Joe Z. (zelman) - Reviews

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After I Do: A Novel
After I Do: A Novel
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 2/2/2015


Fantastic lighthearted read about a tough subject matter, the falling apart of a marriage. Having been married for five years myself I would say the feelings and thoughts of the characters are spot on. What do you do when love starts to fade? Do you fight or flight?


The Age of Miracles
The Age of Miracles
Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 38
Review Date: 3/8/2015


I'm honestly torn on how I feel about this book. It's a great and very interesting subject, what would happen if the earth stopped spinning? The story is told from an eleven year old girl's point of view, and that was odd because she seemed much older than eleven. Sad, touching and at times really fatalistic. Hmmm.


All the Missing Girls
All the Missing Girls
Author: Megan Miranda
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 13
Review Date: 4/28/2016


It doesn't happen often that I start reading a book and immediately wish I could put my life on hold to finish it up in one big gulp. Unfortunately, as a working Mom I had to read this amazing thriller in drips and drabs-sneaking my kindle into the bathroom with me, hiding from my toddler and husband. Ms. Miranda has written a gem. A first rate thriller and not so much because of the who-done-it twists and turns, or the grand character development, but because this book is told backwards. Yes, even with all the hype and the note from the publisher at the beginning I was really questioning how this could work, how I could enjoy a book that you have to work so hard to tell what happened when. But, Ms. Miranda makes it seem like everyone should write this way. I'm not going to even bother discussing the plot, don't want to ruin it for you future reader. Do yourself a favor, pick this up and jump on the Missing Girls bandwagon early, you won't want to miss this one.
Thank you netgalley and Simon & Schuster for this galley in exchange for an honest review.


Alphabet Weekends: Love on the Road from A to Z
Alphabet Weekends: Love on the Road from A to Z
Author: Elizabeth Noble
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 227
Review Date: 12/17/2014


A tour through the alphabet using each letter as a theme for Tom and Natalie's date. Clever. And Tom and Natalie's love story and the use of the alphabet is sweet and makes this book worth reading, because you have to slog through the other characters stories. I wanted less of them and more in depth alphabet dates.


Always the Bridesmaid
Always the Bridesmaid
Author: Sarah Webb
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 38
Review Date: 10/4/2015


The whole point of chic lit is that it should be light, funny and have romance. Not so much of any of the above for this book. Amy is struggling through a break-up, a stale job, and her friends are all getting married. You want to root for Amy, but she does incredibly stupid stuff to the poor man who is interested in her. Also, the author touches on the fact that Amy has depression. I wanted more lightness, more funny and more romance.


Among the Shrouded
Among the Shrouded
Author: Amalie Jahn
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 4/4/2016


The thing is this book was totally in my wheelhouse. Paranormal stuuf, check. Romance, check. Cop thriller with interesting, global intrigue, check. But something was off. I didn't particularly care for any of the characters, except maybe Kate. They seemed one dimensional and juvenile. I just needed more of everything. Not sure I'll be reading the next in the series.


And I Darken
And I Darken
Author: Kiersten White
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 6/9/2016


This book flip-flopped so much for me that I just can't see myself finishing the series. It started out so well. 2 siblings, a distant father, a faraway land, tons of mystery, history and the possibility of dark, interesting characters. The 2 siblings are 'given' to the Ottoman Empire in order to insure peace between their countries. Lada and Radu end up befriending the Sultan's son. The 3 become a close knit triangle against the danger that threatens the future of the Empire. Lada and Radu end up in love with the future Sultan and the 2 of them go to great lengths to secure his rule, happiness and future. Again, the beginning was crazy interesting, so much going on and then it just crawled through the middle. I was speed reading it, trying to not put it down, knowing if I did I wouldn't pick it up again. I loved the themes and the history, but only sort-of liked the characters and definitely didn't like the slowness of the plot.
Thanks Netgalley for providing a galley in exchange for an honest review.


Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon, Bk 1)
Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon, Bk 1)
Author: Dan Brown
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 483
Review Date: 7/8/2014
Helpful Score: 1


What do you believe in? God or the power of science? Interesting choice, right? I really enjoyed this thriller by Brown. The first in a string of Robert Landon stories this work takes place in Rome and is truly a power struggle between good and evil-but what is good and what is evil? I learned so much about the history of the Vatican and the mysterious group called the Illuminati. If you want a good thriller/page-turner pick this up!


The Anglophile (Red Dress Ink)
The Anglophile (Red Dress Ink)
Author: Laurie Gwen Shapiro
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 53
Review Date: 2/13/2016


Shari is obsessed with all things British. Sounds like this would be an interesting read, right? And it was for about 100 pages, then it got long, awkward and took a turn right towards bad. Kind of like a promising date that goes belly up. Find a better rom-com and treat yourself right.


At Risk (Liz Carlyle, Bk 1)
At Risk (Liz Carlyle, Bk 1)
Author: Stella Rimington
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 5/4/2015


Fabulous spy novel written by the former head of M15 herself. I loved Liz. I loved that she was flawed, yet knew herself and knew her job. The mystery was fantastic. I didn't see the twist coming at the end! I highly recommend this spy series to anyone who loves a good thriller.


Barely Bewitched (Southern Witch, Bk 2)
Barely Bewitched (Southern Witch, Bk 2)
Author: Kimberly Frost
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 66
Review Date: 3/23/2015


Things are still crazy in the town of Duvall. The fae have decided to come to town during Halloween, Tammy Jo must take a test to determine her witch status and the love triangle between her, Bryn and Zach is still all haywire. Fast paced witch saves the town story. Totally helps to have read the first one or else you are a bit lost on to who the characters are and what they have to do with the story. But, Tammy Jo's story seems to be evolving quite nicely, excited for book 3!


Behold the DREAMERS: A Novel
Behold the DREAMERS: A Novel
Author: Imbolo Mbue
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 9/15/2017


Slow at times, but very worth the read. An immigrant couple moves to NYC from Cameroon to make a better life for themselves and their children. The husband, Jende, lucks out and successfully gets a job as a chauffeur for a powerful man on Wall Street. The reader becomes immersed in Jende's family life as well as the life of the Wall Street family. As luck would have it, Wall Street crashes and both families are put into total tailspins. An interesting read on dreams, how we impact others and the immigration problem here in America. Lots to talk about at book club!


Big Law: A Novel
Big Law: A Novel
Author: Ron Liebman
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 12/13/2016


This was definitely a quick legal mystery-not quite a thriller. In fact, it was a more of a diatribe on how to conduct a case should you not understand anything about the law, justice system, or how the US courts work. I got tired of reading the explanations and wanted more 'meat' to the story. Carney Blake is pulled into a dirty case by the head of his firm. It quickly turns into more than Carney can handle. Lots going on, lots to keep track of and then at the end it seems like the author just wrapped things up too quickly forgetting the layers and layers he left for us readers at the beginning. I really enjoyed the parts of the story having to do with Carney's home life. Will there be a sequel? Thanks to First to Read for the opportunity to read and review this work.


Big Little Lies
Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 125
Review Date: 1/5/2016


Wonderful, funny, tragic story about a murder at a school fundraiser. Who did it and why turn into quite a lavish story. The characters were real, well defined and flawed while being funny. I could see myself in a couple of them. Loved the true life family drama, but also this work is about a terribly serious topic. Well done Ms. Moriarty


Black Chalk
Black Chalk
Author: Christopher J. Yates
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 10/26/2015


This book gripped me hard about 100 pages in and now that I'm finished, I honestly don't know how I feel. 6 college friends, bored, decide to create a game. Winner takes all. Things get out of hand and the 6 friends are now battling each other to survive. Jump ahead 14 years and they are still tormenting each other. Give this thriller a try and decide for yourself.


Black Maps (John March)
Black Maps (John March)
Author: Peter Spiegelman
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 11/19/2015


First in the John March mysteries. John March is a PI, who should be a banker given his family's lineage. Anyways, he has a dark past, lots of siblings, friends in high places and a new client who is getting blackmailed. Terrific Wall Street thriller. Took me a bit to get the money laundering techniques down, I'm not exactly a financial whiz. Enjoyed the chase in this one. Pick this up if you like a thriller with some meat.


Blood Defense
Blood Defense
Author: Marcia Clark
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 5/10/2016


Excellent thrill ride! Samantha Brinkman is a defense attorney who is broke, has mother issues and is struggling to survive in the legal world out in LA. Along comes the case of a life-time. A cop is going on trial for murdering a well-loved actress and her roommate. Sam decides to take the case, after her office mates tell her to or they will mutiny. The cop, Dale, tries to convince Sam that he is innocent, but the more digging she and her team do, the more it seems like he is a the perfect murder. This courtroom thriller keeps you on your toes with tons of characters, lots of twists (some really oddball ones) and enough drama to have to reading late into the night. I really enjoyed the character development. I loved Sam's interactions in Court and with her friends. The twist at the end will definitely have me pre-ordering the next in the series.
Thanks Netgalley for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.


Bright Young Things (Bright Young Things, Bk 1)
Bright Young Things (Bright Young Things, Bk 1)
Author: Anna Godbersen
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 21
Review Date: 2/2/2017


A quick read that tells the story of 3 almost 20 somethings whose lives cross as they try to make something of themselves and their dreams in the late 1920's in NYC. Letty and Cordelia are bestfriends, having grown up together in Ohio. They decide to make a break for it and board an evening train to NYC to escape their lives in Ohio. Once in NYC Letty tries her hand at becoming a famous singer and Cordelia goes off in search of her long lost father. Astrid happens to be dating Cordelia's half-brother and an immediate friendship is formed. This is a bit more than fluff as the time period is fleshed out very well in terms of society, dress and culture. I liked the characters enough to give book 2 a go.


Bubbles All the Way (Bubbles Yablonsky, Bk 6)
Bubbles All the Way (Bubbles Yablonsky, Bk 6)
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 98
Review Date: 2/25/2015


Another hilarious mystery involving Bubbles and her friends and family. I loved the mystery portion of this book. The remarriage to Dan and the confusion over Steve left me confused too. Also, the ending was straight-up bizarre. But, I so enjoyed this series and all of the characters.


Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Gamache, Bk 6)
Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Gamache, Bk 6)
Author: Louise Penny
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 51
Review Date: 10/13/2015


Wonderful series. Please read, but in order!, if you haven't yet discovered these books. A tragedy has befallen the Chief Inspector and so he goes into hiding to work on his wounds, both physical and mental. While on his break he stumbles across a murder, with high historical significance, in Quebec City. He must solve the case, and his own demons. Threaded throughout is also the conclusion to the case from the previous book in the series. Just wonderful books.


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