Sunday, October 25, 2015

Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay



Book: Broken Promise: A Thriller

Author: Linwood Barclay


Release date (if applicable): Published


Synopsis: David Harwood, suffering from the death of his wife and the loss of a job, is at his wit's end when he receives a call from his mother. A new mother in town has been stabbed to death and his cousin is the prime suspect in the case. 


Marla, who suffered the loss of her own baby at birth, has her own demons. She has not recovered from the loss and is now claiming that the dead woman's baby was left on her doorstep by an angel. 


The secrets of Promise Falls, NY are much deeper and deadlier than anyone imagined. 


Can David prove his cousin's innocence or was she going to get a baby by any means necessary?


My rating: 4 Stars


My opinion: A new series from Linwood Barclay. While most of his series are based on a main character, it seems as though this one is based on a town. It should be interesting to see how it pans out. 


I absolutely loved the twists and turns in this book. It reminded me of some of Chevy Stevens' early works and what I loved most about Barclay's earlier works. 


Source: Publisher for review


Would I recommend? : Yes. 



Stand Alone or Part of a Series: First in series (Promise Falls)

The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths




Book: The Zig Zag Girl

Author: Elly Griffiths

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Brighton, 1950, a woman's body shows up cut up into 3 pieces. When police identify her, she is the Zig Zag Girl for magician, Max Mephisto. It must be determined why such an unusual method (based on her act) was chosen to kill her. When more bodies show up, it is up to DI Edgar Stephens to find out who is targeting a group of magicians who performed together in WWII.

My rating: 5 Stars

My opinion: Another engrossing read and start to a brand new series from author Elly Griffiths. This book took off so quickly that I found I finished reading it without putting it down. 

Like her Ruth Galloway series, characters were well developed with an attention to detail. I loved the twists and turns that stood out from even the Ruth books. This was a really unique book, particularly to this author who normally writes in a modern period. 

Source: Publisher for Review

Would I recommend? : Of course! Already have.


Stand Alone or Part of a Series: First in series

The Color of Justice by Ace Collins




Book: The Color of Justice

Author: Ace Collins

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: 60's Southern lawyer, Coop Lindsey, can't stand bigotry and when a black teen is accused of raping and murdering a white girl, he stands up to defend him no matter what it costs. When he and the young man he defended disappear, questions are left unanswered.

Fifty years later, Coop's grandson, a lawyer himself, is bound and determined to find out the answers to those questions.

My rating: 3 Stars

My opinion: I must say that I have mixed feelings about this book. I thought the first half set in the 60's started off strongly and I thoroughly enjoyed it. As I moved into the more modern day setting, the writing became weaker and the story less enjoyable. I found characters to be weaker than expected given the story line. I must say that it had the feeling that the author got tired of writing the story so just threw the rest of the book together.

Source: Publisher for review

Would I recommend? : Yes

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand alone

The Ghost Fields (Ruth Galloway #7) by Elly Griffiths



Book: The Ghost Fields

Author: Elly Griffiths

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: The Blackstocks have some 'splainin' to do when a downed WWII bomber is found buried on their property during a construction project. When it turns out the skeleton can't be from the 40's, they have even more explaining to do.

Can Ruth and Nelson unravel the mystery before becoming the next set of skeletal remains and just who is the new potential love interest with an eye for Ruth? 

My rating: As usual, 5 stars!

My opinion: Another winner in the Ruth Galloway series. It always amazes me that Ms. Griffiths is able to keep this series fresh for readers and The Ghost Fields was no different. Nice twists partnered with inviting, unique characters and the English countryside as the setting, what could be better?

The one thing I always recommend with this series is to read in it order. Ms. Griffiths is one of the most character driven novelists that I have read. This storyline builds on many of the relationships established in previous novels. 

Source: Publisher for review

Would I recommend? : More times than I can count. Elly Griffiths is on my top 5 UK mystery writer recommendation list. I have yet to have someone come back to me and ask what I was thinking when recommending this dynamic author. 

Stand Alone or Part of a Series:  Ruth Galloway #7

Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd





Book: Mist of Midnight: A Novel (Daughters of Hampshire #1)

Author: Sandra Byrd

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Rebecca Ravenshaw returns from a tragic stay in India that included the deaths of both her parents and brother to find out that an imposter has stolen her identity. The imposter long since died, but has left a path of destruction in her path. 

At the mercy of Captain Luke Whitfield, who received the balance of the inheritance, as well as the manor of Rebecca's father, she finds herself falling in love with him while in his care. 

Does the Captain return Rebecca's love or just want to hang onto the inheritance?

My rating: 2 Stars and I am being generous. 

My opinion: OK... I will admit it. I am not a fan of Harlequin style romances. Gotta say that I am a closet lover of Gothic style romances though. Throw out a comparison to Bronte and I am intrigued. 

The book failed miserably and was more of a Harlequin style of romance book than any comparison to Bronte. Publishers Weekly should be ashamed of themselves. 

Characters were flat and story line was more than predictable. The only thing missing was the headless, bodice focused cover. 

Highly disappointed. 

Source:Publisher for review

Would I recommend? : For those liking the Harlequin style romances. Otherwise...no.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: First in series

Dead to Me by Mary McCoy



Book: Dead to Me 

Author: Mary McCoy

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Annie decides to leave her family with a warning to her sister Alice. "Don't believe anything they say." were the last words that Alice would hear her sister say. 

Several years later, the next time Alice sees her sister, she is beaten down and in a coma in a hospital bed. Who put Annie into that coma? Is Alice next? 

Alice finds that the glitter of the golden age of Hollywood isn't that glitzy. 

My rating: 2 Stars

My opinion: I have to say that I was really disappointed by this novel. The premise and setting for it was awesome and very rare for YA literature, but the author failed to pull it off. 

Characters fell flat and were uninteresting even though it was set in the 1940's. Furthermore, what should have the unique slang language during that period of time was non-existent. I could have been reading a book set in modern days. 

I was hoping to have a book that read like a noir movie set during that period of time and it just didn't occur. 

Source: Publisher for review

Would I recommend? : No

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand alone

The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport




Book: The Romanov Sisters

Author: Helen Rappaport

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: A detailed history of the Romanov dynasty pre-Nicholas and Alexandra to the deaths during the revolution. 

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: While I found this book fascinating and well researched, I found that it was overwritten and too detailed oriented. This tended to weigh the book down and make it a much slower read than what I was expecting. 

Due to the high level of content needed, I found that I could only absorb reading about 5 percent per day on my Kindle. This made it really difficult to get through the book and I found myself picking up other books instead due to the time commitment versus a fictional read. 

Still worth the read and would be excellent for anyone doing any research on this subject. 

Source: Publisher for review

Would I recommend? : Yes

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sweet Eats for All by Allyson Kramer



Book: Sweet Eats for All

Author: Allyson Kramer

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: A collection of approximately 250 dessert recipes for those following a gluten free/vegan diet. Yes, you can have healthy sweets!

My rating: 5 Stars

My opinion: I have to say that I could not believe the beauty that was in this cookbook. Ms. Kramer presented stunning desserts that are both gluten free and vegan friendly. 

I will admit that I was cynical, but intrigued about how appealing the recipes in this book could truly be, but I found that there were numerous recipes I would make. I'll admit it...when I am wrong...I am wrong!

Easy to follow recipes, partnered with beautiful photos of finished goods. The cover says it all!

Source: Publisher for review through Netgalley

Would I recommend? : I have recommended this book to numerous people who are on special diets either by necessity or choice. 


Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy





Book: House of Cards: A Novel

Author: Brendan Duffy

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Ben Tierney's family has suffered a lot. His wife, Caroline, has lost her big banking job. His son, Charlie, is being bullied at school and Ben, so stressed out, has writer's block. 

When Ben inherits the family estate, The Croft, in upstate New York, he sees it as the new lease on life they need.

Ben was wrong.

My rating: 3 Stars

My opinion: Let me first start off by saying that I was impressed with this debut novel. It was well constructed, particularly for a debut, and it was creepy. So, only 3 stars?

I love horror. Not vampires, werewolves, and zombies horror, because that isn't horror to me. But horror for the things you can't see. Horror that gets into the crevices of your mind and makes you shudder. 

What I found was this book started off that way. In the beginning, I found myself unable to put this book down as I was drawn into occurrences on the estate. However, at some point, I can't say exactly when, the book simply fell off and became a cliched horror novel to me. The same type of occurrences in the mediocre books throughout the genre. I found this to be really sad because this author had shown that it wasn't his earlier pattern in the book. 

Towards the end, I found myself just wanting it to end and not really caring for the characters. In horror books that have garnered higher ratings from me, BAM moments were right up to the last page. 

 I will say that I have a number of friends who have reviewed this book, as well. I have found that those who don't particularly read a large amount of horror absolutely loved it. They gave it 4/5 stars. Those of us who do read a large amount of horror stayed in the 3/3.5 range. You be the judge. 

Source: Publisher for review through Netgalley/Library (print version)

Would I recommend? : Yes 


Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Destiny by TD Jakes






Book: Destiny: Step into Your Purpose

Author: Rev. T.D. Jakes

Release date (if applicable): August 4, 2015

Synopsis: Bishop Jakes presents THE PECKING ORDER PRINCIPLES to assist in setting and achieving goals to accomplish one's destiny. Also discussed are behaviors/actions that individuals do to screw up their destiny and shoot themselves in the feet. 

My rating: 5 Stars

My opinion: Last year, I had the opportunity to review what I would call the companion or first step to this book. INSTINCT was a book I couldn't put down. I ended up purchasing both a print copy and an audiobook version of the book because the words that were written were so powerful. DESTINY followed its example with the importance of the words written and the topics discussed. 

TD Jakes makes powerful arguments for one's destiny and roadblocks that we put in its way. His ability for putting perspectives into BAM moments for reflection was priceless to me. For example, one of the most important parts of the book to me was his analogy of "Every Day is a Withdrawal from the Bank of Time" which was a comparison of minutes wasted each day as money spent/withdrawn from our life bank. This book was loaded with these that just put life into perspective and how life/destiny is wasted. 

Not being overly religious and a person who tends to avoid faith-based books, what has stood out to me was that the Bishop doesn't come into his books and beat and berate readers over the head with religion. He instead makes logical arguments as how one can support or destroy their destiny or who they are supposed to be with their own actions. I would feel very comfortable recommending this book not only to the religious, but those who live a more agnostic lifestyle. I will say that this book did have more of a reference to God than INSTINCT did, but I did not find it distracting. 

One criticism of this book that I did find that wasn't present in INSTINCT was a redundancy of concepts or words that didn't fit and didn't have the feeling that it was being emphasized. Had that not been present or I wasn't reading this book for review, this book would have received my very special and almost never given 10/5 Stars like INSTINCT received. 

Source: Faithwords through Netgalley for review

Would I recommend? : Absolutely. See above. Like INSTINCT, I have also pre-ordered this book in print and audio to be able to really delve into the book and tear it apart from a learning perspective versus a reviewer perspective. 


Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand alone

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton




Book: Little Black Lies: A Novel

Author: Sharon Bolton (formerly S.J. Bolton)

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: The children of the Falkland Islands are disappearing and the islanders know that there is a child killer among them.

Catrin Quinn, a mother damaged by the accidental death of her sons by her ex best friend Rachel and Catrin's lover Callum all have secrets that could rip apart not only them, but the small island they call home. 
  
My rating: 5 Stars

My opinion: Ms. Bolton is on my list of top five favorite British mystery writers. I have read every one of her works, so I believe that I can state (with some authority) that this is her best work to date. 

Little Black Lies had a different feeling to it in its approach and style than any of her previous reads. Told through first person narrative that was so descriptive that I felt I was almost in the characters' heads. There was something poetic in the flow of the words of this book that isn't present in her other words that led to a tormented beauty to the book. To say I was amazed, doesn't quite cut it. 

Now, I am going to do something that I RARELY do. I am going to compare this book to a classic. When I read Little Black Lies, I felt the same intensiveness that I felt while reading both Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Does that mean that I feel this book will be a classic? No, but it had that same intense draw to me. 

Just a note. This book is told from first person narrative by three different people. One must keep that in mind. If not, it is very easy to get lost in the story. The fact that the author crammed three perspectives into only a couple of days makes it more difficult. 

Source: St. Martin's Press through Netgalley

Would I recommend? : From the mountaintops!


Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Buttercream Dreams by Jeff Martin




Book: Buttercream Dreams

Author: Jeff Martin

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Jeff Martin presents the how to of creating unique cupcakes for any occasion.

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: I must say that Andrews McNeel is my favorite in cookbook publishers. I have yet to review one from this publisher that isn't unique, yet simple enough for even the novice of novice bakers.

Jeff Martin's Buttercream Dreams is no exception. Mr. Martin's cakes are simple, elegant and sometimes fun, but easy to prepare treats for any occasion. The recipes are laid out with very simple instructions and then partnered with outstanding photos.  This book will create dessert ideas outside of the run of the mill cakes.

Source: Netgalley review for publisher

Would I recommend? : Yes

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Real Food for Everyone: Vegan-Friendly and Vegetarian Meals for Meat Lover, Vegetarians and Vegans by Ann Gentry




Book: Real Food for Everyone: Vegan-Friendly and Vegetarian Meals for Meat Lover, Vegetarians and Vegans

Author: Ann Gentry

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Ms. Gentry offers more than 100 recipes to satisfy all eaters whether one is vegetarian or non vegetarian.

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: As a newbie, who is slowly working towards more of  a vegetarian lifestyle, I loved this cookbook. Even as a non-vegetarian, I found there were recipes that would apply to me or that I would make. I couldn't get enough of the soup and salads sections and found myself hanging out there most in all the book.

As one who is learning this lifestyle, I found her explanations and descriptions on the use of ingredients to be incredibly helpful. On that note, I would have liked to have seen more photos used especially because this book includes a target audience who might not be familiar with how some ingredients are prepared.

Unfortunately, and I apologize for this, I was unable to grab some of the recipe titles prior to my copy expiring.

I agree with another Goodreads' reviewer who stated that the author took more of an educational approach to teaching about vegetarianism versus a judgmental approach to those who eat meat. I felt it really opened me up to what she was saying.

Source: Netgalley for Publisher

Would I recommend? : Yes. Plus, I will be purchasing this cookbook.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Dinner Solved! 100 Ingenious Recipes that Make the Whole Family Happy, Including You.



Be sure to watch The Pub and Grub Forum closer to the publication date for tested recipes from this cookbook.

Book: Dinner Solved: 100 Ingenious Recipes that Make the Whole Family Happy, Including You!

Author: Katie Workman

Release date (if applicable): August 11, 2015

Synopsis: Ms. Workman presents a collection of recipes that are based on a standard, basic recipe with a variety of additional ingredients to give a nice twist from the same old, same old.

Recipes include:
  • Fish and Shrimp Tacos
  • Hummus
  • Oven Fried (Spicy and Non Spicy) Chicken
  • Pasta Selections
  • Breakfast Wraps
  • Vegetarian

My rating: 5 stars

My opinion: I loved this ingenious cookbook. I will admit that I was skeptical when I signed up to review it, but found the book to be awesome. There was a nice variety of recipes from very light to heavier dinner ideas. While she had several recipes that were just basic recipes, the majority of recipes in the book offered different twists/combinations.

Bright, colorful photos accompanied the recipes giving cooks an idea of what the end product should look like. Even the most novice of cooks and kidlets could pick this book up and prepare the recipes they were that simple.

Even though my focus lately has been cooking for two, I pre-ordered this cookbook. The recipes were enticing and looked as though they would halve easily.
  

 Source: Netgalley for Publisher

Would I recommend? : Very much so. In fact, just recommended to a number of my friends.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand alone

Be sure to watch The Pub and Grub Forum closer to the publication date for tested recipes from this cookbook.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Witch of Painted Sorrows: A Novel by MJ Rose


Book: The Witch of Painted Sorrows

Author: MJ Rose

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: It is the 1880's and Sandrine Salome flees to her courtesan grandmother's home in Paris to escape her abusive husband. It is here that she finds a passion for the art movement of Paris that she is a natural for, as well as her new lover, the engaged Julien DuPlessi. When she becomes possessed by a witch/courtesan from the 1600's, has what she escaped into even more dangerous than her husband?

My rating: 3 stars

My opinion: I must say that this Is not my favorite novel by this dynamic author. While it still had her high quality writing, it still felt as though something was missing. I didn't find it as dark as some of my favorite titles/series of hers. I have to admit that the art focus lost my interest as well.

More than likely I will not continue on with this series, but would still recommend it to readers asking.


Source: Publisher through Netgalley

Would I recommend? : Yes

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: First in series

The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid


 
Book: The Skeleton Road

Author: Val McDermid

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Skeletal remains are found in a construction site of a torn down, soon to be luxury high rise apartments in Edinburg. Whose are they and do they have anything to do with the Balkans war crimes? DCI Karen Pirie must find out.

My rating: 4 stars

My opinion: It has been six years since Ms. McDermid last published a Inspector Karen Pirie novel. I had forgotten a chunk of the backstory to this series. While this book was excellent, I wouldn't say that it is my favorite in the series.

That didn't stop me from loving it though. This was my favorite Val McDermid book in a very long time. The book was intelligently written and laid out. It engaged me quickly with the deep story line. It contains Ms. McDermid's typical high quality writing with superb character and setting development.  

While this story does have some violence to it, it is definitely tamer than her Tony Hill/Wire in the Blood series. I must admit that I still do prefer that series over her Karen Pirie series, but I am twisted like that.

Source: Netgalley for Publisher

Would I recommend? : Yes

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Third in series.

The Murder Farm by Andrea Maria Schenkel


Book: The Murder Farm

Author: Andrea Maria Schenkel

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: In 1922 Germany, an entire family is slaughtered in their home. Why?

My rating: 3.5/5 Stars

My opinion: I found that I really had a hard time with this book and couldn't connect with it. Funny that it wasn't due to the topic of the book, but more from the writing style and/or translation of it. Another reviewer compared it to Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, but I must state that comparison should be limited to the storyline only.

Source: Publisher for review

Would I recommend? : I will state that even after almost one full year of having read the book, the jury is still out whether I would recommend this book. While the story was compelling, I found the writing/translation lacking...so which is more important?

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand alone

She's Not There by PJ Parrish


Book: She's Not There

Author: PJ Parrish

Release date (if applicable): September 15, 2015

Synopsis: Amelia shows up into the ER with a serious head wound and a severe case of amnesia. A man appears at the ER and claims he is her husband, but Amelia knows that he isn't safe to be around. After slipping out of the ER and going on the run, will Amelia make it out alive? What does Amelia know and why does someone want her dead?

My rating: 3.5/5 Stars

My opinion: NOTE: I have read all the books written by this dynamic sister duo. My big joke on my love of PJ Parrish's writing goes back to 2000 with the publishing of Dark of the Moon. I will never forget a debate with my husband regarding male vs. female mystery writers (that was actually prompted by who PJ Parrish was because there is no picture of the sisters in early releases), my husband stated that he didn't like to read female mystery writers due to their focus on romance vs. "mystery". To follow this statement, he stated that there was no way that PJ Parrish was female because of the lack of romance in their books. Let's just say that comment didn't go unanswered. In the meantime, we loaned out Parrish books to friends/coworkers and got them hooked. After one of the Kincaid series releases that particularly rocked it, I was determined to find out who PJ Parrish was. Imagine my surprise when not only one woman came up, BUT TWO. Let's just say that I had a Cheshire Cat grin on my face when I called my husband to the computer.  

1) As a result of the above note, I have grown very accustomed to their writing style. Unfortunately, for me, because of how one scene was written in the early part of the book, I figured out the ending in the first 25 percent. The rest was just an unraveling and fitting pieces. Pretty depressing given that I was all over this when I saw it was coming out and did a happy dance when I was approved to review it.

2) Unlike their Louis Kincaid series, this book wrapped up with a nice, pretty red ribbon. That was kind of a tough pill to swallow given that this isn't the sisters standard MO. It left me with an empty, unsatisfied feeling.

3) Their high-quality writing and story/character development was still present. I will state that my attention was captured within the first 100 pages. To be totally fair, those who don't know of the Sisters' style will probably miss what I caught.

4) As these ladies are on my top 5 list of recommended American mystery writers, I would still recommend this book to more squeamish readers. HOWEVER, my first recommendation would still be the Louis Kincaid series, which is simply AWESOME.

5) I still pre-ordered a print copy for my husband, so, by no means, was this book horrible.

Source: Netgalley for Publisher

Would I recommend? : See above. I always recommend the Sisters!

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand alone

 

Yoga Therapy for Stress and Anxiety: Create a Holistic, Personalized Plan to Balance Your Life


Book: Yoga Therapy for Stress and Anxiety: Create a Holistic, Personalized Plan to Balance Your Life

Author: Robert Butera, Ph.D; Erin Byron; Staffan Elgelid, Ph.D

Release date (if applicable): September 8, 2015

Synopsis: From Llewellyn Worldwide

Holistic, practical, and student-centered, this guide offers you the tools and freedom to delve deep into your interior landscape and create your own comprehensive yoga program—a program that, like the world around us, changes from year to year and day to day. The lasting benefits of these transformative yoga practices encompass health, relationships, work, relaxation, meditation, and spirituality.

My rating: 5 Stars

My opinion: This book is so much more than what I even thought it was going to be. As I find myself utilizing yoga as my life becomes more hectic and stressful, I found this book to be an absolutely dynamic read that will be going into my Amazon cart. It is very rare that I will purchase a book once I have reviewed it. This only occurs maybe once to twice per year, but this book definitely fits into that category.

This book not only discusses yoga poses, but works with readers to identify, target and address causes of stress and anxiety, which really stood out to me. One of the things that was most important to me was that this book didn't have the "new age" feeling to it that I have seen in other yoga books. I found that really drew me to it. and I was more receptive to what the authors were saying.  


Source: Netgalley for Publisher

Would I recommend? : Yes, I will be purchasing this book and have recommended it repeatedly.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand alone

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Little Girls: A Ghost Story by Ronald Malfi



Book: Little Girls: A Ghost Story

Author: Ronald Malfi

Release date (if applicable): June 30, 2015

Synopsis: After her Alzheimer suffering father commits suicide, Laurie is forced to return to a home that she escaped to get it ready for sale. Accompanying her are her husband, Ted, and 10 year old daughter, Susan.

Immediately, weird things begin to happen that causes Laurie to question her sanity, her past and the safety of her daughter. What has Laurie suppressed that caused her to leave her father's home and never look back? What does it have to do with a room at the top of the stairs that she was never allowed to go into as a child and where her father jumped from? Maybe Susan's new friend, Abigail, can help Laurie to remember, but will that knowledge come to late?

My rating: 3 Stars

My Opinion: As in typical Malfi fashion, I found this book to be solidly written with well developed characters and a storyline, but I didn't find it up to the creepiness factor that has made Malfi one of my favorite indie writers.

Unlike his other works, I found this book wrapped up a bit too neatly and cheesy for me. This is not his usual forte. I have a quote in one of my previous Malfi reviews that states that his books end with red ribbons...blood red. Not this one. It had that "HOLY COW" Malfi experience at the 90% mark, but then fell at the ending.

All of this author's other books have garnered no less than 4 stars from me, so I felt kind of let down on this one. I feel I had almost overhyped my expectations for this book given the description of it, that I had waited a good 4 months for it to come out and just look at that cover. Who couldn't get hyped up over that creepy cover? In the end, I would still recommend this one, but I would encourage others to not miss some of his "POW" reads for me, such as Floating Staircase.

Source: Netgalley for Publisher

Would I recommend? : I would recommend this book to readers who don't necessarily enjoy or are sensitive to horror writing, but enjoy ghost stories. I would recommend FLOATING STAIRCASE, THE MOURNING HOUSE AND CRADLE LAKE first, but put this one on my list of Malfi books with the caveat of it being lighter than his other works.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

American Ghost: The True Story of a Family's Haunted Past by Hannah Nordhaus




Book: American Ghost

Author: Hannah Nordhaus

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Ms. Nordhaus goes on the search for her past, which happens to include a great, great grandmother who is known to haunt a hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Why can't Julia finally rest?

My rating: 3 Stars

My opinion: I found this book to be ok, not great, but not horrible either. I went into it thinking it was a true ghost story and found that it was more of a memoir. Unfortunately, as I changed my approach to reviewing the book, I found my interest in it waned.

As the author was discussing her attempts to decode her past, she talked heavily about the use of psychics, mediums, etc. and just went down that entire path versus looking strongly/being dependent on genealogical research . At that point, she lost me and I found myself rolling my eyes a whole lot.

I wished she would have focused more heavily on was the family history of mental illness and how the illness and its perception was impacted by that period of time.

Source: Netgalley for Publisher

Would I recommend? : The jury is still out on my recommendation. Frankly, I finished this book several months ago and had I not have taken copious notes, would have forgotten it.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Mourning Lincoln by Martha Hodes




Book: Mourning Lincoln

Author: Martha Hodes

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: We all know that our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, was assassinated by South sympathizer, John Wilkes Booth, but what was our nation's reaction to this tragedy on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line?

My rating: 5 Stars

My opinion: As someone who has read several hundred books on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, I had always wondered about the reaction to Lincoln's assassination by John Wilkes Booth. The material that I read had never done a deep study of it...until now.

I found this book to be incredibly well developed through the research that this author done. This book is loaded with first person accounts, as well as quotes from both the North and South. The author did an excellent job in not presenting a bias (which is one thing I always look for in the works I review), she had a nice balance of both outrage and support of the assassination. The author managed to accomplish this in a book that flowed well and was inviting to its readers.

While I wouldn't call this book the best book ever written on our 16th President or that period of time in US history, I would state that it is on my top twenty for engagement of readers and the depth and quality of the research.

Source: Netgalley for publisher

Would I recommend? : Already have done so to numerous Lincoln enthusiasts, as well as library acquisitions.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone