Tag: Mystery

GIVEAWAY, Author Interview and Review: The Wig In The Window by Kristen Kittscher

Posted June 21, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews, Contests, Interviews / 8 Comments

Title: The Wig In The Window

Author: Kristen Kittscher

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: June 2013

Genre: Middle Grade Mystery

Series or Stand Alone: Series, Book One

Synopsis can be found here.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Review:

Grace and Sophie- two peas in a pod.
Best friends till the end.
And now, partners in crime!

One night during their sleuthing, things get real! And Sophie and Grace stumble upon a mystery that could put them both in danger. Something is off about Dr. Agford, the school counselor. And it’s up for Sophie and Grace to figure it out.
Can they solve the mystery before they lose the most important things of all- their friendship and possibly their lives?

Wow.
So I should probably start off with the fact that I know the author. We’re friends. And now, after reading The Wig In The Window, I’m a fan. A huge fan.

Grace and Sophie come alive on the pages. Their mannerisms and easy going dialogue flow naturally and showcase the best and sometimes, worst parts of each other. I love Grace’s sharpness and fearlessness and Sophie’s vulnerability and self doubt. They are a perfect pair, balancing each other out in the best ways possible.

The mystery is a fun ride with a lot of twists and turns. Seriously, I was reading and thought a couple of times I knew what was going on, only to be surprised!
And while the mystery is intriguing, and moves along quickly, that’s not the real reason I love this book.

It’s the heart.
It’s Sophie’s heart, Grace’s heart. Their friendship and devotion to one another. All friendships are tested and Kittscher does a great job of writing authentic challenges that any friendship will encounter, and hopefully overcome.


Overall, a fun and exciting mystery filled with surprises, friendship and…wigs!

I’m excited to read the sequel!



Author Interview with Kristen Kittscher

What inspired you to become a writer?
I’d long wanted to write—really as long as I can remember—but I lacked the confidence and was too practical to dare. I thought writing was something only mythical, supremely talented beings could pursue, so I did things tangentially related to writing instead. I worked in Hollywood as a story editor, then as a 7th grade English teacher for several years. It was after I read a book a student loaned me, Kirsten Miller’s Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City, that it occurred to me how much fun it would be to write something for the funny, precocious students I loved teaching. I admired her high-stakes and the way she avoided condescending to her readers; it inspired me to give writing a shot! It wasn’t until I took an online writing course and connected with other writers that I realized writing a book was something mere mortals with a little passion could accomplish, as well.

What was the last book you read?
The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman by Meg Wolitzer. Everyone’s reading her latest for adults,The Interestings – but I felt like checking out this rare middle grade book. It so happens that, like Wig, it deals with some friendship angst, as well!


What sparked the idea of your book?
I stumbled across some (heavily autobiographical!) old snippets of a free-writing exercises in which an adult main character reminisces about her time as a childhood spy. It was fun stuff—and I wondered what it might sound like from a kid’s point of view. I scrawled a note then: “Nancy Drew meets Rear Window?” and further down on the page, another, “cozy mystery for kids.” As a longtime seventh grade English teacher, I’d always been impressed by how well kids’ root out adult hypocrisy—so I knew I wanted to create a potential villain that exemplified that falseness. Enter school counselor Dr. Charlotte Agford and her eau de Lysol perfume.

Sophie and Grace are best friends.
What are your favorite things about Sophie and Grace’s friendship?

What a good question! I especially enjoy their wit and wise-cracking when all is going well with their sleuthing—and the way they work as a team when the chips are really down.

Did you want to be a sleuth like Sophie and Grace when you were young?
I didn’t want to be a real spy; I’m far too cowardly for that. However, my childhood friend and I spent a good deal of time pretending our neighbors were dangerous criminals. Didn’t everybody? Our games were more about drawing posters and writing up fake “case files” than actual spying, however.

What came first: the friendship between Sophie and Grace or the mystery? And how did one impact the other as you were writing?
The two really came together as a package. The book started with Sophie’s voice – with this precocious, insecure 12-year-old telling the story of her spy-adventures-gone-terribly-wrong with a friend she idolized. Once I had that voice down, the plot could follow.

How do you like your potato?
Hot.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
I have a fantasy of being a rare books dealer. Can I do both?

What do you do when you’re not writing?
Oh, I dabble in a little neighborhood crime-fighting. No big deal. Undercover stuff, really. Very hush hush. And when I’m not unmasking villains? I’m usually off hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains with my crazy dog. I can’t figure out whether it’s a terrible thing for a writer to have a dog that needs hours of exercise or a good one—it is certainly never a bad idea to be forced to get away from the computer, that’s for sure.

What are you working on now?
A sequel to WIG is slated: The Tiara on the Terrace. In it, Young & Yang go undercover Miss Congeniality-style in their town parade’s “Royal Court” to stop a murderer. It’s very loosely based on the Tournament of Roses here in Pasadena; it’s such a rich, fun setting, and I’m enjoying slipping in a bit more Pasadena flavor into “Luna Vista,” my sleuths’ fictional town.

Thanks so much for having me at The Windy Pages! I really appreciate the chance to shout from the rooftops about my debut! Hope people will enjoy “wigging out” over Young & Yang’s hijinks.


Thank you for stopping by Kristen!
I love the book and you can follow Kristen here on her website.
Buy the book here


And now, onto the Giveaway!
You can win your very own copy of Wig In The Window by Kristen Kittscher.
And it might even be signed!!

Please fill out the rafflecopter below

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

Posted June 21, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews, Contests, Interviews / 8 Comments


Review: Six Years by Harlan Coban

Posted April 4, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 1 Comment

Title: Six Years

Author: Harlan Coban

Publisher: Dutton Adult

Publication Date: March 2013

Genre: Adult Thriller/Mystery

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone


Synopsis can be found here.
I received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review

Review:


Jake Sanders watched Natalie, his Natalie, marry another man. Six years ago. And he still can’t seem to shake the feeling that she was the love of his life. Then, an obituary appears on the college website. Her husband Todd has died, murdered. Jake’s curiousity gets the best of him and searches out Natalie. But Natalie isn’t Todd’s wife and has vanished from records. Where is Natalie? Who is Natalie? And why are all those men with guns chasing Jake?

I had never read Harlan Coban so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s a fast paced book, very easy to read. I would recommend it for vacation or the beach. You won’t want to put it down. There were some fun twists throughout the book, some of which I wasn’t expecting. I liked the surprises and most of the time, I wasn’t sure where the story was going or what to expect next.

Sadly, I wasn’t fascinated with any of the characters. Natalie, as seen in flashbacks, is of course this stunning creature in Jake’s mind. Even the darker parts of her personality are not fleshed out, but she does have very little screen time. Which is sad because she is the reason Jake has gone on this suicide mission. I couldn’t get behind his motivation. And Jake? Yes, handsome and devoted college professor is a big plus in my book. But there was something about his quest that bothered me. Maybe it was because I didn’t believe in Natalie and Jake. Maybe it was because the circumstances were so dramatic and over the top from the very beginning.

The book was entertaining and fun to read but I was sad I wasn’t emotionally invested in either Jake or Natalie.

Rating 6 Good

Posted April 4, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 1 Comment


Review: Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner

Posted March 28, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Title: Touch & Go

Author: Lisa Gardner

Publisher: Dutton Adult

Publication Date: February 2013

Genre: Adult Mystery/Thriller

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis can be found here.
NetGalley review.

Review:

Justin and Libby Denbe have it all, and maybe that’s why the family is taken. Investigator Tessa Leoni arrives at the crime scene, a horrific abduction in their own home, and starts to unravel the secrets behind this seemingly perfect family.

Couldn’t put it down.
A thrill. Chapters alternate between the crime scene investigations and Libby’s ordeal. Complicated, addicted to pain killers, nursing a broken heart from her cheating husband, Libby is a selfish and self centered. She has not been there for her fifteen year old daughter. She is too devastated yet still totally in love with her husband. And yet, there is something about Libby that still makes her human. Hers were my favorite chapters. The writing style is a little different, slightly deeper thoughts and closer to emotions, making her someone to sympathize with.

The story continues with their ordeal and the police force tasked with finding them.

I found all of the characters to be well developed. Even ones that could have been brushed off, there is enough there to make them interesting, or dangerous.


A great book to take on vacation with you.
Or read in one sitting.

Rating 8 Cookie Worthy

Posted March 28, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 2 Comments


Review: The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington

Posted January 24, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Title: The Dead and Buried

Author: Kim Harrington

Publisher: Scholastic

Publication Date: January 2013

Genre: Young Adult Ghost Story/Paranormal

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis can be found here.
NetGalley review:

Review


Jade loves her new house, her big, beautiful and spacious new house. She is excited to start her new school, make new friends. But all of that is wiped away from mysterious things start happening in her new house. When she finds out a girl her age died in her house the year before, Jade has a sneaking suspicion her house may be haunted. And it’s confirmed in the most terrifying way.
Her ghost was killed and wants to know who killed her. Now Jade must do everything she can to find the killer. A killer who goes to her school. A killer who may kill again.

Harrington’s books are always fun for me. Creepy, sending a light shiver up the spine, I usually sit for hours inhaling the stories she writes. This is no exception.

Jade is a typical teenager who finds herself in a very dangerous position. I love her relationship to her half brother. It’s obvious why Jade is fighting for him and why she loves him so much. I really enjoy her relationship to her step mother too. It’s strained to say the least, but with all of Harrington’s characters, there’s more than meets the eye.

Donovan is cute, broody art boy extraordinaire, but sadly, I felt like there was something lacking in his character. He didn’t pull me in and the romance between him and Jade seemed lackluster for me. While Jade is an ok character, I can’t say I liked her. Her and Donovan didn’t really stand out for me on their own or together.

What I really enjoyed was the story. Part ghost story, part mystery, I liked the second guessing. For a while, I had no idea who the killer was and I kept flip flopping back and forth. This book is a fun, fast mystery with a good edge of creepiness.

Rating 7 Pretty Cool, Would Recommend

Posted January 24, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 0 Comments


Review: The Ninth Step by Grant Jerkins

Posted January 17, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Title: The Ninth Step

Author: Grant Jerkins

Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime

Publication Date: September 2012

Genre: Adult Crime/Thriller

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis can be found here.
I received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Don’t know what I was expecting, but it sure wasn’t that.

Helen is a recovering alcoholic and seeks out Edgar, the man who was driving the car she crashed into, resulting in the death of Edgar’s beloved wife Judy. As Helen and Edgar’s relationship grows, Helen becomes part of a blackmail scheme when a note appears: does he know you killed his wife?

With the threat of losing everything, Helen must come to terms with her past and what this means for her future and the man she now loves.

This is a swift read with interesting characters and some great twists. I didn’t think I would find Helen to be a very interesting or sympathetic character, but Jerkins does a good job making her human and good intentioned. Her character changes so dramatically from the beginning of the book to the end, I don’t honestly know what I think of Helen by then, but I do know it was a great ride.

Edgar on the other hand is safe, sweet and quiet. He’s a school teacher who collects Japanese puzzle boxes, awaiting the birth of him and Judy’s first child when they are struck by Helen’s car and his life changes forever. Edgar’s normal life is set into an uncontrollable downward spiral so that when Edgar does finally manage to pull it back together and find happiness, I’m rooting for him. It’s easy to see early on that Edgar’s choices will forever be tainted by this series of events, so that when things do reach their climax and get out of control, Edgar becomes an extreme character of himself.

A series of creepy and shady characters complete Helen and Edgar’s friends and non-friends. The unsettling feeling of something always being a little off starts on page one and reaches a powerful climax by the end. The good guys aren’t good, the bad guys aren’t bad. Well, they are, but oh, how that line is very blurry by the end.

The ending is satisfying, yet extremely harsh. I did like the ending but the momentum for the story was so out of control by that point, I feel like everything was uneasy still. Which isn’t a bad thing.

I really enjoyed this book and I think most people would really like it. It’s a thriller you can’t put down.

Rating: 7 Pretty Cool, Would Recommend

Posted January 17, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 0 Comments


Review: What We Saw At Night

Posted January 14, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Title: What We Saw At Night

Author: Jacquelyn Mitchard

Publisher: Soho Teen

Publication Date: January 2013

Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Thriller

Series or Stand Alone: Series, Book One

Synopsis can be found here.
NetGalley review.

Review:

Allie Kim and her friends suffer from a genetic disorder called XP that makes sunlight deadly to them. They live in the town where specialists are there to study the genetic disorder and help them cope with the lack of sunlight, living on nighttime hours, and their adjusting families.
So one night, when Allie and her friends are participating in Parkour, they witness a scene that changes everything. Was it a crime? Who was the man and the girl in the window? And why does Allie feel like they’re in danger?

The quiet world Mitchard created is eerie and still. Allie and her friends Rob and Juliet study Parkour- a dangerous stunt sport challenge, leaping off tall buildings, falling, flying and pushing their bodies to the limits. They feel alive and free in the dark night they live in. Allie is a typical teenager, experiencing mixed emotions for her friend Rob who she secretly likes, and Juliet, who Rob not so secretly likes. I really like Allie’s relationship with Juliet. Unsure, competitive and potentially explosive this friendship rings true for me. I sympathize with Allie’s hesitation of Juliet, questioning her motives and knowledge.

I don’t like Juliet as a character, but I thought Allie and Juliet’s interactions are realisitc. Juliet seems too strung out, too unstable. I didn’t believe Allie and Juliet could be real friends, if they hadn’t been thrown together because of this disorder.


The story moves slowly through the friends training of Parkour, up until we get to the scene where they see the crime. But that is well into the book and a lot of the first half is given up to setting. The pacing was too slow for me, and the suspense seemed forced and didn’t really kick in until the very end of the story. A lot of the Parkour scenes probably could have been edited out, they dragged on too long.  I kept reading, even though I had lost interested about half way through. Even the murderer wasn’t scary to me, an under developed character whose unclear motives were never answered.


Rating 4 Not My Cup of Tea

Posted January 14, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 2 Comments


Review: Shadow Woman by Linda Howard

Posted January 7, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 1 Comment

Title: Shadow Woman

Author: Linda Howard

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: January 2013

Genre: Adult Romance/Suspense

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis can be found here.
NetGalley review.

Review:

Lizette Henry wakes up to find that she doesn’t recognize her self anymore. That, and the fact that two full years have been wiped clean from her memory makes her panic. Where did those two years go? And why does she suddenly feel paranoid, like someone is watching her, listening to her, trailing her car? Lizette doesn’t know and feels like she might be going crazy. That is until she is almost killed. Now Lizette has to run, hide, and figure out her past before it catches up to her.

I’m a Linda Howard fan. Some of her books are dead on, leaving me laughing and hungry for more. So I was totally stoked to get this book early from NetGalley to do a review. Sadly, it doesn’t live up to some of my Linda Howard favorites of the past, but it’s still a pretty good romantic suspense story.

Lizette is an ok heroine. We meet her in a weakened state when she is trying to figure everything out so she’s not exactly in finest form. But ok, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and go on the ride.
I thought the scenes of her figuring everything out, running from everyone and hiding were a little over the top. Obviously she had training, but she was constantly second guessing herself and her choices. It’s like- honey, you obviously were trained for something. Go with it!

Xavier is smart, deadly and dangerous. It’s unclear whose side he’s working for, and what this big secret and the people hunting Liztte are up to. Xavier is there as the romantic hero lead and while he lives up to romantic alpha male standards, he isn’t very interesting to me. Cookie cutout of hot, romance male, insert here.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t crazy about Lizette or Xavier and that made the hot sexy scenes a little blase.

The overall story was interesting and there were some good surprises towards the end. But I’m sad to say I didn’t love this one. Linda Howard fans will probably gobble it up though so don’t overlook it!

And if you are interested in reading Linda Howard, might I recommend “After The Night” or “To Die For”. Fabulous.

Rating 4 Not My Cup of Tea

Posted January 7, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 1 Comment