did not understand before. When the reality of the Duplessis orphans came to light as these orphans became adults, the women who had given up their children in secrecy must have been paralyzed with guilt but had no one to turn to. Were the children they gave up adopted to families or did they grow up in orphanages? Because of the course the church could raise these children better than these fallen women could.  The horrors that the children who survived must go through every day. And people wonder why attendance at Catholic churches in Quebec is not what it once was. The surviving orphans were only given $10,000 in restitution. Not enough. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future.

Awesome book. Highly recommend.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Review: Cooler Than Blood by Robert Lane







  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1075 KB
  • Print Length: 331 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0692223932
  • Publisher: Mason Alley Publishing (Feb. 20 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00QAUNXWG

Book Description

 Jenny Spencer is missing after a violent encounter on a beach. Her aunt, Susan Blake, ask wisecracking PI Jake Travis to intervene. Susan and Jake had only spent one dinner together and both felt an instant attraction. Jake walked away. He was, and is, committed to Kathleen.

As Jake and his partner, Garrett Demarcus, close the circle on finding Jenny, they discover that Kathleen's past ties to organized crime and Jenny's life are strangely entwined. They fight a two-front battle to find Jenny and protect Kathleen.


But by protecting Kathleen, will Jake become the type of man she could never love? Does he have choice?


Cooler Than Blood wraps Lane's trademark humor and literary theme overtones into a suspenseful and entertaining mystery.


About the Author


Robert Lane's first book, The Second Letter garnered a positive response from Kirkus Reviews and a five star rating from ForeWord Clarion Reviews. It additionally received enthusiastic reviews from over a dozen websites and publications including Florida Weekly and Scene Magazine of Sarasota, Florida.

Cooler Than Blood is Lane's second, standalone Jake Travis novel. The Cardinal's Sin, his third book, will be published in the spring of 2015. Learn more at Robertlanebooks.com


My Review


 Cooler Than Blood by author Robert Lane is the second book in the Jake Travis mystery series. I have not read the first book, The Second Letter, and it was not necessary to my enjoyment. Cooler Than Blood can easily be read as a stand-alone novel.

Is Jenny Spencer a habitual runaway? She ran away from her home in Ohio to stay with her aunt in Florida. When she disappears in Florida everyone is wondering if she has simply run away again. Jenny's Aunt Susan hires PI Jake Travis. Jake is on the case, a case that has a connection to his girlfriend Kathleen. Can he keep his personal life out of this case?

I always enjoy a Florida setting. The novel Cooler Than Blood has plenty of twists. Interesting read. You'll enjoy it!