Monday, September 22, 2014

Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

Cop Town

by Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter, author of the bestselling Will Trent novels, is widely acclaimed as “one of the best crime novelists in America” (The Washington Post). Now she delivers her first stand-alone novel: an epic story of a city in the midst of seismic upheaval, a serial killer targeting cops, and a divided police force tasked with bringing a madman to justice.

Atlanta, 1974: As a brutal murder and a furious manhunt rock the city’s police department, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last. She’s determined to defy her privileged background by making her own way—wearing a badge and carrying a gun. But for a beautiful young woman, life will be anything but easy in the macho world of the Atlanta PD, where even the female cops have little mercy for rookies. It’s also the worst day possible to start given that a beloved cop has been gunned down, his brothers in blue are out for blood, and the city is on the edge of war.

Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who’s feeling the heat. Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes. When she and Kate, her new partner, are pushed out of the citywide search for a cop killer, their fury, pain, and pride finally reach the boiling point. With a killer poised to strike again, they will pursue their own line of investigation, risking everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart.

Relentlessly paced, acutely observed, wickedly funny, and often heartbreaking, Cop Town is Karin Slaughter’s most powerful novel yet—a tour de force of storytelling from our foremost master of character, atmosphere, and suspense.
This is my second book by Karin Slaughter.  Even if I hadn't read Kisscut, I would have known that anything written by anyone named Slaughter was going to be a tough read.  That's okay...I like them tough.   And it was definitely tough.  It was full of characters who would have been poster boys for the KKK.  They were bigoted, homophobic, misogynistic assholes.  I couldn't wait for our two main characters, Maggie and Kate, to show them a thing or two about being real cops.  I also wanted them to go off on a ball-ripping, rage-fueled rampage through the stationhouse.  
I read this with my Goodreads group, so we were able to get some feedback from people who know that yes, this kind of shit really did go down.   I am glad that I didn't live through the 1970's in a major city.  I'm sure Atlanta is very nice now.
I loved everything about this book.  The atmosphere was very real and there were times that it made me very uncomfortable because of how real everything felt.  I call that very good writing.  The characters were very flawed and oh so human. 
On another note, I just looked at the cover and thought "there's a face in there!"  I thought it was just an orange cover with some swirls for effect.  Yes, I am oblivious.
I'm definitely looking forward to the next book by this author.
I received this copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Letter to My Cat by Lisa Erspamer

A Letter to My Cat



The follow-up to "A Letter to My Dog" takes on cats, with celebrities writing letters of love and gratitude to their beloved pet felines.
Alluring, elusive, mysterious--the cats in our lives are not always easy to get to know. But as with all pets, they have unique personalities and stories to tell. Alongside beautiful four-color photos of their cats, "A Letter to My Cat" collects personal letters from celebrities offering love and gratitude for all that their cats bring to their lives.
*I received an ARC copy from Netgalley*
I requested this book purely because it is about cats.  I love reading stories about how they've brightened the lives of their families or overcome terrible odds.  I love cats and will read just about anything about them.  I could probably fall very easily into 'crazy cat lady' territory.

 While I can understand the passing fancy to write your cat a letter (because letter writing is fun!) I just can't bring myself to give this book a very high rating.  Because while there are some very touching stories, most of them are just...too sweet and fluffy.  That's fine, but it's similar to listening to a stranger talk for hours about their uber-cute children.  You don't know these people and the cuteness factor wears off pretty quick.  Eventually you just want them to shut up and leave you be.

What I did love was the photographs of the cats.  Most of the cats are absolutely stunning.  The pictures alone are worth it.

There was one letter that made me sit in silence for a moment just because of how beautiful it was.  It was by a US Army Staff Sargent who rescued a cat from Afghanistan who was being abused repeatedly.  He snuck his new friend into the Army base, even though it was against the rules.  Not long after, several of the soldier's platoon mates were killed by a bomber.  His cat, Koshka, kept him from suicide and gave him hope for the future.

There are a lot of wonderful letters and the book gives a nice glimpse into the lives of other cat lovers.  It's worth reading if you like a lot of very sweet, sappy letters and a few deep ones, along with some beautiful photographs.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Memory Zero by Keri Arthur

Memory Zero

by Keri Arthur


For Sam Ryan, life began at age fourteen. She has no memory of her parents or her childhood. In a decade of service with the State Police, Sam has exhausted the resources of the force searching for clues to her identity. But all mention of her family seems to have been deliberately wiped off the record. Everything changes the night Sam’s missing partner resurfaces as a vampire... and forces her to kill him in self-defense. Now Sam is charged with murder. Suspended from the force, and with no one left to trust, Sam accepts some unexpected help from Gabriel Stern, a shapeshifter who conceals startling secrets.

While investigating the circumstances surrounding her partner’s strange behavior, Sam discovers that Garbriel’s been involved with a dangerous organization that’s planning a war on the human race. More immediate, someone is guarding the truth about Sam’s past—someone who’d rather see her dead than risk her knowing too much. To stay alive, Sam must unravel the threads of her past—and find out not only who she is but what she is.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley*
I usually love everything that Keri Arthur writes, but this one was very disappointing.  I really didn't expect that.  I expected to love it just as much as her other books.  But this one fell very flat for me.
I didn't care about the characters at all, not even Gabriel who is the type of character I would normally love.  I felt disconnected from both main characters and there wasn't any suspense for me because I didn't really care what happened to them.  I didn't sense any personality whatsoever.  
Nothing else was working for me, either.  I thought the book was very wordy and the plot was thin.
I'll still read more from this author and hope it was a one-time miss.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bliss by Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau


by Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau

They're always happy.

Rory James has worked hard all his life to become a citizen of the idyllic city-state of Beulah. Like every other kid born in the neighboring country of Tophet, he’s heard the stories: No crime or pollution. A house and food for everyone. It’s perfect, and Rory is finally getting a piece of it.

So is Tate Patterson. He’s from Tophet, too, but he’s not a legal immigrant; he snuck in as a thief. A city without crime seems like an easy score, until he crashes into Rory during a getaway and is arrested for assaulting a citizen. Instead of jail, Tate is enrolled in Beulah’s Rehabilitation through Restitution program. By living with and serving his victim for seven years, Tate will learn the human face of his crimes.

If it seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. Tate is fitted with a behavior-modifying chip that leaves him unable to disobey orders—any orders, no matter how dehumanizing. Worse, the chip prevents him from telling Rory, the one man in all of Beulah who might care about him, the truth: in a country without prisons, Tate is locked inside his own mind.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley*
I love, love, LOVE the concept of this one.  It has a very creepy Stepford type feel to it and I was constantly raging at the characters in the book to get a clue!  The city Rory has just moved to looks like a utopia on the outside, but secretly it is a dystopic nightmare of slavery and behavioral modification where you can't possibly know who to trust. 
I loved the issues brought up with this book.  Are you really guilty if you don't know you were doing wrong and believed that the other person was in their right mind?  If the other person gives you every indication that your advances are welcome?
It was a good book and I couldn't put it down because I just had to see what would happen to Tate and Rory. 
The characters could have been more fleshed out, especially Tate.  But isn't that the point of behavior modification?  That the person you think you know isn't what you would expect? 
I had a lot of fun reading this and I would recommend it to anyone who loves dystopian stories...but beware that there are explicit rape scenes!