Tag: 3 stars

Accused

Author: Lisa Scottoline
Audiobook

Published: October 29, 2013
Dates Read: May 23- June 9, 2017

My Rating: 3 stars

Book Summary from Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author Lisa Scottoline revolutionized crime fiction when she introduced her Philadelphia-based all-female law firm of Rosato & Associates, thrilling listeners with her twisty, fast-paced plots and capturing their hearts with her cast of strong and relatable female characters. Now Bennie Rosato, Mary DiNunzio, Judy Carrier, and Anne Murphy are back with all cylinders firing in Accused.

Mary DiNuzio has just been promoted to partner and is about to take on her most unusual case yet, brought to the firm by a thirteen-year-old genius with a penchant for beekeeping. Allegra Gardner’s sister Fiona was murdered six years ago, and it seemed like an open-and-shut case: the accused, Lonnie Stall, was seen fleeing the scene; his blood was on Fiona and her blood was on him; most damningly, Lonnie Stall pleaded guilty. But Allegra believes Lonnie is innocent and has been wrongly imprisoned. The Gardner family is one of the most powerful in the country and Allegra’s parents don’t believe in reopening the case, so taking it on is risky. But the Rosato & Associates firm can never resist an underdog. Was justice really served all those years ago? It will take a team of unstoppable female lawyers, plus one thirteen-year-old genius, to find out.

My review:

Lisa Scottoline first introduced readers to Mary DiNunzio, Bennie Rosato, Judy Carrier, and Anne Murphy in her Rosato & Associates series and now she is back with a new series: Rosato & DiNunzio. The first in this series is Accused and Mary has just been promoted to partner.

I won a copy of Damaged( from Goodreads) which is the fourth in the series. Not realizing it was part of a series, I decided to go back and listen to the audiobooks of the first three in order.  I know a little about what will happen, so it gives me a different perspective going back and listening to the others on audiobook.  It seems to me that the series improves as I enjoyed Damaged more than Accused.  There seems to be growth with Mary as the series progresses, especially from the beginning of Accused to the conclusion.

I first want to say I have not read any of the Rosato & Associates series, so all of these characters are new to me.  I know I have missed their backstories (including the murder of Mary’s husband).  Rosato & DiNunzio is an all-female law firm and Bennie Rosato is the boss, but Mary has just been promoted to partner in Accused.  In the beginning Mary seems unsure of this promotion; she even does not want the stationary changed.  **This is a minor spoiler, as this happens early on, but Mary’s boyfriend proposes to her. She says yes, but is unsure on if she should have given that answer.

In Accused, Rosato & DiNunzio is hired by thirteen year old Allegra Gardner. Her sister Fiona was murdered six years ago, and despite the defendant Lonnie Stall pleading guilty, Allegra is convinced that he did not kill her sister. Rosato & DiNunzio take on the case with Mary in the lead.

For me Accused was decent.  I liked Allegra and wanted more of her in it. I also liked that she had a different type of hobby. Allegra is definitely a ‘different’ sort of girl.  I also liked that we had more of Mary’s family and her neighbors ‘The Tony’s’ in it.  They are definitely the comic relief in the novel.

I’m not sure what it is about Mary that I don’t really feel a connection with. I felt that same way when I read Damaged.  I think it might be her personality and the immaturity she has.  For me, she becomes too attached to the children involved in these cases, and that attachment is almost instant and it seems to cross professional boundaries. Again, this could be because I have not read the Rosato & Associates series and am missing her backstory.  I’m not sure of her age, but she doesn’t really seem like partner material and comes off as young, more like someone fresh out of law school.  She does experience personal and professional growth over the course of Accused, which I was happy about.

I was also not heavily drawn into this case. Yes, there is an answer to whether Lonnie Stall actually killed Fiona, but I was not intensely involved in the novel.  I would definitely say that this is more of a Mystery novel versus a Suspense/Thriller novel.

I did look to see that Betrayed, the second novel in the Rosato & DiNunzio  series focuses on Judy and the third, Corrupted focuses on the ‘big boss’ herself Bennie Rosato.  I will continue the series as I want to learn about these ladies, especially Bennie who is an enigma to me.

Despite the issues I had, Damaged is recommended.

The Best of Adam Sharp

Author:  Graeme Simsion
352 pages in Kindle

Published: May 2, 2017
Dates Read: April 20- May 1, 2017

My Rating: 3 stars

Book Summary from Goodreads:

On the cusp of turning fifty, Adam Sharp likes his life. He’s happy with his partner Claire, he excels in music trivia at quiz night at the local pub, he looks after his mother, and he does the occasional consulting job in IT.

But he can never quite shake off his nostalgia for what might have been: his blazing affair more than twenty years ago with an intelligent and strong-willed actress named Angelina Brown who taught him for the first time what it means to find—and then lose—love. How different might his life have been if he hadn’t let her walk away?

And then, out of nowhere, from the other side of the world, Angelina gets in touch. What does she want? Does Adam dare to live dangerously?

My Review

When I found out that Graeme Simsion had written another book that was not one of his ‘Rosie books’ (The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect) I wanted to see what it was about!  The description of The Best of Adam Sharp had me interested in reading it. I found out that music is mentioned throughout the novel.  That was a plus as well!

The book begins in present day where Adam Sharp is living with his partner Claire for twenty years.  They are just going through the ‘swing of things’ with nothing much going on in their lives or with each other. Then out of the blue Adam gets an email from his old flame Angelina that is just one word: “Hi”.  He decides to return the email and they begin to correspond.  It eventually leads to Skype and then Angelina suggests that they meet up for a week; yes, she is married and her husband will be there too.

The novel goes back in time to the 1980s when Adam and Angelina first meet.  We get to experience their affair back then which is necessary with the course of the novel.

This is all I will mention about the plot. The Best of Adam Sharp is about life, relationships, and music.  Should the past be left in the past or is the chance to see ‘the one that got away’ again going to be worth it?  What or who does Adam want?

I loved all the music that was referenced in the novel. I did not know all of the music as it goes as far back as the 1960s. For reference there is a play list of the songs at the end of the novel.

Unfortunately, there was a lot I did not like about the novel.  I did not like the fact that Adam kept conversing with Angelina without telling Claire and there was a lot of flirtation going on.  As I was reading I wanted to tell him to stop temptation.  The characters were also not that likeable for me. I was curious what was going to happen so I kept reading.   Then at 60% into the novel it went in a direction that I was not expecting and certainly did not want to read.  It became a little bit risqué and controversial for me.  I kept reading to see how it would end, and around 90% it got better for me.  Though I felt indifferent with the characters, I could ultimately agree with the ending.

The novel is well written, but overall it was not for me.

The Best of Adam Sharp is very different from The Rosie Project.  Do not go into Adam Sharp expecting the same kind of book or you will be very disappointed.

**I received an e-arc from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley.  Thank you for my copy!

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Woman of God

Authors: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Audiobook

Published: September 26, 2016
Dates Read: April 14-26, 2017

My Rating: 3 stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

St. Peter’s Square, Rome.
White smoke signals that a new Pope has been chosen.
Is it possible that the new Pope…is a woman?

The world is watching as massive crowds gather in Rome, waiting for news of a new pope, one who promises to be unlike any other in history. It’s a turning point that may change the Church forever. Some followers are ecstatic that the movement reinvigorating the Church is about to reach the Vatican, but the leading candidate has made a legion of powerful enemies who aren’t afraid to kill for their cause.

Faith has never come easy for Brigid Fitzgerald. From her difficult childhood with drug-addled parents to her career as a doctor healing the wounded in Sudan to a series of trials that test her beliefs at every turn, Brigid’s convictions and callings have made her the target of all those who fear that the Church has lost its way–dangerous adversaries who abhor challenges to tradition. Locked in a deadly, high-stakes battle with forces determined to undermine everything she believes in, Brigid must convert her enemies to her cause before she loses her faith…and her life.

Spanning the globe–from the drug dens, high-powered law firms, and churches of Boston to the horrific brutality of a civil war in the Sudanese desert to the beauty, violence, and spiritual enlightenment of the Holy Land–Woman of God is an epic, thrilling tale of perseverance, love, trust and nothing less than what it means to live in a fallen world.

My Review:

I went into Woman of God with different expectations of the book than the actual book I ended up listening to. From the description I thought it was going to be about a woman priest possibly becoming Pope and all the controversy to go along with that. I had these thoughts in my head:

“A possible woman Pope?!?  Controversial, intriguing, and a thriller… Behind the scenes at the Vatican.  Sign me up!!!”

Other than the prologue of the novel and also towards the end, this is not the story we get.   Instead we get the life story of Brigid Fitzgerald. Once I realized this was the direction Woman of God was going in I kept listening. I was glad I continued it as I ended up enjoying the novel.

After the Prologue we are introduced to Brigid, a woman doctor who is in the South Sudan who cares for victims of their very bloody civil war.  The violence is severe and many who Brigid cares about die.  She does not stay in the Sudan due to some severe injuries she has and her story continues.  Brigid deals with many relationships including marriage and children.  She had a strong faith in God and a special connection to him as well. At the novel progresses we see her evolution from doctor to becoming a female priest.

Throughout Woman of God she goes through countless trials and tribulations. She is in essence a female Job. In some ways it becomes excessive, as you begin to expect that something else is going to happen. I also began to figure out what her next ‘trial’ would be.  At times I found myself worrying what was going to happen next.

There is an actual trial that occurs due to one priest being accused of a scandal.  Brigid becomes a part of that trial.  This part of the novel shows how the Catholic Church is still deeply rooted in its ways without wanting to change, but there is a change as Brigid becomes a priest.  Brigid and Father James Aubrey begin a movement together that begins to change the Catholic Church and modernize it.

I won’t go in to much more detail. I have left a lot out as I don’t want to ruin a reader’s journey since we don’t really know what direction Woman of God will go due to the inaccurate book description.

Woman of God is ultimately about a woman’s continuing faith despite her many struggles she experiences.  I also feel it could be a ‘stab’ at the Catholic Church and its archaic ways despite the world constantly changing. In some ways it seems that the authors are critical with the way the Catholic Church is today.  Will the Catholic Church change at all or stay the way it is? Woman of God makes you think about that.  And I am not even Catholic!

I listened to the audio version of Woman of God which is narrated by Therese Plummer. She did a very good job with her narration, in fact there was one moment in particular when Brigid was in a very deep anguish and Therese captured that moment perfectly. I really felt Brigid’s emotion in that part of the novel.

Overall, if you can ignore the book description and go in expecting to hear about one woman’s life and experiences I would recommend Woman of God.

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