Just a Few Books that Surprised Me #review

Posted August 28, 2017 by Berls in Just a Few Books I Read, Review / 8 Comments

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Just a Few Books that Surprised Me #reviewThese Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
Narrator: Will Damron, William Dufris
Published by Random House Delacorte on October 27th 2015
Genres: Mystery, Historical, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 488
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Goodreads
four-stars

Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.

Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort accidentally shot himself while cleaning his revolver. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.

The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. Only now it might be too late to stop.

The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and the truth is the dirtiest part of all.

This is a book I normally wouldn’t have picked up. I don’t really read mysteries, except cozy mysteries… which I guess this turned out to be. A historical version of a cozy mystery, that is. I like NEVER read American historical fiction. But this was a book up for book club and it was the only one I could quickly grab from the library. And it did have an interesting synopsis.

I am very thankful because it sucked me in!!! What an incredible set of characters and I just loved the way the author exposed so many of the issues of late 19th century NY city! We see the various ways that women are trapped – poor and rich alike – and the ways they’re starting to break free. We see new technology, science, and journalism. We see tenements, poverty, orphans, pick pockets, madame’s houses, mad houses, and more I’m sure I’m forgetting. Despite being an amazing lens into this world, it never felt too historical. It was housed behind a great mystery, sweet romance, and an empowering tale of how Jo Montfort finds herself, her voice. Loved it and will have to pick up this author again. Surprised me in a very good way!
4 stars Pretty Great

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Just a Few Books that Surprised Me #reviewDead of Night by Jonathan Maberry
Narrator: William Dufris
Series: Dead of Night #1
Published by Macmillan Audio on October 25th 2011
Genres: Horror, Zombies
Length: 13 hours 49 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Borrowed
Goodreads
four-stars

A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave. But all drugs have unforeseen side-effects. Before he can be buried, the killer wakes up. Hungry. Infected. Contagious. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang… but a bite.

With the exception of White Trash Zombie, I don’t really do zombies. And I most DEFINITELY do not do horror. And yet this was so strongly recommended that I gave it a go. And was surprised, because I liked it.

It was kinda a slow starter for me but I really enjoyed the second half. I love Dee and Billy Trout and the idea of telling bits of the story from the zombie’s point of view is pretty genius. Ended on one hell of a cliff hanger!

The narration was pretty good and the narrator William Dufris handled the varied voice well.
4 stars Pretty Great

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Just a Few Books that Surprised Me #reviewFall of Night by Jonathan Maberry
Narrator: William Dufris
Series: Dead of Night #2
Published by Macmillan Audio on September 2nd 2014
Genres: Horror, Zombies
Length: 15 hours 2 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Borrowed
Goodreads
dnf

Stebbins Little School is full of bodies. It's unthinkable to Desdemona Fox. Children are sobbing as panicked teachers and neighbors beat down their family members outside of the school - or the things that used to be their family members. Parents don't eat their children do they?

Officers Fox and Hammond, along with journalist Billy Trout, are calling it the beginning of the end. This is the zombie apocalypse. An insane escaped serial killer is infecting Stebbins County with a deadly virus, and now the whole world is watching while Fox, Trout, and the remaining inhabitants of Stebbins fight for their life against - what? The undead?

The President and the National Guard are ready to nuke Stebbins, PA off the map and cut their losses. But the infection is spreading and fast. Worse, the scientist who created the virus is missing. It's a numbers game as the body count rises; Fox has to contain the infected and evacuate the living before it's too late, and the clock is ticking.

Fall of Night, Maberry's nail-biting sequel to Dead of Night, picks up where the first novel left off - on a wild goose chase for a madman and the missing scientist who gave him new "un"-life. Chilling, gory, and hair-raisingly scary, Maberry fans won't be able to read this fast-paced thriller with the lights off.

©2014 Jonathan Maberry (P)2014 Macmillan Audio

I was really excited to get into this book after the way the first one ended (Dead of Night above). But it didn’t pick up where the last one left off… in fact quite a bit recapped and bored me. And it just didn’t pull me in. I made it to the half way point and set it aside for weeks with no desire to continue. So I’m calling it. Despite a great 1st book and lots of recommendations this one surprised me by being a DNF.
DNF

Just a Few Books that Surprised Me #reviewDon't Tempt Me by Lori Foster
Narrator: Will Damron
Series: Guthrie Brothers #1
Published by Blackstone on July 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 11 hours 33 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Love comes along when it's least wanted Jason Guthrie has no time for entanglements--between helping out his widowed brother and teenage nephew and getting his hometown back on its feet, his days are spoken for. But his nights are another story. And when his lovely new neighbor, Honor Brown, reluctantly accepts his help in remodeling her house, Jason finds himself wishing his handyman skills could knock down the defenses she keeps building around herself. Martial arts teacher Sullivan Dean knows real danger when he sees it--even when it takes the form of the gorgeous blonde helping her friend move in across the street. After putting his wayward past behind him to focus on teaching control to troubled kids, Sullivan has learned to avoid party girls like Lexie Perkins. But Sullivan can't seem to keep his hands off the real woman behind that flirty charm--or keep his heart from landing at her feet.

Don’t Tempt Me surprised me because I had already read a Lori Foster book and, despite the raving, it was just Meh for me. But Don’t Tempt Me was so good – I arrived at work with mascara running from listening while on the way. I finally see the fuss about Lori Foster – it’s a shame I didn’t start with this book! The relationships and characters were so complex and well developed, it was so easy to connect with them. And her ability to write the most devestating emotions! Well, like I said, mascara running down my face. So glad I gave Lori Foster another try! The narration was also quite good and probably really helped me get attached to the characters – I remember initially being surprised to have a male narrator for a female character, but we get both POVs in this book and he does a great job.

4.5 stars I loved it

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About Berls

Michelle adopted me as part of her blog when I decided to close down my blog, Fantasy is More Fun. The blog was dying, but my love of reading and the blogosphere was still strong as ever - so I found my new home here at Because Reading!

I'm not just a book lover, but a one time author (that hopes to be more in the future), wife, and step-mom to the craziest, sweetest 17 year old on the planet. I also have the privilege of teaching Kindergarten. I love what I do and you can expect it to bleed into my posts. Teaching is a big a part of me as my family and reading. So grab a glass of wine and chat books, blogging, and family with me!

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8 responses to “Just a Few Books that Surprised Me #review

  1. I don’t do zombie either – and definitely not horror – however I have found a couple good versions. One is the Deadtown series by Nancy Holzner. Her zombies aren’t mindless and prefer junk food over brains. I also recently read the URBAN ENEMIES anthology and I took note of a short I really enjoyed. I looked the author/series up on GR and found out it was a zombie series. I’m still debating.
    Jen Twimom recently posted…Review: Three Player Game by Jaime SammsMy Profile

    • Lol I know, I’m so hesitant about picking horror and Zombies. I do like the sounds of junk food Zombies 🙂 may have to check that one out!

    • Yeah I did, and the recap really killed it for me. It was such a cliffhanger, and it didn’t get addressed for quite some time. :/ I really recommend These Shallow Graves though 🙂

  2. Dead of Night looks freaky! I don’t usually do horror but every once in a bit I get a hankerin for it, or one gets recommended that turns out to be awesome. Have you read The Rains by Gregg Hurwitz? Pretty freaky too.
    Greg recently posted…On the Run IXMy Profile

    • Dead of night is definitely freaky! I know several people who enjoyed the series more than I did. No, haven’t see The Rains, but I also don’t tend to horror… Will have to take a peek and see if it’s one I may want to try.

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