Saturday, March 19, 2016

I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV and Addiction by Bob Beckel

Book: I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV and Addiction

Author: Bob Beckel

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Bob Beckel discusses this very poignant memoir his life raised in an impoverished, alcoholic home and the continued lifelong struggle with addiction..all while under the glaring spotlight of politics and television. 

My rating: 5 Stars

My opinion: So, I have to say that I come into this book review with a bias. I absolutely adore and respect Bob Beckel and, in his time with Fox News, learned so much from him regarding accepting people for who they are versus political ideology, it isn't even funny.

As a COA, this was a tough read for me, but it is also what makes it an incredibly powerful read. As a child of an alcoholic, Mr. Beckel writes with such brutal honesty  and insight  into his early years in an abusive, alcoholic home that I found myself reflecting on incidents in my own home growing up while numerous moments of catching myself holding my breath. This insight isn't only on blaming parents for a less than idealistic home life. With keen insight, Beckel takes a deep look into the progression of his own addiction and the behaviors that followed.   

I have to admit that I paid very little attention to the political or television side of the memoir with the exception of how they played into the addictive behavioral pattern. 

Source: Purchased

Would I recommend? : As a COA and former addictions counselor, this book has risen to my number one book to recommend for those in treatment or recovery. Beckel, in his typical humility, has taught lessons that every addict should walk away with regarding the past impacting the present and the fragile state of recovery. This story gives excellent discussion points for use as a form of bibliotherapy. 

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Note: Idealog comments bashing either Mr. Beckel or Fox News will not even see the light of day of this review. Don't bother wasting your time typing them. Comments on this blog are very closely monitored. 

On that note (and since it is MY blog), I can say is the day Fox News fired Beckel was the last day  this LOYAL viewer stopped watching Fox News. I remember the day  they did the show from Washington DC and now see that as being a prop versus a true support of Bob Beckel. If Beckel would have had cancer, upon his return, as many other news stations have done, Beckel would have been paraded around and put on a pedestal. Just food for thought.....

Goodbye to the Dead (Jonathan Stride #7) by Brian Freeman

Goodbye to the Dead (Jonathan Stride, #7)

Book: Goodbye to the Dead (Jonathan Stride #7)

Author: Brian Freeman

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Stride's past is coming back to haunt him when a gun used in a previous crime is used in the brutal murder of another person. Did Stride get the killer wrong sending an innocent woman to prison for the murder of her husband?

My rating: 5 Stars

My opinion: GOOD GAWD, this series never gets old. Freeman has managed to take us back to solve two murders. The first when Stride's wife, Cindy, is still alive and diagnosed with cancer and the present involving his new love and fellow detective, Serena Dial and new charge, Cat Winters. Along the way, we get a complete picture of the pain that Stride holds internally that blocks him from his emotional growth in his current relationship.  

Flipping from past to present, as predicted, Freeman pulls this off seamlessly and builds pulse pounding momentum to the very last scene in the book. I could not put this book down from the second it showed up on my doorstep. 

I wouldn't expect any less from this author and, as usual, he delivered. It always amazes me how he, after seven releases, can keep this series as fresh as the first. 

So, don't trust me? Let me give you my husband's perspective. While coming down for his monthly visit, upon entering our apartment, his eyes immediately went to our bookshelf where the book was sitting and immediately widened. I got a "What the hell? You are holding out!" He picked the book up immediately and was done with it forty eight hours later. My husband has nowhere the speed that I have in reading, so this was quite the feat. 

Source: Publisher for review. 

Would I recommend? : Hell yes! Today and now! Brian Freeman is on my list for top 3 American mystery writers and this series is the reason why. Do yourself a favor though....start with book one. I say this with every release. Brian Freeman is one of the most character driven authors I know. It is well worth your time because I know that I have a deeper appreciation and attachment to the characters having done so. 

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Number 7 in series. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Dreaming Spies (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #13) by Laurie R. King

Book: Dreaming Spies (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #13)

Author: Laurie R. King

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: From Goodreads:
It is 1925, and Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes arrive home to find a familiar decorative stone installed in their garden. A stone with a name, which they last saw in the Tokyo garden of the future Emperor of Japan. It is the first indication that the investigation they did for him in 1924 might not be as complete as they had thought. In Japan there were spies, in Oxford there are dreams. In both places there is a small dark-haired woman and danger.
My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: I have to say that this was not my favorite in this series by far. I found it to be a  bit slower for me than others in the series. Furthermore, I found it to be much more focused on the setting vs. the mystery. On that note, this is why friends of mine who are as in love with this series as much as I am have stated that it is their favorite in the series. It is all about what you love.

Source: Publisher for review

Would I recommend? : Always! I love this series. This book can be read alone, but do yourself a favor and read this dynamic duo in series order. They have a great story that is slowly released in each novel. It is well worth your time or my name isn't Naomi!

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Number 13 in series

Saturday, January 23, 2016

No Safe House: A Thriller by Linwood Barclay

Book: No Safe House: A Thriller

Author: Linwood Barclay

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Sometimes, the past is a difficult thing to shed. 

For the Archers, it is the reason for their continued problems. Terry and Cynthia are separated and daughter Grace is heading down a terrible path of poor decision making. 

When Grace makes a bad decision to follow her delinquent boyfriend into a house to rob it, it opens up a can of worms with killers and those who pay them. The Archers thought they left this behind seven years ago, but the past isn't quite through with this family yet. 

Can this dysfunctional, broken family come together to save themselves?

My rating: 3 Stars

My opinion: I must say that I have very mixed feelings regarding this book. I love this author but feel that the span of time between books in the series was too far. I had given the first book in this series 5 stars, but found that I had to spend too much time remembering events and dynamics between characters than on the story itself.

As in his typical style, character and plot development is superb. I simply wish that this book would have been published several years ago. It easily would have garnered a higher rating than the 3 stars given. It just seemed off with the length of time between releases. 

This author still remains in my top 3 of Canadian mystery writers who are highly recommended when I am asked.

Source: Publisher for review

Would I recommend? : I would. Do yourself a favor and read No Time for Goodbye prior to reading this book. 

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Second in series