Sunday, January 14, 2018

{Book Review} "Dangerous Illusions" by Irene Hannon

Rating: 4/5

An elderly woman's death. A mugging. Embezzlement. Romance. Irene Hannon has packed it all into her latest Code of Honor novel, Dangerous Illusions.

Trish Bailey is still reeling from the unexpected death of her husband and her father. One car crash took them both and left Trish and her mom to grieve and live as widows. Just when Trish has found some semblance of normality, her life is shaken up again. And again and again. Trish's mother's unexpected death leads to a criminal investigation. All seems fine until other mysterious things begin happening in Trish's life.
Detective Collin Flynn isn't one to mix work and pleasure, but meeting Trish at her mother's crime scene blurs that line for him. From the moment they meet, Detective Flynn is infatuated. Can he keep his distance until the case is closed? Meanwhile, Trish's current romantic interest is a prime suspect in all of the mysterious activity. Will Detective Flynn successfully sort it all out before Trish is injured or killed? When the Russian Mafia comes into the pictures, Flynn isn't so sure.

Irene Hannon is a talented crime thriller writer. Without being too gory, Hannon has weaved a story of intrigue, deception and romance that will draw readers in from the first page. The plot proceeds at a steady pace that leaves readers constantly wanting more. The characters are interesting enough, but there's not a lot of character development in terms of character growth. Overall, though, Dangerous Illusions is a spectacular novel. Fans of Dee Henderson or Dani Pettrey will especially enjoy this story.

I received an ebook of this title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, December 22, 2017

{Book Review} "Deadly Proof" by Rachel Dylan

Rating: 5/5

Deadly Proof is a legal thriller written by Rachel Dylan, an experienced lawyer. Dylan’s background lends an element of reality to the story since she has first-hand knowledge of the legal world. Deadly Proof is just as exciting as any crime thriller I’ve ever read.

Kate Sullivan left the dark world of defense and became a litigator to work for victims who have been wronged by corporations. When a big pharmaceutical company is accused of putting a drug on the market with known serious side effects, Kate fights to be a part of the steering committee of attorneys that will be chosen to represent the massive case. From the very beginning, Kate must fight hard. There’s a web of legal steps that need to be taken for Kate to have a chance at trying this case. But will she even get the chance?

Ethan Black has been Kate’s close friend since law school. Unfortunately for their friendship, Ethan is the defense attorney hired to defend MPC from the accusations being hurled at the company. Ethan isn’t above using his friendship with Kate to get things done how he’d like them to be. But when doubts arise surrounding MPC’s innocence, and lives are threatened, employees disappear…the case gets messier and messier for Ethan. How can he defend a client who isn’t being honest with him? Is the CEO guilty?

Soon after taking the case, Kate hires a private investigator to help with the grunt work. When the case turns dangerous, Landon, the investigator, insists on providing security for Kate. Landon comes with military background and a dicey past that prevents him from opening up to Kate. Will Kate be able to get to know him? How can she focus on the case and Landon at the same time?

Ethan and Kate soon come to an impasse in the case leading up to the trial. Will their friendship survive? Will everyone involved make it out alive? Just when you think the story is concluding, a riveting ending will have you rapidly scrambling to finish the story. Dylan is a skilled legal fiction writer. Within Deadly Proof, she has crafted characters you will want to learn more about and a plot that will leave you guessing until the very end.

I received an ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

{Book Review} "Blind Spot" by Dani Pettrey

Rating: 5/5

Blind Spot is Dani Pettrey's third installment in the Chesapeake Valor series. If you haven't read Cold Shot and Still Life, make sure to read those before diving into Blind Spot. 

 Enemies. Love. Terrorists. Murder. Fraud. This novel has so many complex elements. FBI Agent Declan Grey knows he has to stop the looming terrorist attack planned to take place on U.S. Soil. But how? Tanner Shaw takes a job as a counselor with the FBI and ends up being Grey's temporary partner. What she doesn't expect is the constant death attempts on her life. What's going on? How deep is Declan into this terrorism case? Tanner hopes the two of them can solve it because the safety of their country depends on it.

Meanwhile, Griffin and Parker are left devastated by the death of a mentor. At first they suspect suicide. But what does the evidence show? They find themselves on a wild journey as they work to prove their friend didn't commit suicide. On top of that, the two of them are doing everything they can to assist Declan in his case. Will it all be too much to handle?

Luke Gallagher disappeared seven years ago and Kate, who has never stopped loving him,  continues looking for him. What happens when he finally reappears? Is anyone in their group of friends safe at this point?

The characters are further developed in this installment of the series, so it is fun to read about Griffin and Finley and Avery and Parker so readers can catch up on what's happening with the characters from the first two novels of the series. Declan and Tanner both evolve as characters throughout the story.The plot of this novel is fast-paced and constantly changing.  At times this plot gets so complex that it can be tricky to keep it all straight, but that adds to the depth of the story line. The cliffhanger that the story ends with will leave readers eager to read the next installment of this mysterious series, which will no doubt further complicate the story. This is a well-written novel that is most definitely worth reading if you're a fan of police thrillers.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Importance of Travel

Recently, I went on an eight day trip to Ireland with my roommate and another friend. I expected it to be an adventure, which it definitely was, but my very favorite thing about the trip was how it turned into such a learning experience. I learned so much about myself. I'm a firm believer that travel is of the greatest importance. Travel teaches lessons that can't be learned otherwise. One week in Ireland revealed a lot to me about who I am and who I do not want to be. I realized just how much I value integrity. I learned that I can push myself further than I thought I could. And I learned that growth is a process that is sometimes painful but results in benefits that make the growing pains so worth it. What I thought would be a fun vacation turned into an experience that has shaped me closer to who I want to be.

You guys. Travel is important. It changes you. It opens your eyes to a new way of life, a new culture, a new system of how things work in other places. It teaches you what you can handle and what you have to work on in your life. It teaches you what kind of person you really are when you're away from the comforts of home.

I definitely believe that travel is especially important when you are young. At 22, I've only been to 10 countries. There's so much more of the world I want to experience! All I know is North America and Europe. I have no idea what real life in Africa, Asia or South America is like. How do people in Australia live their lives? I want to know! I want to learn all that I can from experiencing the lives of people from other cultures. It's my goal to travel as often and as far as possible because it's just so important. People who don't travel know only their little space in the world. The world is much bigger than your hometown. It's bigger than your country. Go explore it. 

Travel doesn't have to be expensive. Do it cheap. Stay in hostels. Eat convenience store foods. Wander and experience a city instead of buying souvenirs. Travel is possible. Make it a priority. It matters. 

That's all. I'll stop rambling now. 

Random Questions: November 2017

1. What decision are you glad you made? The decision to move to Budapest to be a teacher.
2. Share some good advice. Love more. 
3. What occupied your mind today? Mostly things involving teaching
4. What was the best conversation you had today? I had so many great conversations with students today.
5. Do you love your job? Very much so!
 6. If you could get rid of one of your habits, what would it be? My habit of talking more than I should.
7. List 5 things you wish you had with you today. More coffee, comfier shoes, markers, phone charger and a warmer coat.
8. What are the achievements you are most proud of? Graduating college
9. What gadgets did you use today? Phone, laptop, coffee maker, copier...
 10. What shocked you? I found out I was saying a Hungarian word wrong and the way I was saying it was actually a swear word! 
11. What was the last lie you told? I can't remember. I hate lying. 
12. What is your favorite cuisine? Mexican
13. What do you have too much of? Papers on my desk.
14. What do you want to tell yourself in one year? "Look how much you've grown."
15. What is your greatest strength? 
16. Other than your clothes, what was with you the majority of the day? My phone and lesson plan binder.
17. What’s your guilty pleasure? Gilmore Girls
 18. What is bothering you? Lately I've been bothered by comparing myself with others. Terrible.
19. What inspires youSeeing my students work hard to succeed.
 20. What impression did you make on others today? I hope I impressed on my students the importance of respect.
 21. What did you give up on today? Nothing.
 22. How did you play today? Met a friend for coffee and journaled. :) 
23. Name the last three things you used today. Laptop, toothbrush, toothpaste
 24. What sound do you hate hearing? The sound of anyone cracking their knuckles. Hate it!
25. Do you feel appreciated? Most of the time
26. Today I had too much occupying my time
27. What worries you? Currently all of the sad things happening in America worries me.
28. What did you get to do today? Teach, English Club and coffee with a friend.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Adventuring in Slovenia

When you're in your twenties, you do really crazy things like wake up at 2am to road trip from Budapest, Hungary to Ljubljana and Lake Bled, Slovenia all in one day. The views were worth it. :) This was my second time visiting Lake Bled, and it is still my favorite place I've ever ventured to.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

{Book Review} "Fatal Trust" by Todd M. Johnson

Rating: 4/5

Ian Wells just wanted to help his mom out. When his dad, Connor, passes away, Ian takes over his law firm. For five years, things go well as Ian works as an estate lawyer. The job is boring and not what he expected to be doing right after graduating from law school, but Ian is getting along. Then, one day, Ian is asked to take on an incredibly unusual case. From the very beginning of the case, things are strange. In a one week time span, things become strange and dangerous.

Art theft. Hot money. Trust fund. Murder. 

Ian has no idea what he has walked into by accepting this case. What appears to be a simple trust fund distribution is much, much more. Will Ian make it out alive? Will his clients live? What's with all the secrets and lies?

Fatal Trust starts off very, very slow. However, once the action picks up, it continues right up until the end. The pacing isn't great, but it is enough to draw readers in. All of the mystery and confusion among the characters will entice readers to push through the slow beginning. There are a lot of characters to keep up with, which is a bit challenging because none of them are developed super well, so you end up with a lot of characters you don't know much about. Nevertheless, the characters that are developed are interesting and the plot is entertaining. If you like crime fiction, this is a good choice.

I received a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.