Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review - A Step of Faith

Title: A Step of Faith
Author: Richard Paul Evans
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 7, 2013)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 304
Genre: Fiction
Series: The Walk #4

What started as a sappy walk across the United States by a man recovering from the sudden tragic death of his wife has turned into a journey of discovery and fulfillment.

At the end of the last book, The Road to Grace, Alan received a challenging diagnosis. However that was to turn out, he would take it in stride and that is exactly what he did. A slight blip on his journey. What he did not expect was how the two women in his life would come to his aid and in his innocent clueless style; he would have to make a choice. He just needed time to realize the importance of what was being offered.

As Alan is slightly more than midway through his journey, he has run into memorable characters and this time out he had quite a scare. There are strangers in his path and the choices that others make cannot be his responsibility. He can offer rescue, but if a person is too scared, then there is nothing that can be done. This was a hard lesson for Alan, but one that he needed to learn.

There is humor in this series, humor that you are not sure that you should be laughing at but then again, that is what life offers. There is sadness and utter joy, once again what life offers. The books are written from a religious perspective, but that is what you come to expect from Richard Paul Evans, so if you are offended by that, pick something else.

If you are looking for a walk of discovery, start at the beginning (The Walk) and join Alan Christoffersen on a curious and thought provoking journey full of twists and discoveries.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Death of a Nightingale

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Death of a Nightingale
Author: Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis
Publisher: Soho Crime (November 5, 2013)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 368
Genre: Fiction
Series: Nina Borg #3


Nina. Natasha. Olga. Three women united by one terrifying secret. But only one of them has killed to keep it.

Natasha Doroshenko, a Ukrainian woman who has been convicted of the attempted murder of her Danish fiancé, escapes police custody on her way to an interrogation in Copenhagen's police headquarters. That night, the frozen, tortured body of Michael, the ex-fiancé, is found in a car, and the manhunt for Natasha escalates. It isn't the first time the young Ukrainian woman has lost a partner to violent ends: her first husband was also murdered, three years earlier in Kiev, and in the same manner: tortured to death in a car.

Danish Red Cross nurse Nina Borg has been following Natasha's case for several years now, since Natasha first took refuge at a crisis center where Nina works. Nina, who had tried to help Natasha leave her abusive fiancé more than once, just can't see the young Ukrainian mother as a vicious killer. But in her effort to protect Natasha's daughter and discover the truth, Nina realizes there is much she didn't know about this woman and her past. The mystery has long and bloody roots, going back to a terrible famine that devastated Stalinist Ukraine in 1934, when a ten-year-old girl with the voice of a nightingale sang her family into shallow graves.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Review - Ghost Gone Wild

Title: Ghost Gone Wild
Author: Carolyn Hart
Publisher: Berkley  (Oct 1, 2013)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 307
Genre: Paranormal Fiction
Series: Bailey Ruth #4

Well thank goodness Carolyn Hart did not thank her editor because this book came off more along the lines of self-published than a book from a reputable publishing house. Missing words, wrong words, definitely not a finished product.

Book four in the Bailey Ruth series reads like the previous three books. Bailey Ruth is an emissary from Heaven’s Department of Good Intentions. This time, she is hoodwinked into thinking that she has been given a new assignment only to discover that Delilah Delahunt Duvall has her own agenda, she needs someone to help save her nephew Nick from himself.

Apparently, Nick Magruder has some serious money and he plans to use it to get even with those that have wronged him in the past. Little did he know that he has managed to step on the wrong toes and someone is out to keep him away from property that holds a suspected buried treasure.

The story is a bit convoluted and drawn out; repeated wardrobe changes of the main character seem to be more of a priority than keeping the storyline focused. Besides, what kind of backwater town is Adelaide, Oklahoma that would not recognize two women running around pretending to be part of the police force?

If you are willing to suspend all forms of belief, you might like Bailey Ruth - there is enough rehashing of the character for the reader to be able to pick up this book without reading the previous installments, but it would be up to you on where you would like to start.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Review - Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

Title: Mr. Tiger Goes Wild
Author and Illustrator: Peter Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (September 3, 2013)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 48
Genre: Children’s
Ages: 3 – 6; Preschool to 1st Grade

Who knew that a tiger could have a midlife crisis? Well apparently, that is exactly what happened to Mr. Tiger when he suddenly decided that he did not like the status quo.

The same old boring things everyday, the same conversations and the same boring upstanding uptight world. He had an idea. He was going to change things up a bit. Back down on four legs and a nice mighty roar.

If you are going to act wild, why not return to nature he was told. Unfortunately, that was not the answer either. There had to be a nice middle ground.

You know what Mr. Tiger found, that if you open the door to allow others to be themselves, very positive things could happen.

As they say, a tiger cannot change his stripes and that is a good lesson for all of us to learn.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Review - Murder Checks Inn

Title: Murder Checks Inn
Author: Tim Myers
Publisher: Berkley (January 7, 2003)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 192
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Lighthouse Inn Mysteries, No. 3

I do not know why I keep reading this series. Deep down I really do not like the simplicity of the storylines, but I have this weird addiction to series and have a hard time walking away.

Alex Winston is the Owner and Innkeeper of Hatteras West a lighthouse motel in the North Carolina Mountains. Yes, you got that right a lighthouse surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. A duplicate of the lighthouse on North Carolina's Outer Banks.

The most recent set of guests are there to hear the reading of their late husband and father’s will. Unfortunately, the attorney, Alex’s uncle Jase, which was to read the document has been found murdered and now Alex is determined to find the killer.

Many fingers can be pointed to anyone in the family including a newly found offspring and Alex’s own brother Tony.

The story meanders and a love interest is forefront in Alex’s mind, but still there is a job to do and a lighthouse to run.

A very simple story that has the reader wandering all over a small town and then boom, it is over and the killer is revealed. Nothing that had the reader shocked or surprised, but a neat little bow and an expected lead into the next book.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review - Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

Title: Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital
Author: Sheri Fink
Publisher: Crown (September 10, 2013)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 576
Genre: Non-Fiction

This book was very difficult for me to read. I had to take it in very small bites and not read it at night before I went to bed. What I read stayed with me. Even though I was two thousand miles away and had the “that happens to other people” mentality during Hurricane Katrina, this book made the time and the desperate situations all too real for me.

Cut to the chase, the hospital was not prepared for the catastrophe that they had to endure. The city was not prepared and the people that had taken shelter, not just the patients, at the hospital assumed that they would be cared for. That was so not the case.

Memorial Hospital had the range of patients, from the high maintenance critical care on the seventh floor of LifeCare to the neonates to the routine patients, the doctors and nurses on duty that day had life and death in their hands. Their statement of leaving no living patient behind could have been interpreted two different ways and that seems to be the crux of the story.

Sheri Fink is an exceptional journalist. At least that is what I think her title is. She takes the reader through the five days and without taking obvious sides, she guides the reader. Did doctors euthanize patients? Did easing pain, necessitate death? Did nurses assist and then turn a blind eye? Were walls put up to hinder the investigation? There is no way of truly knowing since very few are backing up the whistleblowers.

What I came away with is that “but for the Grace of God”. You do not know what choices you would make in which situations. I am also reconsidering a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Order – one family did not know that it also stood for Do Not Rescue.

You need to spend time with this book, take it slowly, think it through and open up conversations.

By the end, what I found most interesting was that the surrounding hospitals that did not rely on second or third party rescue efforts seemed to fare better. When you know you are on your own, you do what needs to be done and you do not finger point. Memorial was waiting for the bailout and when it did not come, chaos pursued.

In the epilogue, you will see that many hospitals have not learned from this disaster. Medical professionals do the best with what they have – but what if they do not have enough and full rescue is five days away.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Sycamore Row

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Sycamore Row
Author: John Grisham
Publisher: Doubleday (October 22nd 2013)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 462
Genre: Fiction


A sequel to A Time to Kill.

Jake Brigance once again finds himself embroiled in a fiercely controversial trial-a trial that will expose old racial tensions and force Ford County to confront its tortured history.

Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier.

The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

First Chapter First Paragraph - Ghost Gone Wild

Title: Ghost Gone Wild
Author: Carolyn Hart
Publisher: Berkley  (Oct 1, 2013)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 307
Genre: Paranormal Fiction
Series: Bailey Ruth #4

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Chapter 1

I passed Julia Child’s kitchen and breathed deeply. The aromas were Heavenly. Julia still loves butter. I was in a rambling mood on another golden day in paradise. As my thoughts flitted, so did my presence. Heaven makes joyful pursuits quite easy. If I envisioned a place or activity, I am there, everything from white-water rafting to a romantic tango in the moonlight. When I murmur, “Come dance with me,” to Bobby Mac, we move in unison to the pulsing music, his hand warm against my back. I savor the beat and Bobby Mac and my filmy dress of sea green chiffon. Bobby Mac is gorgeous in a white Guayabera shirt and black trousers, quite a change from his usual cream polo and khaki shorts when fishing from Serendipity or his blue work shirt and Levi’s when out on a oil rig. As we say in Adelaide, he cleans up real nice.

Do I sense bewilderment? Heaven? Julia Child’s kitchen? A tango in the moonlight? Adelaide? Oh yes, all of that and more. If we haven’t met before, I’ll introduce myself. I am Bailey Ruth Raeburn, late of Adelaide, Oklahoma. Bobby Mac and I arrive in Heaven when our cabin cruiser, the faithful Serendipity, sank during a storm in the Gulf. Bobby Mac has been my man ever since high school, when he was a darkly handsome senior and I was a redheaded sophomore. We live a happy life, which has only been better since arriving in Heaven.


Bailey Ruth loves to return to earth as an emissary from Heaven’s Department of Good Intentions. Problem is, she’s a bit of a loose cannon as far as ghosts go—forgetting to remain invisible, alarming earthly creatures—so she’s far from the top of department head Wiggins’s go-to list for assignments.

That’s why she’s surprised when the Heaven-sent Rescue Express drops her off at a frame house on the outskirts of her old hometown, Adelaide, Oklahoma, where a young man is playing the drums. What kind of rescuing does he need—drum lessons? But when a window cracks and a rifle barrel is thrust inside, only Bailey Ruth’s hasty intervention saves Nick Magruder from taking a bullet. When she materializes to reassure him, she finds she can’t go back to vanishing. What gives?

It turns out she’s been tricked by Nick’s late aunt—Delilah Delahunt Duvall—to come to the young man’s rescue, which means she isn’t back on earth in service of the department. Wiggins has no idea where she is—and now she may be trapped in Adelaide forever. Unless she can help Aunt Dee snare the person who wants her nephew dead…

Friday, October 11, 2013

Review - So Damn Lucky

Title: So Damn Lucky
Author: Deborah Coonts
Publisher: Forge Books, Pgs 384
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Fiction
Series: Lucky O'Toole Las Vegas Adventures #3

I think I liked this book solely because I loved the previous books in the series.

There were two main plotlines. The Lucky and Teddie relationship and the convoluted twisty magician-alien-Area 51 thing. I am still confused on who was who when it came to the magicians and repeatedly my eyes glazed over when I was trying to remember their exact place in the story.

Zewicki, Danilov, Carl, Jenkins, Griffin, Mortimer, Marik and Fortunoff. Just to name a few. Which do not include the ongoing characters from the previous books.

This is a series that you have to read from the beginning to keep all the usual players in line and to understand their interactions.

Lucky O’Toole is the head of Customer Relations of the Babylon resort in Las Vegas. On a daily basis she has to handle all the usual craziness that tourist bring to her town and to her hotel specifically.

Teddie, a heterosexual female impersonator, is Lucky’s lover but their relationship is on the fritz since he has decided to follow his dream and leave Lucky at home alone. Her mother Mona, the madam of the local bordello is pregnant, the father - the same man that is Lucky’s father even though that needs to be kept hush-hush for business reasons.

Now add in the suave men waiting in the wings for Lucky to make up her mind---


Let me get back to the twisty plot –

Trying to duplicate Houdini’s final act, Dimitri Fortunoff appears to become a victim of the same result, but when his body disappears, Lucky is determined to find out what happened. All this coinciding on the same weekend that UFO enthusiasts descend on the Babylon.

Little did she know that when magicians, psychics, and alien hunters all appear together things are not going to end well. It is up to Lucky to get to the bottom of all this in time for the weekend finale cumulating in the famous Houdini séance on Halloween night.

Only Lucky and her hotel family can get to the bottom of this with only a couple bullet creases and black eyes amongst them.

I really enjoy this series. It is sexy and it is funny. Just the way you think Las Vegas should be.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review - Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Title: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Author: Alan Bradley
Publisher: Delacorte Press (April 28th 2009)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 374
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Library
Series: Flavia de Luce #1

I did not mesh well with this book. Was Flavia de Luce an annoying 11-year-old or was she really a 35-year-old college chemistry professor in disguise? Did this book take place in 1950 or 1850? Are adults really dumber than a child? This book just annoyed me from beginning to end.

Flavia is the youngest of three girls born into assumed wealth in an English village named Bishop’s Lacey. Having too much time on her hands, since it appears that neither she nor her sisters attend school, she has developed quite an impressive knowledge of chemistry with a specialty in poisons.

When their housekeeper / cook finds a dead jacksnipe (I think this is a blackbird) with a stamp impaled on its bill on the back steps, Flavia is fascinated. Later when she hears her father arguing with a red haired stranger that later turns up dead in their cucumber patch, Flavia breaks out her imagination and chemistry knowledge to solve the two crimes.

The reader is going to have to take a deep breath when they open this book. Stamp collectors, illusionists, memory loss, hallucinations, post traumatic stress disorder, boarding school, headmaster, apparent suicide, political intrigue, Ulster Avenger stamps, theft, blackmail, and murder. As you can see there is a great deal going on in this book.

What distracted me the most was that I kept question the time period. The characters used such Victorian language that I had to keep reminding my self of the year. For instance, in 1950 did they use the term “looking glass” or did they say mirror? Just as important to me, even if a child had their own chemistry lab complete with Bunsen burners, would they know all that Flavia appeared to know?

Definitely, not the right series for me. I am glad that I finally read the first in the series so I can now say without a doubt, the next time someone tells me that I should checkout this series, “no, thank you”.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Seven Deadlies

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Seven Deadlies: A Cautionary Tale
Author: Gigi Levangie Grazer
Publisher: Blue Rider Press (October 17th 2013)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 256
Genre: Fiction


A witty and wildly different novel set amid the sinful reaches of Beverly Hills, narrated by a captivating, gimlet-eyed Mexican-American heroine.

Perry Gonzalez is not like the other kids in her Beverly Hills high school—a full-blooded Latina on a scholarship, living in a tiny apartment with her mother, she doesn’t have much in common with the spoiled, privileged kids who are chauffeured to school every morning. But Perry is a budding young writer with her sights set on Bennington—and her seven deadly stories are her ticket to the Ivory Tower. To pay her way, Perry’s been babysitting (correction: teenage-sitting) and tutoring the neighborhood kids, and she has seen the dark side of adolescence: lust for the “Judas Brothers” that leads to electrocution at a private birthday party concert; wrath that inspires new and perverse family bonds; and greed, in a young Bernie Madoff acolyte who conceives of a copycat Ponzi scheme involving his own grandmother.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Weekend Movies - The Last Station and Young Victoria

The Last Station

Helen Mirren
Christopher Plummer
Paul Giamatti
Anne-Marie Duff
James McAvoy


Netflix Summary:

Set during the last year of Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy's life, this biopic explores the fractious relationship between Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer) and his wife (Helen Mirren), as he embraces a life of asceticism. Paul Giamatti co-stars as impassioned Tolstoy devotee Vladimir Chertkov, with James McAvoy playing the aging writer's assistant, Valentin, who is caught in the middle of various struggles.

I enjoyed this movie more that I thought I would.  I knew very little of the time period and the people but was fascinated by the interpersonal relationships and the drama that was at the center of  Sofya's and Tolstoy's lives. 

Also didn't know that Tolstoy launched an anti-materialist movement - funny what you learn by watching movies.

The Young Victoria

Emily Blunt
Rupert Friend
Paul Bettany
Miranda Richardson


Netflix Summary:

Eighteen-year-old British royal Victoria ascends to the throne and is romanced by future husband Prince Albert in this lush period film that chronicles the early years of the British monarch's larger-than-life reign.

I love the atmosphere of this movie.  I loved seeing the strength of a young woman that had been very sheltered and the devotion that she had to the true love of her life. 

They lead their country as a united team and after his very young death, Queen Victoria continued to layout his clothing until the day that she died.  That was the most heartbreaking part of the movie.  To know that her love for him knew no end.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Review - The Apple Orchard Riddle

Title: The Apple Orchard Riddle
Author: Margaret McNamara
Illustrator: G. Brian Karas
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (July 9, 2013)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 40
Genre: Children’s
Source: Library
Ages: 4 – 8; Preschool to 3rd

I love when books can teach a lesson. Not just character building but occasionally you come across a book that includes a little more thought and maybe a little science too.

Mr. Tiffin is taking his class on a field trip to an apple orchard. He has tasked his class with solving a riddle, “Show me a little red house with no windows and no door, but with a star inside”.

As the young class learns about apples varieties and picking and then later on to pressing and cider making, Tara is deep in thought. The classroom daydreamer that seems to try the patience of the overachievers, Tara has taken Mr. Tiffin’s riddle to heart and with each new experience, she is turning over Mr. Tiffin’s words until she has solved the riddle.

This is a great book for teachers to add to their shelves. Each fall as they head back to school and ponder how to incorporate science and art, they can read this book and then have the students make apple prints to show off the stars.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Review - Bellman and Black

Title: Bellman and Black: A Novel
Author: Diane Setterfield
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books (November 5, 2013)
Format: eBook; Hardcover Pgs 336
Genre: Gothic
Source: NetGalley

I am of two minds with this book. It is not my usual genre of choice so I went into it with a relatively open mind. The book captivated me in the beginning, bored me in the middle and enthralled me at the end.

What started as a boyhood dare to knock a rook from a tree, turned into a life long run from the man in black. Bellman did not associate the two in the beginning, but as one thing lead to another, Mr. Black would appear to him from time to time and in the end, Mr. Bellman had made his bargain. In order to save everything he had built, he would enter into a business deal with the proposed devil himself.

Yet, that part is conjecture and up to the reader to decide. No one sees Mr. Black, no one has ever spoken to him, yet he is very real in the mind of Mr. Bellman. In a way, it is very much a “he who should not be named” scenario. Mr. Bellman has given this entity power, he is fearful of the consequences if he does not give it all away to the man that has never asked for anything.

This would be a great book for a reading group to dissect. There are many turning points and many views that the reader could walk away with.

As I said, I am of two minds, is this a book of greed or a book of love. A book that shows us that even a forgotten action can have deep consequences or a book that shows that no matter how hard you work to provide for others that there is always someone or something that can take it away. What promises will we make to prevent it all from disappearing?

The more I ponder these questions, the more I realize how much I liked the ending of this book. It is up to the reader to make the final decisions.

The one question that I do have, who or what became of his daughter Dora? Her appearance began to change at the end. Did she become what her father feared the most?

A curious question that will be up to me to decide.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review - Dead in the Family

Title: Dead in the Family
Author: Charlaine Harris
Publisher: Ace Books (May 2010)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 311
Genre: Paranormal
Source: Library
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #10

I like when an author takes a breather in a series. When they stop and redefine and realign their characters. Sometimes when they move to far afield I lose characters and then later on wonder what happened.

The main theme of this book is family problems. Seems that since Sookie is still recovering from the torture she received from the evil fairies in the last book, she is not quite ready to go and search out new problems. So why not stay home and let crazy come to her.

This time, the foolishness begins with Eric’s maker, Appius Livius Ocella showing up with his newest protégée, technically Eric’s brother, sending both Eric and Pam into a tizzy. This is strange and powerful man seems to have set off a firestorm when the young man, Alexei reveals who he really is. That is was, before he was turned.

Bill is still suffering from silver poisoning and Sookie, using Sookie logic, seeks the only person that can help Bill recover. This will open up a completely new character and I am not quite sure which direction this could take.

The government is still close on Sookie’s tail and it does not help that a body has been discovered on her property and it is not the one that they already knew about.

Sookie is still in a love hate relationship with some fairies and since the doorway to the fairy world has been closed, she fears that she will never see or hear from her grandfather again. That is until she finds that some of the fairies are still on this side including her cousin and maybe one or two that she would like to disappear forever.

The readers gets to see a little more of one of my favorite characters, Hunter the six year old son of Sookie’s cousin Hadley, who is a telepath. Sookie is trying to help this young boy to understand his talent and how to control it. Not an easy thing when an innocent child thinks that he is helping.

By the end of the book, there is a complete bloodbath and you have to follow along as to who is killing who and why. You pretty much need one of those football white boards with x’s and o’s to follow the players.

Overall, I think it was one of my favorite books in the series. There is something about the fairies that I like. I know that they might be evil maniacal beings, but let’s face it, anything that can be warded off with a squirt gun full of lemon juice cannot be all that bad.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Practice to Deceive

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Practice to Deceive
Author: Ann Rule
Publisher: Gallery Books (October 8, 2013))
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 352
Genre: True Crime


In her first book-length investigative chronicle since In the Still of the Night, Rule unravels a shattering case of Christmastime murder off the coast of Washington State.

Nestled in Puget Sound, Whidbey Island is a gem of the Pacific Northwest; accessible only by ferry and the soaring Deception Pass Bridge, it is known for its artistic communities and stunning natural beauty. Life there is low-key, insular, and the island’s year-round residents tend to know one another’s business. But when the blood drenched body of Russel Douglas was discovered the day after Christmas in his SUV in a hidden driveway near Whidbey’s most exclusive mansions, the whole island was shocked. A single bullet between his eyes was the cause of death, but no one could imagine who among them could plot such a devious, cold-blooded crime. At first, police suspected suicide, tragically common at the height of the holiday season. But when they found no gun in or near the SUV, Russel’s manner of death became homicide. Like a cast of characters from a classic mystery novel, a host of Whidbey residents fell under suspicion.

Brenna Douglas was Russel’s estranged and soon-to-be-ex wife, who allowed him to come home for a Christmas visit with their children. The couple owned the popular Just B’s salon. Brenna’s good friend Peggy Sue Thomas worked there, and Brenna complained often to her that Russel was physically and emotionally abusive. Peggy Sue’s own life has been one of extremes. Married three times, hers is a rags-to-riches-and-back-again tale in which she’s played many roles: aircraft mechanic, basketball coach, the “drop-dead gorgeous” beauty queen as a former Ms. Washington, Las Vegas limousine driver, million-dollar horse breeder, wealthy divorcée. But in 2003, her love affair with married guitarist Jim Huden led the two Whidbey Island natives to pursue their ultimate dreams of wealth and privilege—even at the expense of human life.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

First Chapter First Paragraph

Title: So Damn Lucky
Author: Deborah Coonts
Publisher: Forge Books, Pgs 384
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Fiction
Series: Lucky O'Toole Las Vegas Adventures #3

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Chapter 1

Some things in life are best savored alone—sex is not one of them.

This happy thought occurred to me while piloting a borrowed Ferrari and staring at the smiling couples filling the sidewalks along the Las Vegas Strip. Walking hand-in-hand, they were living, breathing reminders of the sorry state of my own love life.

"Lady! Watch out!"

I heard the shout in the nick of time. Slamming on the brakes, I narrowly avoided sliding the front end of the Ferrari under a tour bus. A sea of Japanese faces appeared like moons in the back window, peering down at me. Then cameras blocked the faces, flashbulbs popping as I shrugged and waved while trying to appear unruffled.


While performing his final trick at the performance marking the end of a forty-year run of one of Las Vegas' most renowned burlesque shows, magician Dimitri Fortunoff appears to have a fatal accident. Then, when his body disappears, the questions mount for Lucky O'Toole, head of Customer Relations for the Babylon resort, the crown jewel of the mega-resorts dotting the Las Vegas Strip. And the timing couldn't be worse. Her live-in lover, Teddie, has morphed into a rock star and been swallowed whole by life on the road. Her mother, Mona, pregnant, petulant, and perpetually under foot is giving new meaning to the term 'high maintenance.' Paxton Dane, a handsome Texan long on charisma and short on history, is forcing himself into the void of Teddie's absence, and a suave French chef is proving to be equal parts charm and venom, seasoned with a dash of irresistible.

But Lucky can't shake the question: Did Dimitri Fortunoff really die or is this an elaborate hoax? UFO conventioneers and high-ranking magicians fill her hotel and she turns to some of them for answers: Zoom-Zoom Zewicki, a retired astronaut with an agenda all his own, Crazy Carl Colson, a psychic clinging to the edge of sanity, Marik Kovalenko, a smoldering internationally renowned magician, The Great Tursinov, a famed mentalist, Bart Griffin, late-night talk show host, and Junior Arbogast, professional cynic and hoax exposer.

The trail leads her through the miles of storm culverts under the city of Las Vegas, to the hordes of believers who gather at Rachel for a glimpse of a UFO, to hints of secret programs at Area 51, then culminates on the catwalk above the crowd attending the annual Harry Houdini Séance on Halloween, where Lucky must risk her life to catch a killer.