JULY READING WRAP UP

goodbye, july

July turned out to be a much better reading month for me in terms of quality which I’ll take over reading lots of 3 star books like my June ended up being. That being said, I did only finish 7 books this month but I’m really happy with all of them except one. I’m so excited for some of my upcoming August/Sept reads and I’m also really making an effort to read 1 backlist book off my TBR every week or 2 for my Throwback Thursday posts. I think it’ll be fun to go back and read some of the books that at one point I said ‘oh I’ve gotta read that’ but then it’s fallen down the tbr black hole. Moving on…

flowers& plants-2

BOOKS READ IN JULY 

Goodbye, Vitamin By Rachel Khong ( This was an engaging, quirky read with a super likable main character that made a perfect one-sit read, 4.5 Stars)

Slightly South of Simple By Kristy Woodson Harvey ( This was my bookclub’s July pick and while I thought the setting and dialogue was a plus, overall the story was just ok for me, 3 Stars)

The Force By Don Winslow ( A mammoth door stop of a book that I read in a day and a half because it’s just that good! This had everything I loved and will be on my top 10 of 2017 for sure, 5 stars)

Hum if You Don’t Know the Words By Bianca Marais (  Reminiscent of The Help with wonderful setting details and compelling characters, this had mystery, drama, and humor, and even though I’m not thrilled with the ending, I highly recommend this, 4 Stars)

All the Wicked Girls By Chris Whitaker ( One of my new favorite authors, I love the writing, mystery, and characters that inhabit the pages of Whitaker’s books. And his mysteries fool me every time. Just fantastic! 5 Stars)

Safe By Ryan Gattis ( My review will be up later this week but this was a case of loved it early on and the love went downhill as the story progressed…)

The Jealous Kind By James Lee Burke ( This was an audiobook which seemed to check all my boxes for what I would like, but I found myself so irritated with the main character Aaron that the whole story fell apart for me…Will Patton as narrator was awesome though, 2.5 Stars)

TRIED BUT COULDN’T GET INTO…

347054792301475431364727

 

READ HALF… BUT HAD TO PUT IT DOWN….MAY REVISIT

23602561

 

I absolutely love Don Winslow’s writing and the action, suspense, and characterization were fantastic, HOWEVER, it was so realistically violent…I’m talking beheadings, torture, burning, and murder after murder that I had to stop because I couldn’t get the images out of my head at night. That’s some exceptional writing…but I need to sleep! It’s going to be a movie in 2018 so I may try to revisit this at some point

 

 

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH 

32075859

 

Another month come and gone! Am I the only one who can’t believe we’re going to be talking about our AUGUST reads soon?? It seems like it was just January yesterday. As always, I’d love to hear if you’ve read any of my July reads as well as YOUR favorites of the month so feel free to dtop me a line in the comments. Here’s to another month filled with fabulous reads!!

images

HAPPY READING!

 

 

REVIEW: ALL THE WICKED GIRLS By Chris Whitaker

35120509

Publication date Aug 24, 2017 by Bonnier Zaffre

“Raine sometimes complains that nothing exciting is ever gonna happen in Grace again. Daddy told her careful what you wish for.”
Everyone loves Summer Ryan. A model student and musical prodigy, she’s a ray of light in the struggling small town of Grace, Alabama – especially compared to her troubled sister, Raine.
Then Summer goes missing. Grace is already simmering, and with this new tragedy the police have their hands full keeping the peace. Only Raine throws herself into the search, supported by a most unlikely ally.
But perhaps there was always more to Summer than met the eye . . .

******

First things first, if you love crime fiction and well-plotted mysteries and you haven’t read Chris Whitaker yet…what are you waiting for?? I first discovered his wonderful writing when my friend Annie at The Misstery introduced me to his debut novel Tall Oaks last year. Months later, I still think about Manny, one of my favorite fictional characters ever! Needless to say, I was so excited to get a copy of All the Wicked Girls…could Chris Whitaker create more memorable characters and another mystery that would fool me? Often we readers go into highly anticipated second novels with high expectations to love it as much as we loved the first…sometimes it works out and sometimes not so much. So, read on to find out if All the Wicked Girls lived up to my high expectations.

In Grace, Alabama , a small southern town brimming with secrets, poverty, domestic violence, substance abuse and grief, five of their own”Briar” girls have gone missing over the recent years. All are church going girls who seemed to have vanished without a trace and except for a possible suspect they call the “Bird” there’s been no leads. The latest girl to go missing is Summer Ryan, the question is… did she run or was she taken? It seems Summer left a note and packed a bag and well, we soon learn Summer had some BIG secrets she was keeping from her parents and her closest friend and twin sister Raine. Raine enlists the help of two teenage boys in town, Noah and Purv, and the three of them conduct their own investigation into what happened to Summer. Now, I’ll admit, that sounds like a fairy simple and straightforward plot but I’m here to say it’s anything but and if you’re like me, you’ll quickly fall under the spell of these tragic, yet endearing, quick-witted characters. I loved Noah and Purv, both had stories that will break your heart and along with Raine I was fully invested in the lives and outcomes of these characters.

At the heart of this story is an intricate mystery that put every single detective skill I think I have to the test and guess what?…I failed miserably. Chris Whitaker completely fooled me (again) and I couldn’t be happier. In the end, this is a story filled with tragedy, heartbreak, redemption, and yes hope and I highly recommend it to everyone who’s a fan of mysteries and memorable characters! So, yes it definitely lived up to my high expectations.

P.S..Fun Flashback….As a former Blockbuster Video employee in my college days (remember Blockbuster & VHS?) I loved the part when Purv is talking about getting he and Noah’s (VHS) movies from “that bastard Goodwill lady…Ain’t never at the start neither. She never heard of be kind, please rewind?” Too funny! This totally took me back to spending hours putting those little stickers on the VHS movies and then having to rewind most of the movies anyway when lazy rewinders returned them:) 

Many thanks to Bonnier Zaffre via Netgalley for my copy. I’m happy to provide an honest review

**If you don’t want to wait for Amazon to have available you can order from Book Depository. I’m not affiliated, just providing the link**

 

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

throwbackthursday

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I’m FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it.

My PICK this week is:

314393

Published Feb 2003 by Warner Books
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

 

Advertising director Charles Schine is just another New York commuter, regularly catching the 8.43 to work. But the day he misses his train is the day that changes his life. Catching the 9.05 instead, he can’t help but be drawn by the sight of the person opposite. Charles has never cheated on his wife in eighteen years of marriage. But then Charles has never met anyone like Lucinda Harris before. Charming, beautiful and a seductively good listener, Charles finds himself instantly attracted. And though Lucinda is married too, it is immediately apparent that the feeling is mutual. Their journeys into work become lunch dates, which become cocktails and eventually lead to a rented room in a seedy hotel. They both know the risks they are taking, but not in their worst nightmares could they foresee what is to follow. Suddenly their temptation turns horrifically sour, and their illicit liaison becomes caught up in something bigger, more dangerous, more brutally violent. Unable to talk to his partner or the police, Charles finds himself trapped in a world of dark conspiracy and psychological games. Somehow he’s got to find a way to fight back, or his entire life will be spectacularly derailed for good.

******
I read this one when it was published and I remember really loving it and thinking it seemed to fly under the reading radar of people.  Thinking about it now and re-reading the blurb, so many years later, I want to say it had a vibe similar to The Kind Worth Killing (Peter Swanson) if you’ve read that one. If you haven’t you’re in luck today and you get a two for one Throwback Recommendation because I highly recommend that as well:) When I’m going through my lists of old favorites, especially ones I read over 10 years ago, it’s very hard to remember plot details and I often just remember how I felt reading a certain book and what I remember about this is thinking that it was a fantastic THRILLER. Yes, there’s a psychological aspect to the story as far as games being played, manipulations, betrayals etc but it’s nicely wrapped up in a fast paced plot that keeps you on your toes. I’m SO glad I read this before the movie! In my opinion, the book is hands down WAY better than the movie, although I thought Clive Owen was great, Jennifer Aniston…not so much. If you’re looking for a good thriller that can easily be read in one sitting, give this a try.

**Stop back next week since I plan on having read (this weekend) a throwback from my current tbr so I can share up to date thoughts with you:)** 

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere 

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Stephanie at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction

Cathy at Between the Lines

P Turners at The PTurnersbookblog

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Noriko at Book Fiend

Rebecca at BoofsBooks

Amy at NovelGossip

Lynne at Fictionophile

HAPPY READING! 

BOOKS ON MY RADAR…WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO

books on my radar

Welcome to my first Books on My Radar post! I got this idea from my good friend Annie at The Misstery as we love to chat about what new books are coming out as well as the past books on our tbr we’re still looking forward to reading.

***

UPCOMING NEW RELEASES 

31574741

SAFE, COMING JULY 25, 1017

Ricky Mendoza Jr. (aka Ghost) is trying to make good. As a teenager, he was a ruthless gangbanger, addict, and killer until he got out and met Rose. As an adult, in recovery and working as a safecracker for the DEA, Ghost is determined to live “clean” to honor Rose’s memory—until he stumbles upon an opportunity to repay the debts of his past. All he has to do is crack a safe and steal drug money from under the noses of the gangs and the feds without getting caught. Or killed.

A propulsive, engaging thriller by a novelist whose writing David Mitchell called “audacious, unflinching and subversive,” Ryan Gattis’s Safe drives readers toward a shocking conclusion while exploring deeper questions about what it means to be “good.”

I’ve read a few pages of this and so far I’m enjoying the writing style and the action that happens in the first few pages

***

35097384

 

ARTEMIS, Coming November 14, 2017

The bestselling author of The Martian returns with an irresistible new near-future thriller—a heist story set on the moon

Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

I literally saw the words “heist story set on the moon” and hit the request button ASAP on Netgalley. Couple that with the fact that I really enjoyed The Martian and I’m super excited to give this one a try.

***

THROWBACK 

13542982

Thomas Kilbride is a map-obsessed schizophrenic so affected that he rarely leaves the self-imposed bastion of his bedroom. But with a computer program called Whirl360.com, he travels the world while never stepping out the door. That is until he sees something in a street view of downtown New York City. Thomas’s keen eyes have detected an image in a window…an image that looks like a woman being murdered.

Thomas’s brother, Ray, takes care of him, cooking for him, dealing with the outside world on his behalf, and listening to his intricate and increasingly paranoid theories. When Thomas tells Ray what he has seen, Ray humors him with a half-hearted investigation. But Ray soon realizes he and his brother have stumbled onto a deadly conspiracy.
And now they are in the crosshairs….

I’ve wanted to read Linwood Barclay forever and when I saw this on sale for kindle last week I grabbed it. I can’t wait to read this, hopefully in the next week or 2 so look for it to show back up on Throwback Thursday.

Do these sound good to you? Have you read Linwood Barclay’s books before? I’d love to hear your thoughts in comments. Have a great reading week! 

HAPPY READING!

 

REVIEW: HUM IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE WORDS By Bianca Marais

28264701

Published July 11, 2017 G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Perfect for readers of The Secret Life of Bees and The Help, a perceptive and searing look at Apartheid-era South Africa, told through one unique family brought together by tragedy.

Life under Apartheid has created a secure future for Robin Conrad, a nine-year-old white girl living with her parents in 1970s Johannesburg. In the same nation but worlds apart, Beauty Mbali, a Xhosa woman in a rural village in the Bantu homeland of the Transkei, struggles to raise her children alone after her husband’s death. Both lives have been built upon the division of race, and their meeting should never have occurred . . . until the Soweto Uprising, in which a protest by black students ignites racial conflict, alters the fault lines on which their society is built, and shatters their worlds….

******

There are three things that really drew me to this novel….the cover, especially the colors, the title, and the first sentence of the blurb mentioning The Help. You see, I absolutely loved The Help, so I hit the request button as fast as possible on Netgalley and hoped for the best. I was thrilled to get this the day before it published and I immediately dropped all my other reads and started this one. I have to say, I’ve fallen victim to this marketing ploy before…the “perfect for readers of” one…and I’ve been severely disappointed in the past. I’m happy to say this book completely lived up to the comparison of The Help, although not in a similar plot way, rather in the way it evoked similar feelings in me.

The story is set in 1975-1976 South Africa with the Soweto Uprising as the catalyst that connects the main characters, Robin and Beauty. We’re first introduced to Robin, a precocious 9 year old girl and her parents, all of whom I immediately connected with as their voices were so well developed. I loved how the author set up their family life and really allowed us to get to know them. The dialogue was fantastic and I felt like I was there feeling the heat and the dust near the mines. When tragedy strikes the family and Robin is forced into a completely different life, it broke my heart! I had just gotten to know all of them. What occurs for Robin after this tragedy is the basis for the rest of the story. Especially when she makes a spur of the moment decision later in the story that changes the course of the most important relationship she has left.

Beauty is a mother of two young sons who leaves her rural South African village when her daughter goes missing in Johanessburg during the Soweto Uprising.  Her life eventually intersects with Robin’s and how this changes both their lives and whether Beauty ever finds her daughter…well you’ll just have to read to find out but believe me when I say, I was so invested in these characters, especially Beauty, that I couldn’t put this book down until I found out! What I found surprising was the fact that, for me, Beauty’s character stole the novel and she really reminded me of Abileen from The Help. There’s wit, humor, happiness and sadness all wrapped up in a well paced plot. As I said, the author manages to write in such a way that the characters all came to life, even Elvis the parrot, although at times he was over the top.

If it sounds like this was a 5 star read for me, it really would’ve been except for some minor issues I had with Robin’s character and the last couple chapters. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Robin but there were times her character, who’s 9, behaved and spoke like a 5 year old and then other times she seemed to be 16 or older. It seemed a little inconsistent. Now, I can’t really say why the last few chapters gave me pause without spoiling things but I will say that they really tested my ability to suspend disbelief which is ok (it’s fiction I get it) but the level was pretty high. Then, the ending…I’m all kinds of conflicted about it and really need to discuss it! That being said, this would make a great book club pick as there’s lots to discuss as far as character’s actions and the plot. I do highly recommend this and if you do decide to read it feel free to DM me so we can chat about the ending! In the meantime, I’m very much looking forward to Bianca Marais’s next novel.

Many thanks to G. P Putnam’s Sons via Netgalley for my copy, I’m happy to provide an honest review. 

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

throwbackthursday

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I’m FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it.

My PICK this week is:

16158535

 

Published May 2013 by Putnam

My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak.

That is, until the Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview.

Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily’s past: her former best friend and her former fiancé, now recently married—an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations. Budgie’s arrival to restore her family’s old house puts her once more in the center of the community’s social scene, and she insinuates herself back into Lily’s friendship with an overpowering talent for seduction…and an alluring acquaintance from their college days, Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton. But the ties that bind Lily to Nick are too strong and intricate to ignore, and the two are drawn back into long-buried dreams, despite their uneasy secrets and many emotional obligations.

******

If you’re looking for an absolute perfect summer read, look no further than A Hundred Summers! Not only is the cover and title fantastic, the story makes for a page turning read that encompasses just enough drama and suspense, not to mention a love triangle filled with betrayal. What more could you ask for summertime reading? I actually read this last summer after it had been sitting on my kindle for over a year and I loved it so much it made my top 10 reads of 2016 last year. The funny thing was I had started the story a couple other times and it didn’t grab me initially. I’m SO glad the last time I picked it up I decided to keep going because once I really connected with Lily, Nick and Budgie I couldn’t put this down. This is a novel that does a little character set up to start so don’t despair and give up, it will quickly pick up.

The story is told in alternating timelines of Lily and Nick’s past and the present which is 1938, in an oceanfront community along the coast of Rhode Island with a country club setting, cocktails, the beach…what did I tell you…summertime perfection! Along the way there is much angst, betrayal and intrigue that occurs between Lily, Nick (Lily’s great love), and his new wife Budgie…who just so happens to be Lily’s former best friend. You just know there’s going to be a LOT of drama, right? It all plays out in a spellbinding story, filled with multi-dimensional characters and an action packed ending that I absolutely loved. I don’t read much historical fiction but Beatriz Williams has made me rethink this stance and I’m definitely going to be reading more of her books in the future.

HAPPY READING!

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere 

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Stephanie at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction

Cathy at Between the Lines

P Turners at The PTurnersbookblog

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Noriko at Book Fiend

Rebecca at BoofsBooks

Lynne at Fictionophile

IT’S MONDAY WHAT ARE YOU READING?

cheers!

Hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate

Last week found me struggling yet again with my reading mood swings. Sometimes I think I’m in the mood for a particular book or genre but then I find myself unable to connect for one reason or another.  Does anyone else struggle with being a mood reader? How do you handle it? I thought I’d turn to tv for something different but I didn’t really find anything other than my absolute fav YOUNGER & The Bachelorette (totally boring last week IMO). Movie wise, we watched Baby Driver which was SO weird yet really good! I was able to actually read 1 book last week (I told you…it’s a bad slump), after trying and discarding several:(

RECENTLY READ…

28264701

Hum if You Don’t Know the Words Perfect for readers of The Secret Life of Bees and The Help, a perceptive and searing look at Apartheid-era South Africa, told through one unique family brought together by tragedy. I was drawn in by the comparison to The Help and this book totally delivered; it wasn’t the same storyline but evoked similar feelings in me. This was an atmospheric novel that I’d describe as part coming of age, part mystery, part drama and all around great read. Review coming later this week

TRIED BUT COULDN’T GET INTO…..

23014754347054793174889032979014

As I said, it was a long week for trying and not connecting with several books. I know I’ll return to The Fallen I think the pace was just too slow to start for me. As for the others, I probably won’t return to any.  I was pretty bored with the story and/or characters in all 3 and also couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough to keep going with The Marriage Pact.

CURRENTLY READING…

23602561

 

The Cartel  a gripping, true-to-life, ripped-from-the-headlines epic story of power, corruption, revenge, and justice spanning the past decade of the Mexican-American drug wars. I decided to dive back into my past tbr and give the shiny new releases a short break. Since I’m on a Don Winslow kick after loving The Force, I jumped right into The Cartel and I have to say I’m loving this saga pitting a DEA agent against the leader of a drug cartel. Suspenseful reading!

 

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO….

29326413

 

The Jealous Kind  An atmospheric, coming-of-age story set in 1952 Texas as the Korea War rages. On its surface, life in Houston is as you would expect: drive-in restaurants, souped-up cars, jukeboxes, teenagers discovering their sexuality. But beneath the glitz and superficial normalcy, a class war has begun, and it is nothing like the conventional portrayal of the decade. Will Patton narrates this story and he’s truly one of the best narrators I’ve heard. I love having a great audiobook going for walking the dog, driving, house projects etc. and I’m really liking this one

 

WHAT I MIGHT READ NEXT….

315747412974047831364727

Safe   Ricky Mendoza Jr. is trying to make good. As a teenager, he was a ruthless gangbanger, addict, and killer until he got out and met Rose. As an adult, in recovery and working as a safecracker for the DEA, Ghost is determined to live “clean” to honor Rose’s memory—until he stumbles upon an opportunity to repay the debts of his past. Clearly I’m in a crime thriller mood:)

This is How It Always Is   This is how a family keeps a secret…and how that secret ends up keeping them.  This is how a family lives happily ever after…until happily ever after becomes complicated.  This is how children change…and then change the world.
This is how a family lives happily ever after…until happily ever after becomes complicated. This just came in at the library, I’ve heard great things about it!

Holding  Graham Norton’s masterful debut is an intelligently crafted story of love, secrets and loss. I’m really curious about this one, especially the love and secrets part.

What are YOU reading this week? 

Here’s hoping I can get through more than 1 book this week! Wish me luck. I hope you have a fantastic reading week! 

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

throwbackthursday

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I’m FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it.

My PICK this week is:

6063187

Published 2009 By Bantam Press

My Rating: 4/5 stars 

Lara Lington has always had an overactive imagination, but suddenly that imagination seems to be in overdrive. Normal professional twenty-something young women don’t get visited by ghosts. Or do they?

When the spirit of Lara’s great-aunt Sadie-a feisty, demanding girl with firm ideas about fashion, love, and the right way to dance-mysteriously appears, she has one request: Lara must find a missing necklace that had been in Sadie’s possession for more than seventy-five years, because Sadie cannot rest without it.

Lara and Sadie make a hilarious sparring duo, and at first it seems as though they have nothing in common. But as the mission to find Sadie’s necklace leads to intrigue and a new romance for Lara, these very different “twenties” girls learn some surprising truths from and about each other. Written with all the irrepressible charm and humor that have made Sophie Kinsella’s books beloved by millions, Twenties Girl is also a deeply moving testament to the transcendent bonds of friendship and family.

******

I’m not sure I’ve featured Sophie Kinsella on TBT yet so I thought mid-summer would be a perfect time to feature one of her books. I’ve read all of her standalones and liked just about every one except her most recent My Not So Perfect Life. That wasn’t my favorite. Her standalones, especially her older ones,  were always my auto buy, go to, funny, feel good reads every year.  I remember really liking this one because Sadie was just a hoot and Lara was a character I rooted for. Of course, there’s just something special about the way Sophie Kinsella writes that makes you feel like you’re with a good friend. She brings her characters to life with wit and humor and makes you want the best for them. Just plain feel good, fun reading! Twenties Girl would be a great place to start if you haven’t read any of her books and if you have but have missed this one go ahead and add it to your last minute summer tbr’s.

HAPPY READING!

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere 

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Stephanie at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction

Cathy at Between the Lines

P Turners at The PTurnersbookblog

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Danielle at Books,Vertigo and Tea

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Noriko at Book Fiend

Molly at Silver Button Books

REVIEW: THE FORCE By Don Winslow

32075859

Published June 20th by William Morrow

Our ends know our beginnings, but the reverse isn’t true …All Denny Malone wants is to be a good cop. He is the “King of Manhattan North,” a highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant and the real leader of “Da Force.” Malone and his crew are the smartest, the toughest, the quickest, the bravest, and the baddest–an elite special unit given carte blanche to fight gangs, drugs, and guns. Every day and every night for the eighteen years he’s spent on the “Job,” Malone has served on the front lines, witnessing the hurt, the dead, the victims, the perps. He’s done whatever it takes to serve and protect in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean.What only a few know is that Denny Malone himself is dirty. 

******

Is it possible that July has brought me my top read of 2017? It’s very likely unless something else truly phenomenal comes along between now and Dec 31 to knock this blockbuster off it’s perch on the tippy top of my top reads shelf. There’s definitely a reason this was published in June because this is the perfect summer read to take to the beach, pool or patio. A crime thriller is the perfect summer read you may be asking? Oh yes, just ask Time, Amazon, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Newsday, Miami-Herald and more since they all named The Force a must read this summer. Just don’t forget to slather on your sunscreen because once you start reading this addicting saga of a police thriller you’ll forget everything else!

The blurb above tells you all you need to know about Sgt. Denny Malone, “King” of The Manhattan North Special Task Force. He’ll be the first to also tell you (repeatedly so) that he’s a hero cop.  You see, Denny narrates the story, first in the prologue where he tells us he’s in a federal jail cell and then throughout the rest of the novel (he details what led to him being in federal jail) as we get an inside, front row, in your face perspective of Denny’s often harsh, racist observations and illegal actions along with his searing rationalizations of why he’s turned dirty. There are no narrative tricks or multiple points of view in the telling of this story. Winslow grabs you immediately with acute observations, single line sentences, short paragraphs and dialogue that snaps, crackles and pops so fast your head will spin and your eyes will barely be able to keep up. THIS is how you tell a story and that’s what makes this book so utterly fantastic! Let me pause here and say the writing is by no means always perfect. There were times I was caught off guard by weird grammatical sentence structures but guess what…I didn’t care…not at all because the storytelling that Winslow weaves is can’t-put-it-down-brilliant. 

I feel like I may have moved into gushing territory so let me try to sum up the gist of the story with one word….corruption. EVERYONE in this book is corrupt in one way or another and let me tell you…the police, the ADA’s, the mayor, the defense lawyers, the criminals, the junkies, the wives, the church, even Internal Affairs…all dirty.  Boy does this make for some fascinating, suspense filled reading as you’re never quite sure who’s going to turn on who at any given point. You know from the prologue that things go wrong for Denny at some point but there’s a whole lot of double crossing, killing, lying and cheating to get him there.  I should add a side note here: if you’re offended by  graphic violence and language this isn’t the book for you. I wanted to share some of the writing style with you and it took me awhile to find sections without the “f” word. Here’s a great example of Denny and his thinking as he’s meeting with a prosecutor to prep for his testimony in the trial of a violent drug dealer….

     ‘Just tell the truth and get the conviction” Hinman said.

     “Which?” Malone asked.

     “What do you mean?”

     “I mean”, Malone said, “I can tell the truth or I can get the conviction. Which do you want?” 

   “Both,” Hitman said. 

   “You can’t have both.”

    Because if he told the truth, they’d lose the case because Malone had no warrant and no probable cause to enter the apartment …the dealer would walk. Because the real truth that they both know is that without cops “testilying,” the DA’s office would hardly get any convictions at all. This doesn’t bother Malone.

Truth, justice and the American way. 

The American way is, truth and justice maybe say hello in the hallway, send each other a Christmas card, but that’s about the extent of their relationship.

Accurate? We’ll never know but Don Winslow spent years researching this book, interviewing hundreds of cops, rookies and veterans alike, so this kind of makes you say hmmm doesn’t it? There’s so much that’s relevant and timely in this sprawling novel that you’ll find yourself often shaking your head but there’s one thing you won’t be able to do and that’s stop reading. Winslow expertly managed to keep me in the dark about how this cinematic thriller would turn out and right up until the final few paragraphs I thought it might end the way I hoped. Surprise was on me. As I said Monday, if you like movies like The Town, The Firm, and The Untouchables and the tv show The Sopranos you’ll LOVE this book. Now I’m off to continue casting the movie (March 1, 2019!) in my head… Henry Cavill sure looks like a good Denny Malone.

Many thanks to William Morrow for my copy via a Goodreads Giveaway

Buy Here

 

 

 

IT’S MONDAY WHAT ARE YOU READING?

cheers!

Hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate

I’ve been really wanting to add some variety to the blog and I love reading everyone’s It’s Monday posts so I thought this week I’d jump on board. I really struggled with my reading last week so I wasn’t quite as productive as I would’ve liked but that took a sharp turn this weekend with a book I literally couldn’t put down…

RECENTLY READ….

277462883075356832075859

Goodbye, Vitamin was an engaging, often funny, family story about the power of our memory. You can find my review here

Slightly South of Simple is my book club’s July pick and one I thought ended up just being ok which I mainly attribute to a particular plot development that I just thought wasn’t at all believable. I thought the writing, character development and setting were SO good but in the end that plot point was a downfall for me

The Force was my unputdownable read of the weekend! Seriously, at about 500 pages, I started this book on Saturday and finished it at 1:00 in the morning today and can I just say WOW. This is a behemoth, cinematic, multi-layered crime novel that every fan of crime mysteries/thrillers should want to get their hands on. Think movies like The Firm, The Town (my fav) and The Godfather meet the tv show The Sopranos, wrap it all up in a NYC cop story and you have The Force! Review coming later this week

CURRENTLY READING….

23014754

 

 

The cover and title of this book, published by St Martin’s Press (I’m having great luck with their books lately), completely drew me in! I think this is the perfect follow up to get my mind out of the heavy crime world of The Force 

 

 

POSSIBLE NEXT READS DEPENDING ON MY MOOD…..

32979014329704383341312832620332

The Fallen A classic southern tale of backroom deals, tainted honor, dysfunctional family, high-stakes greed—and everyday heroism—and bank robbers…I mentioned I love the movie The Town so I couldn’t resist this one

The Shark Club  A warm and wonderfully vivid novel about taking second chances—in life and in the sea. I’m intrigued about the love story and I love the ocean so this seems to be a win-win

Bear Town  A dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true. I can’t pass up a book so well loved by so many other blogging friends! 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo   An unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine. Another one getting rave blogger reviews so I must check it out!

Well those should keep me busy! I hope you have a wonderful reading week! 

 

Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links included in this post