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Review – Lost and Found – Amy Shojai

???????????????????????????????????????Lost and Found
Author: Amy Shojai

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
AN AUNT searches for her lost nephew—and dooms her sister.
A MOM gambles a miracle will cure—and not kill—her child.
A DOG finds his true purpose—when he disobeys.

Animal behaviorist September Day has lost everything—husband murdered, career in ruins, confidence shot—and flees to Texas to recover. She’s forced out of hibernation when her nephew Steven and his autism service dog Shadow disappear in a freak blizzard. When her sister trusts a maverick researcher’s promise to help Steven, September has 24 hours to rescue them from a devastating medical experiment impacting millions of children, a deadly secret others will kill to protect. As September races the clock, the body count swells. Shadow does his good-dog duty but can’t protect his boy. Finally September and Shadow forge a stormy partnership to rescue the missing and stop the nightmare cure. But can they also find the lost parts of themselves?

Review:
I have to admit that at first I was skeptical about how much I was going to enjoy the book – because I felt upon reading the jacket copy that too much of the plot had been disclosed (don’t worry, I was partially wrong). And the first few chapters were a bit rough, for lack of a better word – it took me a little while to get into the feel of her writing which is very stark (for lack of a better word) as well as the one POV being from Shadow, the German Shepherd puppy (who I loved as a character BTW – reminds me very much of my big goofy baby). To say that the plot resembled a roller-coaster would be correct – it was a continual up and down through the entire thing – the last author I read who did such an on the go type plot was James Rollins (although Matt Reilly is a close second). The medical mystery plot was intriguing, but it wasn’t like it was new to me – maybe because I read a book not long ago that had a similar theme, but I guess it is hard at times to come up with something truly unique.

I think the one thing that I didn’t like was that throughout the entire book, the author alluded to something that had happened with the main characters husband/dog, but never really came out and said specifically what it is. That drove me nuts – I wanted to know – maybe we’ll find out in another book who knows. Also, the names of the main character and her sister just seemed a bit cheesy to me – named after the month they were born in and then their last name just happens to be Day…lol! There was also a bit of a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming that I felt just overdid the whole thing – it wasn’t needed (at least in my honest opinion) – it almost ruined the tension that was in the book for me…

Either way, I enjoyed the read, I would probably give it 3.5 stars overall, but would recommend it for people who like mysterys/suspense/thrillers, especially with a medical twist, and those who like books with animals).

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Audiobook Review – The Silent Girl – Tess Gerritsen

the silent girlThe Silent Girl
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Series: #9 in the Rizzoli and Isles series

Narrator: Tanya Eby
Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Description:
Every crime scene tells a story. Some keep you awake at night. Others haunt your dreams. The grisly display homicide cop Jane Rizzoli finds in Boston’s Chinatown will do both.

In the murky shadows of an alley lies a female’s severed hand. On the tenement rooftop above is the corpse belonging to that hand, a red-haired woman dressed all in black, her head nearly severed. Two strands of silver hair—not human—cling to her body. They are Rizzoli’s only clues, but they’re enough for her and medical examiner Maura Isles to make the startling discovery: that this violent death had a chilling prequel.

Nineteen years earlier, a horrifying murder-suicide in a Chinatown restaurant left five people dead. But one woman connected to that massacre is still alive: a mysterious martial arts master who knows a secret she dares not tell, a secret that lives and breathes in the shadows of Chinatown. A secret that may not even be human. Now she’s the target of someone, or something, deeply and relentlessly evil.

Review:
I was conflicted going into my listen of this. It is one of the few audiobooks that I have started and then got distracted before continuing (mostly because I had a bad case of BSN disease – bright shiny new). So when I went back to the Silent Girl, I wasn’t sure what my overall opinion of it was going to be. Added to that, I had read a blog post by the author (or something on her website) where she talked about complaints from readers about this being similar to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which I loved)…but it took me a long while to figure out the similarities – so to me it wasn’t that obvious.

This is one of the books in the series that I really struggled about how I felt – I did like the mystery and the solving of the crime – but it hasn’t had the same relationship between Jane and Maura that was so prevalent in previous books – which was part of the reason why I enjoyed the series. And it wasn’t similar to Ice Cold, the previous book in the series, where Jane and Maura were literally cross-country from each other – this time it was a matter of personalities, beliefs, job roles…I admire Maura for standing by her beliefs – she is definately no shades of grey kind of person – it is either right or wrong – this is one of the first times that I have been disappointed in Jane as a character – I guess after 8 books, I expected more of her (lol – I can’t believe I am talking like she is a real character).

The mystery was fulfilling – I had my normal jumping back and forth trying to figure out who did it and who “The Silent Girl” really was – it wasn’t who I thought that it was originally. I did figure it out maybe about 2/3′s of the way through. I’ll be interested to see if any of these characters make an appearance in later books – I was sufficiently intrigued by the character development.

I have to admit that Tanya Eby’s narration is growing on me – I wasn’t so sure if I truely enjoyed her narration – but I did like this one. I hadn’t noticed any of the issues that I had with her narration of Ice Cold (what seemed to be a slight lisp and an irksome narration for Jane’s voice). In fact, by the end of it, I was really getting into the narration and enjoying it. It was also nice to see that she is narrating the next book in the series (after the series has played musical narrators for a good portion of it)…

Overall, a good addition to the series – not my favorite one, but an improvement over Ice Cold which I just didn’t enjoy…3.5 stars overall

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Ice Cold – Tess Gerritsen

Ice Cold
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Series: #8 in the Rizzoli and Isles series

Narrator: Tanya Eby
Run Time: 9 hrs 51 minutes
Producer: Brilliance Audio

Book Description:
In Wyoming for a medical conference, Boston medical examiner Maura Isles joins a group of friends on a spur-of-the-moment ski trip. But when their SUV stalls on a snow-choked mountain road, they’re stranded with no help in sight.

As night falls, the group seeks refuge from the blizzard in the remote village of Kingdom Come, where twelve eerily identical houses stand dark and abandoned. Something terrible has happened in Kingdom Come: Meals sit untouched on tables, cars are still parked in garages. The town’s previous residents seem to have vanished into thin air, but footprints in the snow betray the presence of someone who still lurks in the cold darkness—someone who is watching Maura and her friends.

Days later, Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli receives the grim news that Maura’s charred body has been found in a mountain ravine. Shocked and grieving, Jane is determined to learn what happened to her friend. The investigation plunges Jane into the twisted history of Kingdom Come, where a gruesome discovery lies buried beneath the snow. As horrifying revelations come to light, Jane closes in on an enemy both powerful and merciless—and the chilling truth about Maura’s fate.

Review
I figure after greatly enjoying the last few books in the series, I was about due for a dud. But even saying that, Ms Gerritsen’s dud’s are still better than a good majority of other fiction out there (oh the irony). I can’t even really describe what it was about this one that made it only ehhh for me – I think it was because I had pretty much figured out the who done it early-ish in the book (like not long after the introduction of said character). I also think that it might be the fact that one of the things I love the best about the series is the interaction between Jane and Maura and that was decidedly lacking in this series as they spent 90% of the series separated by several thousand miles. It made me realize how much Jane is the dominant character in the series – while Maura has this quiet strength and perseverance, which was highlighted in this book – Jane is like the gun powder – explosive and on the go. Which is what I prefer – maybe because she is opposite to me – I definitely identify more with Maura than with Jane, which is why I like reading about Jane’s antics. The one interesting thing for me in this book was how various cult’s and the development of Cult’s were discussed. It made me want to read more about some of the ones that have become famous in history (Jonestown specifically), so I am on the look-out for books (if anyone has any ideas – let me know).

Going into the narration, I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of Tanya Eby’s work. I had heard a few negative reviews about some of her work and I was a bit worried – but I was pleasantly surprised. I can’t say that this was my favorite narration ever, because its not, and it definately wasn’t my favorite of the series (Anna Fields has that spot all tied up), but it was enjoyable. One of the comments other listeners had made was on a lisp – but I didn’t hear anything that wasn’t easily gotten used to in listening. However, I wasn’t a fan of how Jane sounded in her parts – she didn’t have the Boston Irish accent that I had gotten used to in previous narrations, so that was lacking. However, I didn’t mind her narration of Jane and thought that she did a pretty good job with the narration of the various males voices that occurred through-out.

Overall, I would give both the book and the narration 3 stars. I liked it, but didn’t love it. It will be interesting to see how I enjoy the narration in future books, as it appears that Tanya Eby may become the primarily narrator (she has done the two most recent books).

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Audiobook Review

 

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Review – The Keepsake – Tess Gerritsen

The Keepsake
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Series: #7 in the Rizzoli and Isles series

Narrator: Diedre Lovejoy
Run Time: 10 hrs and 51 minutes

Book Description:
For untold years, the perfectly preserved mummy had lain forgotten in the dusty basement of Boston’s Crispin Museum. Now its sudden rediscovery by museum staff is both a major coup and an attention-grabbing mystery. Dubbed “Madam X,” the mummy–to all appearances, an ancient Egyptian artifact– seems a ghoulish godsend for the financially struggling institution. But medical examiner Maura Isles soon discovers a macabre message hidden within the corpse–horrifying proof that this “centuries-old” relic is instead a modern-day murder victim.

To Maura and Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli, the forensic evidence is unmistakable, its implications terrifying. And when the grisly remains of yet another woman are found in the hidden recesses of the museum, it becomes chillingly clear that a maniac is at large–and is now taunting them.
Archaeologist Josephine Pulcillo’s blood runs cold when the killer’s cryptic missives are discovered, and her darkest dread becomes real when the carefully preserved corpse of yet a third victim is left in her car like a gruesome offering–or perhaps a ghastly promise of what’s to come.

Review:
Of all the books in the Rizzoli and Isles series that I have listened to this year, The Keepsake is one of my favorites. I loved how a museum, a place where many people wouldn’t necessarily choose to visit (unless you are a history dork like me!) as an option when visiting a new city. And yet, Ms Gerritsen wrote this book in a way that I hope will cause more people to choose to visit them. And added to that, there was the egyptology twist with mummies and artifacts. The various dead methods that the author choose to incorporate into the plot with the Archeology killer were particularly gruesome and unique from all the other books in the series. After finishing this book, I wanted to pick up a book about egyptian burial methods to read up on my history. To me, that is a sign of a good book, when I want to find a non-fiction book about something that was featured in a fiction book.

After listening to most of the books in the series so far, and playing the musical narrators for most of the books (I think Deidre Lovejoy is the 5th different one maybe), I have come to appreciate the different narration skills out there. For me, this was a solid performance. I can’t say that it completely blew me away, but I rather enjoyed it and it made my commute go a lot quicker for the 4 and a half days that it took me to complete it. I downloaded this from my library via the overdrive app, so I have no complaints about the production of it and didn’t notice any issues with the recording.

The Keepsake: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel (Rizzoli & Isles Novels) (Paperback)
The Keepsake: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel (Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles) (Kindle)

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Review – The Missing – Chris Mooney

The Missing
Author: Chris Mooney
Series: Book 1 in the Darby McCormick series

Narrator: Bernadette Dunne
Run Time: 8hrs 23 minutes

Book Description:
Darby McCormack was in high school when she first encountered the killer: someone murdered a woman in the woods where Darby and her two best friends were partying. His race to silence the witnesses was sure-footed and violent – but somehow Darby survived.
Twenty-five years later, Darby is a crime-scene investigator for the Boston Police Department, and a chilling case – a woman’s late-night abduction – has her uncovering strange leads to missing women, past and present. As forensic clues lead her closer to a psychopath called the Traveler, Darby must finally resolve the nightmare of her past and come face-to-face with a killer who is determined to keep the missing – and the horrors they endured at his hands – from ever coming to light.

Review
I likely never would have picked up this book if I hadn’t been playing around with a book recommendation book online. The Missing showed up as a book that readers who enjoyed Shadow Man by Cody MacFayden and since I enjoyed that one, I figured that I would try it. It also worked well because I am making it a goal of mine to try a wider range of audiobook narrators rather than sticking to my tried and true favorites and I had never listened to the narrator before.

Similar to Shadow Man, The Missing focuses on a female mc who has suffered a tragedy in her life – this one when she was a teenager. (But as a random thought, why is it that so many female main characters in these mystery/thriller/suspense books have suffered some kind of massive tragedy that makes them a crusader for good, why can’t they just choose to do that…but that is a thought for another time). Anyways, back to the book – Darby is now a crime scene investigator and solving current crimes as well as the one from her past.

At first I thought I had figured out who the bad guy was going to be, but I completely discounted the person who it turned out to be – you know, one of these days, i’ll start listening to the little voice on my shoulder. I am kind of tempted to re-listen in the future and see if I feel differently.

This was the first time that I had listened to Bernadette Dunne as a narrator and it likely won’t be the last. I felt that she had a good range of vocal inflections for the various voices – but at the same time – the cast of the book was rather limited as compared to other ones I have listened to, so I don’t know how she would have done with a wider range of characters, but I’ll be looking out for more done narrated by her in the future.

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Review – Shadow Man – Cody McFadyen

Shadow Man
Author: Cody McFadyen
Series: #1 in the Smoky Barrett

Narrator: Kate Reading
Run Time: 13 hours, 14 minutes

Book Description
Once, Special Agent Smoky Barrett hunted serial killers for the FBI. She was one of the best–until a madman terrorized her family, killed her husband and daughter, and left her face scarred and her soul brutalized. Turning the tables on the killer, Smoky shot him dead–but her life was shattered forever.

Now Smoky dreams about picking up her weapon again. She dreams about placing the cold steel between her lips and pulling the trigger one last time. Because for a woman who’s lost everything, what is there left to lose?

She’s about to find out.

In all her years at the Bureau, Smoky has never encountered anyone like him–a new and fascinating kind of monster, a twisted genius who defies profilers’ attempts to understand him. And he’s issued Smoky a direct challenge, coaxing her back from the brink with the only thing that could convince her to live.

The killer videotaped his latest crime–an act of horror that left a child motherless–then sent a message addressed to Agent Smoky Barrett. The message is enough to shock Smoky back to work, back to her FBI team. And that child awakens something in Smoky she thought was gone forever.

Suddenly the stakes are raised. The game has changed. For as this deranged monster embarks on an unspeakable spree of perversion and murder, Smoky is coming alive again–and she’s about to face her greatest fears as a cop, a woman, a mother…and a merciless killer’s next victim.

Review
I’ll have to admit, at first when I started listening to Shadow Man, I was skeptical. The first hour or so that I listened to, I was a bit confused over what was going on but that soon changed. I was glad that I was listening to this at work, because I could easily stop when I was at a more suspenseful part and take a break (aka, go and bug my co-workers) before resuming the listening. The author has a way with his writing that made me feel as though I was with Smoky as she was dealing with the crimes perpetrated by the killer. In this instance, I had an inkling of who I thought the killer was, but nothing was clear up until the final reveal and then it was a definate ah-ha moment.

I enjoyed Kate Reading’s narration – to my knowledge, I don’t think that I have ever listened to anything that she has narrated before. I know that I will def. look out for more stuff done by her in the future and will be continuing this series for sure (I already have the next one on my queue at booksfree.com). I would likely never have picked up this book to listen to if it hadn’t show up on the list of books that readers who enjoyed Vanish (Tess Gerritsen) also enjoyed and I am glad that I did.

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Review: Vanish

Vanish
Vanish by Tess Gerritsen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review of the Book
Every once in a while a book comes along that touches on a significant topic and as a reader you are just blown away by not only the events that transpire, but that the fact that events like this happen in world. For me, Vanish, is just one of those books. In the past eight years since I have been in the military, every year I had had to complete a mandatory training called Trafficking in Persons – but like with most of the required trainings, I didn’t really take it seriously, clicked through the slides, in order to get the check in the box for having completed it. Now, looking back on that and after reading Vanish, I’m amazed by my ignorance of such a topic.

The book begins with the line, My name is Mila and this is my story and told in Gerritsen’s normal alternating perspective between Boston Homicide Detective Jane Rizzoli and Medical Examiner Maura Isle, as well as the perspective of Mila. There were times I was on the edge of my seat waiting to hear what happened and I didn’t want to stop listening to the book (unfortunately, since I was doing it on my commute to and from work I had to). The only thing holding me back from giving this a 5-star rating is the fact that I don’t know if I could see myself re-reading it in the future and those are the books I tend to give 5-stars to. Not because it wasn’t well-written, but because it was so disturbing.

Review of the Narration
So far I have listened to four books in this series, and gone through 3 different narrators. In this one, Susan Denaker, took over the reins from Kathe Mazur, who narrated book 4 and did a good job of it. All the voices had good inflection and I think she did a good job with Rizzoli’s Boston Irish accent. I think she did a slightly better job that Mazur with the male voices, and I was able to distinguish each character, but they didn’t quite live up the narration of the first 2 books by Anna Fields. I will however look for more narrations by her in the future.

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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Review: Body Double

Body Double
Body Double by Tess Gerritsen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Book
Tess Gerritsen did it again with Body Double – originally when I read the blurb I thought it was going to be similar to a book by Lisa Scottaline, but TG blew that book out of the water. It was so quickly enveloped in what was happening to Maura and loved how there was so much a focus on her, and not split between Jane and her as in the previous books. But at the same time, the cameo’s of Jane and the solving of the crime were great – especially due to her condition (but you won’t get any spoilers from me) ;)

About the Narration
I’ll have to admit, I was a bit worried when I picked up this audiobook to listen to, because I had been spoiled by the awesome narration that is Anna Fields in the previous 2 books, and to switch a narrator, part of the way through a series, I was concerned, but Kathe Mazur did a good job. I won’t say it was great, and I wasn’t necessarily a fan of how some of the male voices turned out, but I think she did a good job on the variety of female ones. Unfortunately, as I looked at the next book in the series, I realized that it once again had a different narrator, so I can’t even see how she develops. That being said, I will potentially be looking for more narrations by her in the future.

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Posted by on April 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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