2017 Book #14 – The Hidden Man by David Ellis

41mczwmlkl-_sx329_bo1204203200_Title: The Hidden Man
Author: David Ellis
Date finished: 3/1/17
Genre: Fiction, crime/mystery
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publication Date: September 3, 2009
Pages in book: 325
Stand alone or series: Series, Jason Kolarich #1
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

Jason Kolarich is a midwestern Everyman with a lineman’s build and an easy smart-ass remark. He’s a young, intelligent maverick, but he’s also struggling with an overwhelming emotional burden—one that threatens to unravel his own life, and possibly the lives of those around him.
Twenty-seven years ago, two-year-old Audrey Cutler disappeared from her home in the middle of the night. She was never found. All the detectives had to go on were vague eyewitness accounts of a man running down the Cutlers’ street, apparently carrying someone. Without enough evidence to suggest otherwise, Griffin Perlini—a neighbor with prior offenses against minors—was arrested, but never convicted.
The case is long closed when Perlini is murdered nearly thirty years later. Now a man named Mr. Smith appears in Jason Kolarich’s office, saying only that he represents a third party who wants the man charged with murder off the hook and that Kolarich is perfect for the job. The new client: Audrey Cutler’s older brother, Sammy—Kolarich’s estranged childhood best friend—a man he hasn’t seen in nearly twenty years.
But when Kolarich starts receiving violent threats from Mr. Smith’s enigmatic employer, he figures out that the secrecy behind this nameless third party—and the key to winning Sammy’s case—is entangled with the mystery of Audrey’s disappearance. With his own life and Sammy’s in the balance, Kolarich has to put aside not only the mounting anxiety of the job but also a heart-wrenching personal tragedy in order to find out what really happened to Audrey all those years ago.

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (February). This book tells the story of Jason Kolarich, a lawyer who is still reeling from a recent personal tragedy. In the previous few months, Jason had helped to win a high-profile case against the feds, making him somewhat of a local celebrity. But that’s not why a stranger named “Smith” shows up in his office one day demanding legal services. Turns out Jason’s best friend from childhood, Sammy Cutler, has been arrested for the murder of Griffin Perlini, the man suspected of abducting and killing Sammy’s baby sister, Audrey, 20 years ago. Jason doesn’t understand what Smith’s part in all this is but he owes a lot to Sammy, so he takes the case. But when Smith starts dictating how Jason needs to try the case, Jason wonders what the story is beneath the surface. And as Jason defies the rules and tries the case his own way, he learns there are consequences for disagreeing with the people he’s now working for. And when they start trying to use his brother as leverage, Jason decides its time to figure out what’s really going on, even if he has to do it on his own.
Overall I liked this book. The plot line was pretty engaging and I loved how kick ass the plot twists were. I ended up enjoying this one more than I expected to, I would probably even read another from the series if I had time. The ending was a little too neat and tidy for me, everything just kind of worked out ok and the bad guys didn’t fight back much in the end. I would have liked it a lot better if Jason had gone through with his threat to cut off a couple of Smith’s fingers, he definitely deserved it. But other than that, I thought the plot was pretty good. It was engaging and was set at a good pace with lots of plot twists, some of which I didn’t see coming at all. This was a good read and I would recommend it, especially if you like a good mystery novel!

The bottom line: I liked this book ok. It isn’t a book I would have picked up on my own but it was interesting. I would recommend it if you’re into crime/mystery novels.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #122 – Burning September by Melissa Simonson

517rolxrycl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Title: Burning September
Author: Melissa Simonson
Date finished: 12/31/16
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: September 8, 2017
Pages in book: 222
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Author/Publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Kat’s life is going exactly the way her sister has planned it, until a detective shows up at their front door early one morning and arrests Caroline for murder. Suddenly and utterly alone, Kat doesn’t know how to navigate a world without Caroline, the woman who raised her. During the aftermath of the crime, Kat tries to figure out who she is without her sister, but unlocking those doors only leads to more troubling questions. Kat realizes the one person she thought would never lie to her had, and quite frequently. Sorting through the skeletons and secrets might be more than she can handle, but it’s a necessary evil if she ever wants to see her sister acquitted.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about Katya (Kat) and her sister Caroline, and both their lives during Caroline’s murder trial for killing her ex-boyfriend in a house fire. Kat told the police that her sister was at the condo all day but the police aren’t listening and arrest Caroline anyway. Caroline is confident that she won’t be stuck there for very long but that confidence is apparently misplaced as after she’s transported to a mental facility for trying to cut her wrists, she’s stuck there for the next few months until trial. And while Caroline is there, Kat starts to realize that her sister has been hiding things from her. Like the fact that she somehow has a very expensive attorney representing her. And that they have a lot of money in their checking account when Caroline mostly just does freelance work. So how much can Kat really trust her sister? And what, if anything, can she believe is the truth?
Overall I really liked this book, it was a really interesting story line and held my attention throughout the book. Kat was a really interesting character, and Caroline also had a lot of interesting layers to her. I liked the way that the author built a lot tension between Kat and Kyle, Caroline’s lawyer. There was a great build up of suspense in this novel, it was almost like a cross between a thriller and a contemporary romance. This was a really good read and I would definitely recommend!

 

The bottom line: I really enjoyed this book, there was some great tension between the main characters and I loved Kat’s character overall as well. Great read, I would definitely recommend!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #82 – I Take You by Eliza Kennedy

51odMX3ZyhL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Title: I Take You
Author: Eliza Kennedy
Date finished: 9/3/16
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Pages in book: 305
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Library Thing NOTE: I received this book for free from Library Thing in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Meet Lily Wilder: New Yorker, lawyer extraordinaire, blushing bride. And totally incapable of being faithful to one man.
Lily’s fiancé Will is a brilliant, handsome archaeologist. Lily is sassy, impulsive, fond of a good drink (or five) and has no business getting married. Lily likes Will, but does she love him? Will loves Lily, but does he know her? As the wedding approaches, Lily’s nights—and mornings, and afternoons—of booze, laughter and questionable decisions become a growing reminder that the happiest day of her life might turn out to be her worst mistake yet.
Unapologetically sexy with the ribald humor of Bridesmaids, this joyously provocative debut introduces a self-assured protagonist you won’t soon forget.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about Lily Wilder and her upcoming wedding to fiance Will. We first meet Lily as she is out with her bridesmaids partying it up. She gets called into work while she is drunk and high, and she goes in and ends up having sex with her boss. Shocker! Bigger shocker, this is not the first time she’s cheated. Lily is a lawyer, not that this is specifically relevant to her having sex with her boss, just relevant to the overall plot. Lily is getting married very soon in her hometown of Key West, FL, but finds out while she’s down there to get married she also has to prepare a witness to be deposed as part of a multi-billion dollar case her firm is defending for their client, EnerGreen. Also once she gets down there she is bombarded by her parents with demands that she reconsider such a hasty marriage. Oh and don’t forget the family drama, what with her mom, two of her three step-moms, and her Dad all in one place. And as they get closer to the wedding date, Lily starts to realize that she doesn’t know Will as well as she thought.
Overall I really liked this book a lot. Lily overall was a really interesting character, she is significantly flawed and yet the reader can’t help but find her endearing. She is hilarious, and when paired with her friend Freddy I swear I couldn’t stop laughing. Lily gets in over her head with pretty much everything while in Key West, her personal life and her work life both included. We watch as she valiantly struggles to right herself after a couple tumbles, and although we as the reader have seen all her flaws, we also end up rooting for her to triumph in the end!

The bottom line: I liked this book a lot, it was hilarious at many points and I found myself continually laughing out loud. I found the ending to be a little unconventional/unpredictable. The book was funny and held my interest though, I would definitely recommend!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #44 – Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman

51jlGOk3p3L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Wilde Lake
Author: Laura Lippman
Date finished: 5/10/16
Genre: Fiction, suspense
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Pages in book: 368
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed standalones After I’m Gone, I’d Know You Anywhere, and What the Dead Know, challenges our notions of memory, loyalty, responsibility, and justice in this evocative and psychologically complex story about a long-ago death that still haunts a family.
Luisa “Lu” Brant is the newly elected—and first female—state’s attorney of Howard County, Maryland, a job in which her widower father famously served. Fiercely intelligent and ambitious, she sees an opportunity to make her name by trying a mentally disturbed drifter accused of beating a woman to death in her home. It’s not the kind of case that makes headlines, but peaceful Howard county doesn’t see many homicides.
As Lu prepares for the trial, the case dredges up painful memories, reminding her small but tight-knit family of the night when her brother, AJ, saved his best friend at the cost of another man’s life. Only eighteen, AJ was cleared by a grand jury. Now, Lu wonders if the events of 1980 happened as she remembers them. What details might have been withheld from her when she was a child?
The more she learns about the case, the more questions arise. What does it mean to be a man or woman of one’s times? Why do we ask our heroes of the past to conform to the present’s standards? Is that fair? Is it right? Propelled into the past, she discovers that the legal system, the bedrock of her entire life, does not have all the answers. Lu realizes that even if she could learn the whole truth, she probably wouldn’t want to.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This is my first book that I’ve finished during the Bout of Books 16 read-a-thon and was the first one on my goals list. I haven’t read anything by Lippman yet but I have heard good things about her books and they have sounded interesting as well, so when I saw her new release was available on Edelweiss I decided to give it a try! This book is about Luisa Brant, who followed in her father’s footsteps and became the state attorney for Howard County, Maryland. While settling into her new job, she is given reason to re-examine something that happened to her brother in his senior year of high school, when she was only ten. Since she was so young, her memories of the events have many holes and once she starts filling them in, she begins to realize that things may not have happened as she always had been told.
Overall I thought this was a good book. There were a number of good plot twists and the story line held my interest through the whole book. While I thought it was an interesting book, I wouldn’t say that it thrilled me but it did keep me in suspense. There are some questions that don’t get answered by the end of the book due to unforeseen circumstances, and while I would have been ok with getting the questions answered it didn’t detract from the book for me that they were left unanswered. Lu isn’t an easy character to connect with, but I think that was in line with her character to be honest. She was raised by a widower with her older brother, who was 8 years her senior. There wasn’t an over abundance of affection in their house, Lu as a character is slightly cold and calculation, but she loves her family fiercely and will do whatever it takes to protect them. This was a good book; I especially thought it was interesting to see the court process that was included as part of the story line. I would give this one a try!

The bottom line: I liked this book. It held my interest and had a number of good plot twists. I didn’t feel a real connection to the characters and the ending left some questions for the reader but other than that I enjoyed the book. I would recommend it, it was a good read.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #37 – Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot

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Title: Boy Meets Girl
Author: Meg Cabot
Date finished: 4/25/15
Genre: Chick-lit / Women’s fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
Publication Date: January 2004
Pages in book: 383
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

Meet Kate Mackenzie. She:

  • works for the T.O.D. (short for Tyrannical Office Despot, also known as Amy Jenkins,Director of the Human Resources Division at the New York Journal)
  • is sleeping on the couch because her boyfriend of ten years refuses to commit
  • can’t find an affordable studio apartment anywhere in New York City
  • thinks things can’t get any worse.

They can. Because:

  • the T.O.D. is making her fire the most popular employee in the paper’s senior staff dining room
  • that employee is now suing Kate for wrongful termination, and
  • now Kate has to give a deposition in front of Mitch Hertzog, the scion of one of Manhattan’s wealthiest law families,who embraces everything Kate most despises … but also happens to have a nice smile and a killer bod.

The last thing anybody — least of all Kate Mackenzie — expects to finding a legal arbitration is love. But that’s the kind of thing that can happen when … Boy Meets Girl.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count for the challenge I am participating in for April, the #ReadingMyLibrary reading challenge. I checked out this book from the Terryville Public Library. This book was a re-read for me, I have read all of Meg Cabot’s adult books before and have loved them all. This book is a perfect, light-hearted, entertaining read. Kate is a bleeding heart character. Her and Mitch actually turn out to be a great match since he worked as a public defender and understands the bleeding heart mentality. Mitch’s family is just hilarious too. I couldn’t stand Stuart and I couldn’t even believe he could have some of those thoughts as a sane human being.
All the characters in this book (even the villainous-like ones) are entertaining I think. I love that this novel is in the epistolary form because you get to hear pieces from almost every character’s point of view and I find that makes the story better in many ways. Overall this is a sweet story and a light, fun read.

The bottom line: This was a re-read for me. I would definitely recommend.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page