Tag Archives: Books

Book Review: Past Tense – New Jack Reacher Novel

Past Tense

By Lee Child

Lee Child’s fan favorite character, Jack Reacher, is back. He is in a tiny town in Maine looking for his roots. The home of his family may have the charm of small town America, but tiny towns like this can be clannish and Reacher is an outsider. But never one to back down from a challenge, he quietly researches his family. That is up until circumstances radically change in the blink of an eye putting a target on his back.

One of the many skills he has is hearing something wrong in his environment that will wake him out of a dead sleep. The domino effect of him investigating the noises he heard and coming to the rescue of a woman in trouble becomes his problem faster than a heartbeat. This act of kindness, done in only a way Reacher could, lands him on the wrong side of the law in a town he needs to stay in to help find his family. He understands it is a longshot, but never one to shy away from a challenge, he is determined to finish what he came to accomplish.

Meanwhile, a young couple from Canada is traveling through the area with a car that should be in the junkyard instead of on the road. When it gives them too much trouble to continue on, they are forced to stop for the night. Lucky for them it is by a small motel. But their luck soon turns bad as they find out the car will take more time to be fixed than they thought. Basically trapped in the small secluded motel, they become more and more uncomfortable. Soon it is clear something is desperately wrong with their situation. The owners appear to be keeping the couple isolated from others which makes them afraid of what might happen next.

Soon Reacher and the couple will meet. But when someone else brings weapons to the party, everyone knows bullets will fly and men will die.

I am a fan girl of Lee Child without apologies. His characters, quite notably Jack Reacher, are full of life and energy. They pop off the page with life. The perfect plotting will leave you guessing right up to the end. You will find yourself reading late into the night to see what happens next.  Spoiler alert – Reacher survives the book. But of course all Reacher fans know that going in. Much like James Bond, he lives to die another day and we all expect him to.

Because Child is one of my favorite authors, I have read many of his books. My favorite is always the one I have just finished.  Each time I read one of his books, I am reminded how he can pull me into the story with his eloquent turns of phrase that never intrude on the story he is telling. If you have only seen Jack Reacher on the big screen, invite him further into your life by reading one – or all of Child’s books. You will enjoy the depth of the character and story so much more. In my opinion, the book is always better than the movie.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Harry and Meghan – The Wedding Paper Dolls – The Perfect Gift for Young and Old

Harry & Meghan – The Wedding Paper Dolls

By: Eileen Rudisill Miller

Are you tired of electronic beeps and bells coming from the hands of your children and grandchildren? I have a wonderful solution that will entertain them and you, as well as bring back fond memories. Paper dolls. Not just any paper dolls, but real prince and princess paper dolls just waiting for you and your child to enjoy.

Harry and Meghan are the stars of this fun and informative book. The first page features the Meghan doll as well as interesting facts about who she is. The following pages have two to three outfits each, some include her fabulous hats, each one ready to cut out and try on the Meghan doll. The descriptions will jog memories for moms and grandmas as well as older children. It is fun to read which designer made each dress as well as the event Meghan wore it to. The younger set might just be exited to get down to serious playtime, skipping the designer details.

Harry, the young prince that most of us of a certain age remember being born back in 1984, appears towards the back of the book. He will look dashing in his tuxedo or his Savile Row ceremonial frock coat uniform of the British Army’s Blues and Royals. Who doesn’t love a man in uniform?

Harry & Meghan The Wedding Paper Dolls are also perfect for anyone that collects British Royal items. The book includes the beautiful ensembles as well as sniplets of information and is sure to become a collector’s item.

With the holidays coming up soon, think about the quiet time your child will enjoy with Harry & Meghan. You can settle down with a cup of tea, help them use scissors if they are smaller and just enjoy a few quiet moments together. Soon enough they will grow up and it will be real wedding dresses and tuxedos for them instead of paper dolls.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: The Drowned Girl – Thought Provoking Mystery

The Drowned Girl (previously published as Only One Life)

By Sara Blaedel

Officer Louise Rick travels an hour out of Copenhagen to a small town to help the Unit One Mobile Task Force investigate the horrific murder of a young girl. She was found submerged in the bay by a local fisherman. Suicide is out of the question as she was tethered to a concrete block. Was this an act of random violence? Was she killed by someone she knew? Or was this an honor killing?

The dead teen is Muslim. Her parents live by the rules of their religion, which makes the investigation much more difficult due to their lack of cooperation due to fear and tradition. Unfortunately, information comes to light that may point to a private side of the young victim. Her parents may have found out about her secret which could have brought dishonor to their family.

Enter crime reporter Camilla, close friend of Louise. She jumps into the story and latches onto the honor killing theory. Her editor wants more of this angle, but the deeper Camilla dives into the lives of the Muslim families, the more she wants to help them by finding the truth. But her articles are stirring up a hornet’s nest of preconceived notions that will result in a bigger divide between Danish and Muslims. Will this lead to more violence?

Not only is this a solid mystery, but the thread of prejudice that affects the different groups of people is woven throughout the plot. This multilayered story makes the reader pause to think about listening more and learning more about others they may fear or dislike without foundation.

Some books that are translated from a different language are difficult to read. The Drowned Girl is not one of those books. The flow and read was perfect. Even though this is the first novel I’ve read by Blaedel, it is not the first mystery featuring Louise Rick, but I never felt as though I didn’t know enough about the characters to fully understand the story. Actually, it was quite the opposite. Not only were the main characters shown doing their jobs, but personal lives, hopes and dreams are woven throughout to bring them to life and enrich the story.

This intriguing mystery is entertaining and thought provoking. The plot kept me guessing until the last chapters. Just when I thought I knew who the killer was, my theory would be debunked in the next chapter. This is a perfect multilayered book. If you like depth of characters and the tough topics in Jodi Picoult books, you will love Blaedel’s writing style.

Sara Blaedel is a prolific Danish author, who now resides in New York. She is the recipient of several awards including the Golden Laurel, Denmark’s most prestigious literary award.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the publisher/author in connection with Killer Nashville in return for my review. Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: The Knitter’s Dictionary – A Must Have For Knitters

Knitter’s Dictionary

Knitting Know-How From A To Z

By Kate Atherley

Kate Atherley’s newest book The Knitter’s Dictionary, is a must have for fledgling as well as seasoned knitters. Her no nonsense, easy-to-read information about everything from alpaca to wool and everything in between will keep your needles busy creating successful projects.

There are so many interesting and informative tidbits in this little book, it is difficult for me to choose my favorites, but I have finally narrowed it down. At the top of the list is the comprehensive section on gauge. I know that gauge is the part of knitting most knitters hate. Seems like a waste of time – until the garment you have spent a month making is either too small, too large, too long or way too short. Knitters know you should always swatch for gauge. Atherley goes further to explain how to correct needle size and/or yarn type depending upon how your gauge is off to ensure your finish project is perfect.

There is great advice for choosing the perfect yarn for your project. Each fiber gives feel and strength info as well as additional information to keep problems to a minimum. For example, Possum yarn (from Australia, not the United States Opossum!) is warm, soft but can be pilly. It is not a strong fiber when used alone. I can confirm that description 100%. I purchased some of this yarn and created a beautiful shawl that is warm and soft. But working with it was a challenge do to the tendency of the yarn to simply pull apart.

Lastly, I loved the section on sweaters. The illustrations are detailed and the descriptions include shaping and the actual fit of the different types of sweaters. Atherley’s detailed definitions are easy to understand and inspire knitters of all levels to push themselves a little bit further then they may have thought possible.

If you need one more nudge to get this terrific book, The Knitter’s Dictionary is the perfect size, 8 inches by 6 inches. It will easily slip into your project bag or purse. Since the holidays will soon be upon us, you just might want to purchase two; one for yourself and one for one of your knitting buddies.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Bookish and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

 

 

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Book Review: Honolulu Heat – New Mystery by Rosemary and Larry Mild

Honolulu Heat

By Rosemary and Larry Mild

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Honolulu Heat opens with the Wong family enjoying another beautiful day at home in the paradise of Kauai. Suddenly a hurricane warning is broadcasted, changing the course of their lives forever. The family of three becomes four as the neighbors were away for the day, leaving their young son with the Wongs. They never made it home in the storm, so Noah became theirs.

The family moves to Oahu to be with extended family as their home in Kauai is currently uninhabitable. They are happy in Oahu and decide to make it their home. Noah grows up with love and family, but as soon as he becomes a teenager his rebellious nature lands him in trouble.

It starts out as small infractions. He is involved in tussles with other kids, troubles at school and disobedience at home. But there is another side to him. He is loyal to his adopted family extended family and cares about what they think of him. Unfortunately, the influence of some of his friends will soon put him on a collision course with the law.

Finding himself on the run after his involvement with a murder, Noah ends up in Chinatown tangled up with both a mob boss and an extortionist, both of whom have killed many before and are in a turf war that Noah unwittingly is a part of.

Noah has no place to run or hide, but when he finds out that someone he cares about may be killed, he has to try and get back to someone that will believe in him enough to help stop the violence. Risking everything, he has to prevent another murder or die trying.

Honolulu Heat is a like Scared Straight on steroids. Noah makes bad choices like any kid his age, but basically he is a good kid. He feels guilty about the trouble he has brought to his family as well as his girlfriend.

There are interesting subplots. The lives of the mobster and crime boss are woven into the story adding more and more tension until the last pages where the authors tie up the storylines in a satisfying end.

I like the style of writing of this husband and wife team. The setting of the Hawaiian Islands is interesting and fun to read about. It is the second book I have read from these authors, but the first in this series. The story itself worked well as a standalone novel. I was confused at times trying to keep track of the the number of characters introduced. Honolulu Heat is the follow up novel to Cry Ohana and features the same characters.

Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: The Ghost Photographer – Cosmic Journey of Self Discovery

The Ghost Photographer A Hollywood Executive Discovers the Real World of Make-Believe

By Julie Riuger

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the publisher/author in connection with Killer Nashville in return for my review. Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

The Ghost Photographer takes the reader along on Julie Rieger’s cosmic course of self-discovery. Her journey of is not always an easy choice, but she jumps in with both feet willing to take the ride wherever it takes her. But her newly found psychic powers allow her to be at peace with herself and others. Isn’t that about all anyone can ask for?

Julie is often bawdy, funny and willing to share both the good and bad parts of her life with her readers. She explores the reason for her grief, but realizes grief comes to others in different forms that are just as devastating as the loss of her mother was to her. She knows she needs to dig deeper to figure out the person she will be now that she is really on her own for the first time in her life.

Her journey begins when she discovers pictures of ghosts in photographs she has taken. (The pictures are included at the end of the book for you to decide for yourself). She works to develop her psychic gifts with close friends who have clairvoyant abilities. She also references famous people who were prophetic, second-sighted and/or were precognitive. They include Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill to name a few.

The thing that may surprise readers about Julie is her reliance on religion throughout her journey. She repeats how often she uses the power of prayer to protect herself and others from evil spirits. It should not surprise us that good and evil go hand in hand, and protecting yourself with a higher power is often necessary when delving into the unknown. There are a few things that might give you goose bumps. The chapter about “Old Scratch”, whom the Bible says is a stand in for the devil, is pretty creepy.

This is a very interesting, funny and thought provoking book. It is fast to read and full of things that you may or may not believe could ever happen. If so, take it at face value for your entertainment. That is okay, it is Julie’s journey to document and share. If you are a fan of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert or Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Sheryl Strayed you need to read this book. Journey and self-discovery comes to different people in different ways, each of them unique and interesting to read about.

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Book Review: Long Road to Mercy – Baldacci’s New Series Not to Be Missed

Long Road to Mercy

By David Baldacci

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the publisher/author in connection with Killer Nashville in return for my review. Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

FBI special Agent Atlee Pine is a loner. She specifically requested an assignment in a tiny office in Shattered Rock, just outside of the Grand Canyon. Pine began her life as a team with her twin sister, but no longer works well with others. Just her and her administrative assistant are perfect for her loner lifestyle. She doesn’t mind hard work or long hours. As a matter of fact it suits her well, leaving less time to think about the serial killer that abducted and most likely killed her twin sister Mercy when they were young children.

Pine gets a call that there is a missing person and a dead mule at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. A missing person is not that unusual. Hikers wander off and go missing, but it is extremely unusual to have someone from a group disappear leaving a dead mutilated mule in his wake. As Pine begins investigating she begins to see the disappearance is just the tip of the iceberg in a much bigger plot with huge ramifications.

It sounds like an impossible riddle:  What do the Grand Canyon, a dead mule, the Russian and Korean governments, a possible kidnapping and/or murder and a lone FBI Agent have in common? Baldacci weaves an intricate tale full of action, adventure and intrigue. His characters travel the United States in their quest to find the truth, trying to live long enough for justice to prevail.

I have read many books by Baldacci, and am very excited to find he has begun this new series featuring Atlee Pine. She is a character that has many sides and secrets. Some of them are hers, and some are truths that have been kept from her. I am anxious to find out more.

Baldacci’s latest page-turning thriller lives up to his reader’s expectations and beyond. It is hard pressed to find anyone who has not heard of this award winning, NYT Best Selling author. There is a reason for the accolades; his books are complex yet easy to read. I learned more interesting facts about the Grand Canyon than I’ve heard before, making me want to visit the only one of the Seven Natural Wonders that is located in the United States.

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