ConversazioniMystery and Suspense

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Maggio 22, 12:54pm

I found this to be rather interesting and obviously a little known "event". So...what are you going to be reading in your bathroom?

Modificato: Giu 30, 8:44am

Carol Gathers Her Bathroom Reads for June
📌 - ★
📌Leave The World Behind - Rumaan Alam - 2★ (Pick A Winner)
📌Under The Bayou Moon - Valerie Fraser Luesse - 4.5★ (Early Reviewers)
📌Untouchable - Robert Innes - 4★
📌If She Wakes - (Maine)- Michael Koryta - 4.5★
📌Iron House - John Hart - 2★
📌Trial By Fire - (Texas) - Nancy Taylor Rosenberg - 1/2★
📌Boy In the Photo - Nichole Trope - 5★
📌Skin And Bone - TA Moore - 5★
📌Kill Game - (Nevada) - Cordelia Kingsbridge - 5★
📌Fish Out of Water - Amy Lane - 5★
📌Bitter Legacy - Del Maclean - 3★
📌Ocean Prey - John Sandford - 4★
📌Bitterroot Lake - Alice Beckman - 4★
📌What You Never Knew - Jessica Hamilton - 4.5★
📌Red Fish, Dead Fish - Amy Lane -5★
📌Stone Cross- Marc Cameron - 2.5★
📌Perfect Little Children - Sophie Hannah - 4.5★
📌A Few Good Fish - Amy Lane - 5★
📌Three Hours - Rosamund Lupton - 5★
📌Hiding The Moon - Amy Lane - 4.5★
📌The Shadow Box - Luanne Rice - 3.5★
📌Fish on A Bicycle - Amy Lane - 5★
📌Goblin - Josh Malerman - 4★
📌School of Fish- Amy Lane - 5★
📌Shades of Henry - Amy Lane - 5★
📌Heartstoppers Vol 2 - Alice Oseman - 5★
📌Trick Roller - Cordelia Kingsbridge - 5★
📌Cash Plays - Cordelia Kingsbridge - 5★
📌One Eyed Royals - Cordelia Kingsbridge - 5★
📌A Chip and A Chair - Cordelia Kingsbridge - 5★
📌Act of Terror - Marc Cameron - 2.5★
📌The Bones Beneath - Mark Billingham - 4★
📌Twisted and Tied - Mary Calmes - 5★
📌Kairos - Mary Calmes - 3.5★
📌Dear Martin - Nic Stone - 5★
📌The Gentleman's Guide To Vice and Virtue - MacKenzi Lee - 4★
📌Fair Game - Josh Lanyon - 5★
📌Fair Play - Josh Lanyon - 5★
📌Hard Sell - Hudson Lin - 4.5★

Giu 1, 9:27am

Untouchable - Robert Innes (England)
Blake Harte series Book #1
4 ★
Harrison Baxter lives on a farm with his parents, on the outskirts of the village of Harmschapel. It’s picturesque, idyllic and tranquil – but Harrison is far from happy. His parent’s marriage is strained to say the least and on top of that, his boyfriend, Daniel, has been mentally and physically abusing him for years. After he finds himself with one bruise too many, Harrison has had enough. But when he plucks up the courage to finally end his violent relationship, Harrison’s life is changed forever when Daniel is found murdered in the most bizarre circumstances. Detective Sergeant Blake Harte has moved to Harmschapel after his own relationship ended in tatters. But moving to a quiet village after working his way up the ranks in a city brings its own set of problems and Blake soon finds himself at odds with new colleagues who aren’t used to his style of policing. But when he is called upon to investigate the mysterious and impossible murder at Half-Mile Farm, Blake finds himself facing the most challenging case of his career. So how can Daniel have been shot in a locked shed that nobody could possibly have escaped from?

This is the first of Robert Innes’ Blake Harte detective series. The author has created interesting protagonists...but they could be better developed. Perhaps he sees that it leaves opportunities to further develop them in future additions of this series. It’s always good to see good character grow as books progress...so I will give him the benefit of a doubt. The murder that has taken place seems virtually impossible. To make things more complicated, both the murder victim...Daniel Donaldson...and one of the chief suspects...Harrison Baxter...are not very popular with this small village citizens as they both are gay. The majority of the police simply think one probably killed the other...but Harte points out that the door to the shed is still locked and only the body is inside and no one could have left from inside. The story can be a stand-alone... but the town and its people are all set up for repeat performances as the series goes forward. I’ll be interested in seeing how the author brings these people into being neighbors and friends of Harte that actually respect his skills and abilities.

Giu 1, 10:17am

Fish Out of Water - Amy Lane - (California)
Fish Out of Water series Book #1
5 ★
PI Jackson Rivers grew up on the mean streets of Del Paso Heights―and he doesn’t trust cops, even though he was one. When the man he thinks of as his brother is accused of killing a police officer in an obviously doctored crime, Jackson will move heaven and earth to keep Kaden and his family safe. Defense attorney Ellery Cramer grew up with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, but that hasn’t stopped him from crushing on street-smart, swaggering Jackson Rivers for the past six years. But when Jackson asks for his help defending Kaden Cameron, Ellery is out of his depth―and not just with guarded, prickly Jackson. Kaden wasn’t just framed, he was framed by crooked cops, and the conspiracy goes higher than Ellery dares reach―and deep into Jackson’s troubled past. Both men are soon enmeshed in the mystery of who killed the cop in the minimart, and engaged in a race against time to clear Kaden’s name. But when the mystery is solved and the bullets stop flying, they’ll have to deal with their personal complications… and an attraction that’s spiraled out of control.

Jackson and Ellery...two men from two completely different walks of life that collide unexpectedly. From the moment they came together they each knew that deep down neither will walk away. They fight and they tease like cats and dogs...yet they work together like a well-oiled machine. Eventually it turns out that neither can imagine life without the other. Someone is out to get Jackson Rivers. He survived once, but this time it involves his family and the one man who came close enough to see his tortured soul...but loves him anyway...warts and all. They dodge bullets...car crashes...thefts....and dirty cops who will stop at nothing to wreck one family's life. It's a constant roller coaster of ups and downs, wins and losses, safety and danger. Added to the cast is Billy Bob the cat who has a penchant for German shepherds. Pity the German shepherd. There is not a boring minute. I loved every page and am looking forward to book #2.

Giu 2, 7:33am

If She Wakes - Michael Koryta - (Maine)
Tara Beckley is a senior at idyllic Hammel College in Maine. As she drives to deliver a visiting professor to a conference, a horrific car accident kills the professor and leaves Tara in a vegetative state. At least, so her doctors think. In fact, she's a prisoner of locked-in syndrome: fully alert but unable to move a muscle. Trapped in her body, she learns that someone powerful wants her dead -- but why? And what can she do, lying in a hospital bed, to stop them? Abby Kaplan, an insurance investigator, is hired by the college to look in to Tara's case. A former stunt driver, Abby returned home after a disaster in Hollywood left an actor dead and her own reputation ...and nerves... shattered. Despite the fog of trauma, she can tell that Tara's car crash was no accident. When she starts asking questions, things quickly spin out of control, leaving Abby on the run and a mysterious young hit man named Dax Blackwell hard on her heels.

It's the human element...the stories of two young women trying to reclaim their lives, that makes the story so compelling and keeps the pages turning. The insurance investigator has a difficult time getting anyone to take her seriously when she says it was NOT an accident. Her experience as a stunt car driver should have helped her cause but she still had a struggle on her hands and a fight that almost cost her life. The characters are interesting...unique... and yes...flawed...but in the most ingenious ways. Allowing them to adapt and grow as the situations grow more and more intense is one of this author’s greatest talents. Don’t be in a rush to get to the finish, just enjoy a remarkable story.

Giu 2, 11:19am

Red Fish, Dead Fish - Amy Lane -(California)
Fish Out of Water series Book #2
They must work together to stop a psychopath - and save each other. Two months ago, Jackson Rivers got shot while trying to save Ellery Cramer’s life. Not only is Jackson still suffering from his wounds, the trigger-man remains at large - and the body count is mounting. Jackson and Ellery have been trying to track down Tim Owens since Jackson got out of the hospital, but Owens' time as a member of the department makes the DA reluctant to turn over any stones. When Owens starts going after people Jackson knows, Ellery’s instincts hit red alert. Hurt in a scuffle with drug-dealing squatters and trying damned hard not to grieve for a childhood spent in hell, Jackson is weak and vulnerable when Owens strikes. Jackson gets away, but the fallout from the encounter might kill him. It’s not doing Ellery any favors either. When a police detective is abducted - and Jackson and Ellery hold the key to finding her - Ellery finds out exactly what he’s made of. He’s not the corporate shark who believes in winning at all costs; he’s the frightened lover trying to keep the man he cares for from self-destructing in his own valor.

Loved these two guys in the first book. Ellery wouldn't take no for an answer and Jackson couldn’t convince him that he wasn’t worthy of Ellery’s time or love. They were absolutely perfect together and I thank Amy Lane for not separating them and subjecting us readers to agonizing pages of waiting for them to get back together. Jackson is all edge. Ellery is a great counterbalance. Ellery deserves a medal in perseverance and sheer stubbornness for his ability to see beyond the surface. He is the type of man that once he loves he will give himself completely. I loved how he knew when to push Jackson and when to back away, when to use humor and deflect and when to be open and true. Their relationship is wrought with obstacles, life debris and ghosts of life past that keep turning up like a bad penny. But they move forward, struggle to get up when they fall and just keep being themselves. It’s not all romance. There is humor and there is also one very good case to solve. Excellent series thus far. I think this is one that it’s going to be hard to see end.

Giu 3, 7:09am

Iron House - John Hart - (North Carolina)
There was nothing but time at the Iron Mountain Home for Boys, time for two orphans to learn that life is neither painless nor won without a fight. Julian survives only because his older brother, Michael, is both feared and fiercely protective. When an older boy is brutally killed, Michael makes the ultimate sacrifice to protect his brother: He flees the orphanage and takes the blame with him. For two decades, Michael thrives on the streets of New York, eventually clawing his way to a world of wealth, fear and respect. But the life he's fought to build unravels when he meets a woman who knows nothing of his past or sins. He wants a fresh start with Elena, the chance to build a family of his own. But a life in organized crime is not so easily abandoned. With a price on his head and everyone he loves at risk, Michael spirits Elena back to North Carolina, to the brother he'd lost and a thicket of intrigue more dense than he could possibly imagine. In a tour de force narrative of violence, hope and redemption, the brothers must return to the Iron House of their childhood, to the place that almost broke them, the place it all began.

The story takes off with Michael and the only woman he has ever loved running for their lives. The book is filled with evil people and violent death. Michael...whose story this is .. presents us with a life story is that is filled with violence and sadness. He finds true love, and tries to leave the life of crime...but he is unable to do that when the only man and mentor he has ever loved or cared about... dies...leaving him to deal with the vicious men who want him dead. I didn’t care at all for Michael’s love interest...Elena. She came across as weak and idiotic and I soon lost interest in any part of the dialogue between her and Michael. It all seemed unrealistic to me. I have really liked other books by this author so I really put effort into liking this one. I hoped the story would gain some renewed interest when Julian...Michael’s brother... was introduced...but unfortunately that didn't happen. By the end (480 pages later), I really couldn’t work up any interest in any of them. I have read several books by this author and have always enjoyed them. I guess everyone has a bad day sometimes.

Giu 4, 9:53am

Skin and Bone - TA Moore - (California)
Digging Up Bones series Book #2
5 ★
Cloister Witte and his K-9 partner, Bourneville, find the lost and bring them home. But the job doesn’t always end there. Janet Morrow, a young trans woman, lies in a coma after wandering away from her car during a storm. But just because Cloister found the young tourist doesn’t mean she’s home. What brought her to Plenty, California… and who didn’t want her to leave? With the help of Special Agent Javi Merlo, who continues to deny his growing feelings for the rough-edged deputy, Cloister unearths a ten-year-old conspiracy of silence that taps into Plenty’s history of corruption. Janet Morrow’s old secrets aren’t the only ones coming to light. Javi has tried to put his past behind him, but some people seem determined to pull his skeletons out of the closet. His dark history with a senior agent in Phoenix complicates not just the investigation but his relationship with Cloister...and since when has he cared about that?

A perfect follow up to the first book Bone to Pick where we first met Cloister and his K-9 partner, Bourneville. I’m still trying to sort out why anyone would saddle their kid with a name like “Cloister”. Our two heroes are searching for a missing tourist on a cold, rainy night about two months after the first book ended. Cloister is slightly injured during the search and the victim turns out to be transgender. Enter the FBI in Special Agent Javi Merlo who steps in to investigate the incident calling it a possible hate crime. As it turns out there is much more than either of them first suspected. Javi and Cloister “dance” around one another while Cloister patiently awaits Javi to sort out his feelings and stop the dancing. The mystery here is clever with lots of red herrings to twist your brain up. The ending is really clever. There are things that you will likely figure out long before our heroes do...but the total picture takes a while to come together and that keeps you guessing. Excellent series with wonderful, warm characters...especially the four legged one with fur.

Giu 5, 10:56am

Goblin - Josh Malerman - (Michigan)
Goblin seems like any other ordinary small town. But with the master storyteller Josh Malerman as your tour guide, you’ll discover the secrets that hide behind its closed doors. These six novellas tell the story of a place where the rain is always falling, nighttime is always near, and your darkest fears and desires await. Welcome to Goblin.

A Man in Slices: A man proves his “legendary love” to his girlfriend with a sacrifice even more daring than Vincent van Gogh’s - and sends her more than his heart. 4 stars

Kamp: Walter Kamp is afraid of everything, but most afraid of being scared to death. As he sets traps around his home to catch the ghosts that haunt him, he learns that nothing is more terrifying than fear itself. 4 stars

Happy Birthday, Hunter!: A famed big-game hunter is determined to capture - and kill - the ultimate prey: the mythic Great Owl who lives in Goblin’s dark forests. But this mysterious creature is not the only secret the woods are keeping.
3stars 3 stars

Presto: All Peter wants is to be like his hero, Roman Emperor, the greatest magician in the world. When the famous magician comes to Goblin, Peter discovers that not all magic is just an illusion. 4 stars

A Mix-Up at the Zoo: The new zookeeper feels a mysterious kinship with the animals in his care...and finds that his work is freeing dark forces inside him. 4.5 stars

The Hedges: When his wife dies, a man builds a hedge maze so elaborate no one ever solves it - until a little girl resolves to be the first to find the mysteries that wait at its heart.

First off...let me assure everyone...especially my fellow Michiganders that is NO SUCH PLACE IN MICHIGAN AS GOBLIN!!! I looked to just be sure...so we should all be safe in the dark of our bedrooms tonight. The stories are weirdly entertaining...just enough actuality and possibility to give you a great case of goosebumps and make you check the closets and under your bed for a few weeks to come. I will have to say that I never got it 100% or even 90% right about what was really going to happen next...and I read enough "weird" stuff that I can usually figure out what is in the closet about to jump out. If you like a little difference in your horror you'll probably like at least one of more of these short stories.

Giu 6, 8:44am

Trial by Fire - Nancy Taylor Rosenberg - (Texas)
½★ and that's being really generous!

Brilliant, hard-driving Stella Cataloni is the star of the Dallas District Attorney's office, with an amazing 100 percent conviction rate. But the conviction she most desperately wants agonizingly eludes her. The fire that years ago killed her parents and scarred her life remains unsolved. When her ex-boyfriend, Tom Randall, who Stella is convinced set the fire, suddenly reappears in Houston, Stella vows revenge. But when Randall is brutally murdered, his death puts the arson case in a new light and gives Houston D.A. Holly Oppenheimer the ruthless opportunity to put Stella behind bars for both crimes. Once Stella's friend, Holly becomes a formidable adversary, willing to use her knowledge of Stella's personal secrets to her own advantage. As headlines scream “BATTLE OF THE WOMEN D.A.'s... and the media circus begins, Stella's key hope of proving her innocence is to do what the police cannot or will not do: find the killer who has mocked the law not once but twice.

I really can’t give an honest rating to this book because I couldn’t bring myself to read past the 12th chapter. This “heroine”...and I use the term loosely...needed a lesson in manners...or perhaps a good hard wallop up the side her head. She flew into screaming, cursing tantrums about everything. Actually, all of the characters, up to chapter 12 were angry and spiteful, even in neutral situations. Needless to say, it got very, very annoying. I think of the thousands of books that I have read this one might have been the worse *If by some chance you are a glutton for punishment and feel that you simply must visit with this book.... please, please BORROW it from the library or fish it out the trash can where the last reader threw it...but don’t spend one red cent of your hard-earned money for it!!!!

Giu 6, 2:27pm

Shades of Henry - Amy Lane - (California)
The Flophouse series Book #1
One bootstrap act of integrity cost Henry Worrall everything—military career, family, and the secret boyfriend who kept Henry trapped for eleven years. Desperate, Henry shows up on his brother’s doorstep and is offered a place to live and a job as a handyman in a flophouse for young porn stars. Lance Luna’s past gave him reasons for being in porn, but as he continues his residency at a local hospital, they now feel more like excuses. He’s got the money to move out of the flophouse and live his own life—but who needs privacy when you’re taking care of a bunch of young men . Lance worries Henry won’t fit in, but Henry’s got a soft spot for lost young men and a way of helping them. Just as Lance and Henry find a rhythm as den mothers, a murder and the ghosts of Henry’s abusive past intrude. Lance knows Henry’s not capable of murder, but is he capable of caring for Lance’s heart?

Amy Lane creates such warm and wonderful characters. I was happy to see the guys from Johnnies again and any chance to see my two favorites...Ellery and Jackson from the Fish Out of Water series is a winner anytime. I sincerely hope she writes more with these characters. I liked that the story was told more from Henry's perspective rather than relying on the reader's memory. I also liked that things just fell into place for Henry and Lance....two really deserving characters. Anyway...it’s pretty hard to improve on perfection. Keep them coming Amy!

Giu 6, 5:49pm

Blood Hollow by William Kent Krueger
4 ★

After 17-year-old Charlotte Kane--the beautiful, brilliant, and brooding daughter of a rich widower--disappears on a drunken New Years' Eve snowmobile ride, a raging blizzard soon snuffs out all search efforts. When her body is found during the spring thaw four months later, preliminary evidence implicates her ex-boyfriend--Ojibwe bad-boy, Solemn Winter Moon.

Former sheriff Cork O’Connor helps his wife Jo find information to defend Solemn from murder charges. This was a somewhat complicated story with a lot of characters. Although not that suspenseful until the end, the story was quite interesting. I enjoyed Cork’s meandering investigation. There were several characters who had surprising secrets. Good family relationships rounded things out for an enjoyable read.

Giu 7, 7:56am

The Boy in The Photo - Nicole Troup - (Australia)
“She becomes aware of the silence at the other end of the line. A prickling sensation crawls up her arms. Her heart speeds up. ‘Found who?’ she asks, slowly, carefully, deliberately.
“They found Daniel.” Six years ago, Megan waits at the school gates for her six-year-old son, Daniel. As the playground empties, panic bubbles inside her. Daniel is nowhere to be found. Her darling son is missing.”

The author says that she “doesn’t write about what she knows, she writes about what she fears” . . .Everyone knows how tricky relationships can be.... especially after divorce, and when it involves children. The situation Megan finds herself in is entirely believable since we have seen it on newscasts on TV...read it in newspapers...and may even encountered it among family and friends. The story gives you an itchy, prickling feeling while reading that didn’t easily disappear when the book was closed. It puts the reader in the middle and makes you ask yourself what you would do in this situation. The plot is unforgettable. The writing is excellent and engaging...and the characters are all “too human”.

Modificato: Giu 9, 9:07am

Kill Game - Cordelia Kingsbridge (Nevada)
Seven of Spades series Book #1
Homicide detective Levi Abrams is barely holding his life together. He’s reeling from the fallout of a fatal shooting, and his relationship with his boyfriend is crumbling. The last thing he’s prepared for is a serial killer stalking the streets of Las Vegas. Or how he keeps getting thrown into the path of annoyingly charming bounty hunter Dominic Russo. Dominic likes his life free of complications. That means no tangling with cops—especially prickly, uptight detectives. But when he stumbles across one of the Seven of Spades' horrifying crime scenes, he can’t let go, despite Levi’s warnings to stay away. The Seven of Spades is ruthless and always two moves ahead. Worst of all, they’ve taken a dangerously personal interest in Levi and Dominic. Forced to trust each other, the two men race to discover the killer’s identity, revealing hidden truths along the way and sparking a bond neither man expected. But that may not be enough to protect them. This killer likes to play games, and the deck is not stacked in Levi and Dominic’s favor.

The two men had really good chemistry...even if they didn’t realize it right away. The reader will see that they fit together and complimented one another from the start. The plot and the storyline was very well done. The romance parts were good also and didn’t overshadow what turned out to be a very good detective story. There was romance... where we learned about Dominic and Levi and saw them struggle with problems that had the ability to tear them apart both physically and emotionally. The hunt for the serial killer was always at the forefront and was carefully done as to not give anything away before it was necessary for us to know. I didn’t even try to settle on a suspect. This is definitely a series I have become instantly very fond of. Even though many books that make up a series can be read as standalones...it is almost an imperative that these books be read in order as the story continues to the next one.

Giu 9, 8:05am

Bitterroot Lake - Alicia Beckman - (Montana)
Twenty-five years ago, during a celebratory weekend at historic Whitetail Lodge, Sarah McCaskill had a vision. When a young man was killed, Sarah's guilt over having ignored the warning in her dreams devastated her. Her friendships with her closest friends, and her sister, fell apart as she worked to build a new life in a new city. But she never stopped loving Whitetail Lodge on the shores of Bitterroot Lake. Now that she's a young widow, her mother urges her to return to the lodge for healing. But when she arrives, she's greeted by an old friend--and by news of a murder that's clearly tied to that tragic day she'll never forget. And the dreams are back, too. What dangers are they warning of this time? As Sarah and her friends dig into the history of the lodge and the McCaskill family, they uncover a legacy of secrets and make a discovery that gives a chilling new meaning to the dreams. Now, they can no longer ignore the ominous portents from the past that point to a danger more present than any of them could know.

The story is a slow-moving mystery with an interesting premise. Sarah is the story’s narrator and she is defensive with a bit of a hair trigger temper. The isolated setting provides a spooky backdrop for the women to try to mend the rifts in their relationships. The busy storyline is occasionally a bit confusing and Lucas’s murder gets lost among the other dramas playing out. With the pacing picking up,. The author does a fantastic job of bringing the mystery to a satisfying conclusion. Mystery & suspense fans will love it as will those that like a bit of the paranormal in their stories.

Giu 9, 3:03pm

Stone Cross - Marc Cameron - (Alaska)
Arliss Cutter series Book #2
In a remote Alaskan village, Deputy U.S. Marshal Arliss Cutter searches for a stone-cold killer amid a hotbed of corruption, lies, and long-buried secrets... Winter comes early to the rural native community of Stone Cross, Alaska--and so does hunting season. Caribou and moose are a major source of food through the long, dark months ahead. But Arliss Cutter has come here for a very different game. A federal judge is receiving death threats and refuses protection. Cutter and his deputy Lola Teariki have been assigned to shadow him on his trip to this icy outland to make sure that he's safe. But they quickly discover that no one is ever really safe in a place like this. And no one is above suspicion...When Cutter and Lola arrive, the village is already gripped with fear. A young couple has disappeared from their fishing lodge, just eight miles upriver. Their handyman has been found dead, next to a crude drawing of a mysterious symbol. To make matters worse, a dense fog has descended on the region, isolating the town from civilization. With the judge's life still at risk, and two people still missing, Cutter and Lola have their work cut out for them. But navigating the small-town customs and blood-bound traditions of this close-knit community won't be easy. When the secrets come out, the deadly hunt is on.

So glad I discovered this series but there is one BIG complaint that I will get to... and anyone else that reads the book and it also bothers can consider that you have been warned. On the plus side....Cameron does his usual great job of taking the reader to unusual locales and making them feel like they were there. Not only does he do this with beautiful descriptions of the terrain but also by providing a deep look into the culture of the area and the people. Most of these characters are damaged in some respect making them not for the faint of heart, I believe the author is trying to say that the world isn’t all rainbows, sunshine, and clear-cut answers. This wonderful author who certainly would have received a 4.5 or 5 stars rating...went and make the biggest mistake that any writer can make. With that said I will now get to why the book received a 2.5-star rating and my warning. Before the book is even half finished...he injures the K-9 dog...you just know from it’s injuries that it is not going to survive... but it takes almost the entire book for the poor dog to die. The thing that he did that was touching but didn't make up in any way for the dead dog...he gave him a hero's send off. The loyal K- 9...Zeus...got a fitting funeral complete with a “Last Call” that I will defy anyone to read with a dry eye and without a box of tissues. Authors can kill anyone they wish in their books but DON’T KILL THE DOG!.

Giu 10, 9:45am

Ocean Prey - John Sandford - (Florida)
Prey Series Book #31
An off-duty Coast Guardsman is fishing with his family when he calls in some suspicious behavior from a nearby boat. It's a snazzy craft, slick and outfitted with extra horsepower, and is zipping along until it slows to pick up a surfaced diver . . . a diver who was apparently alone, without his own boat, in the middle of the ocean. None of it makes sense unless there's something hinky going on, and his hunch is proved right when all three Guardsmen who come out to investigate are shot and killed. They're federal officers killed on the job, which means the case is the FBI's turf. When the FBI's investigation stalls out, they call in Lucas Davenport. And when his case turns lethal, Davenport will need to bring in every asset he can claim, including a detective with a fundamentally criminal mind: Virgil Flowers.

I’ve always been a fan of this author and this series. Over the last couple of years though...the tone of the series has changed. Not a bad thing...but not necessarily a good one either. Like two or three of the books before it, the Marshalls seem to spend more time drinking...eating...and reminiscing than they do investigating or trying to catch anyone or anything. The interaction and obvious friendship and respect from the first time Lucus and Virgil appeared together was always and still is...one of the things that makes me keep coming back. However,...I did like the series much more when there was way less government involvement and more police work. All the books in this series are fun, exciting, well written. We are always reacquainted with old tried and true friends. So... keep up the good work Mr. Sandford....and work hard on #32.

Giu 11, 7:38am

What You Never Knew - Jessica Hamilton - (New York)

Idyllic Avril Island, owned by the Bennett family, where their hundred-year-old cottage sat nestled in acres of forest. Forty-year-old June Bennett believed that the island had been sold after the summer of her father's disappearance when she was only twelve years old. It's months after the shocking death of her older sister May in a fatal car accident, that June finds out that the cottage was never sold. Avril Island is still owned by the Bennett family and now it's hers. Still reeling from the grief of losing her sister, June travels back to Avril lsland in search of answers. As she digs, she learns that the townspeople believe her father may in fact have been murdered rather than having abandoned his family in the dead of night, as she was led to believe by her mother. And that's when she begins to notice strange things happening on the island--missing family possessions showing up, doors locking on their own, unexplained noises in the night, shadowy figures disappearing into the woods. It takes June no time at all to realize that her childhood summers at Avril Island were not at all what they had seemed to be.

“To what lengths would you go to protect your family, and what can you do if you’re no longer around?” Good book...and good question for the “ghost story junkie”. A story of love...loss... deep dark secrets...and whether it’s possible to ever truly escape your past; or who you are. It’s atmospheric...intriguing... and downright creepy at times. I was never sure May was actually in the house or if she was only real to June. In several chapters she was very present...others as only a constant memory. I learned this was a debut novel for Jessica Hamilton and I would have to say she has a winner. I’ll be looking for more by this author.

Giu 11, 11:44am

Heartstopper - Alice Oseman
Heartstoppers series Vol. #2
Nick and Charlie are best friends, but one spontaneous kiss has changed everything. In the aftermath, Charlie thinks that he's made a horrible mistake and ruined his friendship with Nick, but Nick is more confused than ever. Love works in surprising ways, and Nick comes to see the world from a new perspective. He discovers all sorts of things about his friends, his family... and himself.

First off...Heartstoppers Vol 2 is a graphic “young adult” novel. It is also a warm, comfortable story of fledgling love and self-discovery. Wonderfully honest and endearing graphic novel about two teenage boys in love and the struggles that come with it. This second book of the Heartstopper series unfolds in a slow but steady pace. I liked that it touches many of the problems that teenagers face when they have to endure peer pressure, first love, and their questions about their own place in a too often judgmental society. I’m not a big fan of graphic novels of any kind... but one of my two “book bringing friends” bought the book for his 15-year-old nephew and thought that I would like to see it and review it on LT and GR for Pride month. I found the drawings tasteful, respectful, and absolutely precious and was very impressed at how well they supported the story in the most complimentary way. I smiled through every page.

Giu 11, 7:49pm

Raspberry Danish Murder by Joanne Fluke
Hannah Swensen Mysteries
c. 2018
3 *s
Hannah Swensen, owner of the Cookie Jar bakery is eortied about her new husband Ross. Ross hasn't been seen or heard from since a few weeks after their wedding. Where is he? Meanwhile Ross's cameraman at KCOW is taking over Ross's job. He just produced a commercial for the Lake Eden Community Theater, a play being directed by Hannah's younger sister, Michelle. Hannah is busy baking cookies for a refreshment booth at the local Christmas gift show. Michelle gets a call on her phone from PK, who appears drunk behind the wheel of Ross's car. Then he crashes. Hannah needs to discover what is happening. Is her missing husband the actual intended victim?

This was a pretty good story. The dialogue was not as stilted and formal as the last few books. However, I am heartily tired of Hannah's mother. The woman is overly bossy and too intrusive in her daughters' lives. And jumps to conclusions without listening to anything that people say. I'm still curious where Hannah's 2 former male friends stand in Hannah's life.

Giu 12, 10:37am

Leave the World Behind - Rumaan Alam -(New York)
2 ★

Leave the World Behind explores how our closest bonds are reshaped—and unexpected new ones are forged—in moments of crisis. Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe. Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one other?

The story clearly illustrates the horror of the unknown. I really expected the story to progress much like Stephen King’s The Mist but despite some really good leads and almost hints...what happened in the outside world that night is never really explained. Was it a nuclear war? A terrorist attacks?... Who knows? Certainly not the reader. I was also disappointed that the book just ended abruptly and in an unsatisfactory manner...not to mention the entire page devoted to what the wife purchased at the grocery store. It could have been a good story. Actually...it could have been a great story but I felt that I was wandering around in the dark for most of it.

Giu 12, 10:57am

Hiding The Moon - Amy Lane -{New Mexico, California)
Fish Out of Water series Book #4
Can a hitman and a psychic negotiate a relationship while all hell breaks loose? The world might not know who Lee Burton is, but it needs his black ops division and the work they do to keep it safe. Lee’s spent his life following orders―until he sees a kill jacket on Ernie Caulfield. Ernie isn’t a typical target, and something is very wrong with Burton’s chain of command. Ernie’s life may seem adrift, but his every action helps to shelter his mind from the psychic storm raging within. When Lee Burton shows up to save him from assassins and club bunnies, Ernie seizes his hand and doesn’t look back. Burton is Ernie’s best bet in a tumultuous world, and after one day together, he’s pretty sure Lee knows Ernie is his destiny as well. But when Burton refused Ernie’s contract, he kicked an entire piranha tank of bad guys, and Burton can’t rest until he takes down the rogue military unit that would try to kill a spacey psychic. Ernie’s in love with Burton and Burton’s confused as hell by Ernie―but Ernie’s not changing his mind and Burton can’t stay away. Psychics, assassins, and bad guys―throw them into the desert with a forbidden love affair and what could possibly go wrong?

This is actually the same story line as A Few Good Fish book #3. It’s told from Ernie and Burt’s viewpoint though with Jackson and Ellery making the same appearances they do in book #3. Just with different viewpoints. It features two men that you would never in a million years think would stand a chance of being ever being friends let alone lovers. We see them find that their very difference makes them see only the good in one another and forgive whatever bad there may have been in the past. We see a military Black-Ops operator... discover the young man he has been ordered to kill is so much more and he can’t imagine why a contract is out on him...but he intendeds to find out. In the previous book they befriend and helped PI Jackson Rivers and Defense Attorney Ellery Cramer...but this is Burt and Ernie’s story Yes...you are seeing Sesame Street characters now. I think that was the author’s intention. These two guys are so different yet so perfect for one another. Their story is well worth telling while Jackson and Ellery are busy setting up their new law practice...but that’s a story for the next book.

Giu 13, 9:00am

Bitter Legacy - Dal Maclean –(England)
Detective Sergeant James Henderson's remarkable gut instincts have put him on a three-year fast track to becoming an inspector. But the advancement of his career has come at a cost. Gay, posh and eager to prove himself in the Metropolitan Police, James has allowed himself few chances for romance. But when the murder of barrister Maria Curzon-Whyte lands in his lap, all that changes. His investigation leads him to a circle of irresistibly charming men. And though he knows better, James finds himself enticed into their company. Soon his desire for photographer Ben Morgan challenges him to find a way into the other man's lifestyle of one-night stands and carefree promiscuity. At the same time his single murder case multiplies into a cruel pattern of violence and depravity. But as the bodies pile up and shocking secrets come to light, James finds both his tumultuous private life and coveted career threatened by a bitter legacy.

When seeking a word to describe this debut novel I would have to say “turbulent.” will pretty much do it. Also...because of so much information given about the case and the characters in the first part of the book it weighted the story down. It was an extremely complex investigation with a great many victims... family...suspects... and alias names in the narrative. The scenes flipped between work situations... James's interactions with Ben...with Steggie, the friend, and the scenes in the apartment. By the point the climactic parts of the story came about, I had lost track of who was whom in the investigation and had to keep going back to determine who was being talked about. I didn’t dislike the story by any means but it was difficult to keep it all straight. The cast of characters does include police detectives that are friends...work well together...obviously like one another and at times become a hilarious bunch who are completely besides themselves in trying to solve these grisly mysterious deaths. As I stated I didn’t dislike the book at all and I will diffidently give this author another opportunity.

Giu 13, 10:53am

A Few Good Fish - Amy Lane -(California)
Fish Out of Water series Book #3
A tomcat, a psychopath, and a psychic walk into the desert to rescue the men they love…. Can everybody make it out with their skin intact? PI Jackson Rivers and Defense Attorney Ellery Cramer have barely recovered from last November, when stopping a serial killer nearly destroyed Jackson in both body and spirit. But their previous investigation poked a new danger with a stick, forcing Jackson and Ellery to leave town so they can meet the snake in its den. Jackson Rivers grew up with the mean streets as a classroom and he learned a long time ago not to give a damn about his own life. But he gets a whole new education when the enemy takes Ellery. The man who pulled his shattered pieces from darkness and stitched them back together again is in trouble, and Jackson’s only chance to save him rests in the hands of fragile allies he barely knows. It’s going to take a little bit of luck to get these Few Good Fish out alive!

It was only a regular level of excruciating since Amy Lane writes the tension very well. I do wish that poor Jackson didn’t spend half the first two books in the hospital...it’s becoming his second home. Ellery isn’t going to escape unscathed this time either. Readers of this series will cherish the moments when Jackson feels at peace and trusts what he and Ellery share together. Things aren't necessarily any easier for Jackson and Ellery, so be prepared for a rough ride but also enjoy their developing relationship and wonderful friends including Billy Bob, Jackson's three-legged cat who is now also missing a few other essential parts:)

Modificato: Giu 13, 5:23pm

Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay
3.5 ★

After his wife's death and the collapse of his newspaper, David Harwood has no choice but to uproot his nine-year-old son and move back into his childhood home in Promise Falls, New York. When David's mother asks him to check on his cousin Marla, he's horrified to discover that she's been secretly raising a child who is not her own-a baby she claims was a gift from an "angel" left on her porch. When the baby's real mother is found murdered, David can't help wanting to piece together what happened-even if it means proving his own cousin's guilt.

This was a sometimes entertaining and dark story. But the characters were mostly shallow so I didn’t really grow to care about any of them. This was the first in a trilogy but I don’t like it enough to continue onto the next book. I've liked the other Barclay books I've read better.

Giu 14, 7:46am

Perfect Little Children - Sophie Hannah - (England/Florida)
A woman reunited with an estranged friend discovers that nothing about her has changed in 12 years—including the ages of her children—and can’t rest until she solves the mystery.

I just had to read this from the time I first saw it. Had to find out how in the world this was possible. In the 12 years since Beth had seen her friend and the then 3- and 5-year-old children...they should by now be teenagers...but no... they are the exactly the same ages they were 12 years ago. To further complicate matters...the youngest child, Georgina, isn’t there at all Now tell me that doesn’t puzzle and intrigue you too. Was the family a part of a drug trial that stopped the ageing process? Are these children a part of a second family? Seems strange that if this was true that they would have the same names as their older possible siblings. Something just doesn’t add up. Could the family be living a double life in more ways than one? These all seem impossible possibilities but if you want to find out you’ll have to read the book because you wouldn’t believe it if I told you. The only thing that continues to puzzle me and I just could not wrap my head around, was why Beth felt she was entitled to have every single one of her questions answered by these people she hadn't spoken to in 12 years. Guess it’s part of the mystery. It was a really, really good story and an absorbing thriller in spite of my one question.

Giu 14, 9:40am

Fish on a Bicycle - Amy Lane (California)
Fish Out of Water series Book #5
Jackson Rivers has always bucked the rules—and bucking the rules of recovery is no exception. Now that he and Ellery are starting their own law firm, there’s no reason he can’t rush into trouble and take the same risks as always, right? Maybe not. Their first case is a doozy, involving porn stars, drug empires, and daddy issues, and their client, Henry Worrall, wants to be an active participant in his own defense. As Henry and Jackson fight the bad guys and each other to find out who dumped the porn star in the trash can, Jackson must reexamine his assumptions that four months of rest and a few good conversations have made him all better inside. Jackson keeps crashing his bicycle of self-care and a successful relationship, and Ellery wonders what’s going to give out first—Jackson’s health or Ellery’s patience. Jackson’s body hasn’t forgiven him for past crimes. Can Ellery forgive him for his current sins? And can they keep Henry from going to jail for sleeping with the wrong guy at the wrong time? Being a fish out of water is tough—but if you give a fish a bicycle, how’s he going to swim?

Ellery and Jackson are working on opening their office and while doing that, Jackson was struggling with nightmares and trying to hide his state of mind from Ellery. I really wished that Jackson would get it through his thick skull that Ellery is there for the long haul. We meet Henry, who doesn’t want to admit he his sexuality and has been really nasty to his brother who is married to another man. Henry just doesn’t get it. Henry is being accused of killing a former “Johnnies” boy that was his one-night stand. Not only are Jackson and Ellery trying to keep Henry out of jail...but also find out who the killer really is, and who is behind an influx of drugs. We have a bad guy popping up from the past and an assassin who is their friend that comes to their rescue. I’m really going to miss this series and Jackson and Ellery...but there is one more book after this and I can't wait.

Giu 14, 4:08pm

Trick Roller - Cordelia Kingsbridge (Nevada)
Seven of Spades series Book #2

It’s the height of summer in Las Vegas. Everyone believes the serial killer Seven of Spades is dead—except Levi Abrams and Dominic Russo—and it’s back to business as usual. For Levi, that means investigating a suspicious overdose at the Mirage that looks like the work of a high-class call girl, while Dominic pursues a tough internship with a local private investigator. The one bright spot for both of them is their blossoming relationship. But things aren’t so simple. Soon Levi is sucked into a dangerous web of secrets and lies, even as his obsession with the Seven of Spades intensifies. Dominic knows that Levi isn’t crazy. He knows the Seven of Spades is still out there, and he’ll do anything to prove it. But Dominic has his own demons to battle, and he may be fighting a losing war. One thing is certain: the Seven of Spades holds all the cards. It won’t be long before they show their hand.

Trick Roller picks up 3 months after Kill Game wraps up. Levi and Domenic stayed true to their word and have been taking it slow... but they are definitely dating when this story opens ...and seem ready to take things to the next level. Domenic is making some life changes of his own by going for his Private Investigator license and giving up the Bounty Hunting. The story follows the investigations of Levi’s official case and Domenic’s assignment on surveilling a suspected cheating husband. It’s interesting to see their very interesting intersection. This author is brilliant at the way she manipulates the story and keeps the reader guessing. I still don’t know who the Seven of Spades is.

Giu 16, 7:15am

Three Hours - Rosamund Lupton - ( England)
Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds. It is a morning's lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods. It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible. It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.
In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. Told from the point of view of the people at the heart of it, from the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16 year old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption.

Be aware that it's about a school shooting in England. It gets to the heart of the matter from so many perspectives...above all else...it's real. You are there...and you don't get to leave until the last page is read and the cover is safely closed. It’s a difficult subject but this author did it so very well drawing together the thoughts and actions of the students...the teachers...the parents...the police...and even the perpetrators. A very atmospheric and heart stopping tale that stays with you long after the final written word.

Giu 16, 3:50pm

Cash Plays - Cordelia Kingsbridge (Nevada)
Seven of Spades series Book #3
The Seven of Spades is back with a vengeance—the vigilante serial killer has resumed their murderous crusade, eluding the police at every turn. But a bloodthirsty killer isn’t the only threat facing Sin City. A devious saboteur is wreaking havoc in Las Vegas’s criminal underworld, and the entire city seems to be barreling toward an all-out gang war. As Detective Levi Abrams is pushed ever closer to his breaking point, his control over his dangerous rage slips further every day. His relationship with PI Dominic Russo should be a source of comfort, but Dominic is secretly locked in his own downward spiral, confronting a nightmare he can’t bear to reveal. Las Vegas is floundering. Levi and Dominic’s bond is cracking along the seams. And the Seven of Spades is still playing to win. How many bad hands can Levi and Dominic survive before it’s game over?

The storyline is intriguing but also at times somewhat predictable. I’m still thinking I know who the killer is...but like Levi...I can’t prove it. Levi and Dominic are both struggling with their “conflicts” and the needless unhappiness that manifests as a result. I’ve read a lot of same sex couple books, and while I do generally really like the stories there just always seems to be so much turmoil that leads to disaster in the relationship of two characters that I really, really like. I want to yell at them,” why can’t you just be happy you fools”. So... what an amazing and difficult read. I think I’m going to just curl up in a ball with Rebel...Dominic's dog... in a corner and wait for them to get over themselves. I'm still routing for them both to have a happy ending.

Giu 17, 6:54am

Under The Bayou Moon - Valerie Fraser Luesse - (Louisiana)

"A young, restless Alabama teacher searching for a sense of purpose accepts a position at a tiny Louisiana bayou school, where a lonely Cajun fisherman, a tight-knit community, and a legendary white alligator will change her life forever"--

It was an excellent love story set in the bayous of the Atchafalaya Basin, Louisiana. The characters are believable and for the most part likeable. Raphe Broussard is raising his nephew Remy on his own when Ellie Fields, the town’s new schoolteacher, comes to town from Alabama. She was different than her predecessors. All of them had been more interested erasing the very culture beginning by taking the French language out of students, more than anything else. . She immediately endears herself to the children as well as the town with her respect for their culture and her devotion to her tasks. Ralph is pretty taken with her also. Trouble soon rears its ugly head when a powerful oil company sets its sights on what could be a fortune in oil buried beneath the town. The author sprinkles the tale with lots of bad guys searching for wealth and not caring about what they destroy in resources or human life. Throw in a mythical albino alligator...a “esprit Blanc” that allegedly roams the swamps, and you have a delightful, interesting and engaging story. Those of you that enjoy Southern romances will love this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest opinion. The views expressed by this reviewer are entirely my own

Giu 17, 10:08am

One Eyed Royals - Cordelia Kingsbridge - (Nevada)
Seven of Spades series Book #4
Shattered by their devastating breakup, Detective Levi Abrams and PI Dominic Russo find themselves at war right when they need each other most. While Dominic is trapped in a vicious cycle of addiction, Levi despairs of ever catching the Seven of Spades. The ruthless vigilante’s body count continues to climb, and it’s all Levi can do to keep up with the carnage. When Levi’s and Dominic’s paths keep crossing in the investigation of a kidnapping ring with a taste for mutilation, it feels like history repeating itself. Thrown together by fate once again, they reluctantly join forces in their hunt for the mastermind behind the abductions. But the Seven of Spades hates sharing the spotlight, and they have an ace in the hole: a new batch of victims with a special connection to Levi. Their murders send shockwaves through Las Vegas and change the rules of the game forever. The Seven of Spades has upped the ante. If Levi and Dominic don’t play their cards right, they’ll end up losing everything.

This was my least favorite of the series....for the events that took place...certainly not for the story or the characters. Levi and Dominic are working together...but they are miles apart in their relationship. I hate it when people that are so right for one another and so good together trample on one another. Hopefully they will realize by the next book that they are being jerks and hardheaded idiots. Okay...had my rant! The Seven of Spades is up to the usual shenanigans. This time they’re taking their infatuation with Detective Levi Abrams to new heights. They’ve decided to give him a birthday to remember! This was a highly emotional read in so many ways. This is such a well-written series that's keeps the reader engaged and always wanting more. I really love both Levi and Dominic and this book sure didn't fail to deliver.

Giu 18, 7:47am

A Chip and A Chair - Cordelia Kingsbridge - (Nevada)
Seven of Spades series Book #5
It's time to lay all the cards on the table. Detective Levi Abrams and PI Dominic Russo are reunited and more committed to each other than ever, but they can’t truly move forward with their lives until the serial killer who’s been tormenting them is behind bars. When a secret burial site is discovered in the desert with the remains of the Seven of Spade's earliest victims, that goal finally seems within reach. But just as the net is tightening, the neo-Nazi militia Utopia launches their master plan with a devastating act of terror that changes the landscape of Las Vegas forever. As Levi and Dominic scramble to prevent the city’s destruction, they’re opposed by treacherous forces that propel them toward catastrophe. In the end, Levi’s fate may rest in the hands of the very killer he’s been hunting. The race to save Sin City is on, and these players are going for broke. No matter how hopeless things seem, as long as they’re together and they’ve got a chip to play and a chair to sit in, they’re still in the game.

Another good series that I really, really hate to see come to an end. Those who have followed Levi and Dominic through the last four books won't be disappointed by the 5th. Dominic and Levi are back together and determined to make it last between them. This final book is like watching a well-made cops and robbers "shoot ‘em" up movie complete with dramatic explosions...huge gun battles...exciting other moments...and even some comic dog relief; Needless to say, it’s thrilling, edgy and suspenseful. All the questions are answered, everything that was a mystery is a mystery no longer. What we have left are people who are trying to survive the loss...the lies...and the guilt. Hope that somehow, there is some way that we can meet Levi and Dominic again. Oh... I was never right about who the seven of Spades was. Never would have guessed it in a thousand years:)

Giu 19, 1:40pm

Rage of the assassin by Edward Marston

The Bow Street Rivals 5. *3.5

London 1817. Outside Covent Garden Theatre a man is murdered. Chaos ensues, not least because the Prince Regent is attending the performance of ‘Macbeth’. The murdered man turns out to be a radical politician.

Paul Skillen has escorted his lover and lead actress in the play, Hannah Granville, to the theatre and had not expected his professional skills as a private investigator to be required. The Bow Street Runners are the official investigators but Paul and his twin brother and partner Peter consider their leading officers to be incompetent and race to solve the case themselves.

A large cast of characters inhabit this Regency world, politicians, actors, rogues and vagabonds mingle on London’s crowded streets. The dead man’s family are at odds with each other and the victim himself turns out to have a secret life.

This entry in Edward Marston’s series is an engaging read and one does not need to have read the previous books to get a handle on the characters. More than one murder has taken place before the assassin is unmasked and I enjoyed the surprise ending. There is also a subplot involving Hannah’s agitation over the Prince Regent’s infatuation for her and pressing invitations to his elaborate Brighton Pavilion.
This is another entertaining book from this very prolific writer.

Apologies for the incorrect touchstone for the title. Two books with the same title are on LT.

Milestone for me- I have never been the first to review a book on LT before . It is quite new, published last year here in the UK.

Giu 19, 1:50pm

The Shadow Box - Luanne Rice - (Connecticut)
On the evening of an exhibit featuring her nature-themed shadow boxes, artist Claire Beaudry Chase fails to appear among the assemblage of family, friends, and fans. Her husband, state’s attorney for Easterly County Connecticut and gubernatorial candidate Griffin Chase, is concerned by this uncharacteristic faux pas and leaves the reception early to check for her at their posh, private Catamount Bluff home; he is assisted in this endeavor by Detective Conor Reid There, in the garage, they find evidence of a struggle: blood, splintered wood, and cut rope. Despite this clear evidence of foul play, there’s no body. Just what became of Claire?

Investigators can’t say what exactly happened to her...or even if she survived the encounter, given the amount of blood left behind...but readers know that a badly injured Claire must have escaped into the woods. She is convinced that her husband, Griffin is her would-be-murderer...though a mask prevented her from seeing his face, and his deep connections within law enforcement and the community at large leave her skeptical about who, if anybody, she can trust. She was about to reveal a secret...one that would cost Griffin his political prospects and his freedom. The one that she knew that he’d kill to protect. It’s a captivating read as everyone wants to know the secret. The problem I had with it was it started being told from the “supposedly dead Claire’s” perspective and it became rather difficult to follow... with too many subplots. It was a really good idea for a mystery. I would have liked to see it “carried out” better.

Giu 19, 5:47pm

The Lost Man by Jane Harper
4.5 ★

Two brothers meet at the remote fence line separating their cattle ranches in the lonely outback. The third brother lies dead at their feet. Something caused Cam, the middle child who had been in charge of the family homestead, to die alone in the middle of nowhere. So the eldest brother returns with his younger sibling to the family property and those left behind. Amidst the grief, suspicion starts to take hold, and the eldest brother begins to wonder if more than one among them is at risk of crumbling as the weight of isolation bears down on them all.

This was a well-told story of 3 brothers, their families, and their resentments, conflicts, secrets and family loyalties. The characters were very believable and really drew me into their lives. The remoteness and harsh climate of their location also added tension as it was dangerous to be unprepared to deal with the elements. There were many small surprises along the way and a big one at the end that I didn’t see coming. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to Harper’s next one.

Giu 20, 8:41am

Act of Terror - Marc Cameron
Jericho Quinn series Book #2

Warning: The next attack on American soil will come from within. From coast to coast, our nation is witnessing a new wave of terror. Suicide bombers incite blind panic and paralyzing fear. A flight attendant tries to crash an airliner. A police officer opens fire on fans in a stadium. And at CIA headquarters, a deputy director goes on a murderous rampage. The perpetrators appear to be American - but they are covert agents in a vast network of terror, selected and trained for one purpose only: the complete annihilation of America. Special Agent Jericho Quinn has seen the warning signs. As a classified "instrument" of the CIA reporting directly to the president, Quinn knows that these random acts of violence pose a clear and present danger. But Quinn may not be able to stop it. The search for terrorists has escalated into an all-out witch hunt. And somehow, Quinn's name is on the list.

I really wanted to like it. What began as an interesting and potentially good story with well done characters became quickly spoiled by way too much detail about motor cycles and not enough on explaining the plot. Too many times it seemed to be going somewhere good only for the chapter to end and a new one to begin with a line saying they were back home and it was all sorted out! Really??? When did that happen? I was...if anything... just confused throughout the majority of it. At least he didn’t kill any dogs or other four-legged furry friends this time.

Giu 20, 1:55pm

Twisted and Tied - Mary Calmes - (Illinois)
U.S. Marshall series Book#4
Deputy US Marshal Miro Jones finally has everything he ever wanted. He’s head-over-heels in love and married to the man of his dreams, his partner Ian Doyle, he’s doing well at work, and all his friends are in good places as well. Things are all tied up nicely… until they’re not. Change has never been easy for Miro, and when situations at work force the team, he’s come to depend on to break apart, and worst of all, his and Ian’s individual strengths put them on two separate paths, he’s pretty certain everything just went up in smoke. But before he can even worry about the future, his past comes for a visit, shaking his world up even more. It’s hard to tell what road he should truly be on, but as he learns some paths are forged and others are discovered, it might be that where he's going is the right course after all. If he can navigate all the twists and turns, he and Ian might just get their happily ever after.

I lost track of this series for quite some time. Just too many books and not enough hours in the day I guess. Glad to find the 4th book in my ‘giant tower of books box”. It rather alarmed me to discover right off the bat that Miro and Ian's world are about to be turned upside down... especially when I remembered from the last book that I read that they had just gotten married. We have Ian who really doesn't like Miro's new job. We have Miro who is much better at this new job than he was as a door kicker. So far so good??? Nope ...Ian is promoted to a job that he's perfectly capable of doing but it means changes in the newlyweds lives that neither of them like very much. There have been promotions for the rest of the team... Becker, Ching, Kohn and the Marshals that Miro met when he was in Las Vegas, Of course there is another crime scene credited to Hartley. Miro takes one look and knows this one wasn't Hartley's style of manner at all. An FBI profiler... Kelson....is more than he appears to be. Imagine that! Our Miro Jones and Ian Doyle are busy trying to keep their lives together while also trying their best to figure it all out...do their jobs... and above all just survive. Another good read. Well done Ms. Calmes and thank you.

Giu 21, 8:50pm

The Bones Beneath - Mark Billingham (Wales)
Thomas Thorne series Book #12
Thomas Thorne once again must confront Stuart Nicklin, a master manipulator and ruthless murderer. When Nicklin announces that he wishes to reveal the whereabouts of one of his earliest victims and that he wants the cop who caught him to be there when he does it, it becomes clear that Thorne's life is about to become seriously unpleasant. Thorne is forced to accompany Nicklin to a remote island off the Welsh coast which is cut off from the mainland in every sense. Shrouded in myth and legend, it is said to be the resting place of 20,000 saints, and as Thorne and his team search for bones that are somewhat more recent, it becomes clear that Nicklin's motives are darker than could be imagined. The twisted scheme of a dangerous and manipulative psychopath will result in many more victims and will leave Tom Thorne with the most terrible choice he has ever had to make.

It’s been quite some time since I read any of this series. I didn’t really care much for the Thomas Thorne character...but the title of this one intrigued me so thought I give Thomas another try. The story centers around a serial killer, who, while in prison confesses to another murder many years previously. The victim was a young boy whose mother has longed to find his body. I found it a bit unbelievable that a prisoner convicted of murder would have been transported such a great distance by boat and by car and with only one police official and so little security. To make matters worse there was a second prisoner along for the ride. The motive for the kidnapping along with everyone’s identities are carefully concealed giving the reader only brief flashes...but these brief flashes certainly raise very interesting questions about how and why this crime fits into the overall plot. It is not until the very end of the story that everything finally becomes heartbreakingly clear.

Giu 22, 8:12am

Kairos - Mary Calmes - {Illinois)
3.5 ★
Sometimes the best day of your life is the one you never saw coming. Joe Cohen has devoted the past two years of his life to one thing: the care and feeding of Kade Bosa. His partner in their PI business, roommate, and best friend, Kade is everything to Joe, even if their relationship falls short of what Joe desires most. But he won’t push. Kade has suffered a rough road, and Joe’s pretty sure he’s the only thing holding Kade together. Estranged from his own family, Joe knows the value of desperately holding on to someone dear, but he never expected his present and past to collide just as Kade’s is doing the same. Now they’ve stumbled across evidence that could change their lives: the impact of Kade’s tragic past, their job partnership, and any future Joe might allow himself to wish for

I’ve read so many of this authors books and love them. The characters are warm and believable making you want them for your friends and neighbors. However, Joe drove me insane and made me want to shake him the whole first half of the book. Kade wasn’t much better... but since we just got Joe’s point of view...he was the one that was annoying me the most. The secondary characters actually made the story a 4-star read since they were all absolutely wonderful...and not at all annoying. The storyline is similar to this author’s Marshall series...which I absolutely LOVED...but the characters are nowhere near as well developed as Ian and Miro from that series. I’d have to say that the story perhaps needed to be a bit longer and the characters needed to get together sooner considering the length of the book.

Giu 23, 8:27am

Dear Martin - Nic Stone (Georgia)
Dear Martin series Book #1
5 ★
Justyce McAllister is a good kid, an honor student, and always there to help a friend—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can't escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out. Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it's Justyce who is under attack.

It’s a YA book, but so important for the times and the society we live in today. The book is 240 pages that you can absolutely finish in one sitting...because you can’t stop reading. I will warn you that no matter what ethnicity you are...it will crush your heart. The characters are so real and 100% awesome. Ordinary people trying to live the best lives they can and be honest, hardworking Americans. The book covers many topics from racial profiling...affirmative action...going along with racist jokes and much more. Not everyone will agree with it...not everyone will like it...but everyone will have to agree that it speaks volumes about where we are headed as a society if we don’t stop and take a deep breath.

Giu 24, 11:18am

The Gentleman's Guide To Vice and Virtue
A young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush. An 18th-century romantic adventure for the modern age written by This Monstrous Thing author Mackenzi Lee—Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets the 1700s. Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy. So Monty vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

A really charming story about young love and the courage to made life altering decisions. I hated Henry's... (he goes by Monty), father from the first time he "laid out the "rules" of what Monty's life should/would be like. By todays standards Monty and Percy were both adults...but the rules applied more to Henry inheriting his fathers title, estate and his business associates and his larger-than-life... friends, which is what would be expected for a product of English nobility in the 1700's. I loved the character of Percy. He is truly a sweetheart and he truly knew how to deal with Monty. It was amusing most of the time to see how the two boys interacted. I also liked how the author didn’t shy away from race and discrimination during this time period and instead takes these issues head on. Percy’s bi sexuality also adds another dimension to this dark comedy along with Percy’s medical condition providing another topic of discussion. The story itself was amazing. An adventure... A romance.... and it even had pirates...but above all else it's perfect for LGBTQ youth.

Giu 25, 5:29pm

Fair Game - Josh Lanyon – (Washington)
All’s Fair series Book #1
A crippling knee injury forced Elliot Mills to trade in his FBI badge for dusty chalkboards and bored college students. Now a history professor at Puget Sound university, the former agent has put his old life behind him—but it seems his old life isn't finished with him. A young man has gone missing from campus—and as a favor to a family friend, Elliot agrees to do a little sniffing around. His investigations bring him face-to-face with his former lover, Tucker Lance, the special agent handling the case. Things ended badly with Tucker, and neither man is ready to back down on the fight that drove them apart. But they have to figure out a way to move beyond their past and work together as more men go missing and Elliot becomes the target in a killer's obsessive game.

I really, really like everything this author writes. She could write an instruction manual for installing toilets and I would read every last word. I have read other m/m romance books... and it seems that just when we think things are going well for the new couple something always breaks them apart for a large part of the book and we spend the next 100 or more pages waiting for them to come to their senses and work it out. This doesn't usually happen with most Josh Lanyon's characters.. but then...here we have Elliott and Tucker trying to figure out how to get back together without either losing their pride and at the same time try to catch what appears to be a serial killer. So...when they finally came to their senses their relationship was like a breath of fresh air...tender, funny, sexy and real. The mystery was outstanding....well presented with several suspects. I didn't get the right one until almost the last page Can't wait too get to the next two books.

Giu 27, 10:35am

Fair Play - Josh Lanyon - (Washington)
All’s Fair series Book #2
When ex-FBI agent Elliot Mills is called out to examine the charred ruins of his childhood home, he quickly identifies the fire for what it is—arson. A knee injury may have forced Elliot out of the Bureau, but it’s not going to stop him from bringing the man who wants his father dead to justice.
Agent Tucker Lance is still working to find the serial killer who’s obsessed with Elliot and can’t bear the thought of his lover putting himself in additional danger. Straight-laced Tucker has never agreed with radical Roland on much—"opposing political viewpoints" is an understatement—but they’re united on this: Elliot needs to leave the case alone. Now Tucker would do nearly anything for the man he loves, but he won’t be used to gain Elliot access to the FBI’s resources. When the past comes back to play and everything both men had known to be true is questioned, their fragile relationship is left hanging in the balance.

I enjoyed it just as much as the first book, Fair Game. The characters of Elliot and Tucker are becoming better defined and their relationship is growing and they’re developing not only love for one another but respect for each other’s differences. It’s shown by Tucker in a quote from the book that pretty much sums it up. "I've got two priorities in life. You and my job. And yes, I will do whatever it takes in the interest of those two things. But as important as my job is to me, if it came down to you or the job, I'd quit tomorrow. And if you don't know that by now, there isn't anything more to say." I say with that that I’m ready for the third book.

Giu 28, 1:19pm

Fair Chance - Josh Lanyon -(Washington)
All’s Fair Series Book #3
One final game of cat and mouse… Ex FBI agent Elliot Mills thought he was done with the most brutal case of his career. The Sculptor, the serial killer he spent years hunting, is finally in jail. But Elliot's hope dies when he learns the murderer wasn't acting alone. Now everyone is at risk once again... but thanks to a madman determined to finish his partner's gruesome mission. When the lead agent on the case, Special Agent Tucker Lance, goes missing, Elliot knows it's the killer at work. After all, abducting the love of his life is the quickest way to hurt him. The chances of finding Tucker are all but impossible without the help of the Sculptor—but the Sculptor is in no position to talk. Critically injured in a prison fight, he lies comatose and dying while the clock ticks down. Elliot has no choice but to play this killer's twisted game and hope he can find Tucker in time.

I don’t know the reasoning behind almost all m/m romances only being a few books long. I’m sorry to see this series end as I liked the two characters so much. It seemed as if this one laid the groundwork for continuing on...but this one was published 5 years ago and I don’t see any mention of further books in this series. This is a fast-moving...sometimes frightening... mostly hopeful... and occasionally eye-brow raising tale...wrapped up in a love story so strong that you can feel the heat when these two men are together. It takes talent to tell a story so well and keep the suspense strong and the sex stronger. Good job Ms. Lanyon. Before anyone corrects me...yes ...Josh Lanyon is a woman and one very outstanding writer.

Giu 28, 1:48pm

Justice Denied by JA Jance
JP Beaumont Mystery
c. 2007
4 *s

JP Beaumont is is a former homicide detective now working for the Special Homicide Investigative Team for the state of Washington, as is his partner, Mel Sloanes. He is investigating a special crime for the Washington Attorney General. Mel is doing a routine check on registered sex offenders. However, she is finding that they are dying at an unusual rate after they serve their sentence. The death that JP (Beau) is investigating appears to tie in with Mel's. Mel is also on the Board of a women's victim's help organization. The AG wants to know what is going on. it's an interesting tale of twists, turns, nuns, vigilantes, family grief, and justice.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a fast read for a cop procedural mystery. The story unfolded quickly with interesting red herrings thrown in along the way. The dialogue was quick and often witty. Very enjoyable and not the least bit gory or overly gruesome.

Giu 29, 12:09pm

City of Scoundrels by Victoria Thompson
3.5 ★

Corporal Tom Preston is part owner of Preston Shoes, a company that is making footwear for the army, so he has a rather large estate. He needs a new will because he has just been secretly married to a woman whom his family would never approve. He wants to make sure she and their unborn child are provided for if he does not return. When Tom is later reported killed, Elizabeth Miles and Gideon Bates, who prepared his new will, learn that the new will has gone missing after Tom's bride revealed her identity to his family. Some terrible threats have been leveled against Tom’s new bride, and Elizabeth and Gideon must figure out a way, legal or not quite, to secure Tom's fortune for his wife and child while saving her life in the process.

This was an interesting story set in 1918 and had interesting tidbits about things women were not allowed to do at that time, like having their own bank account. Elizabeth was a reformed con artist but she still gets Gideon to help her do some borderline illegal things to help the widow. I thought what they did was more risky legally-speaking than was justified for a widow they didn’t know. It was also a bit too complicated but still a pretty good story.

Giu 30, 2:33am

The Belial Stone by R. D. Brady
#1 The Belial Series
c. 2013
3 1/2 *s
Dr. Laney McPhearson, a criminologist, is sent a manuscript by her best friend. It's on a hush hush archeological dig concerning a possibility of a very ancient civilization found in Montana, possibly Atlantis. Before Laney gets a chance to proofread the paper, her home is broken into by a man with superhuman abilities. Despite being shot numerous times, he shakes it off and pursues her. Laney ends up in a safe house run by Henry Chandler, a giant of a man who runs a well known think tank. Jake, Hernty's head of security is in search of his missing brother. His brother is one of hundreds of missing parolees. The information Laney has leads Jake to take a closer look at the archeological dig.

This was a fun first of a series. The characters are likeable and relatable.

Giu 30, 8:31am

Hard Sell - Hudson Lin - (Canada)
Jade Harbor Capital series Book #1
One night wasn’t enough. Danny Ip walks into every boardroom with a plan. His plan for struggling tech company WesTec is to acquire it, shut it down, and squeeze the last remaining revenue out of it for his Jade Harbor Capital portfolio. But he didn’t expect his best friend's younger brother...the hottest one-night stand he ever had to be there. Tobin Lok has always thought the world of Danny. He’s funny, warm, attractive...and totally out of Tobin’s league. Now, pitted against Danny at work, Tobin might finally get a chance to prove he’s more than just Wei’s little brother. It takes a lot to get under Danny’s skin, but Tobin is all grown up in a way Danny can’t ignore. Now, with a promising patent on the line and the stakes higher than ever, all he can think about is getting Tobin back into his bed...and into his life for good. If only explaining their relationship to Wei could be so easy.

This is my first book by this author and the start of a series. I will diffidently be reading book 2. I really liked the story once I figured out the direction the author was trying to move the story. From the beginning, there were two plots...one involving competing work issues and one involving family issues. Each plot could have easily become the main plot and had the story advance around it. I became aggravated fairly soon into the book with the attitude of Tobin's brother, Wei. He treated Tobin like a baby and tried to make decisions for him like he was 6 years old...and more aggregating was that Tobin and Danny actually allowed it and tried to base their relationship around it!! I don't know very much about Asian culture but it seemed fairly unreasonable considering that Tobin was 26 years old. Overall it was a good beginning for what I hope will be a longer series than most books of the m/m genera.

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