What Are We Reading and Reviewing in January 2021?

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What Are We Reading and Reviewing in January 2021?

Dic 22, 2020, 4:57pm

Grab A Book And Lets Read! Tell Us what you plan to read in January of the New Year.

Editado: Ene 30, 1:07pm

Carol Reads With A Friend in January
📌 - ★
📌Creatures of Passage - Morowa Yejide - 3★ (Early Reviewer - Jan)
📌Bottom Feeder Matt Cole - 4.5★
📌 A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness - 3★
📌Norwegian by Night – Derek Miller - 4.5★
📌A Grave Mistake – Stella Cameron - 3★
📌Hidden Secrets - Cait London - 3★
📌The Murder Game – Beverly Barton - 4.5★
📌What Memories Remain - Cait London -1★
📌The Cabin Carla Neggers - 5★
📌Dead Anyway - Chris Knopf - 5★
📌Hard Line - Pamela Clare - 3.5★ (Pick A Winner)
📌Sold On A Monday – Kristina McMorris - 5★
📌The Wives – Tarryn Fisher - 1★
📌Status Update – Annabeth Albert- 5★
📌Suspicious Behavior – L.A. Witt - 4.5★
📌Part & Parcel - Abigail Roux - 5★
📌Shuggie Bain – Douglas Stuart - 5★
📌Find Them Dead - Peter James - 4★
📌Riven - Roan Parrish - 5★
📌Rend - Roan Parrish 5★
📌Long Shadows - Kate Sherwood -3★
📌In The Middle of Somewhere - Roan Parrish - 5★
📌Out of Nowhere - Roan Parrish -5★
📌Prelude: Blue Notes - Shira Anthony - 4.5★
📌The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffennegger -5★
📌Where We Left Off - Roan Parrish -5★
📌The Moxie - Dawn Fitzpatrick -4★
📌Fool Moon - Jim Butcher -4★
📌There Was A Crooked Man, He Flipped A Crooked House - David Erik Nelson - 5★
📌Ancient Enemy - Mark Lukens - 5★
📌Barrel Proof - Layla Reyne - 5★
📌Before She Knew Him - Peter Swanson - 4★

Editado: Ene 30, 6:32pm

Lynda and Oliver's January Reading Plan

Mystery and Suspense

🌹Bad Memory - Lisa Gray - 4/Stars - 1/30/21
🌹Cut to the Bone - Ellison Cooper - 4 Stars - 1/27/21
🌹 Design for Dying - Renee Patrick - 4 Stars - 1/6/21
🌹Find Her - Lisa Gardner - 4.5 Stars - 1/13/21
🌹 Hard Truth - Nevada Barr - 4 Stars - 1/8/21
🌹 Girl With No Name - Lisa Regan - 4.5 Stars - 1/7/21
🌹The Golden Scales - Parker Bilal - 4 Stars - 1/21/21
🌹Hid from Our Eyes - Julia Spencer-Fleming - 4 Stars - 1/16/21
🌹The Hot Rock - Donald E. Westlake - 4 Stars - 1/24/21
🌹In Plain Sight - C.J. Box - 5 Stars - 1/15/21
🌹 Into the Black Nowhere - Meg Gardiner - 4 Stars - 1/3/20
🌹 Keep You Close - Karen Cleveland - 2.5 Stars - 1/10/21
🌹The Last Move - Mary Burton - 4 Stars - 1/17/21
🌹Mystery of the Brass-Bound Trunk - Carolyn Keene - 3.5 Stars - 1/29/21
🌹Secret of the Old Clock - Carolyn Keene - 4 Stars - 1/26/21
🌹Tamarack County - William Kent Krueger - 4.5 Stars - 1/28/21
🌹Undercover Amish - Ashley Emma - 2 Stars - 1/18/21


🌹 Dear Edward - Ann Napolitano - 5 Stars - 1/2/21
🌹 Devi's Distraction - Ruby Dixon - 3 Stars - 1/22/21
🌹 Glass Ocean - Beatriz Williams - 3 Stars - 1/25/21
🌹 Imperator - Anna Hackett - 3 Stars - 1/4/20
🌹 It Happened One Autumn - Lisa Kleypas - 5 Stars - 1/19/21
🌹 The Lioness of Morocco - Julia Drosten - 4 Stars - 1/14/21
Revenge Wears Rubies - Renee Bernard
🌹 Silver Borne - Patricia Briggs - 5 Stars - 1/12/21
🌹 Stranger Beside Me - Ann Rule - 5 Stars - 1/5/20
🌹 When the Lion Feeds - Wilbur Smith - 3.5 Stars -1/11/21

Ene 1, 8:58am

Find Them Dead - Peter James – (England)
Roy Grace series Book # 16
A Brighton crime overlord is on trial for conspiracy to murder, following the death of a rival crime family boss. As the jury files into court, one person sits in the public gallery secretly filming them. Later, a computer-savvy colleague produces the names, ages, and addresses of each of the 12 jurors. The accused’s henchmen need to influence two of them—a jury can convict if directed on a 10-2 majority verdict but no less. But which two? One emerges as the front runner: Sarah Hope, Foreman of the jury. Her daughter is backpacking in a remote area of Ecuador. Sarah gets sent a series of aerial photos of her daughter, along with with the coordinates of her position, and a stark message. A second juror, an outwardly respectable lawyer, is photographed in a dominatrix dungeon. If he doesn't want the photographs made public, all he has to do is ensure the accused walks free. When Roy Grace is called in to investigate a murder that has links to the accused and the trial, he finds the reach and power of the accuseds tentacles go higher than he had ever imagined.

I have never given a Peter James Book anything less than 5 stars throughout the entire series...until now. He has been one of my favorite authors and Roy Grace has been one of my favorite series for a very, very long time. This one is different…not bad…just different as it doesn’t feature so much on Roy Grace but more on his co-workers that constant readers will recognize. If you are reader that will read out of order without feeling the need to slash your wrists…this one will be fine to read as a standalone…if you are looking for razor blades at the mere thought…put the book down and start with book #1. This was not my favorite of the series. The trail was interesting but it was repetitive and way to much narration. I think the biggest thing that lowered my rating was how much I missed Roy Grace having a bigger presence in the story. Hopefully maybe he’s working on how to get rid of his obnoxious, spoiled, ungrateful kid, Bruno. He should have been killed off with his mother.

Editado: Ene 1, 4:29pm

In The Middle of Somewhere - Roan Parrish (Michigan)
Middle of Somewhere series Book #1

When Daniel Mulligan & Rex Veil first meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.

Is Roan Parrish even capable of writing a bad or even mediocre book? So far nothing that I have read by her has indicated that such a thing is even a possibility. Anyone that is not homophobic and is looking for some really over the top romances should give her books a try. In a small town in northern Michigan we meet Daniel Mulligan who is a tough, inked-up guy with a sharp tongue on the outside, but it’s only a cover for his insecurities brought on by a lifetime of not fitting in, particularly with his family. Daniel has three tough “manly” older brothers and a father that… while not exactly ashamed of him…never took the time or the effort to see how special his youngest son actually was. When Daniel lands a job as an English professor in a rural town in northern Michigan, a place where everyone knows everyone else…he feels that it’s just another place where he’ll be an outsider. An accident that stranded Daniel in the middle of what he thought of as nowhere …introduces him to Rex Vale, a strapping flannel-clad man with a kind demeanor who took Daniel’s breath away. When their paths cross again, their chemistry is explosive…but in order for them to have a future they both must learn to trust. I can’t say enough good things about this authors writing. It is beautifully phrased and can readily bring tears or laughter to the reader. The quality of the storytelling is right up there among the best I’ve read. It’s charming, delightful and just plain fun. Oh…the small town just outside of Travers City, Michigan where the story takes place…is as real as it gets. (Book contains explicit sex)

Ene 2, 1:04am

Murders and Metaphors by Amanda Flower
#3 Magical Bookshop Mystery
c. 2019
4 *s

Violet Waverly is the Caretaker of the Charmed Book Store. She had recently taken over the duties from her Grandma Daisy. It's not just any book store. A 200 year old birch tree thrives in the center of the old Victorian. Living in the tree is a chatty crow named Faulkner, and a cat named Emerson also lives there. Violet and her Grandma were preparing for a book signing at the local Morton Winery, owned by Violet's former boyfriend's family. The book signing was being done by a well known wine expert who happened to be the oldest sister of one of Violet's best friends. The signing wasn't without it's problems, especially when the author is found dead in outside in the vineyard. Violet and her Grandma set out to solve the crime with clues given by the bookstore itself as well as with the help of the local police chief. This was an enjoyable fast read. I love the characters and the setting of the story. Very enjoyable as there is no graphic violence, foul language, or gratuitous sex.

Editado: Ene 2, 10:11am

Bottom Feeder - Matt Cole – (Pennsylvania)
4.5 ★
Deena Hopping, a Pennsylvanian divorcee, finally has a home again, a rental, but it's new and she is rebuilding her life. Yet there is something about the basement that troubles her besides the fact that her landlord lives in the basement. When women begin to disappear she suspects her landlord. Researching the history of the town, she learns that there were many mysterious disappearances throughout its history. When the police finally put an end to her landlord's reign of terror, she thinks all is well. But the real horror is hidden deeper in the earth, below the basement, a being of evil that will destroy the entire town if that's what it takes to feed its appetite.

This was a very weird, very creepy story…enough so that it just may have earned a future read from me. Great story for Halloween. Even the cover is chill producing to say nothing of the basement that got plenty of visits by the heroine and others unlucky enough to take the trip downstairs. I can’t remember when I have read details so vivid that you could almost smell and feel all the odors and slime described. This will certainly appeal to any horror story fan…and whatever you do…DON’T go down to the basement!!

Ene 3, 11:00am

A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness – (England)
Diana, a witch who avoids using magic, is studying alchemical history when she finds an old book covered in magic; she returns the book to the library archives, but witches, vampires, and daemons are all hunting it, some bringing danger for Diana, and others -- especially ancient vampire Matthew -- providing protection and love.

The book focused way too much on the romance angle when there was so many other interesting concepts that would have added so much more to the story...but that is just my opinion...remember that I am a person that likes very few romance stories. Instead of more interesting concepts we get Diana...who it seems along with being a witch with powers that she is just starting to understand and learn to use, seems to also be a damsel that stays in constant, almost agonizing distress and totally needs a man to save her. Really??? Just use those budding powers and turn the guy into a frog and save yourself! Several of her aunts try to help but it seems the only person she believes can actually help her and who she puts her entire trust in…is a vampire…a guy she just met and feels she is "madly" in love with. I just found the entire storyline to be frustrating and the character of Diana “out to lunch” most of time. Anyone that is really into romances and doesn’t require any character to be anything but a damsel in distress…will more than likely really like this book. 3 stars because on some basic level it did have promise.

Ene 3, 1:46pm

Who's Sorry Now by Jill Churchill
#6 Grace and Favor Mystery
c. 2005
4 *s

I'm sorry that this is the last published book in this series. Instead of focusing on the Brewster siblings of Grace and Favor Cottage, this novel centered around the Voorburg city Chief of Police, Howard Walker. A WW I veteran train porter is found murdered. Recently, he had kindly helped a local young widow with the heavy trunks her grandfather had brought from Germany. The grandfather is a tailor, setting up shop in town. He had just escaped Germany a few days before Hitler stopped people from leaving Germany. Someone painted a swastika on the tailor shop window. Howard wondered if the murder and vandalism were related. Hoard along with his new deputy set out to solve the crime. It was bittersweet reading this book as I know there is more to the goings on in Voorburg, NY, but no more books were published. I will miss the characters immensely.

Ene 3, 5:53pm

Pursuit by Joyce Carol Oates
3 ★

Less than 24 hours after exchanging vows with her new husband, Willem, Abby steps out into traffic and is hit by a bus. As his wife lies in her hospital bed, sleeping in fits and starts, Willem tries to determine whether this was an absentminded accident or a premeditated plunge, and he quickly discovers a mysterious set of clues about what his wife might be hiding. Why is there a rash-like red mark circling her wrist? What does she dream about that causes her to wake from the sound of her own screams? Slowly, Abby begins to open up to her husband, revealing to him what she has never shared with anyone before-the story of a terrified mother; a jealous, drug-addled father; and a daughter's terrifying captivity.

The style of this story was a bit different but it did keep me wondering what was going on with Abby and her parents. I never felt connected to the characters even as they developed and their troubled lives were revealed. I was disappointed with the ending because my questions weren’t answered. Overall, just so-so for me.

Editado: Ene 28, 6:06pm

*I have decided this year, that I would like to read more books from the local library, and have joined a click and collect service. Basically you fill out a form, click on the type of books you want to read eg: adult, young adult, etc. Then write in your favorite genres, and also your favorite authors. The librarians then choose books similar to your likes, and place them in a bag for you to collect. The three below are my first picks, and I am currently reading book number 2.

Books Read

1. Old Bones by Preston & Child (Adventure) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book is the first of a new series featuring the character of archaeologist Nora Kelly. She is contacted by historian Clive Benton, who claims he is a descendant of the Donner party and he has the journal that belonged to Tamsen Donner, the wife of George. It tells about the ‘lost camp’ of the party. He wants her to help find it and the rumored gold coins that were reportedly left behind. Today they are worth 20 million dollars. Not to mention the remains of the party. The get to work on the dig and then some strange things happen and two of the party are found dead. Meanwhile rookie FBI agent Corrie Swanson is assigned a case of grave robbing with a dead body of a man who was murdered. She soon finds out more graves have been robbed and it’s connected to the Donner party via descendants of one of the party. And soon it leads her to the dig that is going on in the mountains. She is investigating the murders not having much luck figuring out what has been happening. Until she finds a clue and then it begins clear what is going on and she and Nora find their lives at stake in a climatic showdown.

This is my first ever book written by Preston, and Child, and I really enjoyed it. Preston & Child can write like no one that I have read in other adventure stories. They kept me on the edge of my seat, the whole way through, and I just couldn't wait for the ending, to find out what every detail had been building up to. On top of that, their characters were well defined, and carefully thought out. If their other books are as good as Old Bones was, they will certainly have a new fan in me!

2.Ghosts Of The Tsunami by Richard Lloyd Parry (Historical) ⭐⭐⭐

Richard Lloyd Parry’s focus on those caught up in the events of that tragic day, especially relatives of the 74 children killed at Okawa Elementary School, truly highlights the small decisions that spell the difference between life and death.

This recounting of a natural disaster that impacted the families of a region of Japan, was something that I never really knew about before. I had heard of the earthquake, and the following tsunami, and saw it reported on the news, but never realised the implications for the individual families, and the losses of their children, parents, and grandparents. It was a very raw account of what happened, the emotional and physical side of the tragedies, and the final law suit against government departments, and their lack of action at the time.

3. Seven Ancient Wonders by Matthew Reilly (Mystery) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

In this, the first novel in his Jack West Jr. Series, he has created a wonderfully odd bunch of protagonists that you can’t help but barrack for. Reilly certainly doesn’t do anything by halves – this adventure our action heroes find themselves on is colossal. With the quietly confident and courageous Jack West Jr. leading this motley crew, how could they lose?

Reilly himself concedes he doesn’t let grammar or stylistic elements get in the way of a great story. Because of this, his stories are extremely accessible and a fun read for young and old – escapism at it’s greatest. I really like the pictures and diagrams Reilly provides throughout the story, giving the reader a birds-eye view of the traps and mazes our protagonists are facing.

Intensity is maintained throughout the novel with Jack and his crew deciphering clues and navigating traps and mazes at a cracking pace. That is not to say the story doesn’t have heart… he just doesn’t play on the soppy stuff more than required. Reilly’s ability to illustrate the bonds and loyalties of his characters beneath their tough exteriors with a salient observation here and there is his true skill I believe and what really makes us want to follow our favourite characters throughout his series.

Ene 4, 11:51am

Norwegian By Night - Derek Miller – (Norway)
Sheldon Horowitz—widowed, impatient, impertinent—has grudgingly agreed to leave New York and move in with his granddaughter, Rhea, and her new husband, Lars, in Norway—a country of blue and ice with one thousand Jews, not one of them a former Marine sniper in the Korean War turned watch repairman. Not until now, anyway. Home alone one morning… Sheldon witnesses a dispute between the woman who lives upstairs and an aggressive stranger. When events turn dire, Sheldon seizes and shields the neighbor’s young son from the violence, and they flee the scene. As Sheldon and the boy look for a safe haven in an alien world, past and present weave together, forcing them ever forward to a wrenching moment of truth.

The story is an intriguing offering that blended a mix of cultures and presented an interesting insight into life. Even though the beginning was rather slow…I’m glad that I kept reading. I really liked how the author led up to the search for Sheldon and the boy using the old man's long-buried military skills in the emergency situation. The character of Shelton takes some getting use to as the reader needs to be aware that he has “shifts” in his thinking that while making him an interesting and true to life character…it also makes him difficult with his bouts with dementia,…fantasy… hallucinations…and recall. The author does a fantastic job of writing a story that is, by turns funny…heartbreaking...and suspenseful.

Editado: Ene 4, 4:43pm

Sold On A Monday - Krista McMorris – (Pennsylvania)
The sign is a last resort. It sits on a farmhouse porch in 1931, but could be found anywhere in an era of breadlines, bank runs and broken dreams. It could have been written by any mother facing impossible choices. For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family's dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when it leads to his big break, the consequences are more devastating than he ever imagined.
Inspired by an actual newspaper photograph that stunned the nation”

The book tells a vivid and heart breaking story that is set against the harsh landscape of the Great Depression. First we learn of the photo and then the story unfolds into something so much deeper. The sign is a last resort. It sits on a farmhouse porch in 1931…but it could have been found anywhere in an era of breadlines…bank runs… and broken people with broken dreams. It could have been written by any mother facing impossible choices. For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family's dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children…never meaning it for publication. But when it leads to his big break, the consequences are more devastating than he ever imagined. They say “A picture is worth a thousand words” but maybe the truth of the story behind the picture is worth a thousand or so more.

Actual photograph that appeared on the porch and inspired this book.

Ene 5, 8:36am

Hidden Secrets - Cait London – (Washington)
Like everyone else in the small village of Godfrey, Washington, Marlo Malone's peaceful existence was shattered by terrible events that rocked the community: a brutal, unsolved murder... a series of fatal accidents... and the strange disappearance of a young boy from the car crash that killed his parents. But unlike everyone else, Marlo can't shake the sickening intuition that these incidents are connected... and that the men in her life are somehow involved. Her careful, considerate boyfriend Keith is holding dark secrets. Spence, the missing boy's charismatic uncle, is angry and tormented, and capable of anything. And a terrifying premonition is warning Marlo that unless she can uncover the truth, something horrible is about to happen...again.

A damsels in distress...steamy love scenes… murder & mayhem… a twist of the paranormal….what more could you ask for? The book also has more than a few unpredictable surprises. I can’t imagine why the book received such low ratings but I guess we can’t all like the same things and our expectations are sometimes vastly different. I will admit that the plot is slow starting, but about halfway through the book it picks up speed and from there on the story line never slows down until the final altercation. The key characters…. especially the lead couple… also take their time fleshing out that nicely provides the reader to gain insight deep into the minds of Spence and Marlo. Well worth 3 stars.

Ene 5, 3:35pm

The Merchant of Menace by Jill Churchill
Jane Jeffry Mysteries
c. 1998
3 1/2 *s

Jane Jeffry is a Chicago suburban widow with three kids, all of whom are home for the holidays. Jane is busy with holiday obligations like hosting the neighborhood after caroling dinner as well as the neighborhood cookie exchange. Just when she felt things were getting under control, her police detective boyfriend asked Jane if she could let his visiting mother stay in the guest room until he got his furnace fixed. Then Jane's neighbor informed her that a local tv reporter was going to be using Jane's house as a base of operations for a holiday special interest story he was doing on the neighborhood. Jane put her foot down and said absolutely not happening. Plus, new neighbors had just moved in next door. They had lit up their house for the holidays and were playing extremely loud Christmas music to the neighborhood's horror. The night of caroling went quite well except the reporter, a muck raker, decided to show up at Jane's house uninvited. Later that evening, the reporter was found dead on the neighbor's lawn. It was a good thing that Mel, Jane's boyfriend was still at the after caroling dinner. So much for a quiet uneventful family holiday season, as Jane and her best friend Shelley try to figure just exactly what was going on in their neighborhood. This was a fast fun 4 hour holiday read for me. I had forgotten how much I enjoy this series.

Ene 6, 1:38am

A Groom with a View by Jill Churchill
A Jane Jeffry Mystery
c. 1999
3 1/2 *s

Jane Jeffry was asked to plan a wedding to be held at an old hunting lodge which was a former monastery. The bride was the only daughter of a very overbearing business owner. Jane convinced her best friend to come along and help out. The first day at the lodge had Jane very busy with the florist, caterer, cranky old relatives, unfinished bridesmaids' dresses, and surreptitious treasure hunting of a supposedly hidden treasure. That night a big storm knocked out the electricity. The next morning there was a dead body on the stairs. Jane and Shelley continued the wedding planning duties as the bride and her guests were soon to arrive. But, had the person simply tripped and fallen down the steps, or had something more sinister happened? This was another fun fast read. Churchill's writing never disappoints me.

Ene 6, 9:25am

The Murder Game - Beverly Barton – (Alabama)
Griffin Powell series Book #8
New Game – The game is simple--he is the Hunter. They are the Prey. He gives them a chance to escape. To run…To hide…. To out smart him. But eventually, he catches them. And that's when the game gets really terrifying. . . New Rules - Private investigator Griffin Powell and FBI agent Nicole Baxter know a lot about serial killers--they took one down together. But this new killer is as sadistic as they've ever seen. He likes his little games, and he especially likes forcing Nic and Griff to play along. Every unsolvable clue, every posed victim, every taunting phone call--it's all part of his twisted, elaborate plan. And then the Hunter calls, wanting to know if they're really ready to play. . . But Winner Still Kills All. . .There's a new game now, and it's much more deadly than the first. A brutal psychopath needs a worthy adversary. He won't stop until he can hunt the most precious prey of all--Nicole. And with his partner in a killer's sights, Griff is playing for the biggest stakes of his life.

I read this book back in 2016 so this is a reread of one of my favorite mystery writers. This is what I wrote in that first review. “Grif has some secrets in his past, and he shares them with Nicole as they get closer, and she shares some secrets as well about her father and her dead husband. It turns out Grif and Nicole have a lot in common. They share more than an obsessive passion to stop this killer before he kills again. If you like a good thriller, that isn't gory, (okay, maybe a little, tiny bit), you need to read this book.” 5 years down the road hasn’t changed my mind about the book or the author The main characters are still well-mannered and full of Southern charm… not counting the killer of course. Barton has created a cast of supportive and capable individuals who we would be glad to have fighting on our side…any day.

Ene 7, 8:35am

Mulch Ado About Nothing by Jill Churchill
#12 Jane Jeffry Mystery
c. 2000
2 1/2 *s
It's summertime and Jane Jeffry and her best friend Shelley Nowack decide to take a botany course at the local junior college. Their yards could use some help. However, the teacher of the course is found bludgeoned inher basement, and now in a coma. A substitute lecturer is found. The course is a big yawn for Jane and Shelley, but the class makes them fix up their yards for class visits. Besides, Jane is very curious as to whom broke into their initial instructor's home. As far as mysteries go, this wasn't one of Churchill's best efforts. The story was moderately interesting, but not really exciting. There wasn't even a murder until the last 4th of the book. Dull.

Ene 7, 8:35am

A Grave Mistake - Stella Cameron - (Louisiana)
Dead: one ordinary man. Just the latest in a string of losers in the wrong place at the worst time. Not the kind of case to yank New Orleans homicide detective Guy Gautreaux back from his leave of absence in Toussaint, Louisiana. There's someone in Toussaint Guy will do anything to protect. Jilly Gable is desperate to find the love of the family who abandoned her as a child. And when the wife of a powerful New Orleans antiques dealer and loan shark sweeps into town claiming to be her mother, Jilly is all too willing to love and forget. Slowly and methodically, evil closes in on Jilly, and only the truth—and Guy—can save her. Connecting the dots between the Big Easy and Toussaint all but cinches his case, but Jilly and Guy are still in danger. They have only each other for protection.

Perhaps it was just me, but I found the characters of Guy and Jilly…boring. Guy spent the majority of the story complaining that he always said the wrong thing. I didn’t see that anything he said throughout he book…was anything that anyone could construe as “wrong”…and he constantly worried that Jilly was upset or angry with him. I did enjoy the setting of the story and the descriptions of the Louisiana bayou and the mystery aspect was good and well carried through. I was slightly disappointed in the ending. I would rate it a little below average but certainly not a terrible read.

Ene 7, 12:52pm

The House of Seven Mabels by Jill Churchill
#13 Jane Jeffry Mystery
c. 2002
3 *s
Jane Jeffry has a lot of time on her hands now that her kids are growing up. She's at standstill with th novel she has been writing. So her best friend, Shelley Nowack, wants her to think about being contracted to decorate an old Victorian mansion which is being renovated by a wealthy acquaintance, Bitsy Burnside. Bitsy, a feminist, invites Jane and Shelley to meet with Sandra, the construction manager. But, after the meeting, Jane realizes that the contractor isn't very competent or well liked. The contract which Bitsy gives them, is exceedingly poorly written by Sandra. The next day Jane and Shelley go to the old mansion to recheck room measurements, only to find a body at the bottom of the basement stairs. Jane and Shelley are curious as to who is causing so much trouble for Bitsy. This was a quick 4 hour read. i found the ending to be cut off too quickly and therefore not very satisfying.

Ene 8, 5:45pm

Magic City by James W. Hall
3.5 ★

A simple black and white photograph taken during the 1964 Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston fight on Miami Beach may hold the key to a horrific, politically-motivated crime forty-two years earlier. When it falls into Thorn's hands, he and everyone close to him--including his beloved Alexandra--become the targets of madmen and trained hitmen, each of whom has a powerful motive to see the photograph destroyed...and will go to murderous lengths to make it disappear forever.

This was a good story, somewhat complex and had some very suspenseful parts. At times, Thorn’s actions were over the top as he stubbornly went into dangerous and unpredictable situations by himself knowing that. Overall, an enjoyable read.

Ene 9, 1:27am

Fortune and Glory: Tantalizing Twenty-seven by Janet Evanovich
#27 Stephanie Plum Novel
c. 2020
3 *s
Stephanie Plum is a fugitive apprehension agent working for her cousin Vinnie in Trenton, NJ. She is low on money, so she needs to catch a few locals who skipped out. One of them is Shine, an ancient but deadly local mobster, one of the few surviving La-Z-Boys. Stephanie's grandma Mazur was recently briefly married to Jimmy Rosolli. She b came a widow after 45 minutes of marriage. The only thing she got from Jimmy was 2 keys to a treasure and an old recliner. So Grandma and Stephanie decide to find the treasure, but first they needed to find clues to where it was hidden. However, the surviving La-Z-Boys also wanted the treasure and would go to any lengths to get it. This was a continuation of the last book in the series. Quirky characters, dangerous situations, stupid criminals, blown up vehicles, kidnappings, and a body guard of sorts kept Stephanie on her toes. It was a fun silly fast read.

Ene 9, 2:20pm

Riven – Roan Parrish – (New York)
Riven series Book #1
Theo Decker might be the lead singer of Riven, but he hates being a rock star. The paparazzi, the endless tours, being recognized everywhere he goes—it all makes him squirm. The only thing he doesn’t hate is the music. Feeling an audience’s energy as they lose themselves in Riven’s music is a rush unlike anything else . . . until he meets Caleb Blake Whitman. Caleb is rough and damaged, yet his fingers on his guitar are pure poetry….and his hands on Theo? They’re all he can think about. But Caleb’s no groupie—and one night with him won’t be enough. Just when Caleb is accepting his new life as a loner, Theo Decker slinks into it and turns his world upside-down. Theo’s sexy and brilliant and addictively vulnerable, and all Caleb wants is another hit... and then another. That’s how he knows Theo’s trouble. Caleb can’t even handle performing these days. How the hell is he going to survive an affair with a tabloid superstar? But after Caleb sees the man behind the rock star, he begins to wonder if Theo might be his chance at a future he thought he’d lost forever.

This book that may not be for everyone. Not even die hard romance lovers as it involves a same sex couple. I don't want anyone to be surprised or offended when finding this out. I did find it was good to know that you didn't have to be a fan of the rock scene or 17 years old, to appreciate or understand the music. These people genuinely loved their music and treated it as a part of their very hearts and souls.. What is beautiful foremost about this book is the way the author…Roan Parrish…writes about the music and the guys that play it. If music could morph into a solid material it would literally roll off the pages when she describes it. Not all of the story can be described as "beautiful'...But it is hopeful. Throughout the novel, we get to watch these messy, broken men find pieces of themselves they didn’t even recognize were even missing…and we see them become stronger individuals. Parrish also did an incredible job with Caleb’s addictions and accurately depicting the ways addictions can rule a life, even when sobriety is achieved. They’re always around the corner waiting. Caleb’s struggles to resist were both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time…but with Theo he had a second chance. I love the last paragraph and line that described them listening to the song that Theo wrote for Caleb. “The song that gathered inside me, that I had held inside all these months…the song that told him all the things he already knew, but in the language we both felt deeper than words.”

Ene 9, 7:20pm

Bell, Book, and Scandal by Jill Churchill
#14 Jane Jeffry Mystery
c. 2003
2 1/2 *s
Jane Jeffry and her neighbor Shelley Nowack decide to attend a writer's workshop being held in a nearby hotel/convention center. The best thing is that they get to stay in a big fancy suite, as Shelley's husbsnd owns part of the hotel. Jane is nearly done writing her historical mystery and dearly wants to present it for possible publication, plus she wants to learn more tips of the writing trade. As luck would have it they meet one of Jane's favorite writers and become friends with her. She gives Jane a few tips on meeting with publishers, and warns them about an unidentified online muck raker, who enjoys stirring up trouble at these conventions. Weird things start happening right from the beginning: a pair of loud obnoxious costumed conventioneers disrupt the peace, a publisher ends up in the hospital, and a literary critic is attacked. Jane is determined to figure out what is going on in this otherwise enjoyable convention. I always enjoy the character Jane and Shelley. This was a very fast, sometimes hilarious, but mostly humdrum read. The ending was rather anti-climatic. I'm glad it was a short book.

Ene 10, 9:17am

The Cabin - Carla Neggers – (New York/Texas)
Carriage House Series Book #3
Texas Ranger Jack Galway knows that his wife Susanna loves him, so when their marriage hits a rough patch, he supports her decision to take their two teenaged daughters to Boston for a break. But when a few weeks turns into several months, Jack heads to Boston to get his family back. Packing up the girls and her grandmother, Susanna heads to her cabin in the Adirondacks, trying to escape her fears, her secrets and even the man she loves. Little does she know she’s being followed, not just by her husband but by a murderer, Ex-convict Alice Parker left a mess back in Texas, and she’ll never forgive Jack Galway for killing her dream of becoming a Texas Ranger herself. Obsessed with revenge, she’s got her sights set on Jack’s family. Trapped in the mountains, Jack and Susanna must find strength in each other if they hope to keep their family together and escape the cabin alive.

The thing that I have enjoyed about this series is that we don’t lose track of the characters. They move from book to book just into different situations. Nice when you meet and like the “group” that they are there the next time you “visit”. You also know who the “baddie” are but it doesn’t take anything away from the mystery and intrigue. Anyone that is tired of the women characters taking a back seat and having to depend on the “big strong manly man” to make every decision and save them…will really like what this author does with that. Good read all the way around

Ene 10, 2:46pm

The Old Buzzard had it Coming by Donis Casey
#1 Alafair Tucker Mystery
c. 2005
4 *s
Alafair Tucker was a 1912 Oklahoma farm wife and mother to 9 kids. Her daughter Phoebe has fallen in love with a young man who is a next door neighbor. the problem is that the young man's father is a vicious evil drunk, who beats his wife and children. One day the old buzzard is found dead next to his barn under a drift of snow, and Phoebe's boyfriend has disappeared. Alafair wants her daughter to be happy and she wants to figure out who was responsible for the horrid old drunk's death. There seemed to be no lack of suspects. I really enjoyed this mystery. Although, I don't know how Alafair found the time to look into this death, as life on a 1912 Oklahoma farm didn't allow for much free time for a hardworking farmwife and mother.

Ene 10, 11:38pm

A Midsummer Night's Scream by Jill Churchill
#15 Jane Jeffry Mystery
c. 2004
4 *s

Jane Jeffry is waiting to see if her first book will be accepted for publication. Her best friend Shelley has signed them up for needlepoint lessons. Shelley has volunteered to set up various catering services to provide snacks for a local college's summer theater production. Shelley wants Jane to tag along to check out the various caterers. Meanwhile things aren't going well for the play writer and director. Despite having 2 guest professional actors to bolster the local talent, there are troubles with the cast and the play itself. Then, one of the cast is found dead. Jane's significant other is in charge of the police investigation. This was a fun read with interesting quirky characters. The pace was fast, and the plot was fun with a good amount of twists and turns.

Editado: Ene 11, 1:21pm

Suspicious Behavior L.A. Witt
Bad Behavior Series Book #2 (Massachusetts)
Detective Darren Corliss is hanging by a thread. In between recovering from a near-fatal wound and returning to work at a hostile precinct, he’s struggling to help care for his ailing brother. His partner and boyfriend, Detective Andreas Ruffner, wants to help, but doesn’t know how. With a family crisis of his own brewing, Andreas is spread almost as thin as Darren. For cops, though, life takes a backseat to the job. When a stack of unsolved homicides drops into their laps, Andreas and Darren think they’re unrelated cold cases. But when a connection surfaces, they find themselves on the tail of a prolific serial killer who’s about to strike again. Except they’ve got nothing. No leads. No suspects…just a pile of circumstantial evidence and a whole lot of hunches. Time is running out to stop the next murder—and to pull themselves back from their breaking points.

I really like this author’s writing style and love the characters of Andreas and Darren. Andreas didn’t want a partner…not one of the romantic type or the workplace kin. He said he didn’t need one, and then along came Darren who refused to let Andreas’ bad attitude deter him from anything. These two are now at the top of my favorite couples list. I can’t wait to read more about them. I just wish that L.A. Witt’s series were longer. We just get to know the characters and she’s off on another series with a new couple for us to meet. Of course we learn to love them too but we miss the ones that we just met that are like old friends.

Ene 11, 3:06pm

The Accidental Florist by Jill Churchill
#16 Jane Jeffry Mystery (final book)
c. 2007
3 1/2 *s
Sadly, this is the final book in the Jane Jeffry Mystery series. It wasn't so much a mystery as it was a tying up of many of the story lines which have wound through the series over the years. Jane and Mel have finally decided to get married. Mel's Mom is determined torun the whole wedding, and Jane is standing up to her. Jane's first mother-in-law is trying to fleece Jane out of her fair share of the family's pharmacy business. Jane is also dealing with the publication of her first book. And, Mel wants Jane and Shelley to take a self-defense class, so he doesn't have to worry about them so much. It's a rather convoluted story, but the ending is relatively satisfying.

Ene 12, 2:04pm

What Memories Remain - Cait London – (Michigan)
Cyd can't find peace, even in the small, quiet community of Fairy Cove. Behind a facade of cool, carefree strength, she hides fears that have plagued her since childhood. Nightmares still terrify her, but if she unwraps the truth, will she be able to face it? Two people cannot allow her to keep the past buried forever. One is Ewan Lochlain, a custom boat builder fascinated by the secretive, statuesque beauty, once his childhood friend. Ewan is back in town now and dedicated to unraveling the mystery of his own parents' deaths -- a puzzle that's somehow linked to Cyd's dark, lost memories and to a small town's shocking history.
The other is the faceless predator who is determined to make an entire community pay for its sins. Now people are dying in Fairy Cove, and someone is stalking Cyd

This is the second book by this author that I have read this month. The first one had some flaws that were slightly irritating, but I felt the author did a good enough job to give it 3 stars. That having been said…You have heard the old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”??? Well it must also apply to “choosing” a book. I saw the cover and it said “take me home”…I did. Now like a scruffy stray dog…it sits on the shelf and growls at me because I could not find one single redeeming thing about this book and I totally hate it when that happens. I’m going to see if I can pass it off to my library and hope they don’t cancel my card. The writing was terrible…misspelled words… and punctuations that were either an endangered or a completely extinct species. This probably was not the authors fault…but the dialog between the characters was in danger of adding new and unwanted words to the English language. The dialog was boring….uneven, and jagged. Maybe the “memories that remain’ of this book…just plain...shouldn’t.

Editado: Ene 13, 3:42pm

The Whole Enchilada by Diane Mott Davidson
#17 A Culinary (Goldy Schulz) Mystery
c. 2013
This is the final book in the Culinary Mystery series. I was a fairly satisfying finish which tied up quite a few loose ends. It was much better than the past couple Goldy Schulz novels. Goldy is catering a birthday party for her son and his friend Drew. The boys were born on the same day in the same hospital. Goldy and Drew's Mom, Holly, had become very good friends. They became closer when they joined to a divorce support group. However, Holly and Goldy hadn't seen much of each other over the past few years. On the way to the party, Goldy had an accident in her catering van. Then the birthday party was crashed by Drew's father and stepmother. But, the party ended when the EMT's had to be called for a party attendee who collapsed in the driveway. Goldy felt driven to figure out what was actually going on, and in the process she discovered a part of herself which had been lost many years ago.

Ene 13, 12:47pm

The Wives - Tarryn Fisher
Thursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him. But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different- and horrifying- story about the man she married. What follows is one of the most twisted, shocking thrillers you’ll ever read.

Thursday is desperately in need of having her head examined. She let this creep have not one but TWO…count them…other wives????? She did it because she “SO CRAZY ABOUT HIM!” I think she was just crazy. You have to keep reading because you just have to see what other stupid, irrational act she will enact next. Believe me…she doesn’t disappoint, There must be a padded cell somewhere for her and “God’s gift to women”. Oh…She is “Thursday”, and the other two wives are “Monday” and “Tuesday” because those are the days they get the “pleasure” of being with him. I wonder what he does the other days.

Ene 13, 3:28pm

>32 Carol420: I am fascinated with stories of families which are arranged differently than the typical, and I can't see any reason why a multiple marriage couldn't work, with egalitarian relationships. The trouble is how difficult to arrange that is. This book sounds really dumb, because she has agreed to disadvantage herself from the beginning. And one day is not enough. He must be quite a charmer to convince three women of this...or they must all be women with no self-esteem.

Ene 13, 4:22pm

>33 sallypursell: It was very dumb. I'm fairly open minded but this guy to begin with, added nothing to even begin what could even loosely be called a relationship. The whole thing was just one big mess and the the women thought that he hung the moon. Anything he said or wanted was fine with them. You hit the nail on the head when saying "they must all be women with no self esteem." There was certainly nothing charming about him coming out any of the pages. I hated him from the start.

Ene 14, 10:31am

Hard Line - Pamela Clare – (Antarctica)
Cobra Elite series Book #5
As temperatures drop to one hundred below, the heat between Thor and Samantha flares out of control. But a killer is lurking on station, someone with an agenda that threatens not only the lives of every person there, but also global peace. It will take all of Thor’s skill and strength to stop the murderous traitor—and keep himself and the woman he loves alive.

The two main characters and the romance parts were very well done…but not overdone. Both Samantha and Thor were good together and their actions were believable. Being set on a distant, cold outpost in Antarctica there wasn’t many places for the killer to hide so the choices were narrowed down fairly quickly. The elements that make for an emotional well told story are here…friendship, love, hate, sorrow, comradeship, and as always, those sudden touches of humor.

Ene 15, 9:01am

Rend – Roan Parrish – (New York)
Riven series Book #2
Matt Argento knows what it feels like to be alone. After a childhood of abandonment, he never imagined someone might love him—much less someone like Rhys Nyland, who has the voice of an angel, the looks of a god, and the worship of his fans. Matt and Rhys come from different worlds, but when they meet, their chemistry is incendiary. Their romance is unexpected, intense, and forever—at least, that’s what their vows promise. Suddenly, Matt finds himself living a life he never thought possible: safe and secure in the arms of a man who feels like home. But when Rhys leaves to go on tour for his new album, Matt finds himself haunted by the ghosts of his past. When Rhys returns, he finds Matt twisted by doubt. But Rhys loves Matt fiercely, and he’ll go to hell and back to triumph over Matt’s fears. After secrets are revealed and desires are confessed, Rhys and Matt must learn to trust each other if they’re going to make it. That means they have to fall in love all over again—and this time, it really will be forever.

The second book in the Riven series works through several different aspects of trauma and looks at how one’s past can shape their future. I read more than 300 books a year on a regular basis. Some make me think about things I wouldn’t normally think about…some make me laugh…Some make me mark places to reread for one reason or another…but I have read very few authors that have the ability to make me cry. Roan Parrish did. Her pages describing Matt roaming the streets and trying to escape his memories of his terrible childhood and his lost, empty felling while his husband, Rhys, was on tour while at the same time trying so hard to keep Rhy’s from knowing how utterly undone he was without him…completely wrecked me. You just have to love these two guys and you want so much happiness for them. Matt is “severely damaged” from his years in foster care but it is such an incredible experience watching him learn to trust as he loses more and more of his doubts and fears with Rhys and finally trusts him enough to tell him of his terrible childhood. Theo and Caleb from the first book make several appearances as just good close and supportive friends. Overall, I really enjoyed the book although I did wish we would have stayed longer with Rhys and Matt. I have never felt the things that I felt while reading this story. I don't know if in this day and age I have to say it but I don't want anyone to be offended...so...be aware that the characters are same sex and some scenes are explicit.

Editado: Ene 15, 7:08pm

The Guest List by Lucy Foley
4 ★

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It's a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. And then someone turns up dead.

Each chapter is from a different person’s perspective and what their relationship has been with the bride or groom. They all have their resentments and their secrets. The setting is beautiful but it has its dangers. The story also jumped back and forth between now and earlier which slowly led up to the murder. It was very entertaining. The ending was quite a stretch but it was still fun.

Ene 16, 9:47am

Creatures of Passage - Morowa Yejide – (Washington D.C)
Nephthys Kinwell is a taxi driver of sorts in Washington, DC, ferrying passengers in a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere with a ghost in the trunk. Endless rides and alcohol help her manage her grief over the death of her twin brother, Osiris, who was murdered and dumped in the Anacostia River. Unknown to Nephthys when the novel opens in 1977…her estranged great-nephew, ten-year-old Dash, is finding himself drawn to the banks of that very same river. It is there that Dash—reeling from having witnessed an act of molestation at his school, but still questioning what and who he saw—has charmed conversations with a mysterious figure he calls the “River Man.” When Dash arrives unexpectedly at Nephthys’s door bearing a cryptic note about his unusual conversations with the River Man, Nephthys must face what frightens her most.

This book is skillfully written but sometimes takes off on whirlwind journeys that make it difficult to understand exactly what the author is actually trying to express. I have never before read anything by this author, but I do find that she is very good at bringing together a story that is both frightening as well as almost playful. The sum total is an unforgettable blurring of reality and genres. From the haunted Plymouth automobile to the mysteries in the fog in this alternate America and hidden Washington, DC filled with otherworldly landscapes… flawed super-humans…and reluctant ghosts, you will find that no matter what your feelings are about the content… you will know that you have never read anything quiet like it. That having been said...I believe it will take an audience with more Si-Fi tastes rather than supernatural preferences to really give it the appreciation that it deserves.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Akashic Books in exchange for an honest opinion. The views expressed by this reviewer are entirely my own.

Ene 17, 8:48am

Long Shadows – Kate Sherwood –(Montana)
Common Law series Book #1
LA cop Jericho Crewe got the hell out of Mosely, Montana, when he was seventeen. Fifteen years later, he’s back, and everything is just as messed up as when he left. He planned a quick visit to deal with his injured father, but of course things are never that simple. Family complications… police complications… social complication…and, as always, Wade Granger complications. Jericho and Wade had been so close, once upon a time. First as friends, then more than just friends… and then, after Jericho’s escape, nothing for over 10 years. Wade’s magnetism hasn’t been lessened by a decade and a half apart; even when Jericho learns that Wade is the prime suspect in the death of Jericho’s father, the old connection still sparks.

This was described as a romantic suspense novel. However there is much more suspense than there is romance. I’m almost of the mind that this is a book was only meant to build the plot line and to provide background for the characters when the series is continued. It wasn’t advertised as "suspense” especially, but that type storyline drove the plot from the beginning to the end. Of course there was tension between Jerricho and Wade… but nothing happened…literally…and that was rather suspicious considering the history these two characters had to one another while growing up. I wonder how long Jerricho's resolve that he is supposed to “uphold the law” and Wade is on the “other side of the law”, will actually last. Things will be s much more interesting when they both give a little. The bad guy becomes obvious at some point but the how’s and why’s take longer to put together, as does Jerricho and Wades acceptance and acknowledgement of any resuming any kind of a relationship…friendship or romantic. I will go with book 2 in the series but I hope these two can come to some kind of mutual understanding.

Ene 18, 10:07am

Prelude: Blue Notes - Shira Anthony
Blue Notes series Book #2
World-renowned conductor David Somers never wanted the investment firm he inherited from his domineering grandfather. He only wanted to be a composer. But no matter how he struggles, David can’t translate the music in his head into notes on paper.
When a guest violinist at the Chicago Symphony falls ill, David meets Alex Bishop, a last-minute substitute. Alex’s fame and outrageous tattoos fail to move David. Then Alex puts bow to string, and David hears the brilliance of Alex’s soul. David has sworn off relationships, believing he will eventually drive away those he loves, or that he'll lose them as he lost his wife and parents. But Alex is outgoing, relaxed, and congenial—everything David is not—and soon makes dents in the armor around David's heart. David’s fragile ego, worn away by years of his grandfather’s disdain, makes losing control difficult. When David’s structured world comes crashing down, his fledgling relationship with Alex is the first casualty. Still, David hears Alex’s music, haunting and beautiful. David wants to love Alex, but first he must find the strength to acknowledge himself.

This is a sweet and a bit bitter-sweet story. David is brilliant and a somewhat of a mess. Alex is amazing and has overcome so much and on his way to the top of the music field. The story isn’t perfect but then neither are the men. There are some coincidences that are a little hard to buy and David is too brooding and uncertain at times…actually I wanted to shake him most of the time. Alex is just too good to be true. Putting all that aside this series is a lot of fun to read and the characters are worth caring about.

Ene 18, 1:45pm

Part & Parcel – Abigail Roux – (California/Arizona/Maryland)
Sidewinder series Book #3
Nick O’Flaherty and Kelly Abbott had their happy ending in sight when a friend’s call for help almost ended with them losing it to the blade of a knife. Now, in the aftermath of near-disaster, both men are trying to heal and move on. Moving on together, though, is harder than either of them realized it would be. Kelly struggles with simply being a lover instead of the Doc, while Nick is mired in his recovery. The distance between them inches along in stilted silence. Desperately seeking solace, Nick finally gathers the courage to sort through the possessions his dear friend and fellow Sidewinder teammate Elias Sanchez left him when he died. Instead of comforting memories, Nick and Kelly find a stack of letters and strict instructions from Eli that prompts them to send out a call for assistance. With Eli’s letters in hand, Sidewinder sets out on one last mission together, seeking peace and absolution from beyond the grave—and from each other.

I have been a huge fan of Roux’s Sidewinder series since a good friend gave me the first book in the series that featured Ty and Zane. Along the way I met their friends that are featured in this one. I have to admit that I am more drawn to Ty and Zane’s dynamics and humor than Nick and Kelly’s. Still the story was intriguing as it focused on the ends that true and valued loves and friendships will go to in order to assure that it survives whatever life throws in it’s path. We see the team across time from 1999 through 2013 and get a much better understanding of the individuals and team’s relationships that define them… and best of all we get to hear it throughout from Zane who was not a member of the team in those years. I hope Abigail Roux continues this series with new views into the lives of these guys.

Ene 19, 9:02am

Dead Anyway - Chris Knopf – (Connecticut)
Imagine this: You have a nice life. You love your beautiful, successful wife. You're an easygoing guy working out of your comfortable Connecticut home. The world is an interesting, pleasant place. Then in seconds it's all gone. You're still alive, but the world thinks you're dead. And now you have to decide. Make it official, or go after the evil that took it all away from you. Arthur Cathcart, market researcher and occasional finder of missing persons, decides to live on and fight, by doing what he knows best - figuring things out, without revealing his status as a living breathing human being. Much easier said than done in a post- 9/11 world, where everything about yourself and all the tools you need to live a modern life are an open book. How do you become a different person, how do you finance an elaborate scheme without revealing yourself? How do you force a reckoning with the worst people on earth, as a dead man?

We meet Arthur who has a seemingly perfect life and then the next thing he knows he’s hiding from the bad guy that blew his world away by shooting Arthur and his wife. Arthur slowly recovers but revenge is always in the forefront in his mind. This is a new feeling and want for Arthur and he puts it to the bullet that was dug from his brain…new thought but not entirely unwelcome and so Arthur begins to use his computer skills and some new friends to set in action a plan that may just finish the job that the shooter started…but does it really matter? He knows that he’s “Dead Anyway”. I thoroughly enjoyed the intricacies of the plot. It was witty and cleverly done and kept me guessing throughout yet the resolution of the storyline was weirdly believable. Not a heavy mystery but it was fun watching Arthur work.

Ene 20, 10:26am

Don’t Look - Alexandra Ivy – (Wisconsin)
Pike Wisconsin series Book #1
IF YOU'RE ON HIS LIST: A woman's naked body is discovered, cold and pale as the surrounding snow--except for the crimson scarf around her neck. The weeks that follow bring more victims and evidence of a terrifying pattern. The killer has a list. And every woman on it will get what she deserves... YOU'RE AS GOOD: Dr. Lynne Gale followed in her father's footsteps to become a vet in Pike, Wisconsin. For years, she's had little contact with Kir Jansen, son of the town's late sheriff. Suddenly he's back, insisting that Lynne's in danger. She can't believe anyone would target her, but someone is hunting the women of Pike, savoring every last moment. Kir hoped that his father's frantic calls about a serial killer were just an old man's delusions. But the body count doesn't lie. In this quiet town, a monster stalks and kills and soon, Lynne's will be the last name on his list.

Lynne and Kir each had a crush on the other in high school that they never acted on. Upon meeting again, their attraction is instantaneous and they had great chemistry. Their romance does move fairly quickly which is typical for romantic suspense books, so that didn't bother me. The two communicate well and the steamy scenes are well done. Overall, most readers will be happy with their romance. I will say the one area I had a few issues with was their investigation to find the killer. Neither of them have any law enforcement experience but yet they're able to quickly uncover leads while getting people to answer their questions with very little prompting. I think I would have liked it better if they had had to work a bit harder for the information they found or if one of them had a background that would make their ease of finding information more plausible. I have to say that I found it to be a really good read and I'm looking forward to seeing what the next book in the series will bring.

Editado: Ene 20, 1:59pm

Out of Nowhere - Roan Parrish – (Pennsylvania)
Middle of Somewhere Series Book #2
The only thing in Colin Mulligan’s life that makes sense is taking cars apart and putting them back together. In the auto shop where he works with his father and brothers, he tries to get through the day without having a panic attack or flying into a rage. Drinking helps. So does running and lifting weights until he can hardly stand. But none of it can change the fact that he’s gay, a secret he has kept from everyone. Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lie the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.

This is a continuation of the story from book 1…The Middle of somewhere only it’s told from the viewpoint of Daniel’s oldest brother, Colin who has given Daniel grief, hostility and the cold shoulder since finding him and a friend together when Daniel was 13. The scene at their fathers funeral when Daniel found Colin in a compromising position and learned the reason or the years of Colin’s hostility toward him. I liked the way that Roan Parrish didn’t just leave Colin at odds with Daniel and gave him a chance to tell his story. One of my two friends that have been together for 22 years went through something similar with his family so I am very familiar with the helplessness that this can cause. To this day his family refuses to see or speak to him and they have never acknowledged their 18 year old beautiful, sweet, intelligent grandson. The author did a beautiful job of telling the truth about the way in which social and cultural rules can destroy a human life that does not ‘fit’ into the established pattern. Thank you for Colin’s story, Ms. Parrish. My friend Conner, said I would understand why he gave me these books... and I do.

Ene 21, 12:16am

Hornswoggled by Donis Casey
#2 Alafair Tucker Mystery
c. 2006
4 *s
Alafair and Shaw Tucker were horse farmers in turn of the 20th century Oklahoma. One day, their 2 sons were out fishing and they found a dead body tucked under some roots in the creek. It was Mrs. Kelly, wife of the local barber. Alafair had never taken a liking to Walter Kelly, as he was too slick and a womanizer. Months passed, but the sheriff could not find the murderer. Alafair was determined to find out what had really happened, as her daughter Alice decided that Walter was the man for her. Alafair had a bad feeling, and she didn't want her daughter to get hurt. This was a pleasant homey mystery, as Alafair searched doggedly for the killer of Mrs. Louise Kelly. I enjoy the characters and the going back into a much simpler time.

Editado: Ene 21, 4:50pm

Where We Left Off – Roan Parrish – (New York/Michigan)
Middle of Somewhere series Book #3
Leo Ware may be young, but he knows what he wants…and what he wants is Will Highland. Snarky, sophisticated, fiercely opinionated Will Highland, who burst into Leo’s unremarkable life like a supernova… and then was gone just as quickly. For the past miserable year, Leo hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the powerful connection he and Will shared. So, when Leo moves to New York for college, he sweeps back into Will’s life, hopeful that they can pick up where they left off. What begins as a unique friendship soon burns with chemistry they can’t deny… though Will certainly tries. But Leo longs for more than friendship and hot sex. A romantic to his core, Leo wants passion, love, commitment—everything Will isn’t interested in giving. Will thinks romance is a cheesy fairy tale and love is overrated. He likes his space and he’s happy with things just the way they are, thank you very much. Or is he? Because as he and Leo get more and more tangled up in each other’s lives, Will begins to act like maybe love is something he could feel after all.

I liked the book. Since one of my friends loaded me down with the giant pile of books of this genre, I have learned that I like almost anything Roan Parrish writes but… this part of the series just seemed to I be missing something, or was just be too slow getting started. It wasn't because the writing isn’t good or the story isn't good... It's actually very well written and I loved Leo from the first time we met him in the first book….but I think the two major problems was the differences between Leo and Will’s ages. It made it hard for them to really have anything in common except the obvious and Will sometimes treated Leo like a child. Will had been telling Leo from the start that he wasn’t looking for a relationship of any kind with anyone but he then kept leading him on with on again off again scenarios driving the poor boy crazy. I really felt sorry for Leo. He had had a lot of “first times” happening in his young life at this time and he didn’t need to have to deal with Will’s acceptance and then non-acceptance. Leo picked a New York college because Will lived there and he had his heart set on Will. Stay with the story… all will work out in the end and the ending is really beautiful.

Ene 22, 1:15pm

Fool Moon - Jim Butcher – (Illinois)
Dresden File series Book #2
You’d think there’d be a little more action for the only professional wizard listed in the Chicago phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn’t been able to dredge up any kind of work: magical, mundane, or menial. Just when it looks like he can’t afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise. There’s a brutally mutilated corpse, and monstrous animal markings at the scene. Not to mention that the killing took place on the night of a full moon. Harry knows exactly where this case is headed. Take three guesses—and the first two don’t count.

It’s been more years than I care to remember since I’ve read a Jim Butcher book. Glad to have had a challenge that allowed me to remedy that. I always loved this series. It takes the best of urban fantasy… mixes it with some good old-fashioned noir mystery… tosses in a little romance and a lot of action…shake… stir and serve. It had everything that makes for a good story…mystery, crime, thrilling episodes…. horror… detectives… and paranormal. Jim Butcher blends them with humor…t even if it was a bit dry at times. I always enjoyed trying to second guess where Mr. Butcher would take us next.

Ene 22, 6:10pm

The Drop Edge of Yonder by Donis Casey
#3 Alafair Tucker mystery
c. 2007
4 *s
1914 Oklahoma is full of hard working self-sufficient farming folks. Among them are Alafair and Shaw Tucker and their 9 children. Two of the daughters, Mary and Ruth are volunteered to chaperone Alafair's young brother-in-law, Bill and his intended wife Laura. While having a pleasant outing, they are bushwacked. Ruth runs for help. Mary's head is grazed by a bullet. When she awakes, she finds her Uncle Bill shot dead, and his fiancé is missing. Shaw's cousin Scott, the local sheriff, immediately rounds up a group to search for the murderer/kidnapper. Alafair is exceeding worried about Mary, Shaw, and her in-laws with a bushwacker at large. Shaw has his 2 hired hands and oldest son keep a 24 hr watch over his family. Who on earth would want to kill Bill, as he never had an enemy? This series gets better and better. The author does a decent job of representing rural Americans in the second decade of the 1900s. I really am growing to love this family, even if Alafair tends to get a bit overbearing at times.

Ene 23, 2:55pm

Status Update - Annabeth Albert – (Utah/Colorado)
Adrian Gottlieb is winning at life. He’s a successful video game designer with everything a man could ask for, including a warm comfy ride to Denver and a date for his sister’s wedding. But he finds himself in need of a total reboot when he’s left stranded at a snowy campground in Utah. Holiday plans?... epic fail. That is until Noah Walters offers him shelter for the night and a reluctant cross-country ride. Nothing about the ultraconservative geo- archaeologist should attract Adrian, but once he discovers Noah’s hidden love for video games, the two connect on a new level. Soon, a quiet but undeniable chemistry sparks. Something doesn’t add up, though. As the miles accumulate and time runs out, Noah must face the most difficult choice of his life. Meanwhile, Adrian must decide whether he’s ready to level up. Is their relationship status worth fighting for, or has this game ended before it’s even begun?

I’ve read a lot of this author’s books and always related well to, and liked and rooted for the characters… but this one seemed at the beginning, to be lacking something fairly important in any type of relationship…that little thing called “chemistry”. The two guys seemed to just like and respect each other… or maybe it was just that they liked each others dogs:) I can see based on Noah’s past why he reacted to Adrian the way that he did…but I found myself wanting to yell at him and hit him over the head with one of the rocks he studied. He does finally get his act together, but I thought that Noah was going to lose everything that was good in his life… which included Adrian…before he had learned to like and accept himself for who he was. This was a good read by an author that I have come to like a lot. My box of books from my friend includes several more by her I see.

Ene 24, 5:28pm

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
4 ★

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie, Alan's traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job. Conway's latest tale has Atticus Pund investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. The more Susan reads, the more she's convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.

This was a traditional English village murder mystery story within a contemporary murder mystery story and how they are connected. There were plenty of suspects in both stories and I enjoyed finding out about each character and trying to figure out who did it. There was a bit too much explaining at the end of both stories. Still, it was well-written and kept me interested throughout. I’m looking forward the next in this series.

Ene 25, 11:48am

The Moxie – Dawn Fitzgerald
Midlife changes were more than Kate had bargained for. Mental confusion, physical discomfort, and the revelation of a centuries old family secret leave Kate unnerved. Women on her mother's side of the family attained unique powers that only manifested during this time of change. Managing life with a middle aged husband, a hormonal teenage daughter and a party planning business is difficult. Add in the crazy symptoms of midlife changes, and Kate is dangling on the edge. Her mom and aunts step in to help Kate find balance with her unbalanced body and her unbalanced life. With humor, perseverance, unpredictability and zany antics, Kate rediscovers her true self.

This can only be described as a charming and fun filled book letting us see how Kate, the main character, deals with the changes occurring in her life, both physical as well as emotional. She is definitely still in love with Jeff her husband in spite of having had a few problems as all couples do as well as dealing with their teenager daughter, Ashley. Like most teenagers she drives them nuts with her rude attitude, but they are none the less, very supportive of her. Kate discovers “The Moxie” and is very disturbed by this new “thing” in her life that she now has to deal with. I found myself laughing from the very first page. I can certainly understand the frustration and aggravation that Kate was experiencing. I have been there and done that. It was good old fashion fun filed with a crazy cast of characters. Thanks to my friend, John from the Goodreads site for his recommendation of this one.

Ene 26, 2:27pm

There Was A Crooked Man, He Flipped A Crooked House - David Erik Nelson - (Michigan)

Stop! Don't touch the fence. Don't unlock the door. And whatever you do, don't look at anything in the library —because this house keeps itself occupied.

It was...to say the least...a very interesting take on the common old “haunted house” story. I also loved that it took place in my home state of Michigan although the city was different...Detroit. The characters were unique...the house was awesome! There were plenty of chills...but not so much in the jumpy, scare you death type of horror but more in the Sci-fi kind of horror. It's a short book that surprised me at every single turn. I read a lot of this type of genre and I don't usually surprise very easily. Just when I thought I knew what happens next...I was dead... (no pun intended)... wrong! I believe being genuinely surprised by the plot is one of the greatest tribute a reader can offer an author. If you're a fan of smart, artfully written horror fiction, then There Was a Crooked Man, He Flipped a Crooked House is a must read for you.

Ene 27, 11:14am

Ancient Enemy - Mark Lukens - (Colorado)

Ancient Enemy - it wants things . . . you have to give it what it wants . . .Seven hundred years ago the Anasazi people built massive cities in what is now the southwestern United States . . . and then they vanished. Stella, an archaeologist specializing in Anasazi culture, and David, a mysterious Navajo boy, are on the run from something terrifying. As they flee up into the snowy mountains of Colorado, they are carjacked by criminals escaping a botched bank robbery. Caught in a blizzard, they must take refuge in what they believe is an abandoned cabin. It's at this cabin where they will face horrors beyond their imagination.

As a fan of the strange, unexplained, and the unusual, I’ve read many stories dealing with the mysteries of the native peoples in the Four Corners region of the United States. These tales are usually about the lost Anasazi...skinwalkers... and Chaco...and of course evil spirits. What the "Ancient Enemy" actually is never really personified. It's never seen and is never given a name. It does have talents that you wouldn't want anything or anyone to process, much less use. It can animate the dead...put people into a trance when they are vulnerable...and kill at will. What this very talented author has done is create a very chilling tale of supernatural horror, with a storyline that will keep the reader riveted. His character development...both the protagonists and antagonists... is absolutely top notch. There are very few slow spots in the pace of the story and the conclusion of the novel just opened the door for a sequel. Since this book was in my box of books from my two friends and is an entirely different genre than the others I will have to buy the second book. Amazon...here I come!

Ene 28, 2:41pm

Barrel Proof - Layla Reyne (California)
Agents Irish and Whiskey series Book #3

FBI agents Aidan "Irish" Talley and Jameson "Whiskey" Walker can't get a moment's peace. Their hunt for the terrorist Renaud seems to be nearing an end, until a fire allows him to slip through their fingers—and puts Jamie's life in danger. When Jamie is nearly killed, Aidan learns how many forms loss can take. Aidan says I love you just moments before learning that Jamie's been keeping a devastating secret about Aidan's late husband. How quickly trust and love can go up in flames. When Aidan requests a solo undercover assignment, Jamie hopes Aidan will find a way to forgive him. But the explosions are far from over. Aidan's cover lands him in the heart of the terrorist's conspiracy, and Jamie will have to put his life, his career and his freedom on the line to save the man who has become his entire world. Partners, always is a promise he intends to keep.

I have really enjoyed this series and the characters of Aidan Tally and Jamie Walker. The series is a romance but it's also a good mystery story that continues over these 3 books. I wish Aidan didn't take everything so personally. he gets carried away sometimes blaming first himself and then sometimes Jamie for things that were beyond either of their control. The last book was a bit of a cliffhanger so I'm glad that Ms. Reyne gave Jamie and Aidan some closure and happiness. I have to give the three books in this whole series 5 stars because they are fantastic reads. Just as a sidebar: Thank you Conner and Luke...my two good friends, for the big box of books. Hope you don't want them back:)

Ene 30, 12:59pm

Before She Knew Him - Peter Swanson

A chilling tale of a young suburban wife with a history of psychological instability whose fears about her new neighbor could lead them both to murder.

"Could her neighbor Matthew be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered in college, when she became so consumed with a friend’s guilt that she ended up hurting someone? The more Hen, (Henrietta), observes Matthew, the more she suspects he’s planning something truly terrifying. Yet no one will believe her." This book description is what hooked me into simply having to read this book. The plot is like something straight out of a Hitchcock film. There is a twist...but you know who the killer is the second the first hint is dropped. However it doesn't spoil the story or the atmosphere that the book produces in the least. This s not your typical psychological drama. The author has done here what he has proven he could do in every book I have ever read by him... entice the reader with his characters flaws and short comings by throwing in murderers...cheaters...and liars wrapping it all up nicely in the end.

Ene 30, 4:46pm

The Secret River by Kate Grenville

In 1806 William Thornhill is transported for life from the slums of London to New South Wales. His arrival with wife Sal and their children at first feels like a death sentence. But Thornhill discovers the colony can turn a person into a free man and eight years later he sails up the Hawkesbury and claims his own patch of ground. However, from the moment he sets foot on this land he has the feeling of being watched by the original inhabitants. There is tension between the Aboriginals and the new settlers and all are finding different ways to deal with it. As the situation spirals out of control Thornhill has to make the toughest decision of his life.

The story started out rather depressing because Will lived in poverty and he was constantly trying to get what he needed to survive. But when he got sent to Australia, the story became hopeful. It was still a struggle but Will and his family slowly improved their life. Still, there were many tense moments between Will, other settlers and the native people as they were in conflict over the land. This was a well-written and interesting story based on the author’s ancestors.

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