Saturday, April 29, 2017


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Rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you've read previous posts on my blog, you know that I am a fan of Tana French. Her mystery books feature fictional detective characters from Dublin's Murder Squad that are completely engrossing. I've reviewed the last two (of the currently six-part series) on this blog. The Secret Place and Broken Harbor were both good. I found The Trespasser to be excellent. It's one of my favorites of the series. The special thing about these books is that they do not necessarily have to be read in order.

In this sixth book, we again meet partners and detectives Antoinette Conway and Stephan Moran. Both of these detectives were featured in The Secret Place. The difference is that Moran's character narrated the former while Conway gives voice to this latest novel. We learn Conway has a bit of a chip on her shoulder having suffered a considerable amount of harassment and hazing as the only female detective on the squad. Additionally, because she and Moran are the new kids on the block they tend to get the lesser profile cases. So, when they are given what seems like an open and shut domestic abuse turned murder case, it doesn't surprise them. However, Moran, who tends to be more emotionally aware and creative in exploring all options before giving up on a case pushes Conway out of her black-and-white, matter-of-fact comfort zone. While this dynamic makes them good complementary partners, it causes a bit of a rift between the two because throughout the book Conway becomes more paranoid about her place on the squad. The two also have to contend with two fellow detectives who don't appear to be on the up-and-up, and who certainly aren't trying to help them with the case. These factors push Conway and Moran to evaluate the case more closely and take the reader on a roller coaster ride of a murder mystery.

I don't want to give too much away because the building suspense is what makes this story so compelling and what makes French such a great writer in this genre. All of her books in this series, delve right into the case. Along the way you learn about the featured detective and how his (or her!) relationships shape their respective lives. Just like real people, the characters are flawed but have redeeming personality traits. The mystery keeps you, the reader, invested, but the character development is what really rounds out the story.

Recommendation: I would definitely recommend this book as well as all of the books in the series. All of them are available at my local library, so stop by yours and pick up one today. It doesn't have to be the first one. I bet you won't be disappointed. And don't forget to come back and share your thoughts here!

Until next time ... Read on!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

After consuming several books with heavy topics, The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland was a nice departure from the norm. I think Rebekah Crane capture the voice of adolescents very well.

The story is about a group of troubled teens who are sent to a summer camp to help find their respective selves. The main character, Zander, is dealing with a family issue that she is reluctant to share. Other campers have issues with eating/body image, compulsive lying, mental illness, and simply wanting to fit in. From day one, Grover Cleveland takes a liking to Zander.

The story is quite predictable in what happens - unlikely friendships are formed, relationships blossom, obstacles are overcome, and it all kind of ends in a happily every after way. The author took on some serious topics in a very superficial way, but I think it worked well for this genre.

Recommendation: I received a free electronic copy of this book via Amazon's "First" Book benefit from my Amazon Prime membership. I don't think I would have picked this book up on my own or paid for a copy. It's a light, fun read that you might consider borrowing from your local library.

Until next time ... Read on!