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review 2018-01-12 12:49
Embers of Atlanta: A short story - Laurentiu M. Badea

Embers of Atlanta (a short story, crime, mystery)
Very descriptive book about a few different characters as they appear to be surviving the catastrophic demise of a city.
What some have to go through as they are bitten on the legs from dogs as they try to climb to higher ground.
Seems to be only the fittest will survive the hardest of times. Almost like when a bomb goes off, there's destruction all around.
Nothing is as it once was and will never be again.
from author for my honest opinion.

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review 2017-12-26 02:40
Crossing Hearts
Crossing Hearts (An Atlanta Skyline Novel) - Rebecca Crowley

Rio is a star soccer player in Chile. He grew up poor and has been able to provide for his family through his career. He signs a contract to play for a US professional team. Eva works as his translator with the goal of teaching him some English.
Both Rio and Eva are likable and both have interesting backstories. Eva's mother was here illegally, Eva was born here. Her mother gets departed and she never sees her again. Timely, considering who sits in the Oval Office (I could go on, but won't considering Trump already has enough power and I don't want him to hijack my book review).
I liked the slow burn romance, but felt it was a bit quick in the end. I wanted more. I read this out of order, (Defending Hearts was first), but found it didn't matter.

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review 2017-12-15 14:37
The Good Daughter
The Good Daughter: A Novel - Karin Slaughter

By:  Karin Slaughter

ISBN: 978-0062430243

Publisher:  William Morrow

Publication Date: 8/8/2017

Format:  Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars +

30 Best Books of 2017 

5 Stars ++ The queen of crime thrillers and international bestselling author, Karin Slaughter, takes a break from her popular Will Trent and Grant County series with her latest emotional, complex, twisty, and intense standalone psychological crime thriller. 

EXPLOSIVE! 

A family is torn apart by the tragedy in unspeakable ways. THE GOOD DAUGHTER will blow you away! Once again, making my Best Books of 2017. You can pretty much guarantee the author will always be on the list topping the chart. 

She has been there consecutively for the last four years since I started my blog: 

2017 The Good Daughter 
2016 The Kept Woman 
2015 Pretty Girls 
2014 Cop Town 

Two powerful stories. Past and Present. When they connect, the pieces of the puzzle reveal all the evil, secrets, and lies of the past. 

Thirty years ago, in a town outside Atlanta, GA, we meet two sisters: ages thirteen and fifteen—Charlotte and Samantha Quinn. 

Their father, Rusty was a small Southern town defense attorney in Pikeville, Georgia (a small town), defending a lot of bad men. We are talking scum. 

From pedophiles, rapists, murderers, and kidnappers. Rusty was always at work and had his share of enemies. There were always nasty and terrifying voicemails. 

Gamma, Rusty’s wife, is a brilliant research scientist who has given up a career to settle with Rusty in the Southern town. People did not fit in with Gamma. She was too smart and difficult. She refused to fit in and keep her mouth shut. 

First, there is a fire. They are homeless. These guys do not like Rusty defending the bad guys. Someone has to pay. So they go after his family. 

Then next, something much worse. The night that will change the Quinn family.

Zach and Daniel Culpepper take their hatred out on the Quinn family. However, Rusty most likely their target, is not home when the two masked evil gunmen arrive. 

Ultimately Gamma dies while protecting her family. Shooting, raping, and terrorizing the sisters. Shot and buried alive. Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…

Now, two estranged sisters. Attempting to put the past behind them. Left with damage and scars. Over the years they have gone their separate ways. 

Twenty-eight years later Charlie is an attorney in the same southern town. Tragedy strikes again. A shooting at a school bringing back the horrors of the night long ago.

Multi-layered and complex. Secrets and lies. Nothing is as it appears. Where all the players from the past have their own individual motives and intersect with the present-day events. 

When the girls are told to keep their secrets and the horrors of that dreadful night sealed and closed in a box forever, it may have done further damage. The dad and sisters never dealt with their emotions of that dreadful experience. Hence, causing further problems in their individual lives and their relationships. 

Violence strikes in Pikeville. Charlie and Sam have horrific memories of that night long ago, but the shocking truth of the past crime has yet to be solved. Until a shooting at a school. Slowly the lies, deceit, and secrets are unraveled.

Sam, highly intelligent, takes after her mom. She has brain damage and yet becomes a successful New York attorney. 

Impulsive, Charlie- more like her dad in some ways, remained in the same town and is also an attorney in the criminal sector and married to Ben, ADA. 

However, past events (which readers discover later in the book), has caused the couple to grow apart. (All stemming from the horrific events of the past). 

Charlie, attempting to escape her mounting problems, has a one-night-stand which causes a string of deadly events. OMG (deadly). 

The guys she had sex with. A teacher. A student. A principal, and his wife. Charlie gets caught in the crosshairs of revenge. Why would a mentally challenged young girl shoot someone?

Is there something more sinister at play and how does it connect with the tragedy from years past? 

Superb writing! What a book. Her standalone books are as good as her series. A huge Slaughter fan; and an Atlanta gal myself for years— No one does “Atlanta” better. Karin has more avid fans than cars on I-285 and GA 400 in rush hour. 

Well-deserved, THE GOOD DAUGHTER – is one well-plotted, crafty, character-driven gripping thriller. Trust me— lives will be "threatened" if you are interrupted while reading. 

A mix of domestic suspense, family drama, crime thriller, psychological, legal, mystery, and action . . . all rolled into one. 

As always, with Karin’s books, the audiobook is a “must”. Kathleen Early and Karin Slaughter make for one dynamic unstoppable team. However, you need to pair it with the book, since there is so much stuff you will want to highlight. 

Highly recommend reading the novella, Last Breath as well. (My favorite novella of the year). 

 




No one does brutality, violence, human suffering, emotions, and secrets of the past better. Someway there is always triumph over tragedy; however, they may not be the same as they started. 

NEVER attempt to try and figure out what is coming. Karin Slaughter will shock you to the very end! Razor sharp. 

Brilliant, bold, dark, edgy, intelligent. A highly addictive, mind-bending, and engrossing read! You will be hooked from page one to the explosive ending. (what a great ending, indeed). 

I enjoyed the intense relationship between the two sisters (tenderness, anger, love, emotion, heartbreak) and the author’s dark humor always adds balance to the darker side. The coffin section was hilarious. Rusty was one wild character. Loved Ben! 

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/03/15/The-Good-Daughter
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review 2017-09-18 22:16
Lightning Men
Lightning Men: A Novel - Thomas Mullen

Darktown #2

By:  Thomas Mullen 

ISBN: 9781501138799

Publisher: Atria 

Publication Date: 9/12/2017

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 5 Stars + 

 

From the acclaimed author, Thomas Mullen who introduced readers to the hit, Darktown landing on my Top Books of 2016 —racial integration of Atlanta’s police department in 1948 — with an explosive multi-layered complex follow-up: LIGHTNING MEN. 

Racial violence and corruption continue in 1950’s Atlanta, with African-American police officers, Boggs and Smith. 

As they say in the South, these two find themselves in a "heap of trouble.” (Among others). 

“Hot Atlanta” is not just sizzling. It is blistering. Fiery. Tensions and emotions run high. Loyalties are tested between family and law. Color lines are threatened. Moral lines are blurred. 

The second in the Darktown series, Mullen uses his hard-boiled crime, cop procedural, to explore post-WWII racism in the South. 

The highly anticipated character-driven LIGHTNING MEN is much more than just a crime-fictional thriller. It is infused with critical historical details and timely controversial subjects we face today.

“Any candid observer of American racial history must acknowledge that racism is highly adaptable.” – Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow 

Highly-charged, Mullen turns up the intensity with characters facing moral, family, social issues and compromises. 

Tensions rise. From racial prejudice, moonshining, drugs, greed, conspiracy, Klansmen, fascist Columbians, white supremacist, corruption, bigotry, violence, Jim Crow laws, preachers, shootouts, paybacks, fear, power, and segregated neighborhoods.

In Darktown, we met rookies: Officer Lucius Boggs and his partner, Tommy Smith. 

From different backgrounds, their office was housed in the basement of the Negro YMCA, a makeshift precinct. They were not even allowed to arrest white men, nor allowed to drive a squad car. They could not patrol outside of the Negro neighborhoods that constituted their beat. No respect and little support. 

Only ten black officers patrolled those thousands of souls. A third of Atlanta were black, yet they were crowded into only a fifth of the land. 

Boggs and Smith had not taken bribes; however, with two years on the force, it appeared half of the white officers took bribes, so how long would the Negro officers resist? 

They were tiring of their powerlessness. The son of a preacher, Boggs was all too familiar with the fallibility of men, even men with power. 

Denny Rakestraw (white) is distrusted by his fellow officers for his suspected role in the disappearance of his former partner, Lionel Dunlow. 

Rakestraw is not a racist but finds it difficult to fit in with his fellow white cops and work with the ten black cops. Neither side, fully trusts him. 

Denny’s problems increase when his Klansman brother-in-law, Dale Simpkins, gets involved in a plot to stop the influx of African-Americans into his neighborhood, Hanford Park. 

Some cops are part of the Klan. Will they accuse one of the richest men in Atlanta of selling moonshine and marijuana?

Boggs had come to respect McInnis over the last two years. He had stuck up for his charges during a few disputes with white officers. How far can he go to protect them? 

Boggs (preacher’s son) is dating Julie with a young son, Sage. Soon to be married. His family opposes the relationship since she is not of their social status. She has a secret past. She is intimidated by their prestigious family. 

When a black man, Jeremiah is released from prison after five years, things get personal. Boggs life gets complicated when he learns the connection. 

Two years earlier, Boggs came close to resigning his position and had second thoughts after a near-death experience. Now, he is unsure again.

Too many mistakes that weighed heavily on his soul. He is sure there would be more guilt and an awkward relationship with his partner. Can he remain as a cop? 

Events will lead each character to major soul-searching. Smith had crossed another line as well. He was afraid. 


. . . The Armor. The façade victims’ families typically wore when they needed to protect themselves or the memory of their loved ones. Folks who wore The Armor sometimes had secrets to hide. 

The Armor was firmly in place as they parried the officer’s attempts to learn more about the deceased. They wore The Armor to keep the cops from learning things. The secrets. . . 

The Armor was worn by the innocent, who had nothing to hide but their dignity, and they were so deeply offended to be questioned by these employees of the corrupt City of Atlanta, these paid enforcers of Jim Crow, that they refused to play along. They may be innocent, hurt, or protective. 

. . . “And lines are only ideas people dream up, to govern what should be possible, to keep you from moving toward the forbidden.”


Three policemen struggle. Each has an agenda and react in different ways to protect. Loyalties are tested. Family versus law. 

Can they continue to work with one hand tied behind their packs without the proper support to do their jobs? Will the latest emotional events, their actions, and tensions make them second guess their current careers? Will they continue to serve and make Atlanta a better city, or is it a useless effort? 

After violence and a shootout, will Hanford Park be transformed? Will the lines between white and black be blurred after the postwar crowding, pushing blacks into areas formerly considered whites-only (without violence)? 

From racial politics and struggles of history, Mullen does not miss a beat! 

The complex emotions of each character are portrayed in depth, making the characters jump off the page. Others threaten lives. Others protect. Struggles both interior and exterior. 

Complications. Affairs interrupted. Old scores settled. Blood feuds magnified. Pride. Costs were high. Greed. 

Hard-boiled. Explosive. Riveting. Timely! 

Love this enthralling series and looking forward to seeing what is in store next for Smith and Boggs. 

When reading of Boggs at his dad’s house for dinner with Julie, reminds me strongly of Greenleaf (a favorite show) and their preacher/family dinners. Heaven forbid, their children do not follow their well-laid controlled plans. 

Movie-worthy! For those who enjoy good crime fiction, and historical fiction as Mullen meticulously traces the civil rights movement through his well-written crime stories and cop procedurals, that involve "real" characters you come to care about. 

Fans of TV mini-series: Underground, Greenleaf and Queen Sugar will enjoy this intense series as well as Michael Connley’s Harry Bosch and Greg Iles' Penn Cage series. 

In addition to the early digital reading copy (thank you) provided by NetGalley and Atria, I also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II – for an award-winning performance. Just finished. 

Move this series to the top of your list. If you reside in the South, this is a “must read.” Especially for those of us who found (find) Atlanta our home for many years. Another Southern winner! 

JDCMustReadBooks

****
Due to post-Irma, residing in South Florida with water damages, power outage, cell towers, and loss of internet for nine consecutive days; no gas, grocery, or mail service – late posting my review on pub day. Let's hope Maria does not pay us a visit. 

Yay! Today we have internet restored, power, cell towers, and mail service! Back in business. Ordered the hardcover copies of both DARKTOWN and LIGHTNING MEN for my personal library. So excited, they are out for delivery today, from Amazon! (Love the covers) Looking forward to receiving my copies. (Now, I have to figure out how to get the author to autograph) my copies. 

Busy catching up with posting reviews and my blog. Thanks everyone for your patience.
 
 
 

City on the verge of a race riot in ‘Darktown’ sequel


Thomas Mullen’s new novel examines brotherly hate  

By Tray Butler - For the AJC

 
 
 
 
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/04/19/Lightning-Men
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review 2017-09-05 01:52
eARC: Defending Hearts
Defending Hearts (An Atlanta Skyline Novel) - Rebecca Crowley

Oz is a Swedish, of Turkish ancestry, soccer star playing for a US professional team. He was able to both play and attend college at Harvard. He also happens to be Muslim and because of that was harassed and got threats. Which lead to his introduction to Kate. Kate was in the Army for 8 years and then spent time in Saudi Arabia is a security contractor. Now she is back home in Atlanta working for a private security company.
I really liked this one. Enough so, that I went and bought the first book in this series. Both Oz and Kate are likable, vulnerable, and each had their insecurities. I liked the start, both were indifferent to each other before it, slowly, developed into more. They had their share of differences to work through and compromise on. I also really loved Oz and his decision to wait on sex. The role reversal was a pleasant surprise and one that I enjoyed. Kate is more of an Alpha to Oz's Beta and that worked. 
I liked the addition of religion and hate crimes in this book too. Considering who is sitting in the Oval Office, this was relevant to our current environment.

eARC courtesy of Kensington Lyrical Shine and NetGalley
Release Date: Sept 19th

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