Friday, May 26, 2017

Escape from Dannemora by Michael Benson

Started: 5/10/17
Finished: 5/24/17
Year: 2017
Pages: 207
Genre: True Crime
Grade: B
Reason for reading: review for LibraryThing
Blurb (from back cover): "It was one of the biggest crime stories of the decade-two deadly killers, desperate and on the run. After months of planning, Richard Matt and David Sweat cut, chopped, coerced, and connived their way out of a maximum-security prison in the wilderness of upstate New York and managed to elude police for three weeks, sending the region into lockdown. Veteran true-crime writer Michael Benson leads us along the story's every wild path to dig out a tale of adventure, psychology, sex, and brutality. Escape from Dannemora examines the strange case of Joyce Mitchell, the long-time prison employee who had a sexual relationship with at least one of the killers, and who smuggled them tools and aided in the escape, while they cooked up a plan to killer her husband. In the end, Benson looks closely at conditions at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New Tor, a crumbling Gothic pile now under investigation for charges of drug trafficking and brutality.
Opinion: A good read for any true crime fan or anyone who lives near Clinton Correctional Facility. This isn't like most true crime novels since it also includes a strong look at the prison system and its faults.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Bone White by Wendy Corsi Staub

Started: 4/7/17
Finished: 5/9/17
Year: 2017
Pages: 373
Genre: mystery
Grade: B-
Reason for reading: review for MyShelf.com
Blurb (from back cover): ""We shall never tell.' Spurred by the cryptic phrase in a centuries-old letter, Emerson Mundy travels to her ancestral hometown to trace her past. In Mundy's Landing, she connects with long lost relatives-and a closet full of skeletons going back centuries.
"In the year since former NYPD Detective Sullivan Leary solved the historic Sleeping Beauty murders, she-like the village itself-has made a fresh start. But someone has unearthed blood-drenched secrets in a disembodied skull, and is hacking away at the Mundy family tree, branch by branch..."
Opinion: I have to admit that I got lost/confused in the first few chapters. Eventually I caught onto Corsi Staub's writing style (even though I've read other books by her) and enjoyed it. There was an interesting twist to some murders and looking back, I should have caught onto it earlier

Monday, May 08, 2017

Ghost Hunter's Guide to Portland and the Oregon Coast by Jeff Dwyer

Started: 4/20/17
Finished: 5/3/17
Year: 2015
Pages: 268
Genre: Paranormal
Grade: A
Reason for reading: TBR pile
Blurb (from back cover): This comprehensive guide to the haunts and history of Portland and the surrounding areas explores more than ninety spectral sites. From the haunted Heathman Hotel to the restless souls of the Lone Fir Cemetery, from the wailing spirits trapped in the Shanghai Tunnels to the mournful Grey Lady of the Heceta Head Lighthouse, the storied past of the Oregon Coast can still be experienced. Relive the region's days as a series of frontier towns through the Gold Rush, wars, and modern times. This companion to publicly accessible sites includes ghost-hunting instructions and tips, as well as helpful checklists for getting the most of your next supernatural encounter."
Opinion: Saw this book at Powell's and had to buy it since I moved to the Portland area fairly recently and want to learn more about the history. This book contains some interesting spots, some that I was aware of and had some of my own paranormal feelings, and others that I was not aware of and really want to check out. A great book that I will be keeping.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Drifter by Christine Lennon

Started: 3/23/17
Finished: 3/28/17:
Pages: 350
Year: 2017
Genre: Literature
Grade: B
Reason for reading: review for LibraryThing.com
Blurb (from back cover): For two decades, Elizabeth has tried to escape the ghosts of her past, tried to erase the painful memories, tried to keep out the terrifying nightmares. But twenty years after graduating from the University of Florida, her carefully curated life begins to unravel, forcing her to confront the past she's tried so hard to forget.
"Elizabeth and her two closest friend, Caroline and Ginny, are having the time of their lives in college-binge watching Oprah, flirting for freebies from Taco Bell, and breaking hearts along the way. But their world is suddenly shattered without warning when a series of horrific acts of violence ravages the campus, changing their lives forever."
Opinion: The characterization of Elizabeth was well done and developed. I found it strange that she would be friends with Caroline based on how Caroline's character was and was nicely told near the end of story where to go and how to get there. I found this more of a literature piece than a thriller. Still well done and I was engrossed.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Started 3/16/17
Finished: 3/20/17
Year: 2015
Pages: 323
Genre: Thriller
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: bookray on Bookcrossing.com
Blurb (from book jacket): "Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She looks forward to it. She's even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life-as she sees it-is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
"And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough. Now everything's changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the loves of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?"
Opinion: My fiance and I had seen the movie first and thought that it was really good. I had been wanting to read the book for a while and got my change. The book is better than the movie and the movie did follow the book pretty well. Definitely some good suspense and a good thriller.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan

Started: 3/3/17
Finished: 3/13/17
Year: 2017
Pages: 292
Genre: mystery
Grade: B-
Reason for reading: review for LibraryThing.com
Blurb (from back cover): "On a warm August night in 1980, six college students are up to no good inside the dilapidated ruins of Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary. It's not long before they realize they are locked in and not alone, and the terrible night ends in tragedy. Years later, one of them-celebrity chef Jon Casey-will finally be charged with murder, but will Jon's old friend Judith Carrigan testify to his innocence? Judith is protecting long-held and hard-won secrets of her own, and to defend her friend, she risks sacrificing the life she has fought to build and losing her husband and son. In any life that contains a before and an after, how is it possible to be one person, not two?"
Opinion: Each chapter is taken from a different character's point of view and it was confusing at times to figure out who was talking. There really is no trial for Casey so the blurb is misleading. There are two stories in one-the murder and then who Judith really is. Judith's story should be one of its own and not included in this book

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Bone Box by Faye Kellerman

Started 2/13/17
Finished 3/2/17
Year: 2017
Pages:  414
Genre: Mystery
Grade: C
Reason for reading: review for MyShelf
Blurb (from book jacket): "On a bright and crisp September morning, while walking a bucolic woodland trail, Rina stumbles upon human remains once buried deep beneath the forest floor. Immediately, she calls her husband, Peter Decker, a former detective lieutenant with the LAPD now working for the local Greenbury Police. Within hours, a vista of beauty and tranquility is transformed into a frenetic crime scene. The body has been interred for years and there is scant physical evidence at the gravesite: a youthful skeleton, a skull wound, and long, dark strands of hair surrounding the bones. As Decker and his partner, Tyler McAdams, investigate further, they realize that they're most likely dealing with a missing student from the nearby Five Colleges of Upstate-a well-know and well-respected consortium of higher learning where Rina works.
"And when more human remains are found in the same area, Decker and McAdams know this isn't just a one-off murder case. Short-staffed and with no convenient entree into the colleges, Decker enlists Rina's help to act as his eyes and ears on campus. Winding their way through a dangerous labyrinth of steely suspects and untouchable academics, Decker, McAdams, and Rina race to protect their community from a psychopathic killer still in the area-and on the hunt for a fresh victim.
Opinion: There seemed to be a lot of filler in this book. Lots of meaningless conversation that did not add to the mystery. And for that, I was disappointed. I've read other books by her and don't remember them to be so much filler. The mystery itself was interesting and had enough twists to keep me guessing.