Tag Archives: mystery

Book Giveaway: Gathering Prey

Courtesy of Putnam, I have a copy of Gathering Prey by John Sandford for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends May 14. I’ll draw a name on May 15, and notify winner via email.

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Thriller Book Review: Personal

Personal by Lee Child

Synopsis:
You can leave the army, but the army doesn’t leave you. Not always. Not completely, notes Jack Reacher—and sure enough, the retired military cop is soon pulled back into service. This time, for the State Department and the CIA.

Someone has taken a shot at the president of France in the City of Light. The bullet was American. The distance between the gunman and the target was exceptional. How many snipers can shoot from three-quarters of a mile with total confidence? Very few, but John Kott—an American marksman gone bad—is one of them. And after fifteen years in prison, he’s out, unaccounted for, and likely drawing a bead on a G-8 summit packed with enough world leaders to tempt any assassin.

If anyone can stop Kott, it’s the man who beat him before: Reacher. And though he’d rather work alone, Reacher is teamed with Casey Nice, a rookie analyst who keeps her cool with Zoloft. But they’re facing a rough road, full of ruthless mobsters, Serbian thugs, close calls, double-crosses—and no backup if they’re caught. All the while Reacher can’t stop thinking about the woman he once failed to save. But he won’t let that that happen again. Not this time. Not Nice.

Reacher never gets too close. But now a killer is making it personal

Review:
Jack is hired to find a recent parolee that he sent to prison years before. A talented sniper and only one of a handful that could have made the shot that hit the president of France. This time he travels to Europe and has to work outside the local law in order to uncover the truth and find those responsible.

This is only the second Jack Reacher novel I have read. But even just reading one novel, I feel like I know the character. Lee Child is incredibly talented at writing vivid characters, a strong mystery, and action-packed scenes. And Personal is no exception. Full of intrigue, suspense, violence, and drama – this thriller is fast-paced excitement from beginning to end.

Veronica Mars Prize Pack Giveaway

One (1) winner will receive:
Veronica Mars DVD
– Limited edition trucker hat
**All prize packs will ship after the DVD release date ETA May 2014.

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends March 31st. I’ll draw names on April 1st, and notify winners via email. Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Veronica Mars Prize Pack via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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Book Giveaway: Rogue

Mark Sullivan has created a propulsive, compelling new thriller. Rogue, is one part Bourne Identity and one part Mission: Impossible, but readers will also love the nod to Hitchcock’s It Takes a Thief.

Two years ago, Robin Monarch was a top level CIA operative—perhaps the best they had when it came to black bag operations. Then one day, in the middle of an operation, with his team around him in the field, Monarch walked away, leaving his old life and friends behind without a word of explanation.

Now this ex-soldier, ex-operative, and orphan with a murky past is a thief, stealing from the super-rich and has surfaced in St. Tropez. But when a complicated, high profile jewel heist goes wrong, Monarch is led into a carefully woven trap designed to force him to complete the very same mission he walked away from years ago.

It will take all of his skills (as well as those of the team he burned) and all of his cunning, if Monarch is to thwart the violent and deadly goals of the very powerful cabal who will do whatever it takes to bring the very dangerous “Green Fields” technology under their control.

Mark Sullivan is the author of nine thrillers, including PRIVATE BERLIN, which he co-wrote with James Patterson. He was an Edgar Award finalist, winner of the W.H. Smith award for “Best New Talent,” and his debut novel, THE FALL LINE, was named New York Times Notable Book of the year, a rare honor for a debut. His next standalone novel, OUTLAW, launches in October 2013. He currently resides in Montana with his family.

Courtesy of Minotaur Books, I have a copy of Rogue by Mark Sullivan for two (2) lucky winners!

Contest is open to US and Canadian residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends September 6. I’ll draw names on September 7, and notify winners via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

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Fantasy Book Review: Aunt Dimity & the Lost Prince

Aunt Dimity & the Lost Prince by Nancy Atherton

Synopsis:
It’s a cold, dreary February in the sleepy village of Finch and Lori Shepherd has two stir-crazy seven-year-old boys on her hands. So when her good friend Bree Pym suggests an outing to Skeaping Manor, the bizarre Jacobean-house-turned-museum, Lori leaps at the chance. There she meets Daisy Pickering, a sweet (if a little odd) nine-year-old dressed in a shabby pink parka who regales Lori with a wild tale about the Russian aristocrats who once owned the priceless silver pieces on display.

A few days later, when a finely wrought silver sleigh figurine turns up in the pocket of a shabby pink parka at her thrift shop Lori recognizes it instantly as the object that mesmerized Daisy at Skeaping Manor. Hoping to avoid any real commotion, Lori tracks down Daisy’s mother, only to find that the Pickering family has disappeared without a trace. Stranger still, it seems that one of Daisy’s imagined Russian princes may be very real—and in desperate need of help.

With Aunt Dimity’s otherworldly guidance, Lori’s search for the sleigh’s true owner and the fate of the Pickering family begins to unravel a tangled web of secrets stretching from England’s finest country estates back to the blood-drenched soil of the Russian Revolution.

Review:
Lori Shepherd seems like a caring mother and a great friend. Their visit to the creepy Skeaping Manor is more for her boys and Bree. And the series is named after Lori’s deceased Aunt who communicates with Lori through a blank journal. This is the first I’ve read in the series and was actually expecting a bit more of the paranormal. But it’s a good standalone mystery novel. Fans of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple should enjoy.

The mystery of the Lost Prince takes Lori and Bree on a journey around various historic homes in the area. They’re searching for the truth behind little Daisy’s story about the prince and for more information on where Daisy and her mother went suddenly. Aunt Dimity & the Lost Prince is an unpredictable, quick read with colorful characters. It’s a fun and entertaining mystery that kept me guessing. I’ll most likely be checking out more episodes in this mystery series.

Blu-Ray Review: Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and Digital Download 5/14

Synopsis:
From acclaimed filmmakers Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, and Andy Wachowski, the powerful and inspiring epic drama “Cloud Atlas” explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future.

Action, mystery and romance weave dramatically through the story as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future.

Review:
The film jumps around six different stories in six different time periods. In 1849, a dying lawyer discovers an escaped, stowaway slave in his cabin. In 1936, young composer gets the chance of a lifetime working with an aging, famous composer. In 1973, a journalist gets wrapped up in dangerous corporate espionage. In 2012, a publisher finds himself locked up in a nursing home against his will. In 2144 Korea, a clone restaurant server dreams of something more than her life as a slave. And in the far distant future, a tribesman deals with an inner demon while escorting a woman to the forbidden mountains. Eventually, the stories begin weaving together with the message that “Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” And the point is further pushed as the same actors play a variety of roles across each time period’s story. Most are easy to point out, despite the makeup. And in the end credits, each actor is shown in each role they had.

I haven’t read the book, so the story was new to me – other than the reviews from friends of mine. I had low expectations, hearing it was an over-done artsy film. But I was surprised by the power and drama of each story – moving and poignant. The acting was phenomenal. The music was enchanting. And the cinematography and special effects were stunning. The movie does drag at times though, and at almost three hours runtime became tiresome. Quite a bit could have been cut out and still had the same effect. While it’s a visually striking film, it was also emotionally draining. I don’t think that I would watch it again without skipping through a lot. But I’m glad I finally watched this epic fantasy. Most reviewers used the word “ambitious” when describing Cloud Atlas. I agree.

Blu-ray and DVD Elements:
Cloud Atlas Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following special features:
• A Film Like No Other
• Everything is Connected
• The Impossible Adaptation
• The Essence of Acting
• Spaceships, Slaves and Sextets
• The Bold Science Fiction of Cloud Atlas
• Eternal Recurrence: Love, Life, and Longing in Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas Standard Definition DVD contains the following special features:
• A Film Like No Other

Mystery Book Review: Sherlock Holmes: the Legend Begins: Black Ice

Sherlock Holmes: the Legend Begins: Black Ice by Andrew Lane

Synopsis:
When Sherlock and Amyus Crowe, his American tutor, visit Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft, in London, all they are expecting is lunch and some polite conversation. What they find shocks both of them to the core: a locked room, a dead body, and Mycroft holding a knife. The police are convinced Mycroft is a vicious murderer, but Sherlock is just as convinced he is innocent. Threatened with the gallows, Mycroft needs Sherlock to save him. The search for the truth necessitates an incredible journey, from a railway station for dead bodies in London all the way to the frozen city of Moscow—where Sherlock is afoot in a world of secrets and danger.

Review:
This is the 3rd young Sherlock novel in an exciting series that takes him from London to Moscow this time. Several minor characters make a return, and though the mystery is a standalone, it’s helpful to have read the previous installments to know who all the characters are and their histories with Sherlock. Black Ice was a pleasantly unpredictable journey that focuses on Sherlock’s brother Mycroft. Intrigue and mystery abound with plenty of twists and surprises. A fast-paced read, I thoroughly enjoyed this new Sherlock Holmes adventure.

SciFi Book Review: Doktor Glass

Doktor Glass by Thomas Brennan

Synopsis:
In an age of Zeppelins and gyroplanes, atomics and horseless carriages, the Transatlantic Span is the industrial marvel of the nineteenth century. A monumental feat of engineering, the steel suspension bridge stretches across the Atlantic from Liverpool to the distant harbor of New York City, supported by no less than seven hundred towers. But in the shadows of its massive struts, on the docks of the River Mersey, lies a faceless corpse…

Inspector Matthew Langton is still seized with grief when he thinks of Sarah, his late wife. Tortured by nightmares and afflicted by breathless attacks of despair and terror, he forces himself to focus on the investigation of the faceless man. The victim wears the uniform of the Transatlantic Span Company but bears the tattoos of the Boers—could there be a Boer conspiracy to assassinate Queen Victoria on the upcoming Inauguration Day of the Span?

But the truth, as it begins to emerge, is far more bizarre than a political coup. As additional victims turn up—each with strange, twin burn marks on their necks—Langton draws a connection between the dead man beneath the bridge and chilling rumors of the Jar Bars, soul snatchers who come under cover of night. Most frightening of all is the mythic and elusive Doktor Glass, who may not only be behind the illicit trade in souls…but who may hold the key to what happened to the inspector’s own beloved wife on her deathbed…

Review:
Langton is still grieving, yet is back at work and assigned to investigate the murder of a man whose face was removed. But in trying to deal with his wife’s death, he begrudgingly visits a psychic and makes a startling discovery that leads to a clue about the faceless man. The setting is an alternate Victorian England, dark and eerie with a different science that merges science fiction and fantasy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of this steampunk mystery, with its many suspects and twists. Fast-paced and difficult to put down, I followed along captivated till the very end. Though, I was taken aback when Langton confronts Doktor Glass, and a difficult choice in morality comes into play. I struggled right along with Langton. And though I don’t think I’d make the same choices, the book certainly succeeds in making the reader second-guess and ponder choices. Dark and somber, the mood of this Doktor Glass is a bit different along with its unique storyline.