Showing posts with label Books for Grown Ups. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books for Grown Ups. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Review of Samantha Kincaid Legal Thrillers by Alafair Burke

Why I started Reading Alafair Burke's Books


One day at the library I was looking for enough books to get me through an unpleasant medical procedure.  A man who was browsing the new books next to me recommended I check out the first three Samantha Kincaid Legal Thrillers.  I'm glad I did. I had not read anything by Alafair Burke before, but I'd like to read more of her work.


Review of Samantha Kincaid Legal Thrillers by Alafair Burke


Samantha (Sam) Kincaid is a Multnomah County deputy district attorney (DDA) in Portland, Oregon. Sam had been an Assisant U. S. Attorney in New York before her then husband Roger had gotten a job as in-house counsel with Nike in Portland, so she had moved with him. After they had moved, she discovered he was playing around and she divorced him. Her first DDA assignment was in the Drug and Vice Division (DVD).


Reviews of the Samantha Kincaid Legal Thrillers


Judgment Calls


In Book 1,  Judgment Calls, Sam's first case involved an almost dead thirteen-year-old prostitute, Kendra Martin, who had been dumped into the Columbia Gorge after being raped, beaten and left for dead. The case had been assigned first to the Major Crimes Team (MCT) when it had appeared Kendra was dead. When she wasn't, Tim O'Donnell, a senior DA in the major crimes unit, didn't want to prosecute the case as an attempted murder. Instead he wanted to kick the case down to the general felony unit, for crimes not considered serious, where everyone knew there wasn't enough motivated manpower to prosecute the case thoroughly. Prosecutors for general felonies tried to get rid of their cases quickly by pleading them out for reduced sentences.

As Judgment Calls opens, Sergeant Tommy Garcia, who was in charge of the department's vice unit, is explaining the circumstances of the case to Sam. Garcia wants Sam to take the case as part of DVD because drugs and prostitution are involved and he knows Sam will put the energy needed into the prosecution. Tommy and the MCT believe the case is serious and they want  to catch the bad guys and prosecute them to the full extent of the law. Garcia arranges for Sam to meet with two MCT detectives in the cafeeria, Jack Walker and Raymond Johnson, about the case. It turns out that Sam's old on-again, off-again boyfriend, Chuck Forbes, is also in the MCT. His partner is Mike Calabrese.

By the time the meeting in the cafeteria was over, the way was paved to keep MCT working on the case with Sam in charge of the prosecution. Her relationship with Chuck is a subplot. So is Sam's relationship with her father and her best friend, Grace. These characters appear in all the books.

The other character that appears in every book is Lisa Lopez, an attorney often called in to defend indigent defendants. She is a naive “true believer” who is sure all her clients are innocent, whether they are or not. Naturally, she is called in to defend Frank Derringer, one of the two men Kendra said kidnapped, raped, and beat her. She had identified him from a picture, but she did not know who the second man was. Lisa is Sam's nemesis in all the books I've read so far.

I won't say any more about the details or outcome of this case. I will say there is lots of action and the reader will see a detailed account of how both the police and the prosecutors do their work and what a political atmosphere they work in. The author does a great job in developing the main characters and showing how difficult it is to convict a suspect when most evidence is circumstantial. The plots are complicated enough to keep one interested without confusing readers.

Missing Justice



By the second book in the series, Missing Justice, Sam has been promoted to the Major Crimes Unit after her performance in the previous book. This time she needs to prosecute the killer of a missing administrative judge who later turns up dead. Burke does an even better job with the plot and characters in this book than in the last one. My experience so far with Burke's books is that they are not simple cases of finding one culprit. They are more like complex webs that need to be unraveled, where characters rarely turn out to be as they appear to be, the crimes are committed by more than one person, and the victims may not be innocent themselves . The fun for the reader is in trying to identify those who ought to be suspects, following the threads of the investigations, and  trying to piece together what is found in the investigation before Sam does. There's also enough suspense to keep the reader holding her breath until the end.

Close Case



The last of the three books in the batch I read this week is Close Case, in which a black news reporter, Percy Crenshaw, is murdered in his car. A black woman has also been shot through her windshield by a white police officer who claims it was self-defense, even though the woman was unarmed. Later, there is a drive-by shooting that kills one black woman and badly injures another who is a well-known black activist. A major help in putting the pieces together to solve the crime was a wannabe reporter –a news staffer who had helped the police who were searching Percy's office after his death. This was my personal favorite of the books.


My Recommendation


I would recommend these novels to all who enjoy thrillers, and who can live with colorful language and main characters who have affairs or shack up. These books do not assume that all police and prosecutors are good guys. You will see a very seamy side of life, but that comes with the territory in detective novels and legal thrillers.

The author, Alafair Burke, is a former DDA in Portland who now teaches law and appears on television as a legal commentator. We can assume she has first-hand knowledge of her subject. I'm hoping to pick up another of her books soon. I was sorry to see the last one end. For more of my reviews of mysteries and thrillers, see Bookworm Buffet, my book review blog.

Review of Samantha Kincaid Legal Thrillers by Alafair Burke




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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Book Review of Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer

The Journey to the End of Stealing the Preacher Is as Rewarding as Seeing the Ending


I read Stealing the Preacher because it was a free promotional download from Amazon for my Kindle. I didn't know what to expect, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I saw characters who were human and believable, even if the plot was unrealistic. The book is a light historical Christian romance, but I didn’t find it as predictable as most of them are. Yes, you know almost from the beginning how it will end, but the fun in the book is getting to the end, not knowing what the end will be.

The Kidnapping


Pioneer Church
The main character, Crockett Archer, is hoping to land his first job as a real preacher  in Brenham, Texas. We meet him on the train as he travels for his interview with the church elders. He and one other preacher are competing for the job he wants, but he’s sure he’ll get it. He has been an apprentice preacher in his own small town in Texas for three years.

The train suddenly lurches, and he discovers that it is being attacked by bandits. The big surprise for him, though, is that all the bandits want to steal is him. They don’t hurt anyone or take anything else. He is kidnapped and taken to a ranch about ten miles from Deanville, where he discovers he is to be a birthday gift for the rancher’s daughter, Joanna Robbins. She had told her widowed daddy, Silas, that she wanted a preacher for her birthday. He took her quite literally.

Crockett and Joanna


It turns out that Silas is not the least bit interested in church or preaching, but is simply humoring his daughter, who did not approve of his method of obtaining her present. Crockett explains his situation and Joanna frees him to try to keep his appointment. It turns out she had wanted a preacher because the small church for the ranch no longer had a pastor and the church had fallen into disrepair. The pastor had moved to a larger church in Deanville and it was too far for the ranch community to travel every Sunday.

Joanna wanted a preacher in the church because she  was still praying for her daddy’s salvation. She had promised her mother before her death, that she would continue the daily prayers for her father after her mother passed away. Johanna thought having a preacher in the church again would give her the support she needed. Daddy and his ranch hands had formerly been a gang of bandits, but when he married, his wife had made him give it up and they had all been honest men for over sixteen years. They had never hurt or killed anyone.

Crockett Becomes Ranch Hand and Pastor


As it turns out, quite predictably, Crockett doesn’t get the job he was after because he didn’t make his appointment on the right day at the right time.  As you might expect, he takes the job of pastoring the small church for Johanna. She talks her father into hiring him as a hand so he can support himself. He was well-qualified since he was raised on and helped run his fathers ranch with his brothers after his father died young.

That’s all I’m going to tell you. There’s plenty of action between the time Archer arrives at the ranch and the end of the book.  The action reveals much about character of the people who are interacting.  One situation which I expected led to another one which I did not anticipate, and it left me on the edge of my chair holding my breath.  If you like Christian historical fiction, I recommend this book for an entertaining and relaxing read. I will definitely read more by this author if I get the chance. Amazon carries it in every possible format. Just click the picture to purchase and see other reviews. Unfortunately, it is no longer free, since I got my book during a special promotional offer, and it has ended.






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Friday, May 23, 2014

A Knight in Shining Armor ~ A Romantic Book Review

Finding a good book to read is often not easy and I rely heavily on reviews written by other unbiased readers.

I am always reading a book.  As soon as I finish one book, I start another.  Some books, like The Hunger Games Trilogy are so captivating that once I start reading, I simply cannot put them down until I have finished reading the entire book.  Most books I read over the course of a few days an hour or so at a time.  

My reading time is my unwinding time.  A time were I allow my mind to shift from reality to fiction and to get lost, for just a little while, in a made up world.  I prefer romance novels, or at least a book that has a strong romantic story woven into it like the Hunger Games.


A Knight in Shining Armor

 

Upon-Request captured my interest in her review of A Knight in Shining Armor with her very first words, "A love that is timeless...".  For a truly forever hopeless romantic, I honestly don't know a more appealing phrase.

The book was originally published in 1989, but apparently it's appeal is timeless.   


Upon-Request explains that even though she read it decades ago, she still remembers it fondly, but you will want to read her review for yourself! 



An Invitation to Share Your Review


I would love to read more romantic book reviews and I would certainly be thrilled to be able to share them here with our readers of Review This! 

If you have written a review of a romantic book that you would like to share,  simply leave us the link in the guestbook.



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Friday, March 28, 2014

Reviews of Romantic Books

Reading is such a huge part of my life, I simply cannot imagine a day without a book in my hand.  

I love to read.  Books can transport us across the world in an instant, take us back to the past, give us insight into a variety of personalities and help us understand why people say things or behave a certain way.  

Even in the fast and easy to read novellas, I recognize I am learning about people, places, ideologies and history.



Romance Hidden in Other Genres

Romantic books are my personal favorites, but romance is not limited to one genre.  As a matter of fact, the most romantic books I have read recently would not be categorized as romance novels.  I recently read The Hunger Games Trilogy, which is most often cataloged as Science Fiction or Action & Adventure.  While I enjoyed the futuristic setting and the action packed drama, the tender affections, selfless love, and developing romantic relationship was clearly the thread throughout the books that keep me reading.  As a matter of fact, I was so captivated by the romantic story line, that I read all three books in a few days.


http://www.amazon.com/The-Night-Circus-Erin-Morgenstern/dp/0307744434?tag=review-this-20
Bekat recently reviewed another book that would be found on the Fantasy or Psychological Thrillers shelves.  

However, just reading her review of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern reveals the underlying love story and beckons me to start reading the book today.





Classic Romance Novels

When I was younger, I focused on the classics.  After all, I knew I would not be disappointed with Classic Romance novels.  Over the last few years, I have actually found it interesting to go back and read them again.  It is amazing to me to realize that what I admired or adored in my youth is no longer my focus as I read them again.  Perhaps that is one of the reasons why they are "classics".  They have an appeal for every generation and age. 

Because the classics are almost always on the "reading lists" in high school, most of us are already familiar with them and have a basic knowledge of their story lines before we ever pick them up to actually read them.  

http://www.amazon.com/Gone-Wind-75th-Anniversary-Edition/dp/1451635621?tag=review-this-20In her review of Gone With the Wind, BeatriceRyanDesigns immediately focuses on the era.  We can learn so much about history in the pages of our great Classic Romance Novels without even realizing we are also getting a lesson in historical lifestyles, fashion and world changing events like war. 

Truthfully, I probably learned more about the Civil War in the pages of Gone with the Wind, than I did in any history class.


Britflorida gives us another look at history with her awesome review of Jane Eyre and how so much of the book is actually a reflection of the authors personal experiences.  

I do agree with her completely.  There are definitely aspects of that book that I view differently today than I did when I first read it in high school.



Contemporary Romance Novels

Sometimes I just want a great love story.  A book to help me relax and unwind.  Frankly, a book that will take my mind off of everyday tensions and simply entertain.  I don't even mind if they have an obvious end.  In fact, I often read this type of book because I want it to end with "happily ever after." 


I found out recently that Mbgphoto and I have that in common.  She reviewed and recommended Winners by Danielle Steel.  

In her review, she tells us that she read this book in it's entirety in one sitting.  

Sometimes that is exactly what we need!     





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Romance is not defined by, or limited to any person, place, time or event.  We can all fall in love, often quite unexpectedly. 




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