The Jamie Quinn Mysteries (books 1-3), Barbara Venkataraman

spolier alertTitles: Death by Didgeridoo, The Case of the Killer Divorce and Peril in the Park

Author: Barbara Venkataraman

Pages: 111, 121, 136

Genre: mystery

Part of a series?  These are the first three books in the Jamie Quinn series.

Published?  Goodreads has all three books published in 2013.

I was lucky enough to be offered a copy of all three books in exchange for an honest review.  I read them all in one file, so I thought to write one post for all three.  As always I will try to keep any spoilers to a minimum… but some might slip.  I will be doing each book one at a time.

Death by Digeridoo:  Jamie Quinn is a family practice lawyer on hiatus after the loss of her mother six months ago.  When she hears that her disabled cousin Adam has been accused of murder, she has to get herself together and work with two of her friends to clear his name and find the killer.  I loved the interaction between Jamie and the other characters- her softer side with family members, her fun side with her friend Grace who is also her sounding board, and her joking with PI Duke.  The story was fast paced and very engaging.  I loved it!  Five Stars

On the adult content scale, we’re basically looking at language and a lot of sexual innuendo.  It was fairly tame.  Let’s say a three.

The Case of the Killer Divorce: This is book two of the series.  Jamie is back at work and helping her client, Becca, through a nasty divorce.  When the husband is found dead, the number one suspect is her client.  Could Becca have done this?  Jamie has Becca hire Duke to help out, and the gang get to work solving this mystery.  As this is going on, Jamie has a mystery of her own.  She had been thinking of late about the father she never got to meet.  When she discovers that she might be able to learn about him (and meet him!)  she has some decisions to make.  As if this is not enough, we have a new love interest!  Kip, her high school sweetheart, is back!  The character development is really good, and I am loving the interaction.  Now, there are a few static characters, because there isn’t much time spent with them, but I was very happy.  Another fun, lightning fast read.  Five Stars

On the adult content scale… there’s some violence, language and more sexual content/ innuendo… I am going to say a five.

Peril in the Park:  Jamie’s boyfriend is director of the parks, and the job is getting really stressful.  There is a (slightly hilarious) park vandal causing havoc in town.  His new crew hates him (and some might be corrupt), and he is getting threatening emails.  It all comes to a head when Jamie gets an email from ICU with pics of her and Kip.    Then there is a dead body at the Ren Fest… the crew comes together to put an end to all this before anyone else gets hurt.

I love these books!  They are intriguing and fast reads.  The characters are fantastic and I was engaged the whole time.    As far as the adult content scale goes for book three, there is more violence, language and the like.  Still at a five.

These books are out, let me know what you think!

Link to book:

Amazon

Amber

 

 

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Weekly Wrap-up! (January 23rd-29th)

Hey guys!  This week kind of flew by me without me doing much of anything.  (I know, how boring!)  I just finished the fifth day of my seven day stretch at work.  Between that and spending some time with the husband (and reading, of course) I have nothing to report.  We’ll just skip the sad personal section this week and get to the good stuff.

Bookish Life:

I finished The Patriots at the beginning of the week and loved it.  It was a bit of a slow read, but very interesting.  I loved the characters, and found the historical aspects quite interesting.  The world building was fantastic!

The next three books I read were given to me by the author, Barbara Venkataraman, in exchange for an honest review.  (Which I am writing after this… I’m a bit behind.)  I loved the characters here, especially Jamie Quinn, the main character.  These were rather short; but really fun, fast reads.  I have already bought the fourth book!

I am currently reading Never Never by James Patterson and loving it.  Harriet Blue is a cop in Sydney.  When her brother is accused of a terrible crime, she is shipped to a mining camp near Perth to keep her safe from the reporters.  There, she and her new partner Witt are trying to find out what happened to a missing miner.  What they find at camp, though, is so much more than they thought they would…  Seriously, it’s really good!

never-never

And that’s me for the week!  What have you been up to?

Amber

The Patriots, Sana Krasikov

the-patriotsspolier alertTitle: The Patriots

Author: Sana Krasikov

Pages: 538

Genre: historical fiction

Part of a series?  No.

Publish Date: January 24th, 2017

First, thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A sweeping story taking us from The Great Depression’s Brooklyn, to Soviet Moscow, Siberia and 1980’s New York.  One woman’s choice to follow a dream (and a man) to Soviet Russia changes her entire life.  Too stubborn to go back, she joins the collective and gets to work.  Later, when she feels endangered and misses home it is too late.  Passports are “lost” and there is not help at the Embassy.  This is the story of Florence, a headstrong dreamer that went to Russia for the better life, only to be met with hard work conditions and mistrust.

Falling for another expatriate, Leon, the two make a life together translating stories from magazines.  When it is decided that these magazines were dangerous to the collective, the two have to think fast to save themselves and their young son Julian.  Unfortunately these are dangerous times…

After seven years in a work camp Florence is reunited with her son.  The war, and the camp has changed her, though.  She can’t talk to Julian about this, even when he is older.  It is something he will never understand, along with her ingrained desire to not “raise a fuss”.  Living through the orphanage, and never knowing what really happened to his father, has had a real impact on how he relates to everyone.  His son, Lenny, feels the brunt of it and leaves home for Russia to make something of himself.  You see the three generations and how their surroundings change them.  The secrets that are kept for a lifetime-regrets and betrayals.

I really enjoyed this book! The characters were well developed, and I learned a lot about this point in time.  The story moved a bit slowly for most of the book due to the large amount of information.  The world building was, to me, perfection.

I did have some pacing issues, and there were a few instances where the author fell out of third person POV and went into first person (I never did learn who “I” was).  Hopefully this will be taken care of in the finished copy.

Even with these minor lapses, though it was a five star book for me.  Five Stars

As far as the Adult Content Scale goes, there is sexual content (some rather explicit), language and violence.  I give it a seven.  I would let an older teen read it, but I would be wary of any reader under the age of seventeen.  Parental Guidance

The book came out TODAY! Let me know what you think!

Link to book:

Amazon

Amber

Weekly Wrap-up! (January 16th-22nd)

Personal Life:

With all the chaos of the trip to Dallas to get my brother in law my sleep pattern/reading time has been…. well… wonky.  I have not been my best emotionally due to these things.  I am on mood stabilizers, and so long as I keep to a fair routine I am alright.  I do fall victim to depression from time to time though.  I fear it caught me this week.  I was reading a book that I would normally have liked, I think, but because of my current blues could not relax into it.  I felt too much, was too sad.  I have set aside Disaster Falls until I am feeling better.

Saturday we spent the day with the O’hana celebrating my sister’s dog’s birthday (yeah… you heard me.  There was even doggie cake.).  P-chan the pug was pretty excited about all that.  I was more excited about the steak and cannoli inspired cake for the humans.  Mom comes up with the best desserts!

Earlier this week I saw my Mary Kay lady where I bought the Timewise Revealing Radiance facial peel.  That is a mouthful!  I get acne and redness on my face regularly, and I am starting to really wrinkle.  Vane as I am, I don’t like this.  Using this 10 min mask twice a week I am supposed to see a more even tone, less wrinkles, brighter skin…. so on and so forth.  We shall see.  I liked it the first time I used it, and some of my smaller bumps disappeared.  The redness got worse if anything… but I was told I would have to use this for a while.

Reading Life:

the-girl-before-jpgI got an ARC of this one from Netgalley.  While there were some issues, I really enjoyed this book.

Otherwise, I have been reading the USA Today trying to understand what’s going on with the inauguration and Trump’s choices of cabinet members.   I have to admit to being really confused by a lot of it.

disaster-fallsThis one is a current DNF, I am just not in the right mind frame for it right now.

the-patriotsAnother Netgalley pick.  I am slowly making my way through this one.  There are some technical inconsistencies, and pacing issues; but I am really interested in the story.  I don’t know much about Russia under Stalin, so the historical aspect is very interesting to me.  I have two pages of notes and am only half way done.

I have the next few days off, so I am hoping to make some headway and go on to either the Jaimie Quinn mystery/thrillers or Never never by James Patterson.

So that’s me, how was your week?

Amber

Disaster Falls… I failed

disaster-fallsspolier alertTitle: Disaster Falls

Author: Stephane Gerson

Pages: 256

Genre: nonfiction, autobiography

Part of a series?  No.

Publish Date: January 24th, 2017

Thank you to First to Read for the chance to read an e-ARC of this book in exchange for a review.  I fear I have failed you, as I cannot finish this book in my current emotional state.  In the thrall of the Winter Blues, this piece while eloquent and beautifully written, is more than I can take.  I will get into that later, but for now… the summary.

This book circles around the event that broke his family’s heart- the death of his son, Owen.  Drowning on a rafting trip in a place called Disaster Falls, the eight year old’s life was cut short leaving a hole in the small family.  Gerson catalogs the time after that and how he, his wife and his other son coped.  Things they felt, things friends said, how they greave, and perhaps how they heal.

I was very interested in this book,  and have read the like before.  At the moment, though, I have to throw in the towel.  This is a DNF not because it is poorly written but because I cannot afford to give myself over to that pain just yet.  It was to vivid, too engulfing.  I felt like I was trying to swim through a whirlpool of pain and I kept having to put the book down.  After sixty pages, I feel like we have gotten no where.  They talk, remember Owen.  There are some lovely anecdotes that I quite liked.  It was very real reactions to the loss of a son, and yet it hurt me that often I felt Julian was left behind to grieve for his brother on his own.  There is in fact a part where he admits that his parents didn’t care what he ate for days…. basically his parents, in their pain, forgot to take care of their son.  I hope this changes through the book, but I can only critique the beginning.  I kept having to put the book down, my chest hurting too much to allow for any more pain.  My heart goes out to this family…. I cannot even… well, as you so eloquently showed, there are no words for a grieving parent.

Again, I do want to return to this book later, when I am feeling more fresh and sunny myself.  Right now, I can’t, and I am so sorry.

The book comes out 1-24-2017.  Please let me know what you think.

Amber

The Girl Before, J.P. Delaney

the-girl-before-jpgspolier alertTitle: The Girl Before

Author: J.P. Delaney

Pages: 320

Genre: suspense, thriller

Part of a series?  No.

Publish Date: January 24th, 2017

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing for allowing me access to an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Please make a list of every item essential to you.

Two women at different times are looking at one house- it’s perfect.  Safe, secure, demanding of a fresh start.  This isn’t your normal renter’s agreement though.  Due to it’s minimalist nature and the acclaim of the architect not only are there tours at times, but very strict rules for what can and cannot be done to or go into the house.  This is a home that is meant to shape and change you-and it does.

To get the lease, each woman must meet the architect and get approved.  Now, this takes place in two different times- Emma’s and then Jane’s.  (Jane comes in several months after Emma’s passing).  Each woman falls for Edward, each one has a relationship with him.  This is a story underlined with deceit, madness and intrigue.

I really loved this book.  I loved how each woman adapted both to the techno-savvy minimalist home and to Edward.  These are two very different women, both recovering from a different traumatic experience.  I enjoyed seeing how they reacted to events.  The book had a suspenseful, creepy feel that I liked.  Best of all, it kept me guessing through the book.  This is always a sign of a good book for me.

Now, I did have issue with Edward’s character.  He was extremely controlling and most of the time very hard to like, which made it hard for me to see why our women fell for him; especially as one was in a relationship when they met.  Still, for all this it was a five star book for me.  Five Stars

On the adult content scale, this is really high.  There is very explicit sexual content, language, violence, and substance abuse.  I give it a nine- not for young teens.  adult content rubber stamp

The book comes out on 1-24-2017, be ready!

Link to book:

Amazon

Amber

 

 

 

 

Weekly Wrap up! (January 9th-15th)

Hey guys!  You will have to excused me for the late post this week, I am exhausted.  The last few days have been really stressful, but it all ended up well.  Let’s get started.

Personal Life:

Current Mood:  angry-faceMy brother-in-law, Danny, was supposed to fly into town from Dallas last night…. but his flight got canceled.  He had been in transit from St. Petersburg and Kieve through Germany.  All went well.  When he it was time for the flight on American Airlines from Dallas home, it was cancelled due to weather.  Now, I will admit it was foggy, and there was talk… but really?  To add insult to injury, they could not give him another flight in twelve hours (though his bags were already on one and they would not get them- that’s right, room for the bags not for the customer).  They would not offer a refund for this part of the trip, and did not offer a hotel voucher.  My husband and I drove from Mo.  to Tx., got Danny, and brought him home before his bags made it to town.  (Currently waiting on them actually.)  So for a while we are not going to go through American Airlines.  As I said, it was foggy, and I am sure that sucks in the air so I can’t be too mad… who am I kidding.  They should have made my brother in law comfortable- apologies, a hotel, a comped meal, something!  We didn’t even know he was stranded for five hours because that was the layover time!  Safety first and all that, but take care of your customer.  Luckily the roads were not icy or anything, just fog.  Warren, my husband,  is exhausted but we are all safe and relatively happy.   Thank you, American Airlines, can we have my brother’s bags now?

Bookish Life:

I finished The Good Daughter and read the Book Jumper this week.  I have to admit to being a bit obsessed with The Book Jumper.  What bibliophile hasn’t dreamed of being able to go into their favorite stories and meet the characters?  Has anyone else read this?  What did you think?

Currently reading:

 

That’s it for me, what was your week like?

Amber