Tag: 3.5 stars

An Unwanted Guest

Author: Shari Lapena
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 29- June 7, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars

Book Description:

A remote lodge in upstate New York is the perfect getaway. . . until the bodies start piling up. It’s winter in the Catskills and the weather outside is frightful. But Mitchell’s Inn is so delightful! The cozy lodge nestled deep in the woods is perfect for a relaxing–maybe even romantic–weekend away. The Inn boasts spacious old rooms with huge wood-burning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a book and someone you love.

So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity–and all contact with the outside world–the guests settle in for the long haul. The power’s down but they’ve got candles, blankets, and wood–a genuine rustic experience! Soon, though, a body turns up–surely an accident. When a second body appears, they start to panic. Then they find a third body. Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one.

They can’t leave, and with no cell service, there’s no prospect of getting the police in until the weather loosens its icy grip. The weekend getaway has turned deadly. For some couples, it’s their first time away. For others, it will be their last. And there’s nothing they can do about it but huddle down and hope they can survive the storm.

Jessica’s Review:

I absolutely loved The Couple Next Door which was also written by Lapena. An Unwanted Guest had everything needed to pull me in: a very intriguing book description with a great location with complete isolation, and murder mysteries: “Help! There is a killer among us!” This was very much like Clue for me.

But that was where it stopped working for me.  Maybe there were too many characters for me to keep up with (I listened to the audiobook version) or maybe it was just too slow moving.  I am fine with character driven novels and the character development was superb, but this one just did not work for me.  I was not invested with any of the characters. I did choose to finish the novel as I wanted to know the outcome and I was glad I did continue it. That ending was unexpected!!  In a way that ending saved the novel for me as I would not have EVER seen that coming. 

I will definitely be listening to Lapena’s other novel A Stranger in the House soon.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK 

Dear Mr President

Author: Sophie Siers
Illustrator: Anne Villeneuve
Published: April 4, 2019
40 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: June 16, 2019
Jessica’s Rating:  3.5 stars

Book Description:

Sam has a problem. He has to share a room with his older brother and things aren’t easy. When Sam sees the president on TV talking about `the wall’ he realizes a solution is at hand! But who knew that planning a wall could be so tricky? The letters that follow invite conversations about the question of living with others in times of conflict. The voice of the young boy shows adults something of the nature of peace and good relationships.

Jessica’s Review:

It does not matter your stance, but it is a sad time in our country when political issues become children’s picture books. Fortunately, this will somewhat help small children to understand about the proposed ‘wall’. Please note that if you are a Trump or wall supporter then this book will not be for you.

Sam and his older brother share a room and like true siblings, it causes issues between them.  One night Sam sees the President on tv talking about building ‘the wall’ and it sounds like a great idea to him! In fact he starts writing the President about his situation.  Sam believes in one position about his wall and by the end of the book he is of  the opposite opinion. 

The book shows how communication and getting along is important to solving issues, even one as small as sharing a bedroom (which would actually be a huge deal to the children involved!)

It was cute to see Sam’s letters to the President evolve the way they did over the course of the book. I would have loved to see what the author’s interpretation of ‘the President’s’ responses would have been to Sam’s letters in this story, but that would have made the book even more political.

The book also teaches children about some real walls in the world: The Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall in England and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The pictures throughout the book definitely add to the story!

I tend to stay away from politically charged books, which this appeared to be, but the fact that it was a children’s picture book had me curious as to how this story played out. I am glad I had the opportunity to read and review it.

I received a copy via NetGalley from the publisher.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Betrayed by Lisa Scottoline

Author: Lisa Scottoline
Published: November 24, 2014
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: February 1-7, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars

Book Description:

Blockbuster author Lisa Scottoline returns to the Rosato & Associates law firm with “Betrayed,” and maverick lawyer Judy Carrier takes the lead in a case that’s more personal than ever. Judy has always championed the underdog, so when Iris, the housekeeper and best friend of Judy’s beloved Aunt Barb, is found dead of an apparent heart attack, Judy begins to suspect foul play. The circumstances of the death leave Judy with more questions than answers, and never before has murder struck so close to home.

In the meantime, Judy’s own life roils with emotional and professional upheaval. She doesn’t play well with her boss, Bennie Rosato, which jeopardizes her making partner at the firm. Not only that, her best friend Mary DiNunzio is planning a wedding, leaving Judy feeling left behind, as well as newly unhappy in her relationship with her live-in boyfriend Frank.

Judy sets her own drama aside and begins an investigation of Iris’s murder, then discovers a shocking truth that confounds her expectations and leads her in a completely different direction. She finds herself plunged into a shadowy world of people who are so desperate that they cannot go to the police, and where others are so ruthless that they prey on vulnerability. Judy finds strength within herself to try to get justice for Iris and her aunt — but it comes at a terrible price.

Jessica’s Review:

If you have been following my reviews, then you know I have been listening to the Rosato & DiNunzio  (R&D) series and really enjoying it.  Yes, I have been listening to them out of order- but that was not my fault: I won a copy of Damaged via a Goodreads giveaway.  Damaged sounded interesting and I did not know it was part of a series. Over the course of reading this series I have grown attached to these characters and cannot wait to find out when the next one will be released.

Betrayed is the second in the series, and this time Judy takes the lead.  We get to learn more about her as a person and her family situation is a full part of the novel.  Judy is my least favorite of the ladies, and even after this one she still comes off as immature. As I was listening to this, I did identify with Judy some as a relative of hers has a health situation come up, and I recently had a family member face a very similar situation. That resonated with me as I felt some similar things that Judy did. Sometimes you are meant to read a book at a certain time, and reading Betrayed in 2019 was for me.

As with all the R&D novels, we start in one direction and end up going in another.  The focus of Betrayed deals with immigrants and their legal status.  Judy becomes determined to find out what happened to her Aunt Barb’s friend Iris no matter the cost, sometimes to Judy’s detriment. This one was less the legal thriller and more of the family drama, but I still enjoyed it.

Having read the series out of order I enjoyed certain parts of the book more: This is the second book and I know what is in the ‘future’ for these characters and enjoyed knowing what is coming, but also having some bittersweet feelings knowing as well. The ending had a mixture of emotions for me  knowing what is to come.

Betrayed is recommended.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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