Book Review: Going to the Bad by Nora McFarland


Working as a TV news photographer at her hometown television station, Lilly has documented Bakersfield’s most violent crimes and tragic accidents. To stay sane and avoid burnout, she’s developed a wicked sense of humor and a very thick skin. For her, a vicious shooting is just another day on the job. But what if the victim is someone she loves? Thrown off balance by the brutal attack on her uncle Bud in her own home, Lilly decides to handle the tragedy the only way she knows how. Using all her TV station’s resources and her own considerable skills, Lilly dives headlong into the investigation. But even with the assistance of her well-meaning but eccentric coworkers, this story may prove her last. Because as Lilly untangles a history of her uncle’s misdeeds and betrayals, a clever killer is preparing to strike again. Can she break the story in time to prevent another murder, or will Lilly be the next victim? Continue reading

Book Review and Giveaway: Phoenix by A.J. Scudiere

Book blurb:
Jason Mondy’s world is unraveling.

He’s frustrated with his job.
And his most recent girlfriend has just walked out on him.
Even a simple trip home to find some rest leads his adoptive mother to share a stunning secret she’s kept for over twenty-six years . . .

Jason has a brother he doesn’t remember existed.

Desperate and uncertain, Jason can only watch as one by one the pieces of his life fall like dominoes.
The more he uncovers, the more everything he thought he knew about himself and his past begins to turn to ash.

His truth isn’t true at all . . . Continue reading

Review and Amazon GC Giveaway: Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar

Book description:
Cora Flash is ecstatic when she finally convinces her mom to let her take a train ride by herself to visit a relative in the mountains. Once on board, Cora meets a cast of intriguing characters, and stumbles upon her very own mystery: A valuable diamond has gone missing, and only one of her fellow travellers could have stolen it. It’s up to our novice detective to solve the crime before the train reaches its destination – or the thief reaches Cora. This is the first book in the ‘Cora Flash’ series. Continue reading

Review and Giveaway: Murder for Choir

Book description
Even as a struggling opera singer, Paige Marshall has never seen anything like the cutthroat competition of the Prospect Glen High School show choir. Coaching these championship-hungry students may be her toughest gig yet…

Especially when her best young male singer is suspected of killing the arrogant coach of Prospect Glen’s fiercest rival. To clear his name, Paige will have to sort through a chorus of suspects, and go note-for-note with a killer who wants her out of the spotlight for good. Continue reading

Book Review: Literally Dead by James Conroy

Amazon summary
In the midst of the Great Depression, one man must do battle against corruption with nothing but his wits and a host of great literary figures… Amos Jansen is merely a clerk. He is not a crime fighter, the next great writer, or a man of privilege. He is the humble employee of a Chicago literary society. That is, until he is arrested for murder. The scapegoat of a perfidious lieutenant, Jansen stands wrongly accused while his idols rally around him. Literary personalities the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Carl Sandburg, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Nelson Algren, and H.L. Mencken, as well as civil liberties war-horse Clarence Darrow, join Amos in his search for the real murderer of both the society’s vice-chairman and his own father. Will the pen prove mightier than the pistol? Will mercenary police, politicians and money-barons meet with justice? Or will Jansen fail to solve the mystery and wind up literally dead?
Continue reading

Book Review: The Crossing by Serita Jakes

Amazon summary
Imprisoned by memories, Claudia Campbell lives each day in the shadow of a ten-year-old murder. Who can set her free?

On the way home from a football game, a decade earlier, a masked gunman opened fire on a Texas school bus. Cheerleading coach B.J. Remington was killed, but her murderer was never found. Claudia, who had a close friendship with the young, spirited teacher, constantly relives the anguish of that day, caught in one moment in time. When her husband, the assistant district attorney, becomes determined to uncover the mystery of that tragedy, the secrets buried over the years threaten to tear their family apart.

Officer Casio Hightower will never forget the day his dreams were destroyed. A star quarterback with a promising future, Casio was on top of the world—until one bullet changed everything. He is eager to help Victor Campbell find B.J.’s killer, the man who shot him. Maybe solving the case will help silence the demons driving Casio to hurt the woman he loves.

As the Campbells and Casio teeter on the brink of losing everything, will they be able to discover that what begins at the crossing ends at the cross?

My review
For ten years, Claudia Campbell has lived with the memories of her best friend dying in her arms. Claudia’s husband, who just happens to be the assistant D.A., is tired of watching his wife hurting and decides that solving the murder might bring the closure that she needs to heal. In the meantime, Casio Hightower, Claudia’s high school boyfriend, is having problems of his own that he blames on the trauma of that night. While it’s obvious that there are deeper issues involved, Casio thinks worming his way into (and helping solve) the new investigation will help him win back his current love.

We not only read the story from those involved in the modern-day story, but we are also privy to the thoughts of B.J. Remington during her last few minutes of life. It’s a interesting way to tell the story, and it makes B.J. a person, a part of the story, rather than just “the teacher who died”, as she might have been if we didn’t learn about her thought and feelings.

This is not a light-hearted book. There is a little bit of humor in the relationship between Casio and Victor Campbell, but this is a book about domestic abuse, betrayal, adultery, and murder. It’s also a book about forgiveness, love, and hope, but most of that comes at the end of the book. Speaking of which, I have to say that the ending was shocking and completely unexpected. (No peeking. It really will ruin the book for you.)

You can read an excerpt here.

About the book
Title: The Crossing: A Novel
Author: Serita Jakes
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Release date: Sept 6, 2011
Pages: 304
Where I got the book: Free from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review

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