AnnAlysis: The Competition

the competitionFrom Goodreads:
In Marcia Clark’s most electrifying thriller yet, Los Angeles DA Rachel Knight investigates a diabolical high school massacre.

A Columbine-style massacre at a high school in the San Fernando Valley has left a community shaken to its core. Two students are identified as the killers. Both are dead, believed to have committed a mutual suicide. But in the aftermath of the shooting, as LA Special Trials prosecutor Rachel Knight and Detective Bailey Keller dig deeper, they realize that the pieces don’t add up. Could it be that the two “killers” were themselves victims? And if so, does that mean that the real killers are still on the loose? When someone starts dropping clues that another horrific crime is in the works, Rachel and Bailey scramble desperately to profile their suspect and prevent another killing–before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:
First off, let me start with this is the first time that I ran out of time on a book on NetGalley and had to buy a book so I could finish it. And it was totally worth it.

This is the 4th Rachel Knight book. I have not read any of the others. But this one stands alone well.

I’m always intrigued by school shooting books. I think the reason is because they are always real life news stories that I have to follow for work. When one of these happens, no matter where it is in the country, most newsrooms are always on top of it. No matter how far away, it’s always something that pulls at the heart strings. Who targets innocent children? And after the shooting has happened, it doesn’t stop there. There’s always what comes next, when you start to learn about the shooter, what made them tick, and what in their past may have led to this.

Clark did a very good job with this book. From the scene of the shooting, where you felt like you were in the gym, seeing the sights, hearing the sounds. To the chase and hunt of the suspects. It really felt like following a real life school shooting and that I was part of the investigation.

I have a love hate relationship with these types of books. I like to think of myself a a sleuth. I think I could get out of the journalism business and do a little detective action. Granted this is fiction and is written to trip you up, it’s stories like this that make me think maybe it’s good to keep my day job. I was caught up in every twist and turn and possible suspect. I had no idea who the killer was.

Does the name Marcia Clark ring a bell? Well I’ve learned the reason she did such an awesome job with this crime novel is that she has spent her life fighting against them. Clark is the prosecutor who fought against OJ Simpson in his murder trial. She definitely knows her stuff.

This book really knocked my socks off and I need to grab the rest of the books in it ASAP. I give The Competition 5 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released: July 2014
Author Website

AnnAlysis: West

WestFrom Goodreads:
If you could change history, would you?

College graduate Josephine “Josie” Jackson answers ‘yes’ to the question on a survey while visiting an Old West tourist trap. The next morning, she wakes up in Indian Territory in the 1840s, where she’s given a mission to complete before she can return to her time: to reset history by finding and stopping the man responsible for a horrific massacre.

It seems easy enough, until she discovers that three other women have been sent back to the same time period. When Josie uncovers what happened to them, she realizes the chances of her getting out of the past alive are not good.

To survive, she’ll have to trust the very man she’s there to stop, someone who has every reason to distrust her and only one reason to help her – to prove he’s not the monster she claims he’ll become.

My Thoughts:
It’s funny how you read a book from a genre you aren’t used to, then all of the sudden there are dozens of other books in that genre in your lap. I love the doors that open through reading and blogging.

One thing I love about these time travel books is how they actually get back in time. One book I read it was through a hot air balloon. This time, it starts with an innocent street fair and filling out a survey. Their reason for going back is always intriguing too. Let’s be honest. Most of these time travel stories are very similar. You have a young girl, she travels back in time, there’s a mission for her, she finds a good man and has to decide if she’s going to stay in the past or go back to the present.

I really liked Josie’s character in this book. She’s a bit naive in the beginning, but who would really believe they would go back in time? Wouldn’t we all brush it off as a joke? But once she makes the trip, she takes it in stride. She takes the task and runs with it. She pretends she is someone she’s not. What would you do in that situation? Could you pull it off?

I also liked Taylor, the leading man in the book. These books always have strong male characters. This is something I’ve come to expect in a time travel book. You have to have a strong male character to persuade a woman to give up her entire life in the present to life permanently in the past.

I give West 4 out of 5 bookmarks. As I was getting ready to post this review, I was scrolling through Goodreads and saw that people are loving this book. If you are a fan of Dr. Who (he is mentioned a few times in the book) or any time travel, you may want to pick this one up. There’s also a sequel coming out later this year.

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Released: December 2014
Author Website

Other books by Lizzy Ford:
Black Moon Draw

AnnAlysis: Confessions The Private School Murders

confessions private school murdersFrom Goodreads:
In the sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller Confessions of a Murder Suspect, James Patterson keeps the confessions coming breathlessly as Tandy Angel delves deeper into her own tumultuous history-and proves that she can rise above the sordid Angel legacy.

Wealthy young women are being murdered on Manhattan’s exclusive Upper West Side, and the police aren’t looking for answers in the right places. Enter Tandy Angel. The first case she cracked was the mystery of her parents’ deaths. Now, while she’s working to exonerate her brother of his glamorous girlfriend’s homicide, she’s driven to get involved in the West Side murder spree. 

One of the recent victims was a student at Tandy’s own elite school. She has a hunch it may be the work of a serial killer, but the NYPD isn’t listening to her…and Tandy can’t ignore the disturbing fact that she perfectly fits the profile of the killer’s targets. Can she untangle the mysteries in time? Or will she be the next victim?

My Thoughts:
This is the second book in the Confessions series. It’s a new YA series by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. If you’re wanting to read this book and haven’t read the first book, Confessions of a Murder Suspect first. With this series so far, you need to read them in order. If you picked up the second one first, you may be ok, but you really need to read the first one first to get a feel for the series. This book picks up where the first one left off. There is a second plot in this book, away from the original one in the first book, but they both run throughout the book.

That being said, I really liked where this book went. I wasn’t sure how Patterson and Paetro would push the first book further, with most of the mystery being solved. I am really glad they added in a second plot twist to keep things moving. The pace of these books is rapid. They are quick, easy reads that you won’t want to put down.

The characters that I fell in love with in the first book are back for more action. And a few new ones are added to the mix. These are definitely characters that you will remember once you put this book down.

The third book in this series is out, however I do not have a copy yet. I do hope to get my hands on it soon. This is my new favorite series and one that I hope to stay on top of.

I give Confessions The Private School Murders 5 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released: October 2013
Author Website

AnnAlysis: The Job

the jobFrom Goodreads:
The FBI had one demand when they secretly teamed up Special Agent Kate O’Hare with charming con man Nicolas Fox—bring down the world’s most-wanted and untouchable felons. This time it’s the brutal leader of a global drug-smuggling empire. The FBI doesn’t know what their target looks like, where he is, or how to find him, but Nick Fox has a few tricks up his sleeve to roust this particular Knipschildt chocolate–loving drug lord.

From the streets of Nashville to the back alleys of Lisbon, from the rooftops of Istanbul to the middle of the Thames, Nick and Kate chase their mark. When they find themselves pitted against a psychopathic bodyguard and a Portuguese enforcer who gets advice from a pickled head, they decide it’s time to enlist some special talent—talent like a machete-wielding Somali pirate, a self-absorbed actor, an Oscar-winning special effects artist, and Kate’s father Jake, a retired Special Forces operative. Together they could help make this Fox and O’Hare’s biggest win yet . . . if they survive.

My Thoughts:
This is the 3rd book in this series. I will read anything that Janet Evanovich writes and I’ve been lucky enough to find all three books in this series on NetGalley. This series has ups and downs for me. I absolutely LOVE the characters in this book. Nick and Kate make a great team. They are sugar and spice and bring out sides of each other most people don’t see. They have great chemistry and I’m just waiting for them to get together and get it over with. And the supporting cast is great. They are cooky and fun and quirky. They always bring a little flare to the story. They are kind of like the cast of Oceans Eleven.

I love the premise of the series, but don’t always love the story itself. The plot of the first book was amazing, the second one was just meh, this one, about the same for me. It’s on a boat, and in an exotic locale. I do like that Kate continues to play grow and push the legal limits to bring down the bad guys.

I give The Job 3 out of 5 bookmarks. Although I didn’t love this one, I’ll keep reading this series.

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Released: November 18, 2014
Author Website

Other Books in Series:
The Heist
The Chase

AnnAlysis: The Revealed

the revealedFrom Goodreads:
Lily Atwood lives in what used to be called Washington, D.C. Her father is one of the most powerful men in the world, having been a vital part of rebuilding and reuniting humanity after the war that killed over five billion people. Now he’s running to be one of its leaders.

But in the rediscovered peace on Earth, a new enemy has risen. They call themselves the Revealed – a powerful underground organization that has been kidnapping 18 year olds across the globe without reservation. No one knows why they are kidnapping these teens, but it’s clear something is different about these people. They can set fires with a snap of their fingers and create a wind strong enough to barrel over a tree with a flick of their wrist. No one has been able to stop them, and they have targeted Lily as their next victim.

But Lily has waited too long to break free from her father’s shadow to let some rebel organization just ruin everything. Not without a fight.

My Thoughts:
As I prepared for the release of Mockingjay, I was hungry for a little dystopia in my life and this book fulfilled it!

I think that there’s a lot of pressure to be the next Hunger Games or Divergent. And those are very big shoes to fill. There are several things I think that Hickam did well with this book (and beginning of series). She set the stage for us as to where we are, which I think is extremely important. If we are in a dystopian society, I want to know where I am in proximity to where this is all taking place. In Hunger Games, I know that I am near District 12. That makes the story more real for me because I can relate to these people. As in any book, if it takes place in a location I am familiar with, I am more likely to gravitate toward it. I like being able to close my eyes and place myself there. Hickam set the center of this story in Washington DC. Even for those who haven’t been there, we know the location, we know the history, we know the importance of setting a dystopian political story in the nation’s capital.

I also think Hickam did a good job with the characters. I loved the strength of Lily. But at the same time, when things get super rocky, I love that she is real. She is a teenager. She is emotional. She is vulnerable. She is a bit reckless and certainly puts herself in more danger than necessary. But what teenager wouldn’t in that situation? They are few and far between. When it comes to Kai, shooo, he’s a tough one. You want to like him. He’s smooth and sauve and likable in a bad boy sense. But there are so many questions – Is he trustworthy? Is he the same boy that Lily remembers?

The one thing I’m hung up on on this book is what Hickam tried to do differently. It’s not magic, but it’s not necessarily realistic. I appreciate her working hard to put in a game changer and make her story different from others. It’s not exactly up my alley. However with that said, I am intrigued by it and interested to see where she takes it from here. I know I’m being vague…but I don’t want to give anything away.

The book was a gripping, adventurous, quick read. I will definitely keep my eyes out for the other books in this series.

I give The Revealed 4 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released: June 2014
Author Website