October 20, 2014

Review: The Case of the Killer Divorce by Barbara Venkataraman

Product Description:
Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, has returned to her family law practice after a hiatus due to the death of her mother. It's business as usual until a bitter divorce case turns into a murder investigation, and Jamie's client becomes the prime suspect. When she can't untangle truth from lies, Jamie enlists the help of Duke Broussard, her favorite private investigator, to try to clear her client's name. And she’s hoping that, in his spare time, he can help her find her long-lost father. 

My Thoughts:
A couple of months ago I listened to the first Jaime Quinn mystery, Death by Didgeridoo, and liked it but had a hard time with the narration. For that reason I chose to read this second book instead of listening to it and thoroughly enjoyed this quick book. 

Jaime is a fun character and I love her adventures. The Case of the Killer Divorce has three main plot lines but they don't distract from each other and they wrap up nicely with one possibly segueing into the next book in the series. 

If there was one downside to these Jamie Quinn mysteries I would have to say that they're too short. I would love more mystery and investigating but I do love them as quick and short reads.

My Recommendation:
I recommend this book and the series for anyone who loves cozy mysteries.  

September 6, 2014

Review: After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman

Product Description:
When Felix Brewer meets Bernadette “Bambi” Gottschalk at a Valentine’s Dance in 1959, he charms her with wild promises, some of which he actually keeps. Thanks to his lucrative—if not all legal—businesses, she and their three little girls live in luxury. But on the Fourth of July, 1976, Bambi’s comfortable world implodes when Felix, newly convicted and facing prison, mysteriously vanishes.
Though Bambi has no idea where her husband—or his money—might be, she suspects one woman does: his mistress, Julie. When Julie disappears ten years to the day that Felix went on the lam, everyone assumes she’s left to join her old lover—until her remains are eventually found.
Now, twenty-six years after Julie went missing, Roberto “Sandy” Sanchez, a retired Baltimore detective working cold cases for some extra cash, is investigating her murder. What he discovers is a tangled web stretching over three decades that connects five intriguing women. And at the center is the missing man Felix Brewer.
Somewhere between the secrets and lies connecting past and present, Sandy will find the truth. And when he does, no one will ever be the same.

My Thoughts:
After I'm Gone is one of those books that grabs you from the first chapter and doesn't let go. It is very reminiscent of What the Dead Know also by Lippman. The story flips between several different times in the past and the book's present. During the entire book I'm wondering if they're ever going to reveal what really happened to Felix and I had to live in suspense the whole time. I zoomed through reading this one and had to shake myself awake just so I can keep reading because I had to know what happens next and couldn't afford to sleep. 

The ending wasn't at all what I expected but it was very satisfying and now I can safely say I'm a Lippman fan. After reading What the Dead Know I was super excited to read Life Sentences but that one really fell flat for me. Now I'm safely back to being a Lippman fan and will definitely be reading more of her works. 

My Recommendation:
I absolutely loved this book and am sharing it with all my friends. This is a must read for suspense lovers. 

August 24, 2014

Review: How to Fall by Jane Casey

Product Description: 
Sixteen-year-old Jess Tennant has never met any of her relatives, until her mom suddenly drags her out of London to spend the summer in the tiny English town where her family’s from. Her mom’s decision is surprising, but even more surprising is the town’s reaction to Jess. Everywhere she goes, people look at her like they’ve seen a ghost. In a way, they have—she looks just like her cousin Freya, who died shortly before Jess came to town.

Jess immediately feels a strange connection to Freya, whom she never got to meet alive. But the more Jess learns about the secrets Freya was keeping while she was alive, the more suspicious Freya’s death starts to look. One thing is for sure: this will be anything but the safe, boring summer in the country Jess was expecting.

My Thoughts:
How to Fall was easily one of the best YA novels I've read in a while. It had all the elements of a good mystery and what I always feel is lacking in other books, a believable plot line. That's not to say I didn't cringe at Jess' antics half the time because she was the typical teen making bad choices. It was because everything that Jess did was logical for an inquisitive teen dead set on investigating her cousin's death. 

The characters that shared the story with Jess were so well done that I felt like I knew each and everyone of them when I was in high school. I'm definitely putting book two in the series, Bet Your Life, on my to be read list.

My Recommendation:
I recommend this one for anyone who loves YA and mysteries. 

August 23, 2014

Review: Death by Didgeridoo by Barbara Venkataraman

Product Description:
Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, still reeling from the death of her mother, is pulled into a game of deception, jealousy, and vengeance when her cousin, Adam, is wrongfully accused of murder. It's up to Jamie to find the real murderer before it's too late. It doesn't help that the victim is a former rock star with more enemies than friends, or that Adam confessed to a murder he didn't commit. 

My Thoughts: 

I thought that Death by Didgeridoo was a cute and quick read. The mystery was simple and easy to figure out. Jamie has a wonderful sense of humor and there were several lines in the book that made me laugh out loud. She was fun and I really wished that she would have had an opportunity to get to know the prosecuting attorney, Nick, a little better. Hopefully there will be a little more romance in book two of the Jaime Quinn series, The Case of the Killer Divorce.

My review is based on the audio book read by Carrie Lee Martz. Carrie's reading style was a too monotone for me and her portrayal of the PI Duke's southern accent drove me absolutely insane. Each and every word was slow and drawn out in an overly exaggerated manner. I feel that had I read the book, I would have given Death by Didgeridoo a full five star rating.

My Recommendation: 

I recommend this one for anyone who loves cozy mysteries. 

July 20, 2014

Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Product Description:
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it's been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply—but that almost seems beside the point now. Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they're supposed to visit Neal's family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can't go. She's a TV writer, and something's come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her—Neal is always a little upset with Georgie—but she doesn't expect to him to pack up the kids and go without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she's finally done it. If she's ruined everything. 

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It's not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she's been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts. . . .Is that what she's supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

My Thoughts:
Who wouldn't love to have a way to connect with a loved one in the past? This book got me thinking about who I would call and what I would say to them. It gave my reading experience an added bit of whimsey and fun. 

The characters were so well done that I could totally picture them as part of my family. They were quirky and had real life drama that worked well with the contrast of the fantasy aspects in the book. 

The only thing that irked me a little was Georgie's relationship with her friend Seth. It was too predictable and didn't tie together with the ending. I wish the twist with Seth that Rowell put in at the end was completely left out but overall it didn't take away from me loving this book.

My Recommendation:
I recommend this one to anyone who loves contemporary fiction with a little bit of fantasy thrown in.