A little of this and a little of that.

My Thoughts

Sometimes I write about what I read.

***

15 August 2018

A Faint Cold Fear by Karin Slaughter


A Faint Cold Fear by Karin Slaughter
Series: Grant County #3
Deborah Hazlett - Narrator
Audiobook, Duration: 12:12:29
Published August 2nd, 2006 by BBC Audiobooks America
⭐⭐⭐

Sara Linton, medical examiner in the small town of Heartsdale, GA, is called out to an apparent suicide on the local college campus. The mutilated body offers few clues - and the college authorities are eager to avoid a scandal - but for Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, things don't add up. As Jeffrey pursues the sadistic killer, he discovers that ex-police detective Lena Adams, now a security guard on campus, may be in possession of crucial information. But bruised and angered by her expulsion from the force, Lena seems barely capable of protecting herself, let alone saving the next victim…

My thoughts…

Dr. Sarah Linton is called to the scene of an apparent student suicide and allows her pregnant sister, Tessa, to accompany her. While Sara is examining the victim, Tessa, wonders from the car and is brutally attacked in the woods. What happens next sets off a series of tragic and mysterious events that calls into question whether the dead student was a suicide.

Lena, ex-detective, works for the nearby college as a security guard and is trying terribly to conduct her own investigation. Lena becomes involved in another death on-campus, while starting an abusive relationship with another student (who happens to have an extensive rap sheet). Lena is a mess and can’t get it together, she is working for a man she despises, drinking too much, and becoming self-destructive. Jeffrey doesn't help matters where she is concerned, she is rude and argumentative towards him.

A Faint Cold Fear had a different feel from the previous books in the series. It started good and then it became more focused on the characters than it was on the murder, which I had mixed feelings about. I’m going through the entire series with these characters and of course I want to read about them, I just felt it was too much in one book. I do like reading from Sara and Jeffrey’s viewpoint, but those two need to get on the same page with their relationship. It saddened me when Sara’s family shut her out after Tessa was attacked. Lena’s viewpoint drove me insane. She made so many mistakes in this book and is turning into a character that I dislike. This book wasn’t my favorite, but I will continue with the series.

Happy Reading -J 



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14 August 2018

The Outsider by Stephen King


The Outsider by Stephen King
Series: Finders Keepers #4
Hardcover, 561 pages
Published May 22nd, 2018 by Scribner
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

My thoughts…

This is only the second book by Stephen King that I have read and once again it did not disappoint.

A young boy has been brutally murdered, and all the evidence points directly to the Little League Coach Terry Maitland. This is shocking because Terry is a happily married family man and all-around good guy. His coaching of youth sports has made him one of the most respected persons in town. There has never been the slightest hint of any kind of criminal behavior from Terry. Detective Ralph Anderson is particularly outraged and makes the fateful decision to arrest Terry in public, in front of his family, friends and his Little League team, creating a media sensation.

Almost immediately after, new evidence comes to light showing that Terry was seen on camera hundreds of miles away at the exact moment the murder took place. Terry has an iron clad alibi that makes it impossible for him to be the murderer. As the investigation begins to unfold, doubts and alternative evidence make Ralph question Terry’s guilt. How could a man be in two places at once? I was once in four states at one time, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, I visited Four Corners Monument. I wouldn’t post the picture because I’m on all fours and it’s not pretty.

The action and suspense picked up right at the beginning of The Outsider. Then about two-thirds into the story it seemed to gradually slow and at times I found that it dragged a bit. Don’t get me wrong, the story still held my interest, but it wasn’t as gripping as the beginning. If you’re a Stephen King fan or not, I think you would enjoy The Outsider. Other reviewers have mentioned that The Outsider is a classic King novel.

Happy Reading -J




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13 August 2018

Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones


Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson #3
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published January 31st, 2012
by St. Martin's Press
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Paranormal private eye. Grim reaper extraordinaire. Whatever. Charley Davidson is back! And she's drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake because, every time she closes her eyes, she sees him: Reyes Farrow, the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan. Yes, she did imprison him for all eternity, but come on. How is she supposed to solve a missing persons case, deal with an ego-driven doctor, calm her curmudgeonly dad, and take on a motorcycle gang hellbent on murder when the devil's son just won't give up?

My thoughts…

In Third Grave Dead Ahead, there is a new case with a missing person that Charley is hired to find. While she is working the missing person case, she is also looking for Reyes's dead dad. We also meet the biker gang that owns the asylum, that brought us some new and interesting characters. Charley is going to get a guardian angel in the form of a dead person, she is told that she will indirectly be involved with this person's death. Adding to all the drama and near-death incidents, Charley’s dad is trying to force her into a new profession. I can’t leave out the dead little girl holding a knife that follows Charley around.

While all this is going on, Charley is extremely sleep deprived. She is trying her best to stay awake to avoid Reyes, who is visiting her in her sleep. Reyes is furious that Charley bound his incorporeal self to his human body, leaving him vulnerable to his Satan father and demons.
“At first, I could lie about my lack of sleep and she'd fall for it, but she started suspecting insomnia when I began seeing purple elephants in the air vents at the office. I knew I shouldn't have asked her about them. I thought maybe she'd redecorated.”
Darynda Jones, Third Grave Dead Ahead
Once again, this book is packed with all kinds of action and drama. The sarcasm and wit of Charley is wonderful, her banter with the dead and living is hilarious. I found this series to be fast paced, filled with plenty of humor and mystery, it is pure entertainment and I love it.
“An integral part of any best friend's job is to immediately clear your computer history if you die.”
Darynda Jones, Third Grave Dead Ahead
“Holy shit, are you positive?""As a pregnancy test a month after prom.”
Darynda Jones, Third Grave Dead Ahead
Happy Reading -J



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10 August 2018

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman


Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Hardcover, 327 pages
Published May 9th, 2017
by Viking - Pamela Dorman Books
⭐⭐⭐

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.
 
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

 But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.  

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .

 The only way to survive is to open your heart.

My thoughts…

Eleanor is a little bit peculiar. She's very intelligent and well-spoken with impeccable grammar but she lacks the ability to filter what she says. She will tell you exactly what she's thinking, which leads to very awkward situations.

Eleanor is comfortable with her routines, she keeps a precise schedule every day while at work. It's saddened me when her coworkers were talking negatively about her when she was nearby, but Eleanor is unaware of it. On the weekends she drinks Vodka waiting for Monday to come again. No one comes to visit, and she doesn't go anywhere. Eleanor’s life is sad. Eleanor decides she wants to find the man of her dreams and tries to reinvent herself, which leads to some very funny moments.

When her computer at work stops working she meets Raymond from IT. Raymond is intrigued by Eleanor, but she's just not interested. I enjoyed her friendship with Raymond and how it progressed. This is not a romantic book, but there are hints that a relationship between Eleanor and Raymond will eventually grow into romance, this is a book about Eleanor finding herself.

Overall, I liked Eleanor, she is a great and complex character. I didn’t care for her relationship with her mother or the ‘phone calls’ from her mother. Gail Honeyman did a wonderful job bringing Eleanor into a well-loved character.

“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn't spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.”
Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Happy Reading -J  



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09 August 2018

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie
A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton
Cassandra Campbell - Narrator
Audiobook, Duration: 23:14:14
Published April 2nd, 2018 by HarperAudio
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.

A general’s daughter…

Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.

A founding father’s wife...

But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.

The last surviving light of the Revolution…

When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and the imperfect union he could never have created without her…

My thoughts…

This is the first historical romance that I’ve read/listened to detailing the relationship of Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler, it was amazing. Going into this book I didn’t know much about Alexander Hamilton or the American Revolution, except for the most basic facts. I did watch an episode of ‘Drunk History’ featuring Hamilton, it was comical.

We go along side Eliza through her courtship, to her engagement and through early married life. Eliza becomes a strong intelligent woman and an independent thinker, Hamilton moves into private life after his crucial role in founding and anchoring the new country. I was so saddened for Eliza when her husband’s affair was exposed, he owns up to it in a way that could not be more embarrassing and hurtful to his wife and family. We get to see Eliza's struggles to understand her complicated husband and their relationship. After his death, Eliza reads letters that bring back the emotional pain and brings out new hurts. Forgiveness is a major and poignant theme in the story as Eliza struggles to comprehend and forgive her husband’s betrayals.

While My Dear Hamilton is a fictionalized account, Authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoei did a remarkable amount of research in terms of the historical content. I highly recommend this novel.

Happy Reading -J




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07 August 2018

Kisscut by Karin Slaughter


Kisscut by Karin Slaughter
Kathleen Early – Narrator
Series: Grant County #2
Audiobook, Duration: 12:39:39
Published February 10th, 2015
by Harper Audio
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Saturday night dates at the skating rink have been a tradition in the small southern town of Heartsdale for as long as anyone can remember, but when a teenage quarrel explodes into a deadly shoot-out, Sara Linton - the town's pediatrician and medical examiner - finds herself entangled in a terrible tragedy.

 What seemed at first to be a horrific but individual catastrophe proves to have wider implications. The autopsy reveals evidence of long-term abuse, of ritualistic self -mutilation, but when Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver start to investigate, they are frustrated at every turn.

 The children surrounding the victim close ranks. The families turn their backs. Then a young girl is abducted, and it becomes clear that the first death is linked to an even more brutal crime, one far more shocking than anyone could have imagined. Meanwhile, detective Lena Adams, still recovering from her sister's death and her own brutal attack, finds herself drawn to a young man who might hold the answers. But unless Lena, Sara, and Jeffrey can uncover the deadly secrets the children hide, it's going to happen again...

My thoughts…

Kisscut is a shocking and graphic story, the subject matter of this book was painful and at times difficult to read. If you have issues reading about rape, incest, genital mutilation, pedophilia, child abuse, and/or suicide then stay away from this book.

In Kisscut (Grant County #2), Dr. Sara Linton is now dating her ex-husband, Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver. Outside the skating rink parking lot, a young teenage girl threatens to shoot a 16-year-old boy in a standoff. Sara is witness to Jeffrey fatally shooting the teenage girl. A search of the rink turns up a dismembered newborn in a toilet of the ladies’ restroom. Sara's postmortem examine reveals the teenage girl had a long history of abuse, most shockingly, her vagina is sewn shut. Sara's investigation is frustrated at every turn by the silence of the family and friends of the slain girl. But the truth cannot be hidden forever.

Working the case alongside Jeffrey is Det. Lena Adams, herself is a victim of a recent abduction and rape. She is also trying, with difficulty, to come to terms with the brutal death of her twin sister. While questioning the boy who was almost shot at the skating rink, they gradually uncover a horrendous criminal ring involving pedophilia, incest and child pornography. Most disturbing is parents who rape their children before marketing them to strangers for money and then blackmail.

I found myself totally involved in the plot and the characters. Especially Sara, she is my favorite of all, she is smart strong woman and it feels like I’m there at her examinations. Sara is ready to give Jeffrey another chance and it’s obvious that Jeffrey truly loves Sara and is willing to do whatever it is to make their relationship work this time around. Lena, ugh, I haven’t made up my mind on her character. She is headstrong and arrogant, at times I feel bad for her and other times I want to throw a book at her.

Grant County is a series that needs to be read in order, from the beginning, to get the full benefit from the story-line and characters. If you love reading suspense thrillers, you really must give Karin Slaughter a try.

Happy Reading -J



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06 August 2018

Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter

Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter
(Grant County #1)
Kathleen Early – Narrator
Audiobook, Duration: 12:11:19
Published February 10th, 2015 by Harper Audio
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The sleepy town of Heartsdale, Georgia, is jolted into panic when Sara Linton, pediatrician and medical examiner, finds Sibyl Adams dead in the local diner. As well as being viciously raped, Sibyl has been cut: two deep knife wounds form a lethal cross over her stomach. But it's only once Sara starts to perform the post-mortem that the full extent of the killer's brutality becomes clear. Police chief Jeffrey Tolliver - Sara's ex-husband - is in charge of the investigation, and when a second victim is found, crucified, only a few days later, both Jeffrey and Sara have to face the fact that Sibyl's murder wasn't a one-off attack. What they're dealing with is a seasoned sexual predator. A violent serial killer.

My thoughts…

Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter is the first book in the Grant County series and I’m not sure what took me so long to read it.

Dr. Sara Linton is a pediatrician and works part time as the County Coroner. The part time work puts her directly in contact with her ex-husband, Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver, a man she has a complicated history. Sara divorced him after he cheated on her with the town sign painter. Jeffery knows he made a mistake and he wants Sara back.

When Jeffrey’s deputy, Lena, loses her twin sister, Sibyl, in an extremely violent way, it brings up horrible memories for Sara. It's not long before another victim surfaces. Lena Adam is difficult to deal with under good circumstances and she insists on being part of the investigation. The murders forces Sara to work closely with Jeffrey while they try to put a killer behind bars.

All those involved in the case, have some major issues in their personal lives that resurface throughout the course of the investigation. It made the story even more thrilling and interesting. I loved this one from the very beginning and I was immediately hooked. I was able to identify the killer from early in the book, but that didn't stop me. I had to find out why the killer did the things he/she did.

If you love reading suspense thrillers, you really must give Karin Slaughter a try. Karin Slaughter books are not for the faint of heart and be forewarned, she does go into some graphic detail that might be disturbing for some. Even though this book was written in 2002, it stands up well and has made me a bigger Karin Slaughter fan.

Happy Reading -J



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