Monday, November 29, 2021

Book Review: The Defense, by Steve Cavanagh

The Defense by Steve Cavanagh book cover and review
The Defense is a taught thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Eddie Flynn gave up practicing law after a bad experience that is slowly revealed during The Defense. Eddie has been kidnapped by the head of the Russian mob and has no choice but to defend him. You see, they have kidnapped Eddie's daughter.

And they really don't care about a defense. They have Eddie wearing a coat equipped with a bomb, and he must set the bomb off and kill the star witness who has turned on the mob. How in the world is Eddie going to get out of this one?

His history as a con artist before he went to law school will definitely help him out. And a little luck -- there were some parts that were a little bit beyond belief, but still, the plotting was gut-wrenching. The Defense has so many unexpected twists and close calls that I may have had to stop listening once in a while so my heart could stop pounding. The bad guys were scary, the good guys were stupid, and Eddie is a pawn through all of it.

If you are a fan of legal thrillers, The Defense is not to be missed. And the good news is this is the first book of six books in the Eddie Flynn Series. I'm going to be sure to continue, but I may need a little break before I do.

Published by Flatiron, 2016
Audiobook purchased from
320 pages

Rating: 4..5/5

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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Book Review: The Green Glass Sea, by Ellen Klages

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages book cover and review
The Green Glass Sea is about the Manhattan Project during WWII, written from the perspective of children which makes it easily accessible to middle schoolers. I found it very interesting too!

Dewey has been staying with her Grandma while her father works as a scientist for the war. But her Grandma is in a home now, and she's very glad her father will be picking her up and taking her away from the neighbor's house. She has missed her father so much and has a lot of questions for him about her inventions.

She's surprised when it isn't her father that picks her up but a military escort who puts her on a train to a secret location to meet up with her father. Dewey loves Los Alamos, even though she and her father almost never leave there. She has a lot of independence and can find treasures at the dump that she can use to build things. Her father and all of the other grownups work long hours.

Suze hates Los Alamos. Both her parents work long hours, and she's trying so hard to fit in with the "in" crowd at school -- but not being really successful. When her mother tells her that the weird Dewey girl is going to stay with them while Dewey's father is out of town, she wants nothing to do with her.

An unlikely and heartwarming friendship slowly develops. I didn't really like that tragedy strikes--I even shed a few tears--but that was Klages' choice. The Green Glass Sea is a story of friendship mostly, but an interesting historical element adds much. It was a unique situation that these families were a part of, even though most of them hoped but really had no idea how their efforts would affect the war.

 The Green Glass Sea is an easy, quick read that a wide range of kids would like. This is the first book of a three-book series. I actually picked this book up at a Little Free Library at a campground while we were on vacation in Tennessee. I'm hoping to find one in my area to return it.

Published by  Viking BFYR, 2006
Copy obtained from Little Free Library
321 pages

Rating: 4/5

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Monday, November 22, 2021

Book Review: Wish You Were Here, by Jodi Picoult

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult book cover and review
I'm not sure I'm ready for books about the Covid epidemic, but Picoult is a favorite, and I figured Wish You Were Here would handle the topic well. Picoult did.

Diana is sure she's about to get a promotion and have her dream job at the art auction house, Sotheby's. She's sure that Finn, her boyfriend, is going to propose on their upcoming trip to the Galápagos Islands. She will be married by 30, have kids by 35, and move to the suburbs.

Then, a virus hits New York, and Finn is a surgical resident who cannot leave. Diana reluctantly agrees to go by herself on their planned trip. When she arrives, everything is shut down. She has no place to stay, no luggage, no cell reception, and all the stores and restaurants are shut down.

Diana is forced to rely on the kindness of strangers while frantically trying to get in touch with Finn. She knows she will be stuck on this island for a while. She has a lot of time for soul searching and reevaluating just what is important in her life.

And then...

Well, I'm not going to finish that thought. 

It is interesting, and I read Wish You Were Here very quickly. Not my favorite Picoult by far, but timely and not too depressing. Although it is a little bit. If you think you can handle a book about the recent life-changing events we are still living through, this is a good one.

Published by Ballantine, November 30, 2021
eARC obtained from NetGalley
336 pages

Rating: 4/5

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Friday, November 19, 2021

Book Review: Caught, by Harlan Coben

Caught, by Harlan Coben book cover and review
I'm a big Coben fan and had Caught in my stash for some reason. It isn't my favorite Coben, but I enjoyed it.

Wendy is one of those hard-hitting exposé reporters who has a popular TV show. She traps Dan Mercer, a social worker who works with teens, in a compromising position with a teen girl and gets him arrested.

Haley is a 17-year-old teen who has been popular and well-behaved. When she doesn't come home one night and no one can find a trace of her, the community is stunned. And things start to point to Dan Mercer. But is the case that simple?

Wendy is about to find out it isn't. And we readers really don't expect it to be when Coben is involved. The story twists and turns and then twists again. As usual, I couldn't predict how it would all end, and I love that.

If you are a fan of Coben, or thriller/mysteries at all, you should check out Caught. Coben never disappoints.

Published by Dutton, 2010
Copy obtained from ??
400 pages

Rating: 4/5

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Thursday, November 18, 2021

Book Review: Never by Ken Follett

Never, by Ken Follett book cover and review

I am so disappointed in Never, and it's because of the way it ended. So don't read any further if you don't want spoilers. 

Follett is a great writer. We get to know all the different people and become attached to them. There are budding romances and political drama. Spy stories. One woman and her child is trying to escape from Chad to build a better life, but must put her life in the hands of some very untrustable men. The president of the United States, a woman, is formidable and smart.

A few small things happen - a United States drone (that was stolen) bombs some Chinese interests in Chad. There is a small but growing uprising in North Korea that is threatening their control over nuclear bombs. South Korea is nervous. Japan gets involved. Little things keep escalating in the name of "appropriate response" by the different governments. We get to know a member of what is China's equivalent of the CIA. The influence of the Chinese "old guard" is significant. But as a reader, you feel that one of these leaders is going to see reason. See where all this is heading if they don't stop escalating. 

I couldn't wait to see how all the pieces come together. How was this woman from Chad and her soon-to-be lover, a US spy, going to influence the outcome? There is another romance of a CIA agent and her equivalent from France. They are deciding to give up their careers just so they can be together. So what is the great surprise that ties all these stories together?

But no. There is no tie-up. The story just ends with all these people in limbo when, after China bombs Hawaii, the United States president orders all the nuclear weapons we have to bomb China.

Are you kidding me???? What a waste of over 800 pages. Yes, it's realistic. Yes, it's well written. But not what I expected. Ughhhh. 

Published by Viking, November 9, 2021
eARC obtained from NetGalley
816 pages

Rating: 3/5

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