logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: NetGalley-ARC
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-19 15:42
Lies She Told
Lies She Told - Cate Holahan

By:  Cate Holahan 

ISBN: 9781683312956

Publisher:  Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: 9/12/2017 

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

LIES SHE TOLD by Cate Holahan is a dark and twisty mind-bending thriller with more than one unreliable narrator. 

On almost every page, this imaginative psychological thriller forces the reader to reconsider what is real. A book within a book when the lines of fact and fiction are blurred.

“The most dangerous untruths are truths slightly distorted.” — Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Notebook H 

Manhattan author Liza, (of romantic suspense) is under extreme pressure with her upcoming novel. 

Trevor, a forty-two-year-old (editor) is telling a thirty-five-year-old woman in the middle of her target audience demographic, what her peers want in the sack. He thinks he knows trends. 

Alternating between Liza’s POV in the real world, and Beth (the protagonist) in Liza’s novel. Needless to say, both these ladies lives are complex. 

"Blurring fact and fantasy is my trade. I am a con artist. A prevaricator. I make up stories." So why does he think this one is real? 

David Jacobson, husband of twelve years. Nick Landau, David’s law partner is missing. Nick never liked Liza.

Liza and David have been unable to conceive. Both the anxiety of this plus her writing deadlines push her to get lost in her characters. Their marriage is strained. 

. . . She does not invent her characters. She steals them from her surroundings. To be a writer is to be a life thief. Every day she robs herself blind.

"It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place." —Henry Louis Mencken, A Little Book in C Major

As the pressure of the deadlines mounts, Liza becomes immersed in her heroine. Unfaithful? Murder?

Is she writing about her own life? 

Beth has a new baby and her husband, Jake is a prosecutor. He is cheating, while she is home taking care of the baby. The sexy officer, Colleen. The psychiatrist, Tyler, and an old friend.

Will both stories lead to murder? The lines are blurred. 

Who is telling the truth? Who is not? Two stories intertwined.

The author cleverly draws readers into a world where truth blends with delusion, plus more. . . 

Dark, twisty, and sinister grip-lit. The author keeps the reader on its toes while switching from fact and fiction while questioning every move. 

Chilling, unique, intriguing, and disturbing, LIES SHE TOLD, will keep readers turning the pages. With all the books about LIES these days, this one definitely takes a distinctive spin. 

A special thank you to Crooked Lane and NetGalley for an early reading digital copy. 

I also purchased the audiobook narrated by Amy McFadden and Lisa Larsen, for a captivating performance.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/05/12/Lies-She-Told
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
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
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-17 21:01
Good As You
Good As You: From Prejudice to Pride – 30 Years of Gay Britain - Paul Flynn

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

This was a really interesting insight into gay culture in the UK, from the seventies to nowadays: how it shaped itself, the hurdles gay people had to go through, how other people’s views gradually changed...

The book’s chapters follow specific themes, such as TV, AIDS, politics, football or pop music, rather than going in a purely chronological order. This makes for a rather comprehensive view of various areas of British culture, in the light of what being gay more specifically entails. The chapters are also well-segmented, and it’s fairly easy to pick up the book again if for some reason you had to leave it (to go do those pesky things called ‘work’ or ‘sleep’, for instance).

I learnt plenty here: how the introduction of explicitly gay characters in shows like East Enders or Coronation Street was perceived, how their actors were perceived at the time, how it changed with more recent series. Or how specific bands and singers were seen, who became a ‘gay idol’, who remained in the closet, who openly announced it. Or the many people who lost their lives to AIDS—and may not have, if they hadn’t had to remain closeted and more information had been available. Or Clause 28, which I had never heard about until now (not being from the UK probably didn’t help in that regard), and the journey from there to legalising same-sex marriages.

Paul Flynn interviewed quite a few interesting figures within the scope of this book, including Alison (who worked at the Lighthouse, offering end of life comfort to patients dying of AIDS), David Furnish (Elton John’s partner), or football player Robbie Rogers—not being particularly interested in football in general, I admit I somewhat knew that the latter is still a difficult area when it comes to being gay, but I wasn’t sure to which extent.

If anything, I would’ve liked to see more about the AIDS period, and somewhat less about the Kylie Minogue parts, so I guess I’ll have to pick other books for this.

Conclusion: Probably better as an introduction that will give you pointers to what to research in depth, so if you’re already very familiar with the country and period, the book might seem a little simplistic. Otherwise, go ahead.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-05 07:35
Best Day Ever
Best Day Ever - Kaira Rouda

By: Kaira Rouda

ISBN:  9781525811401

Publisher:  Graydon House

Publication Date: 9/19/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars +++

Best Books of 2017 

 

Psychologically rich, Kaira Rouda's latest, BEST DAY EVER is one of the most satisfying and entertaining books I have read in 2017! 5 Stars +++ When I add (+s): my Top List for the year. 

Kaira Rouda creates an unpredictable delicious unique domestic suspense at its finest. I predict BEST DAY EVER will be a blockbuster hit and prime for the wide screen. What goes on behind closed doors? 

BEST DAY EVER, a Big Little Lies, but better. The author’s best work to date and this psychological domestic thriller sets itself apart from all the rest due to, a number of things which I will address in my review. (sorry for the length of the review, but have a lot to say).

There are so many psychological elements at play here (starting with the car ride). A weekend trip. The allure. A lake house. A dinner. The anticipation. Afterwards. The perfect set up. You will be dying to know what will happen next. Truly edge-of-your-seat. 

I can envision Alexander Skarsgård (Paul) and Nichole Kidman (Mia) starring in the film. I want a front row seat. An ideal choice for BEST DAY EVER. Hint, someone! Will need to ponder the cast for Buck. (he needs to be hot and hunky)! 

Skillful writing and execution tactics abound. The story takes place within a 24 hr. period. Tick Tock. There is not one moment of boredom. It is addictive and compelling. 

The banter is to die for! 

The author has outdone herself. Spine-tingling. Impending peril (not knowing what Paul will do next) creating intense tension, that propels this claustrophobic cat-and-mouse tale toward its hold your breath, gratifying conclusion. 

Meet Paul and Mia Strom. 

Mia was once a copywriter at an advertising agency when they met. She is from a wealthy family. Paul is an advertising executive and he thinks he is God. He thinks everyone worships him. It does not matter what he does wrong. He can put a spin on it. He has secrets. 

He, of course, has taught his wife everything. (gag) Sex, love, fine food, travel. He is the sophisticated older man she pledged to love honor and obey. As most psychopaths, they do not respect women. They are a conquest. They seek them out. Put on the charm. Slowly turn on their dark side. 

We hear from Paul, in Ohio and his plans to take his wife away for the weekend to their home on Lake Erie. It is a Friday afternoon and Paul feels some tension. He has made these plans and he wants nothing to go wrong. He appears charming and romantic. It will be the BEST DAY EVER. 

They have not been away for a weekend together in more than a year. This day was going to be just for them and it was time to go. The phone rings causing a little delay. 

They drop the kids off at the sitter’s house and then they are on their way. After all, he has loaded and syncing all his wife’s favorite songs. It will be a romantic weekend, with candles, wine, and a fabulous restaurant. Everything to set the mood. Nothing will stand in his way. 

As for most of us, we are aware of any sort of relationship- when you are traveling, you have expectations of an upcoming trip. Emotions run high. She is thinking. He is thinking. Trying to read the other's mind. However, as the car winds its way to the lake, we soon get the feeling, Paul has a dark side. 

However, we are not quite sure what is going on with Mia. 

 




Of course, he does not like it when she wants to stop for a restroom break (God forbid) or stop at a bakery for croissants. However, he is in a flexible mood. He will throw her a bone or two. This once. Paul also talks about the neighbors and bad mouths them if they do not like him. He is all about appearances. 

First, I knew nothing about this book going in, except the summary and the book trailer. At first glance, you think this will be another murder at the lake. Been there, done that. Think again. This book is nothing like anything I have read. 

Not the blood and gore. It is the most dangerous of all. The mind. The thoughts. The suspense. The impending danger. The mystery. The intrigue and the dark humor. Character-driven. 

You pretty much suspect early on Paul (husband) looks at life through rose-colored glasses. He thinks he can do no wrong. Everyone is beneath him and he can manipulate anyone to his advantage. What a jerk. 

He is king of their castle and his queen needs to fall back in line. He is all about action, like a super hero. About achieving and success. Their family is superior. What is this talk about her going back to work? No way. 

You have no clue what he has planned for the romantic weekend away at the lake without the boys. You know something is hidden in the car in the glove compartment, but you do not know what. It will be the BEST DAY EVER. 

He has a lot riding on this weekend. More than you can imagine. 

Paul is trying to make this a pleasant experience to smooth things over, or so it appears. We soon learn Mia has been sick. It annoys him when she eats healthy and controls their eating and dining habits. He appears to be trying, yet he does not like it when the conversation does not go his way. 

Everything he is thinking is played out in the book. He continues to steer it in his direction. He demands control. 

This is where the book excels in my opinion. I could not put this book down. If I had to, I was dying to get back to it. You know something has occurred and he is trying to make a good impression to get Mia back to his side. He wants to smooth things over for some reason. 

He gets annoyed when she starts talking about her strawberries and garden at the lake. The guy Buck is their next door neighbor and his wife died. He helps look after her garden when they are away.

Of course, Paul does not like Buck. Mmmmm . .

The next thing which keeps the reader guessing. Mia does not seem like the meek and mild type with an overbearing controlling (Sleeping with the Enemy husband). She seems a little cocky. She is not argumentive, but yet she brings up topics which are uncomfortable for her husband. 

It is a tug and pull; a little tit for tat, cat and mouse game. She appears calm and collected. What does she have on him? She keeps him on his toes. 

She is intriguing. Mysterious. You do not know what is going through her mind at all. It is all coming from Paul’s viewpoint (which you soon find out, he is wacky). Love her character. 

A modern-day psychopath. 

Mia, on the other hand, does not seem too worried about what her husband has planned, and pretty much drives the night in a subtle way, much to her husband’s displeasure.

When Buck interrupts their alone time, throws dinner reservations late, and at dinner, appears the waiter hates him (because he is a pompous ass) and always looks at his wife, plus his wife seems to be looking at the window in a daze with a smile on her face. He is thrown off his game. 

Could Mia have turned the tables on him? Mia knows much more than she has let on about her husband’s secrets and lies. She is the one who comes from money (parent’s wealthy) and they do not like him and never have. 

How could he have not been paying attention? When did little Mia become so confident and bold? And what does she know? Has someone told her what is going on? He has many skeletons in his closet. 

“This was supposed to be the best day ever, and now it is deteriorating, decaying like the memories of his childhood. “

Frantic, we see Paul’s world unraveling and spinning out of control. And the letter . . . . Priceless!!! I have never laughed so hard. Karma will bite you in the butt when you least expect. 

WOW! It is hard to describe a book of this nature since you do not want to give anything away. You want to provide enough to encourage others, they “Must” read this book. From the cover, author, characters, plot – from the first page to the last (A complete package). I would not change a thing. 

All the dirty secrets are revealed. 

 



Rouda has created a character so evil with his banter and thoughts. I would put him next to any of the bad guys out there. One reviewer compared him to Joe in You and I agree. I think also Perry in Big Little Lies and Jack Behind Closed DoorsAn utterly compelling journey through the darker side of the human psyche. 

The things which go on in his head! Clever writing. Both creepy, and witty. Paul is psychotic, entitled, and a narcissist with a capital N! Rouda reminds me of Paul Cleave here. Another favorite author which uses a lot of dark humor mixed with the thoughts of his psychos. 

As many of you read, my personal notes in my recent review of Emma in the Night— this topic is very relatable and one I have researched for years since my ex-husband was a narcissist. Most everything in this book is so realistic. I think Paul and my ex could be brothers. SCARY. If you meet someone too charming and too good-looking. RUN. 

The author keeps you guessing all the way through the book. You want to savor each moment and not rush. What I did indeed enjoy (which I wish more authors would follow)- Kaira recaps the night and the events leading up to the night from Mia’s point of view at the end. A "behind the scenes." 

During the reading, the author does not give anything away. As a reader, you think she is being manipulated by her husband. By providing all the final details, this balances the story for a satisfying conclusion.

Note: Kaira, if I see Paul around Palm Beach at the Breakers or shopping along Worth Avenue in his pink shirt with an older rich lady on his arm, will let you know. This could be a great follow-up book. Even better, he and Donald Trump have a lot in common, so I am sure Paul will worm his way into Mar-a-Lago. I can view his estate from my apartment window. Will keep you updated! 

Seriously, this may be my favorite psychological/domestic thriller this year. Congrats. Can’t wait to see what’s next. You have found your groove. Give us more of this, please. (no pressure).

 

Have ordered the hardcover (to arrive today), and currently listening to the audiobook, narrated by Graham Halstead and Amy McFadden. Look forward to reading 2018  PLENTY TO GO AROUND. (sneak preview included). 

If I have not convinced you yet. Readers, pre-order this now. The best psychological thriller of 2017! Fans of Mary KubicaFiona Barton, and B.A. Paris will enjoy.

A special thank you to Graydon House and NetGalley for an early reading copy. 

JDCMustReadBooks

In the Mirror 
Here Home Hope 
The Goodbye Year 

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/03/02/Best-Day-Ever
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-04 19:22
Yesterday
Yesterday - Felicia Yap

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

I’m not sure I can really call this ‘science fiction’—‘alternate history/contemporary world’, rather?— and for once I find ‘speculative fiction’ is actually more appropriate. ‘Yesterday’ is set in a 2015 world where people, due to a gene getting inhibited when they become adults, lose their short term memories. ‘Monos’ can only retain the previous days, while ‘Duos’ can retain two days... but nothing more. In order to function, people therefore have to keep writing in their diaries, and make a conscious effort to learn the important ‘facts’ that happened to them.

I found this premise quite interesting, especially when it came to setting a mystery in that world: how would an investigator go about their job, link clues together, if they can only rely on written facts and not on actual memories? Because they’re bound to forget to write some details that would then become important, only at the time they looked so trivial they didn’t think them so. This is DI Richardson’s conundrum, as the main investigator in Sophia Ayling’s suicide-or-murder case, since he knows he has to solve this very quickly, otherwise he may miss some important clues. Just like potential suspects will literally forget what a crafty interrogation session could have made them say. All of this, of course, while keeping in mind an important question: are diaries reliable?

The story revolves around four characters’ narratives and diaries: Claire Evans, a Mono ex-waitress who married a successful Duo writer, but struggles daily with her feelings of inadequacy compared to her husband’s ability to remember more; Mark Evans, whose career as a writer isn’t so satisfying anymore, just like his marriage, and who’s tempted to veer towards politics... and mistresses; Sophia Ayling, a woman with the rare ability to remember everything... including tiny little slights that built up into hatred and a deep desire for revenge; and Hans Richardson, the inspector determined to crack the case in one day, but who also harbours secrets of his own.

In itself, it was a fast-paced enough read (everything happens over 24 hours, after all), and one that kept my attention; the plot twists were easy enough for me to guess, yet at the same time I still wanted to see how the characters themselves, with their limited day to day memories, would go about making sense of everything that happened to them.

In the end, though, the memory limit proved to ask more questions than it provided answers, making the world building kind of... shaky? The society depicted here seems to have been built on the short term memory problem as if it had been here from the start. But while I can see how modern technology (paper diaries, then iDiaries—hello, parallel world Apple that I thought interesting in spite of being a little too obvious) would allow people to function, it makes one wonder how science and said technology developed in the first place: at some point, how was writing invented, if people couldn’t remember what they did two days ago, and couldn’t put it in written words? For me, it would’ve been more credible if the genetic shift had happened later in history—well, maybe it did, but the story doesn’t tell.

The ending, too, left me sceptical. I see what the author did there, but it felt too convoluted and resting on chance events (or perhaps, should I say, on a stroke of genius on one character’s part, but what led to it seemed too much like a convenient plot device?). Also, I would’ve expected the inspector character to make less blunders—either that, or other characters bearing on him for making them, because in the end there were no real consequences.

Conclusion: 2.5 stars. It is an entertaining first novel, I just wished the memory loss premise had been exploited better.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?