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Friday, May 31, 2019

Deadly Obsession (Fairview Park #1) by Patricia A. Rasey



Deadly Obsession

Published (first published June 1st 2011)




Goodreads synopsis:
A killer is loose who has a taste for human blood. Cole Kincaid presses harder into the investigation, but the body count climbs. He has personal reasons for detesting the press, so sparks fly when Laurie hounds him for a story. Fate forces them to join forces, neither one anticipating the attraction that ensues. But just as Cole thinks he is close to finding all the answers, both personal and professional, Laurie Michaels disappears. 

***

4.5 Stars

This is the first book in the Fairview Park series. It is a very intriguing book. I enjoyed the play between Lt. Cole Kincaid and reporter, Laurie Michaels. Cole is tormented by his past and the murder of his wife. So tormented he got a job in a hole in the wall town with barely any crime. Now, suddenly, a serial killer has come out to play and he has a taste for human blood.

When the first body shows up as the book opens, Cole is ripped from sleep to investigate. This is exactly the type of crime he hoped wouldn’t come to his new jurisdiction. New reporter, Laurie Michaels is also on scene shortly after Cole arrives looking for the story. She immediately gets under Cole’s skin in more ways than one.

This book was quite entertaining and I wanted to keep reading just to find out how things between Cole and Laurie would turn out. It was an exciting read. A lot of arrows point to Cole’s hard rocker roomie, Damian who fits the profile of the killer too perfectly. The author tries to make you believe it is him causing all this havoc but as we readers know, the most likely suspect is never the real killer. Pay attention to the clues and you might figure it out.


I liked the vibe of the whole book. Great atmosphere and pounding action.  Highly recommended.

____

I purchased this book with my own money.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Pink Bonnet (True Colors) by Liz Tolsma


The Pink Bonnet: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime
by Liz Tolsma 

Paperback, 256 pages
Expected publication: June 1st 2019 by Barbour Books




Goodreads synopsis:
A Desperate Mother Searches for Her Child
Step into True Colors -- a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives.

How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child?

***

4.5 Stars

This is the second book in the True Colors series by Barbour Books. These are Historical Christian romance history lessons. They take real events and weave them into a story that we can all relate to.

This is a story I think we can all relate to even if we don’t  have children. A woman goes out one day to try and find a better job and leaves her small child with an elderly neighbor. When she returns home the neighbor has signed away her rights to the child and give her to the Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society. The woman had recently lost her husband and was struggling to make ends meet. This put Cecile on a long quest to find her daughter with any means possible.

This is a very sad tale. If you look up Georgia Tann, the child trafficker, on the internet you will discover all the horrible things she did. I am not sure how a woman back in the late 1920’s got such power but it is truly sickening.

This was a sweet story about how Cecile finds love while searching for her daughter. There are as lot of twists and turns in this book so you won’t be board. If you are anything like me you will read faster in order to find out how they come to find little Millie and bring Georgia Tann to justice.


Highly recommended.

Dealing with Difficult People by Roy Lilley



Dealing with Difficult People

Paperback, 150 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by Kogan Page (first published January 1st 2002) Revised in 2019



Goodreads synopsis:
Working with difficult people is always a challenge, but it's possible to defuse tense situations through an understanding of aggressive behavior. Roy Lilley provides practical ways to recognize the different types of difficult people, resolve disputes and handle complaints. This easy-to-follow book is essential for managers looking to improve performance, sales people looking to win more business and anyone who works with the difficult colleagues or the public.

***

3 Stars

This is one book among many in a series assisting with different aspects of life.  This one in particular is about how to deal with difficult people. Now, this is some dry stuff. I wish there had been some personal real life aspects to this. There are examples for each segment they speak about but I mean the author, speaking in first person, telling his own experience with this. I think I would have connected with it more that way.

The contents of this book are solid. Good advice. But this isn’t something you are going to remember a few days after reading it. You will need to keep this in your library and use it as a reference book  when the need for such information arises.

I needed a more personal slant  but over all it is a solid read.


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 29, 2019

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris



Dead Until Dark

Mass Market Paperback, 292 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Ace Books



Goodreads synopsis:
Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out....

Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea.

***

4.5 Stars

This is the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series and the series that the HBO television show True Blood was based on. 

I think I first read this serial back in 2008 when the tv series came out. I realized then that the books and the television drama were not always the same. They didn’t always follow the same plotlines. And that was okay with me. As I read I unearthed new revelations I never realized. For example, how young and naive Sookie was. And with Bill she had her first sexual experience. That surprised me. I had not remembered that part. Revelations are nice. I like remembering this series. Gives me all the feels.

I find it interesting that Sookie never suspected her employer Sam not only liked her romantically but was also someone of the supernatural variety. I like how the author placed clues as to who Sookie really was. That isn’t revealed in this book but since I have already read this series I have kind of spoiled myself as to what is about to happen in upcoming books. And that is okay.

I picture the actors from the series in the roles as I read along. It is nice to know what people look like ahead of time. Sometimes it is hard to get a grasp on that aspect of characters.

This is a fun series and one I am loving rediscovering once again.

Awesome introduction to a series. Highly recommended.


I purchased this book with my own money.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Samantha Watkins by Aurélie Venem, S.E. Battis



Samantha Watkins: Chronicles of an Extraordinary Ordinary Life

Kindle Edition
Published March 7th 2019 by Quercus


Goodreads synopsis:
Young librarian Samantha Watkins has always been perfectly content with her humdrum existence. Never easily fitting in with anyone anywhere, she feels most at ease in silence, among stacks of books. Sam believes in leaving fantasy and drama to the characters in her beloved novels. But one night when she leaves work late, she finds herself center stage in a tale of vengeance and terror.
Samantha is rescued from a gang of vampires by Phoenix, a mysterious and otherworldly man. Suddenly her paranormal adventures take a far more extraordinary turn than any story she’s ever read. Phoenix, her savior, is actually a vampire as well, tasked with stopping his peers from killing. With no possibility of returning to her former life, Sam becomes his assistant. Together they investigate a series of mysterious disappearances and attempt to save the human race from a horrible fate. Battling vampires thrills and empowers Sam, but where does she stand with supernatural Phoenix? Could Phoenix, through their work together, become a different man?




***

4.5 Stars

This book was great but I think it needs a new title. Even though we see the story mostly through Sam’s eyes, it is more a study of the who of Phoenix. Who is he? What is he? How has he lived so long? Why is he so standoffish?

This book reminded me of so many of my favorite vampire shows: Forever Knight and True Blood, plus the mentioning of other series like Stargate SG-1 wanted me to see if this author was taking friend requests because we thought along the same lines. Same interests.

I thought this book was amazing. It really gave me all the feels and I was engaged throughout the entire book. There were only a few of the townspeople who grabbed my interest: Angela and Danny but others seemed to melt into the background.

The thing that I was captivated by was Phoenix himself and the unusual way he responded to things. The abrupt way he was with Sam had me scratching my head but at the same time wanting to know more about him. That last scene of the book where the climax has happened and Sam is bringing Phoenix his phone stabbed me in the heart.

I got a brief glimpse into book two at the end but I see the next three books in the series have not yet been translated into English. I really need to read books 2-4. I wonder how long it would take me to learn French?

Awesome book. Worthy of a television series. Highly recommended.


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.

Just Like You by Alison Percival



Just Like You

Kindle Edition
Published March 7th 2019 by Quercus


Goodreads synopsis:
Nicky can't stop obsessing over Iain's new girlfriend. What does she have that she doesn't?
Isabel isn't prepared for the online vitriol from rising star Iain's obsessive fans. Is he being totally honest about his past?

As both women's lives begin to unravel, they will realize that you can't always get what you want, and sometimes, love can turn into obsession...



***

3 Stars

This book was okay. I didn’t care about either first person character. The only thing that got me to the end of this book was the why of it all. Why was Nicky doing this? Why was she stalking Isabel?

We see things from both Nicky’s and Isabel’s point of view. And when things go missing from Isabel’s apartment, I wasn’t sure why the taking of the objects wasn’t shown since we learn later it was Nicky. For a time I considered that Iain was just messing with Isabel. Some of their motivations seemed questionable. 

Nothing rang true with any of the characters, I’m sorry to say. I thought this could have been a great book but it all fell flat for me.


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.

Who's Sorry Now? by Maggie Robinson



Who's Sorry Now? 
(A Lady Adelaide Mystery #2)

Paperback, 416 pages
Expected publication: June 1st 2019 by Poisoned Pen Press




Goodreads synopsis:
A Russian prince. A wealthy heir. An impoverished earl's daughter. Which one will make an untimely exit from the London social scene?

Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Devenand Hunter finds himself in the middle of a series of upper-class deaths in London. Bright Young People are being extinguished in their favorite night spots, from a sleazy private jazz club to the Savoy ballroom. Dev knows just the person to help him navigate the treacherous society waters: Lady Adelaide Compton, a marquess' daughter and widow of a Great War hero. Unfortunately, he has put her in jeopardy once before, nearly leading him to turn in his warrant card.

But when her sister Cee is nearly one of the victims, Addie turns to Mr. Hunter, offering her help... and it soon becomes clear that the two of them working together again could lead to much more than merely solving crime.


***

3 Stars

I read somewhere they thought this book was akin to a Phryne Fisher Mystery. I somewhat agree. It is set in a similar time period yet this book has a ready made ghost following Addie around. He is her dead husband, Rupert and he shows up at all the most inopportune times.

I thought this book was okay. I wasn’t interested in the whodunit mystery. In fact, I don’t feel the author was too interested in it either. The book was filled with Addie and her exploits. There is a real interesting dynamic between herself and Detective Inspector Dev Hunter. And frankly, that relationship was the only thing that got me through the book. 

I wish the mystery had been more compelling and kept my attention. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mindset for this book and that is why I couldn’t connect with it. I wanted to love it more but it just didn’t happen for me.


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.

Judgment by Joseph Finder


Judgment

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by Dutton



Goodreads synopsis:
New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder returns with an explosive new thriller about a female judge and the one personal misstep that could lead to her--and her family's--undoing.

It was nothing more than a one-night stand. Juliana Brody, a judge in the Superior Court of Massachusetts, is rumored to be in consideration for the federal circuit, maybe someday the highest court in the land. At a conference in a Chicago hotel, she meets a gentle, vulnerable man and in a moment of weakness has an unforgettable night with him. They part with an explicit understanding that this must never happen again.

But back home in Boston, it becomes clear that this was no random encounter. The man from Chicago proves to have an integral role in a case she's presiding over--a sex-discrimination case that's received national attention. Juliana discovers that she's been entrapped, her night of infidelity captured on video. Strings are being pulled in high places, a terrifying unfolding conspiracy that will turn her life upside down.  But soon it becomes clear that personal humiliation, even the possible destruction of her career, are the least of her concerns, as her own life and the lives of her family are put in mortal jeopardy. 

In the end, turning the tables on her adversaries will require her to be as ruthless as they are


***

5 Stars

One of the last books I read by Joe Finder was Paranoia. And if you haven’t read it… go read it. It is wonderfully gripping and it really does have you looking over your own shoulder. I was working in a similar environment at the time and frankly, the book just freaked me out. I love Finder’s writing but going back into such a setting took me awhile. I have read other Finder books but none shook me as much as that one.

On to this title… this was is comparable to Paranoia in freak you out action and suspense. There isn’t just one big buildup in this book. It just keeps happening over and over.

This book is set in the justice system in Boston. Juliana Brody is randomly given a case that on the surface seems to be a sexual harassment/ unlawful firing suit. But it is so much more than that. When the judge’s first ever one night stand shows up in court, you know that things are about to explode. And the tension just keeps building from there. People die, people are horribly beaten and you wonder what in the heck is really going on here.

I couldn’t put this book down. I had to know why it all was happening. And if our justice system is really this f-ed up, Lord help us all. I marveled at how easily Finder moved from knowing about the justice system to spies, espionage, etc. The man has done his homework. Either that or he used to be a spy in another life.

This book floored me and I recommend it to anyone who loves thrillers. Highly recommended.


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.

Tiger Lily (Dark Blossoms #1) by Abigail Drake



Tiger Lily


Kindle Edition 207 pages
Published March 13, 2019
Amazon Digital Services LLC



Goodreads synopsis:
Lily Madison’s problems began the day her life ended. After getting saved from a watery grave, she wakes up in a hospital surrounded by a herd of naughty ghosts. Most of them look like fuzzy blobs, but one is not blobby at all. He’s a very hot, very annoying dead guy named Nick.

Before she died, choosing a prom date was her biggest dilemma. Now she’s being stalked by specters and haunted by hooligans. Lily begins to doubt her own sanity, until she finds out a Goth girl named Zoe can see the blobs, too.

With the assistance of Zoe and Mr. Wan, the manicurist who almost killed her, she must get Nick and the other ghosts back where they belong or the whole world could be in terrible danger. But she’s grown to care for Nick, and if sending the ghosts back means saying goodbye to Nick forever, Lily isn’t sure she’ll be able to let him go.

Praise for Abigail Drake: 
"First Abigail Drake grabs you with her fresh writing, then she keeps you in the throes of her story with an incredible voice and a gifted talent for spinning tales that will amaze and delight. I am stunned. Tiger Lily will consume you, and before you know it you are fighting for air yet begging for more. You've been warned!"
 - NY Times Bestselling Author Darynda Jones


***

4.5 Stars

I requested this ARC strictly based on the cover. It is super cute. And the contents of the book are also super cute. So, I wasn’t disappointed by the contents of this barely 200 page book. This book is completely YA (young adult) and easy to blow through in an evening. I will call it a surprising guilty pleasure.

I could see this story playing out on television under a Disney Channel label. A young fashion conscious girl nearly runs over a gaggle of kids with her car but at the last minute swerves to avoid them and ends up plunging her vehicle into the water. Then, she dies. Before she goes completely lights out, she sees a young man who looks like he has hazy edges. When she gets revived by a totally different boy (of course, the hottest boy in school) she doesn’t see boy #1 again until later when she is in the hospital. With the ghostly appearing boy #1 also come a ton of little gray blobs of energy which follow her around.

I don’t want to get too much into the complete details of this but it is a really fun read. I enjoyed the crazy girl with her ADD tendencies where her wardrobe was color coded. I enjoyed the sulking Zoe, Goth Girl, whom Lily befriends to help figure out her whole “ghostly situation.”

If I knew a lot of teen or middle grade kids, I woulds totally recommended this to them. Pure fun and excitement. I wouldn’t mind seeing a follow up story. Check it out if you like YA. You won’t be disappointed.


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.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Stop in the Name of Love by Nina Bruhns



Stop in the Name of Love

Kindle Edition
Published (first published October 29th 2015)



Goodreads synopsis:
Undercover...or under the covers...?

Undercover... Undercover vice cop Russell Bridger hates his new assignment doing surveillance on the home of a suspected traitorous spy. That is, until he receives orders to cozy up to the man’s sweet, beautiful neighbor...and find a way to move in with her for the duration. But things don’t go as smoothly—or seductively—as he’d hoped when she tells him she hates cops with a passion and wants nothing to do with him, his lies, or his damn assignment. 

Or under the covers...? Cops in Mary Alice Flannery’s family keep dying, and she doesn’t think she can take another shot to her heart. So when the infinitely sexy road crew guy she’s crushing on big time turns out to embody her worst nightmare, she must decide what kind of future she wants...safe and lonely, or wild and dangerous but filled with love?


***

4 Stars

I really didn’t know what to expect with this book. I got it as part of a 99¢ Naughty Nine book collection back when I first got onto Amazon Kindle, I wasn’t really expecting much. But I knew Nina Bruhns from her time at Harlequin back when I read more Intrigues and Romantic Suspense books.

This was a refreshing change from some of the raunchy books out there. It is not too over the top in the sex department and the characters really grow and have many more relationship issues than a normal fluff book does. It is not just “wham”, “bam,” “thank you mam.”

The storyline was nice and I enjoyed the action part of it as well as the falling in love part.

I was a satisfied reader. I thought this was one of the better romances I have read lately.


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.