A Short History of Europe begins with Neanderthals and concludes with the 2016 vote by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. In between are births, deaths, court intrigue and full-blown battles.
Whether you are planning to go on Jeopardy or just want to impress academics with your cocktail party banter, A Short History of Europe will assist in your goal. Each chapter is just long enough to read before bed. With enough information to whet your curiosity, you too will be searching Wikipedia for more details of those characters that intrigue you.
My only conplaint is the random first-person comments inserted within some of the chapters especially the rather long portion on the future of the EU at the end. However, the editing of over 4500 years into 400 extremely readable and interesting pages is pretty remarkable. 4 stars!
Thanks to PublicAffairs/Perseus Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: history, Mar 5 2019
A college athlete is convicted of rape based on his DNA. However, he has the Perfect Alibi when a second victim is also linked to his DNA while he is in prison. With a new attorney, he is set for a new trial and let out on bail.
Robin Lockwood is the first victim’s civil lawyer. The victim is convinced that the rapist is stalking her. In a parallel case, Robin is defending a person accused of murder by pleading self-defense.
I always love a fast-paced, twisty legal thriller and the Perfect Alibi is no exception. Be aware you have to pay attention to keep up with all the clues and plots within this intriguing book. If you like suspenseful legal thrillers, you will also enjoy this book. 3.5 stars!
Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: DNA, Mar 5 2019
A romantic suspense tale wrapped in a psychological thriller, Between the Lies takes the domestic thriller in a new direction.
Chloe awakens after being in a coma for over a month. She had a severe head injury after surviving a car accident. Amnesia prevents her from remembering the accident and everything before it.
After leaving the hospital, she moves in with her family. Her father, an award-winning psychiatrist, tries to help her recover her memories. However, all it does is give her nightmares about a young boy, a rainy night, and a car crash into trees. Her family is evasive when questioned about the boy. Chloe vows to discover what really happened that night.
The twists are frequent in Between the Lies. All are fairly foreshadowed allowing amateur detectives to solve the mystery before Chloe. This book is recommended for fans of Nora Roberts and Alice Feeney. 4 stars!
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: Mar 5 2019
Death by Dog Show is a cozy mystery set in a dog show that, unfortunately, disappointed this reader.
Perri Morgan sells leather pet products and attends the Big E Dog Show with her friend Babette, who has a dog in the show, to further her business. The first night, Perri and her journalist boyfriend, Pruett, find a body. Despite the local police telling her not to investigate, Perri can’t resist.
I found some serious issues with this book:
- I love dog shows on television and have watched many over the years. Therefore, I know that Best in Show is the last event. The prior events are based on dog group (i.e.; sporting group) and then the winners of the groups go on to the Best in Show event.
- The names of the characters are silly. Wing, Roar and Alf being the worst examples. These are people’s names—not dogs.
- The character of Perri is not likeable at all. She is both arrogant and insecure plus she appears to be incredibly horny all the time despite having a boyfriend for the past year. Note that Death by Dog Show has more sexual content than most cozies so if you are not into that, I would recommend giving this a pass.
- The worst part was that the murderer was obvious from the beginning but we still had to continue reading to confirm what we already knew. There are no surprise twists here.
I believe this is this author’s debut book but I wouldn’t read anything else by her. Overall, I would give Death by Dog Show 2 stars.
Thanks to Lyrical Underground and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: cozy mystery, dogs, Mar 5 2019
String City is where the universe’s different strings come together. Oh, mythological creatures like Zeus, monsters like cyclops and golems, and all manner of strangeness live there too. A world full of infinite possibilities makes some strange bedfellows.
An unnamed private investigator is asked by the Titans to look into an explosion in their casino. He is a stringwalker, one who can move directly along the strings. However, the strings seem unsettled. Could it be the end times?
I wanted to love this as much as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. However, the explanation of string theory and how the world worked seemed overlong and overly complicated. However, if you are okay with extensive world building, you will like String City. The plot and character interactions are clever. 4 stars!
Thanks to Rebellion Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, Science Fiction Tagged with: Mar 5 2019
Daisy Jones & The Six is the best non-thriller that I have read this year!
Set in the turbulent late 1970s Sunset Boulevard band scene, The Six is a five member middle-of-road rock band who are effectively forced by their label to add a sexy new lead singer, Daisy Jones. Daisy is a free spirit who dresses and acts without worrying about what others think. She is also stunningly beautiful and a drug addict. The Six’ singer, Billy, has recently returned from rehab and is determined to not relapse for his wife and newborn daughter’s sake.
Daisy Jones & The Six is compulsively readable. I was late to work two out of the three days that I read it. I just had to read the next interview. While not a traditional thriller, the book has a mystery: why did the band break up. However, it was the convincing character interactions that heightened my enjoyment of the book. All the characters seemed so real with genuine and frequently conflicting emotions driving their actions. I can’t recommend this Reese’s Book Club pick highly enough. 5 stars!
Thanks to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Literary Fiction, Romance Tagged with: 1970s, Mar 5 2019, music
Beautiful Bad tells the story of Maddie and Ian’s relationship that ended in murder.
The story starts with a bang: a female calls 911, a child screams in the background and the call is abruptly cut off. When police arrive, they find a large bloodstain on the open concept kitchen’s floor. From that scene, we are shown the story of Maddie and Ian’s relationship from the beginning through the day of the killing and forward.
Within Beautiful Bad, the day of the killing sections were fantastic. Unfortunately, you had to slog through a lot of details to get to them. While the end is twisty, it probably won’t be much of a surprise to experienced thriller readers. 3 stars.
Thanks to Park Row and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: family drama, Mar 5 2019
With insane killers imprisoned in a castle fortress rumored to house the Devil himself and a brutal serial killer terrorizing nearby Prague, the Devil Aspect has plenty of plot and a whole lot of creepy, gothic atmosphere.
It is 1935 in a rural village outside Prague. A new psychotherapist arrives at a mysterious castle, an insane asylum that houses the six most dangerous killers in Czechoslovakia. The therapist, Victor, has a theory that all evil comes from the Devil Aspect in each of us. Once under control, the desire to kill will be conquered. However, when talking to the inmates each states that someone who looked like the Devil did their crimes. Victor believes that their subconscious is attempting to deal with their guilt by disassociating themselves from their crimes.
In a parallel story set in Prague, a serial killer is menacing the populace. Kapitan Lukas thinks he has found the killer through forensic evidence but his suspect insists that another person, who looks just like the Devil, committed the murders.
The book has several sub-plots. Nazis are beginning to make themselves felt in newly formed Czechoslovakia. Victor’s love interest, Judita, a Jew who is deeply worried about the mood in her adopted country. The villagers are convinced that the castle covers a warren of tunnels that lead to the gates of Hell.
There is a lot going on in the Devil Aspect. Despite that, it is a compelling and quick moving read. It is highly recommended to horror fans looking for a more psychological slant. 4 stars!
Thanks to Doubleday Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Horror, Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: gothic, Mar 5 2019, Nazis