Friday, October 30, 2020

Review: Unnatural Exposure by Patricia Cornwell

 


Review:

Unnatural Exposure is the eighth book in the Kay Scarpetta series. There are currently 25 books in the series, so it is a major undertaking if you plan on reading them all.  I started this series several years ago along with the Stephanie Plum and Women's Murder Club series because I can't resist a good murder mystery, but I have never felt compelled to sit down and read them all straight through. You can read one or two books a year from these series and easily pick up where you left off. There is some character development and personal relationships evolve, but each case or story is independent. I read them in order, but I don't think it is completely necessary.

In this installment Kay, Virginia's Chief Medical Examiner, is investigating some cases that appear to be connected to five serial murders that took place in Ireland several years ago. When an additional body turns up with similar, but several strikingly different characteristics, she believes they are now dealing with a copycat. 

In addition, the most recent body is covered with what appears to be a smallpox like infection. After further investigation, it isn't quite smallpox, but a variation of the disease that we do not have a vaccination for. When the copycat killer stats contacting Kay directly via email and eventually in a chat room, Kay is determined to lure the perpetrator into making a mistake that allows the FBI to trace the connection and find the killer.

Kay's niece Lucy, who works as an IT expert for the FBI, is once again instrumental in solving the case. I always find these books amusing because of the archaic computer technology, which was state of the art at the time. In this case the book was published in 1997, which isn't THAT long ago in my opinion, but light years away in terms of technological advancements. AOL with a dial up connection, pagers, and car phones, are just a few of the high tech gadgets mentioned in this book. I remember when these things were a big deal, but kids today wouldn't have the first clue as to what she is talking about. My son even refers to when I was growing up as "the olden days," because in his eyes we lived in the stone age compared to kids today.

Overall, this was another excellent addition to the series. If you enjoy murder mysteries, I would recommend giving this series a try. Just be aware that they are somewhat graphic and may not be for everyone.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Review: Bone Crier's Moon by Kathryn Purdie

 


Review:

Bone Crier's Moon was the April Owlcrate selection. I was a little leery when I first read the description, but I loved this book. I have heard all of the negativity about the animal cruelty, but it wasn't a significant part of the story and I personally did not find it to be offensive. Every culture has its own rituals. The animal sacrifices required to become a farrier are just part of their customs and beliefs that have been passed down for generations.

Here is a picture of everything that came in the April box. The owl pin is a perfect representation of this book since a snow owl had a significant presence in the story as did the phases of the moon. I am looking forward to completing the Harry Potter puzzle now that the weather is getting cold and we are all stuck in COVID isolation. A tote bag can always come in handy for trips to the library and the bracelet is surprisingly cute and practical. The only thing I didn't really care for is the wood moon phase banner. I don't really have a place for it and decided to put it my little free library. So far, it is still out there and hasn't drawn any interest even from the children in the neighborhood. 


Ailesse is the daughter of the current matriarch or leader of the Bone Criers. She is one of the strongest members of their group and it is assumed she will eventually take over for her mother. All she has to do is complete her rite of passage, which involves luring and killing her true love. 

Bastien has had it out for the Bone Criers since his father was murdered by one of them when he was a boy. He is working with a pair of siblings who also lost their father. They have been researching the history of the Bone Criers and find Ailesse during her rite of passage. They finally have their chance at revenge, but things don't quite go as planned.

Ailesse and Bastien believe they are cursed by the spell between a Bone Crier and her amoure. Once they are past trying to kill each other and their friendship begins to flourish, they try to find a way to break the curse. They are also plagued by a bunch of loose spirits that weren't ferried the night of her failed rite of passage.

Sabine is Ailesse's best friend. She refuses to believe Ailesse is dead even though her mother says she is. She is determined to help her friend, but things become more complicated as the story progresses. It becomes clear that the Bone Criers provide a valuable service to society even if the means to the end is unfathomable. There appears to be a sliver of hope for Ailesse and Bastien at the end of this story, but it is at the expense of another character. 

This was a fast paced and highly entertaining book. I probably never would have read it if it weren't for Owlcrate. They do an amazing job with their book selections and this once certainly did not disappoint. I can't wait to see how things will play out in the next installment, but unfortunately I will have to wait until next March for the release of Bone Crier's Dawn. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Review: Unrivaled by Alyson Noel

 


Goodreads Overview:

Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life.

But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

Review:

I picked up a copy of this book at BEA 2016.  It finally made it to the top of my TBR list because I was looking for a book that starts with U for the A-Z reading challenge this year.  

This book was surprisingly good. The owner of several night clubs in L.A. decides to host a contest to help promote his clubs. Layla desperately needs the money to pay for college, but she is far from the night club sort of person. In fact, she runs a celebrity gossip blog that thrives off of celebrity drama. Trying to make friends with these same celebrities and lure them to her club isn't going to be easy.

Tommy is a talented musician and the illegitimate son of the night club owner. He is using this opportunity to get closer to his dad, but he doesn't want to use his connection as an advantage. He needs the money to help launch his music career, but I believe he is more interested in earning his father's respect.

Aster is the privileged daughter of a wealthy L.A. family. She lives a very sheltered life that her parents have planned out for her. She wants to become an actress and live her own life. She believes the connections and money she could make by winning the contest could provide the break she needs to get her foot in the doors of Hollywood. 

The contest awards points to the promoter that lures not only the largest volume of guests, but the highest quality as well. There is a list of celebrities they are supposed to target with Madison Brooks being the top prize. They all connect with Madison in some form before she is discovered missing. Now they are at the top of the list of suspects and need to work together to uncover what really happened to Madison Brooks.

We learn throughout the story that Madison isn't exactly the person she has led the public to believe she is. She has a past she is trying to hide, but we have no idea what it could be. I really think uncovering her true identity will solve the mystery of her disappearance. 

This was a fast paced and highly entertaining beginning of the series. I loved all of the characters and can't wait to see what happens next in Blacklist. This is a trilogy with all 3 books currently available, so there is no need to wait between books. This is a huge advantage to not starting the series when Unrivaled was first released.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Review: Most Likely to Succeed by Jennifer Echols

 


Goodreads Overview:

As vice president of Student Council, Kaye knows the importance of keeping order. Not only in school, but in her personal life. Which is why she and her boyfriend, Aidan, already have their lives mapped out: attend Columbia University together, pursue banking careers, and eventually get married. Everything Kaye has accomplished in high school—student government, cheerleading, stellar grades—has been in preparation for that future.

To his entire class, Sawyer is an irreverent bad boy. His antics on the field as school mascot and his love of partying have earned him total slacker status. But while he and Kaye appear to be opposites on every level, fate—and their friends—keep conspiring to throw them together. Perhaps the seniors see the simmering attraction Kaye and Sawyer are unwilling to acknowledge to themselves…

As the year unfolds, Kaye begins to realize her ideal life is not what she thought. And Sawyer decides it’s finally time to let down the facade and show everyone who he really is. Is a relationship between them most likely to succeed—or will it be their favorite mistake?
 

Review:

This is the third and final book in the Superlatives series. The books are companion novels that focus on different main characters, but they all take place within the same school year. There is plenty of interaction between the main characters from the other books, so the reader can get updates on the all their favorite characters.

Kaye is the classic overachiever who has her life all planned out. Her mother came from a rough neighborhood and is now a bank executive. She has extremely high expectations for her daughter and has her on a tight leash. She didn't want Kaye to be a cheerleader, but Kaye was able to convince her she needed another extra curricular for her college applications. It is the one thing she actually enjoys and it allows her to spend time with Sawyer, who her mother does not approve of.

Sawyer is secretly a great student with excellent test scores, but he comes across as a partying class clown. He does an amazing job as the school mascot, but it is more than just a fun position to him. It is a way for him to express his true personality. He is constantly judged and labeled by his father's past mistakes. He is a completely different person than his father, but it is hard to tell that to a small town population that assumes the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

This was a highly entertaining conclusion to the series. It takes Kaye a long time to realize her life plans may not bring her the happiness she always believed they would. She needs to stand up for herself and take some risks that are way outside of her comfort zone, but the reward is definitely worth the risk. Sawyer also needs to accept the fact that he can't do everything on his own. There is nothing wrong with accepting help from your friends. He also needs to learn to express himself outside of his costume. 

The entire school knows Kaye and Sawyer are the perfect couple, but will they be able to work through their personal demons to finally achieve happiness together?