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Monday, May 20, 2019

Switch by Megan Hart



Switch

Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 2012 by Harlequin (first published December 15th 2009)


Goodreads synopsis:
don't think don't question just do  

The anonymous note wasn't for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in the habit of reading other people's mail, but it was just a piece of paper with a few lines scrawled on it, clearly meant for the apartment upstairs. It looked so innocent, but decidedly-deliciously-it was not. 

Before replacing the note-and the ones that followed-in its rightful slot, I devoured its contents: suggestions, instructions, commands. Each was more daring, more intricate and more arousing than the last...and I followed them all to the letter. 

Before the notes, if a man had told me what to do, I'd have told him where to go. But submission is an art, and there's something oddly freeing about doing someone's bidding...especially when it feels so very, very good. But I find that the more I surrender, the more powerful I feel-so it's time to switch up roles.  

We play by my rules now. 

***

4 Stars

This not the usual genre that I tend to gravitate toward. 
But the premise of this book fascinated me. 

A note gets put into Paige’s mailbox but it is for a different resident in the building. Intrigued, Paige can’t help but read the note first before slipping into the right mail slot. The note is a list of instructions. Then every day a new note appears with more instructions. Paige is fascinated by how these lists make her feel.

This is almost a book of finding your true inner personal power and letting that lead you. Paige discovers her boss is a compulsive guy and he needs everything a certain way. She lets him give her lists. And then she become more assertive which calms her boss and makes him more effective at his job. Paige discovers this new found authority has impacts all over her life.

Paige had discovered who the notes were meant more and when they stopped coming, she took up the position of the dominant giving him instructions. In the last few chapters, the whole thing with Eric the neighbor is dropped and she goes back to her ex-husband. Uh, what? I felt like I was gipped. Why did I read this far to have the entire reason I started to read the book “the switch” just dropped? 

Interesting plot but not enough follow through.

____

I purchased this book with my own money.

A Matter of Circumstance and Celludrones by Claire Robyns



A Matter of Circumstance and Celludrones

Kindle Edition, 210 pages
Published September 24th 2012




Goodreads synopsis:
A Victorian Steampunk/Paranormal adventure with strong elements of romance...

Lady Lily d'Bulier is prim, proper, and prefers to think of herself as pragmatic rather than timid. And avoiding life-threatening situations at all costs is just plain practical. But everything changes when Lord Adair tracks her down in London; searching for answers he seems to think she has.

Greyston Adair is a blackguard and a smuggler, although British Customs will have to catch him red-handed to prove the latter. Fortunately, the dirigibles they float around in have never been able to get near his air dust.

Hell is rising, One Demon at a Time...

With Lady Ostrich hunting them, and the mystery of how their lives tie back to Cragloden Castle and the powerful McAllister clan, Lily has no option but to throw propriety to the wind and run off with Greyston to Scotland, away from the immediate danger and toward possible answers.

***

5 Stars

I have never read a book in the steampunk genre before and I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It was exciting and interesting, The setting is really captivating. And I wonder as I read how is it possible that society is so backward? They are still dressing like the Victorian era but they have flying machines and the ability to time travel by just using their mind.

This feels like the beginning of a series. And indeed, it is. I would have liked to see some romance in this book  but there really wasn’t any of that. It was mostly implied. I think it would have helped it some. But I sense that may come in future books.

The characters and mystery aspects were compelling and kept me reading until the end.

Quite a lovely and thrilling tale of how lives come together even when some don’t want the past to be revealed.

____

I purchased this book with my own money.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Murder, She Uncovered (Murder, She Reported #2) by Peg Cochran



Murder, She Uncovered

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: May 28th 2019 by Alibi



Goodreads synopsis:
An intrepid 1930s Manhattan socialite uncovers deadly secrets during an assignment to the Hamptons in this riveting historical cozy mystery for readers of Victoria Thompson, Anne Perry, and Rhys Bowen.

Westhampton, 1938. To the dismay of her well-to-do family, Elizabeth “Biz” Adams is quickly establishing herself as a seasoned photographer over at the Daily Trumpet. Growing more confident in her decision to pursue a career, Elizabeth is thrilled when she and her reporter sidekick, Ralph Kaminsky, are sent to Long Island to cover the story of a young maid found dead in one of the glamourous summer homes in the devastating aftermath of the Great New England Hurricane—also known as the Long Island Express.  

At first it’s assumed that the young woman was caught in the terrible storm, but when a suspicious wound is found on the side of her head, the police suspect murder. The maid’s death becomes even more tragic when it’s discovered she was pregnant, and with Elizabeth and Kaminsky at the scene of the crime, the Daily Trumpet scoops all the other papers in town.

The young woman’s boyfriend emerges as the likeliest suspect. But as Elizabeth follows the story, she begins to wonder whether someone in the household of the maid’s employers might be responsible—someone who’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth about the baby’s paternity hidden. . . 

***

4 Stars

This is the second book of the Murder, She Uncovered series set in 1930’s Westhampton, Long Island, New York. Elizabeth “Biz” Adams is a high society gal who prefers to work even thought every other lady of her nature is not. Working isn’t a thing that is done by a lady back then. They are of society. It is above them. Elizabeth is a photo-journalist at the Daily Trumpet working along side Ralph Kaminsky, a seasoned reporter who is afraid budget cuts might lose him his job.

There is a lot going on in this book. A couple of different murders occur, guys stepping out on gals, gals causing trouble for other gals, a murder made to look like a suicide, the gamut. Elizabeth takes everything in stride taking pictures of a women pushed from a window lying dead on the pavement to a priest tied up as if he had killed himself. She is one gutsy lady. I am not sure I would have taken such photos even today.

The mystery is engaging and she and Kaminsky follow every lead they come across. Elizabeth provides quite a few insights that the duo follow. The police are not stupid in this series either. She finds herself in a quandary when her mother wants her to marry Phillips who is a man of her society standard and she would rather hang out eating pizza with Detective Sly Marino. I was surprised how looked down upon the police were at that time in the 1930’s. I felt bad for Marino. He seemed a standup guy just looking to solve his cases and find love with Elizabeth.

The ending was sweet and the mystery solved to a surprising conclusion. I liked the whodunit of it all. Following the duo around was fun and entertaining. I will definitely pick up book one in this series and add Peg Cochran books to my TBR.


I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Seeing Red (A Red Herring Mystery #2) by Dana Dratch



Seeing Red

Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: May 28th 2019 by Kensington Publishing Corporation




Goodreads synopsis:
If it wasn't for art thieves, spies and killers, Alex Vlodnachek's life would be bliss. 

Her freelance career is catching fire. Her relationship with B&B owner Ian Sterling is flirty and fun. She's even attending a glittering cocktail party at his sprawling Victorian inn.

But, to this ex-reporter, something seems "off." And it's not the canaps. When Ian's father vanishes, the enigmatic innkeeper asks for her discretion. And her assistance.

Meanwhile, Alex is having the opposite problem at her tiny bungalow: People keep piling in uninvited. Including a mysterious intruder found sleeping in her kitchen. Her grandmother, Baba, who shows up "to help"--with Alex's own mother hot on her heels.

When the intrepid redhead discovers a body in the B&B's basement and a "reproduction" Renoir in the library, she begins to suspect that Ian is more than just a simple hotel owner.

With editor pal Trip, brother Nick, and rescue-pup Lucy riding shotgun, Alex scrambles to stay one step ahead of disaster--and some very nasty characters.

Can she find the missing man before it's too late? Or will Alex be the next one to disappear?

***

4 Stars

This is the second book in the A Red Herring Mystery series. Her first book out last year, “Confessions of a Red Herring,” was one of my favorite books of 2018. This book wasn’t quite as thrilling as that one was, but still pretty good.

Alex Vlodnachek is a freelance journalist. Currently, she is working for the competition of her old newspaper writing the Ask Maggie column. But in this book, that isn’t the only thing on her plate. Her brother, Nick is trying to start a new baking business out of her kitchen. Her handsome British neighbor across the way is hiding the fact that his father has mysteriously disappeared. And Alex has stumbled upon not one but TWO dead bodies in the freezer in the B&B’s basement that like Ian’s father keep disappearing.

This book is chock full with so much going on. I almost thought it was a bit too much for one book. In fact, I only realized near the end that what I thought was one couple staying at Ian’s B&B was in fact two different couples. I had fused them together in my mind. I guess to keep the complexity at bay.

I am not sure why Ian didn’t start looking into the why of his father’s disappearance. It was almost assumed that Alex would do that for him. I knew something was fishy with Ian even back in book one when he was high on my suspect list. Plus he and Alex’s mother get along swimmingly. How is that possible? Definitely a distinctly fishy smell at the mysterious B&B.

This was surely a four star book for me. Not as thrilling as book one but a keeper none the less.  I am interested in seeing where the relationship between Alex and Ian goes from here considering the ramifications of the last scene of the book. Intense meltdown imminent, I suspect.


I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A Deadly Brew (Tourist Trap Mysteries #9.5) by Lynn Cahoon



A Deadly Brew

Kindle Edition, 67 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Lyrical Press (first published August 4th 2018)



Goodreads synopsis:
As Halloween approaches South Cove, California, four couples get into the spirit of the holiday by conjuring up spirits. . .

The house has sat empty for fifteen years, taking up prime real estate along the picturesque coastline. Built by one of the founders of South Cove, its last known owner, Maryanne Demerit, vanished without a trace. Now her home will be demolished for a condo development, but until then, it’s the perfect spot for a Halloween haunted house.

Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books, and More, her boyfriend, and three other couples are spending the weekend in the Demerit home. But what begins as an all-in-good-fun fright fest turns into a mystery begging to be solved as Jill is contacted by the ghost of Maryanne . . .

***

4 Stars

This novella is book 9.5 in the Tourist Trap Mysteries series.

This was a fun little ditty featuring a lot of South Cove residents in one short story. It is a perfect read for a Halloween night or any night right before all the spooks come out.

I thought the mystery was interesting although the clues the ghost provided were pretty difficult to decipher. And the dream, was that ever deciphered? I thought that should have had  more symbolism in it. But that is just me. I particularly liked the scene with the Ouija board and Esmerelda. Classic.

This book is like a little teaser to help us, the loyal readers, keep a bit of South Cove in our hearts until the next novel appears. Waiting patiently. 

You will most likely need to read other books in the series to get anything out of this book but that is where the fun lies, right? My favorite series world.


I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.

All Her Secrets by Sue Watson


All Her Secrets

Kindle Edition, 329 pages
Published May 15th 2019 by Bookouture


Goodreads synopsis:
I suppose everyone has regrets, wonders what if? People all have their reasons for living here. Who knows what lies behind the pretty curtains and the well-groomed lawns of Mulberry Avenue? 

Lucy has a lovely husband, a job she adores as a teacher, and a house on Mulberry Avenue that she’s decorated just the way she wants – from the floaty curtains and the softest bed linen, right down to the perfectly-chosen velvet cushions on their comfortable sofa. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty close. 

She’s also got Amber. Her newest friend and neighbor. They’ve got so much in common. Even if Amber’s life sometimes seems a lot more glamorous and exciting, she shares Lucy’s down-to-earth sense of humor, and Amber seems so interested in Lucy and her life, it’s like they never run out of things to talk about. 

But then Amber starts acting strangely, claiming her life isn’t all it seems, talking about how she thinks she might be pregnant, and confiding in Lucy that she’s started getting threatening messages. 

She’s scared, and the only person she can turn to is Lucy. She wants to stay at Lucy’s house until things calm down. 

Lucy wants to protect her friend. But can she really trust Amber? Because sometimes other people are not all that they seem. Sometimes they have secrets. And they’d do anything to keep them… 

***

5 Stars

This book was unputdownable. Misery meets Single White Female with a twist.

I have read books by Sue Watson before and among the many volumes I have read over the years, her stories still stick in my mind. The previous books were unlike this one. They were chick lit. Soft and airy. Fun. Nothing like this book. This is hard core psychological stuff. Top rate.

Halfway through there was a question if there really was a stalker or Amber had been making it all up. I was rooting for a stalker because Amber was such a nasty woman. I wonder how such people get away with stuff like she did. I was rooting for the bad guy. Not her but the one after her. 

When the tables turned and the surprise happened, I was like “what the?” “OMG! What a jerk.” I don’t want to give too much away because the unfolding of the story is where the fun of the story lies.

About three-fourths through the chapters changed from a mostly Lucy POV to an Amber POV. There was also what I assumed was the stalker POV thrown in here and there just to mix it up a bit.

I felt vindicated at the end but I wish Lucy would have done a bit more to make everyone know she wasn’t at fault. You know she isn’t the stalker going in so I am not spoiling anything. We see most of the story through her eyes. She had a somewhat obsession with Amber because she was there for her on the tv screen when she was a kid growing up and offering kind tidbits on the evening news. It’s too bad Amber turned out to be not what Lucy suspected she was.

You need to read this book if you like thrillers. I have already picked up the other thriller Watson has written since I liked this one so much. Wonderful stuff. My highest rating.


I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.

The Dancing Girls (Detective Jo Fournier #1) by M.M. Chouinard



The Dancing Girls

Kindle Edition, 329 pages
Published May 15th 2019 by Bookouture


Goodreads synopsis:
The light in her wide brown eyes dimmed as she drew her last breath. She might have been beautiful lying there on the floor, if it wasn’t for the purple marks on her neck and the angry red line on her finger where her wedding band used to be…

When Jeanine Hammond is found dead in a hotel in the picture-perfect town of Oakhust, newly-promoted Detective Jo Fournier is thrown into a disturbing case. Who would murder this shy, loving wife and leave her body posed like a ballerina?

Jo wants to know why Jeanine’s husband is so controlling about money, and where Jeanine’s wedding ring is, but before she and her team can get close to the truth, another woman is found strangled in a hotel, arms placed gracefully above her head like a dancer. 

While digging through old case files, Jo makes a terrifying link to a series of cold cases: each victim bears the same strangulation marks. But the FBI won’t take Jo seriously, and if she disobeys direct orders by investigating the killings outside of her jurisdiction, it will mean the end of the career she’s already sacrificed so much for, even her relationship.

Just as Jo is beginning to lose hope, she finds messages on the victims’ computers that make her question whether these small-town women were hiding big lies. Jo thinks this is the missing link between the victims, but she knows the killer is moments away from selecting his next victim. Will it lead her to the most twisted killer of her career in time, or will another innocent life be lost? 

An absolutely unputdownable and brilliant new crime thriller series that fans of Robert Dugoni, Lisa Regan and Melinda Leigh will devour in one sitting.

***

3 Stars

This is the first book in the Detective Jo Fournier series. There wasn’t a ton of getting to know Jo Fournier in this book. She started off in charge and then realized part of the way into the book she was truly meant to be a detective and go after the criminal element. I didn’t feel like I learned a ton about her in this book but I was intrigued,

The mystery was simple enough. Crazy dude is killing women he met via World of Warcraft through the chats and later through Skype. He liked to make his victims his puppets and play with them until the ultimate kill.

Jo is chasing this monster. We see the story through both Jo’s perspective and the killer’s POV.

When I got to the end of the book I felt gipped. That was it? Where was the resolution for Jo’s chase and search. Suddenly it is all over and the perp is dead. Uh, what? I totally thought this book should have been longer to delve into the gaping cliffhanger than was left at the end.

The book was decent but over too quickly and I didn’t particularly care for the ending. I felt bad for Jo… oh, okay, the hunt is over. Time to go home. No closure there. No closure for me either.


I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.