2 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · crime · mystery · Police Procedural · thriller

New Release | A Bad, Bad Thing by Elena Forbes

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A Bad, Bad Thing by Elena Forbes 

Published: December 1, 2018

Publisher: Severn House Publishers 

Pages: 320 

Genres: mystery, police procedural, crime, thriller

Rating: 2 stars 

Recommend to fans of: romantic relationships getting in the way of work, criminals helping out the cops

Foodie Vibes: coffee and leftovers to keep you going when you’re busy 

 

Synopsis: 

Eve West, a police officer with a hidden past, is drawn into a dark and complex case when she’s asked to investigate a miscarriage of justice.

A highly effective police officer, albeit one who keeps her past carefully hidden, Eve West is suspended from duty after a police operation goes catastrophically wrong. Receiving help from an unexpected quarter – a criminal she put away many years before – Eve feels she has no choice but to agree to his request to investigate a possible miscarriage of justice in return. But why is a hardened criminal like John Duran so keen to help a fellow-inmate convicted of the murder of a stable-girl? And why has he chosen Eve to look into the case?

Teaming up with crusading journalist Dan Cooper, Eve begins to uncover disturbing flaws in the original investigation. But as her past is dragged to the surface, she comes to realize she has been plunged into a case more complex and sinister than she ever imagined.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Severn House Publishers, and Elena Forbes for an ARC ebook copy to review. Sorry about the late book review. I was out of power due to a winter storm for 3 days, so I’m a bit behind on book reviews. As always, an honest review from me. 

I ended up DNFing this book. It’s not bad but only okay. I found myself not really getting into the read. Despite all of the action, drama and suspense my interest wasn’t held enough to warrant me continuing to read the book.

I think one of the main reasons I didn’t connect with the book was that I didn’t connect with the main character. That’s one of the most vital elements for me loving a book.

The plot does have promise though. There’s intense drama and lots of police investigations. Also a criminal reaching out to a cop makes for an interesting read. 

So if you connect with the story at the beginning, then A Bad, Bad Thing is probably for you. Unfortunately the book wasn’t a good match for me as a reader. 

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

Answer me this: What’s worse: an honest criminal or a crooked cop?

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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2 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Geography · non fiction · politics

ARC Review | Globalography: Mapping Our Connected World by Chris Fitch

 

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Globalography: Mapping Our Connected World by Chris Fitch

Published: October 30, 2018

Publisher: White Lion Publishing

Pages: 224

Genres: geography, non fiction

Rating: 2 stars

Recommend to fans of: history, geography, unique ways to learn

Foodie Vibes: food that’s imported or exported to/from your country

 

Synopsis:

50 stunning maps reveal our globalized world like never before.

Explore how cities are expanding beyond the reach of their nations, uncover the ways bananas, cobalt and water bottles link the most unlikely of places, and discover how modern phenomena such as messenger apps and sharing platforms are changing not just our interactions, but how we interconnect.

Globalography uncovers the myriad ways we can now connect with one another and in doing so, showcases the radical way globalization is transforming our world.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, White Lion Publishing, and Chris Fitch for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

At first look the book is an interesting concept. Unique maps of the world alternating with text to expand upon the information in the maps. It shows how different countries relate to each other through history, commerce and trade, and other sociopolitical issues. Some topics that are highlighted include banana production and export, satellites, tea, athletic shoes, cement, bottled water, contemporary art, cocoa, honey, smartphone users, and car exports.

The book ends up reading like a school textbook, but not as text heavy. If these concepts interest you, then maybe the book is for you. However, these topics don’t interest me, so I found myself being bored much of the time. There were interesting tidbits, but overall not interesting for me. Much of the information I had already learned in high school.

I loved the last book I read using the same map concepts, but not this one. I think it’s the topic the book discusses, rather than the style of writing. So if you enjoy the topics, check out the book. If not, maybe try something else. 

 

Speaking of school, what was your favorite subject?

2 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mystery · Police Procedural · psychological thriller · suspense

ARC Review | The Goodnight Song by Nick Hollin

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The Goodnight Song by Nick Hollin

Published: September 17, 2018

Publisher: Bookouture

Pages: 283

Genres: psychological thriller, police procedural, mystery, suspense

Rating: 2 stars

Recommend to fans of: twisted family psychological thrillers, lovers of the first book in the series

Foodie Vibes: takeout pizza – easy and filling on the go
Synopsis:

Gifted criminal profiler Nathan Radley has a unique way of thinking that allows him to empathize with the twisted killers he helps capture.

But Nathan a dark secret. He has more in common with the criminals he hunts than anyone could dare to imagine. He lives in constant fear of losing control of his own dark desires…

When the headless body of a policeman is dragged from the Thames – an exact enactment of one of his oldest and darkest fantasies, only ever confessed in the pages of his teenage diary – Nathan finds himself the main suspect in the most twisted case of his career.

Someone has his diary and is leaking pages to frame him for the disturbing murders he has spent his whole career trying not to commit.

As more bodies surface and more extracts are released, Nathan has no choice but to go in search of the killer to clear his name. He knows it’s someone dangerous, he knows it’s someone he trusted, but how many precious lives will be lost before he can work out who?

A nail-biting and unputdownable thriller that fans of Peter James, Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott will adore.

 

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and Nick Hollin for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

The book follows a criminal psychologist who works for the police. His twin brother is a serial killer and taunted him endlessly in the last book. His actions have continued to haunt the criminal psychologist throughout this book as well. The premise appears to be the setup for an action packed intriguing read. However it falls short. 

At the beginning the story jumps around making it difficult to tell what’s a memory, flashback, reality or something else. Perhaps if I had read the first book in the series it would have made more sense. Also I’m not sure exactly why, but I never got into the book. It didn’t intrigue me, and found myself reading it solely to finish. There was nothing outright bad about the book, but I simply didn’t connect with it. 

The story had a lot of action and suspense. And for sure plenty of spine tingling creepiness.

The Goodnight Song unfortunately missed the mark for me.

 

2 Star Books · Book Reviews · mystery · non fiction · True Crime

The Kill Jar: Obsession, Descent, and a Hunt for Detroit’s Most Notorious Killer by J. Reuben Appelman

 

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The Kill Jar: Obsession, Descent, and a Hunt for Detroit’s Most Notorious Killer by J. Reuben Appelman

Published: August 14, 2018

Publisher: Gallery Books

Pages: 288

Genres: true crime, non fiction, mystery

Rating: 2 stars

Recommend to fans of: dark twisted minds, unsolved crimes

Foodie Vibes: greasy diner food

 

Synopsis:

Enthralling. Gripping. Cinematic. Raw. A cold case murder investigation paced like a podcast, as visually stunning as a film, and as brave and personal as our darkest memoirs. J. Reuben Appelman cracks open one of America’s most notorious murder sprees while simultaneously banging the gavel on his own history with violence. A deftly-crafted true crime story with grit, set amid the decaying sprawl of Detroit and its outliers.

With a foreword by Catherine Broad, sister of victim Timothy King.

Four children were abducted and murdered outside of Detroit during the winters of 1976 and 1977, their bodies eventually dumped in snow banks around the city. J. Reuben Appelman was six years old at the time the murders began and had evaded an abduction attempt during that same period, fueling a lifelong obsession with what became known as the Oakland County Child Killings.

Autopsies showed the victims to have been fed while in captivity, reportedly held with care. And yet, with equal care, their bodies had allegedly been groomed post-mortem, scrubbed-free of evidence that might link to a killer. There were few credible leads, and equally few credible suspects. That’s what the cops had passed down to the press, and that’s what the city of Detroit, and J. Reuben Appelman, had come to believe.

When the abductions mysteriously stopped, a task force operating on one of the largest manhunt budgets in history shut down without an arrest. Although no more murders occurred, Detroit and its environs remained haunted. The killer had, presumably, not been caught.

Eerily overlaid upon the author’s own decades-old history with violence, The Kill Jar tells the gripping story of J. Reuben Appelman’s ten-year investigation into buried leads, apparent police cover-ups of evidence, con-men, child pornography rings, and high-level corruption saturating Detroit’s most notorious serial killer case.

 

Review:

I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Gallery Books, and J. Reuben Appelman for the book to review. As always, an honest review from me.

I’m a big fan of true crime books, but this one missed the mark for me. The entire book emirates terror and disturbing thoughts. It gave me the heebie jeebies while reading and left me feeling very unsettled for hours after. The weird disturbing vibes are not my thing.

While the author’s search to find the true killer of these unsolved crimes is noble, the writing comes across as a little too obsessed. Maybe you have to be to search out serial killers and pedophiles? Still, it’s good that someone’s investigating these crimes and holding people accountable.

Also, the bits about his personal life didn’t really need to be included, in my opinion. There were raw, authentic, and insightful. It felt more like a therapy session than cohesive thoughts to tie the rest of the story together.

Overall, The Kill Jar was not the true crime book for me. Way too disturbing and focused on the horrific details of too many predators. It’s not a bad book, but definitely not a good fit for me.

 

How do you shake off unsettling feeling from a book?

2 Star Books · Book Reviews · mystery · suspense

Dead in the Water by Simon Bower

 

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Starting a fun bonus question!

 

Random Question of the Review:

What’s something that you absolutely do not like in a book?

 

Dead in the Water by Simon Bower

Published: May 9, 2018

Publisher: Middle Farm Press

Pages: 404 

Genres: mystery, suspense

Rating: 2 stars

Recommend to fans of: characters you can rage hate the entire book, mysteries set in Europe

Read with food: croissants ~ because France! And they sound delicious right now

 

Synopsis:

When the mystery is all but solved The thrilling race against evil truly begins.

A female corpse floating in the warm harbor water in the Mediterranean Sea. An unappreciated local detective, more acquainted with cases of petty vandalism than murder, is assigned to investigate – but he’s in failing health and time is against him. A Laguna Beach waitress finds lust in the Philippines, but is it love? A Geneva businessman lives the high life with his yacht on the Med – but is he capable of sustaining it?

A New York mother finally discovers who her father is, but it would not be long before she would regret ever searching. A Georgetown University law graduate is struggling to accept her philandering husband, starting to look elsewhere… And a down-on-his-luck Londoner finds love, lust and desire, but has he got the verve to prevail?

An international plot unfolds with increasing pace as eight lives become entangled in a dark snare with no-one safe from danger.

 

Review:

I won a ebook copy through Goodreads Giveaways for free. Thank you to Goodreads, the author and publisher. As always, an honest review.

Where do I begin with this book? 

While the storyline does follow the summary given on Goodreads, there’s so much more to it than that. I think it overtakes the mystery.

The main aspect that I didn’t like was how smarmy so many of the male main characters act. Vulgar, offensive to women in the book, the complete opposite of a feminist, and generally cringe worthy all around. While characters do not have to be good people, I could not get over their awful behavior to focus on the mystery of the book. I was just constantly enraged by their appalling behavior. Also trigger warning for incest. Technically legal incest, but absolutely cringe worthy for me still. Also there are so many characters that are somewhat connected, but at times it felt hard to make sense of it all. Especially in the beginning. 

Now onto the redeeming qualities, and yes there are some. The female POV chapters were interesting, especially the paternity storyline. I wish their chapters were longer. Also the author is clearly familiar with France, as his writing shines with a wonderful authenticity while the characters are traveling there. 

Overall, the book is not my cup of tea. However it might be for you if you enjoy stories in which you love to hate certain characters. That’s not a bad thing at all, but not something I’m looking for in a book. I’ve found that personally I need to like, understand and connect with the main character to enjoy the book.

 

2 Star Books · Book Reviews · romance

Book Review: Only Her: A Bad Boy Second Chance Romance by Rebecca Janet

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Only Her: A Bad Boy Second Chance Romance by Rebecca Janet

Published by Kindle Edition on May 12, 2018

Pages: not listed (582 pages when read in iBooks on an iPhone)

Genres: romance

Rating: 2 stars

Recommend to fans of: romances that supposedly check all the boxes, drama, guys with good hearts

Read with food: champagne and strawberries

 

Synopsis:

Only HER can give me that feeling…

Neal

I was the one to walk away. When opportunity came knocking on my door, I answered it. At the time, I thought it was the best thing for me to do.

I’d build up my empire, gather up my wealth, and come back to give her everything she ever wanted.

Only, it’s not that easy.

It’s never that easy.

She no longer trusts me and for good reason, too. As far as she’s concerned, I abandoned her.

But, I’m not about to give up.

This time, she’s mine and I’m not leaving without my Queen.

Kara 

Everything was just fine until he showed up.

I worked a typical nine-to-five job and I was fine with that. Okay, maybe pushing pills at a pharmacy was slowly driving me insane, but at least it paid the bills.

Besides, one day, I was going to be a successful author. I just needed to get over a serious case of writer’s block.

Which wasn’t helped by the fact that my ex-boyfriend, my first and only crush, just suddenly came waltzing into my life after a ten-year hiatus.

Oh, and get this, he thinks he can just pick up where he left off.

Not going to happen.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

This is a full-length standalone novel brimming with temptation and high heat. It features a hot-as-hell alpha male on a mission fight like hell to win his woman back . It has no cheating, no cliffhangers and this one is for you if you love big weddings and happily ever afters!

Review:

A big thank you to the author for giving me a free ARC copy of the book. As always, an honest review.

With that being said, I had high hopes for this book, I really did. 

I have been on a bit of a romance novel kick lately. I usually read 1-2 per year, so several romance novels in a month is a big thing for me.

Unfortunately this one was only okay. The premise sounded promising. Two people who hadn’t seen each other in years after a heartbreaking night. It’s unique which I appreciated. I also really liked their shared love for books. Always a plus for me!

But the rest of the story was only okay. It seems to check all the boxes that a good romance novel would need. I wish the writing and characters were more developed. It seemed like a lot of plot twists and things thrown in there in a very short time. This caused the story to move very quickly and feel a bit forced at times. 

Also, it definitely reads like a typical romance novel, not a contemporary fiction novel centered around romance. The latter is my personal preference. But maybe it’s not yours. 

Only Her has a good premise, but ultimately it fell short for me. I had high hopes for this romance novel, since I have been enjoying many of them lately. It’s a short book, so if you want to check it out it’s a quick whirlwind of a read.