Wednesday, June 26, 2019

review: before i go by colleen oakley

This post contains affiliate links.

At just 27 Daisy learns that the breast cancer she thought she beat three years ago has now spread throughout her body. The doctor says she likely only has months to live. But Daisy has much to do—she and her husband have a fixer-upper house and both are working on graduate degrees. Daisy initially tries to live her life normally, but soon her focus shifts to finding a new wife for her husband, who she believes can’t possibly take care of himself.

With a terminal cancer patient as the protagonist, it seemed Before I Go would be excruciatingly sad; it wasn’t. That’s partly because Daisy doesn’t wallow in her diagnosis and partly because Daisy is slightly annoying in her fixation on insignificant things like drinking the organic kale smoothies she believed kept her healthy. Because Before I Go centers wholly on Daisy finding a wife for Jack (who as an adult about to be a veterinarian should be capable of taking care of himself—I had trouble with this plot because it just seemed so insulting to Jack), the story drags at times with Daisy not taking any action on her plan but still going on and on about it. The final chapter was incredibly touching though.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Gallery.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

review: soul survivor by bruce & andrea leininger with ken gross

This post contains affiliate links.

Shortly after moving to a new home and only weeks after her son’s second birthday, Andrea Leininger heard her son screaming from a terrible nightmare. The nightmares continued and James began telling his parents that he’d been a pilot who’d perished after his plane was shot down in World War II. According to his parents, there was no way for James to know the details he did, but the information was verifiable. James’s father, Bruce, struggled with the idea of reincarnation due to his religious background, but eventually accepted that his son had a past life. The process that it took for Andrea and Bruce to come to terms with the reincarnation is detailed in the book they coauthored with Ken Gross. Soul Survivor is quick read documenting the struggles the family had as they looked into the cause of James’s nightmares. Assuming there’s no embellishment here, it’s truly a remarkable story. The writing is a little awkward though as it shifts from third person to first person diary entries from the two parents. A lot of the details are repeated and unnecessary anecdotes are shared which all detract from the main story.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Grand Central Publishing.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

review: the a list by j.a. jance

This post contains affiliate links.

Although The A List is the fourteenth book in the Ali Reynolds series, it goes back in time to when Ali was still reporting for a Los Angeles TV station. Ali covered the story of a fertility doctor who was using his own sperm to impregnate patients. The truth came out when one of his offspring needed a kidney transplant. As The A List unfolds, Ali experiences many life changes (losing her TV job, getting divorced, and starting the life that readers of the series are now familiar with) and loses touch with the people who were involved in what turned out to be her final news story. But that doesn’t mean the doctor has forgotten about her or any of the others who he believes caused his downfall. Despite being convicted of killing his first target (his ex-wife), Edward is determined to have everyone else killed as well. His list, of course, includes Ali.

The A List was a bit slow to get started as it had to set up all the plot points and give a lot of backstory. Once everything was established, the story began to take off with Edward orchestrating murders from behind bars. It’s all fairly predictable though and relies a bit too much on the new AI, Frigg, that Ali’s team is using.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Gallery Books.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

review: stay sexy & don't get murdered by karen kilgariff & georgia hardstark

This post contains affiliate links.

I first came across the podcast My Favorite Murder when it was shooting up the iTunes charts in 2016. As someone who loves Dateline, 48 Hours, etc., it was a podcast I quickly fell in love with and recommended to all my friends. When they began touring, I was so excited that I went to San Diego to see them since that was the closest city to me (I live in Phoenix). I’ve stayed a faithful listener, though my interest has waned as they’ve moved away from solely covering murders. Even so, it was great news that Karen and Georgia were writing a book about their experiences.

For people who have listened to every podcast episode and to their appearances on other podcasts, there’s very little new here. Their voices, especially Karen’s, come through in this collection of essays so there’s still the intimacy of the podcast, but it was disappointing to have Karen and Georgia simply give additional details to stories they’ve related many times before.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Forge.