Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Medical Examiner

Title: The Medical Examiner
Author: ****
Published: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Format: Paperback, 144 pages
Genre: Suspense
Series: Women's Murder Club #16.5

When it comes to writing a novella, it should not be too hard to keep facts straight. Was Joan Murphy missing 24 or 48 hours? How can a person pop over to San Bernardino from San Francisco for a notification when that would involve a one-way jaunt of over 6 hours? Little things like this drive me batty when it comes to a Patterson book.

I am used to this author just throwing stuff in with no apparent thought and trying for sensationalism when it comes to the backgrounds of characters, but this book was silly. Two people found dead in a hotel room, one may not have been so dead after all, a person missing 24 or was it 48 hours, a love triangle or was it a convenience with an extra person, PTSD and bullets flying.

Once again, it is all on me that I chose to pick up this book. The only redeeming quality is that Claire Washburn makes more than a passing appearance, which I enjoyed since she is the one character from the Women’s Murder Club that is given too little attention.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Education of a Coroner

Title: The Education of a Coroner
Author: John Bateson
Published: August 15th 2017 by Scribner
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 368 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
I am actually surprised as to how much I enjoyed this book. The beginning is a bit dull and I found myself skimming parts, but once I got into the actual findings and how the investigators were able to dig through the obvious to the actual, the book took a surprising turn for me.

John Bateson takes his time interviewing Ken Holmes and recounting his thirty-six year career at the Marin County Coroner’s Office starting as a death investigator and ending as the three-term, elected coroner. There are actual case studies, but there is no gruesome gore. In his career, Holmes focused on the family members. He emphasizes how important the job of coroner is when it comes to working with people compared to police investigators who are only looking at the facts of a homicides and do not take time with outward appearing suicides. Sometimes you do not know what you have until all the details are examined. How all the pieces may not become known until decades later, but a focused coroner investigator is always on the lookout for the parts that make up the whole.

Granted, this reads more like a memoir where Ken Holmes only recounts the “saves” in his long career, and recounts the “if it was not for me” stories, but such is life. He has a fulfilling career and it was interesting to see it from an insider’s perspective.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Seeing Red

Title: Seeing Red
Author: Sandra Brown
Expected Publication Date: August 15th 2017 by Grand Central Publishing
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 432 pages
Genre: Thriller
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
This is one of those books that you did not want to see end. Though the story was concluded, you did not want to let go of the suspense and intrigue that Sandra Brown had built. Just as one part was winding down, you found yourself breathless as a new revelation reared its head and the characters were either exposed for who or what they were or a wild conclusion that you had jumped to on your own had come to pass.

Billed as a sexy romantic thriller, I did not really see the romantic side, I saw raw unbridled passion between two characters that had too much too lose if the story that they were chasing went anymore sideways than it already had.

Lives changed the morning of the 1992 bombing of the Pegasus Hotel where 192 people died and one man, Maj. Franklin Trapper, became an instant hero. Being forced to live in his famous father’s shadow has been nothing but torment for his son John. There were things about the bombing that never sat right with him so when he became an ATF agent, he took on the Pegasus case as his own personal crusade. Little did he know, but that was going to be his downfall and the one thing that would cause a permanent wedge between father and son.

In walks the brash and beautiful TV reporter Kerra Bailey. With the anniversary of the bombing quickly approaching, she wants an interview with the now reclusive Major. With every door slammed in her face, she searches out John. This is her last chance to come face to face with the Major and get her life-changing interview if only John would make that first introduction.

There are people that do not want this interview to take place. The mere fact that these two individuals coming together and comparing notes could destroy what others had built their careers on. Within an hour of the interview, bullets are flying with Kerra barely escaping two would-be killers and the Major clinging to life.

At points, were the story is running out of steam, there are revelations and twists exposed that leaves the reader gasping and holding the book tighter in a mad race to the end. Once you pick up this book, I certainly hope that you do not have plans for the next day or two since you will not be putting this down until the true puppet-master is revealed.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Murder on the Thames

Title: Murder on the Thames
Author: Matthew Costello and Neil Richards
Published: December 19th 2013 by Bastei Entertainment
Format: eBook, 119 pages
Genre: Short Story Mystery
Series: Cherringham Crime Series #1

Short stories are not easy to write, yet the writing team of Matthew Costello and Neil Richards did an excellent job.

Former NYPD homicide detective Jack Brennan has retired to Cherringham hoping for a quiet life on a boat after the death of his wife. Sarah Edwards has just returned to Cherringham, a quiet town in the Cotswolds, from London after the collapse of her marriage. When a woman’s body is found in the river, Sarah needs help in finding answers since the local police consider it an open and shut case.

Sammi Jackson and Sarah had been friends before they had both gone in different directions, though they had chosen different paths, Sarah does not want to let her friend down. With the help of Jack, whom has grown quite board and listless, the two set off to find the answers that the police do not want to look for.

This is the first installment of the Cherringham Crime Series and I have to say that I am hooked. The authors do not talk down to their readers and just enough is laid out so the reader is not left in the dark or conclusions are jumped to without enough backstory.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Lavender House

Title: The Lavender House
Author: Hilary Boyd
Published: August 8, 2017 by Quercus
Format: eBook, Paperback 432 pages
Genre: Romance
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

I enjoy Hilary Boyd’s books; they are more along the lines of mature romances instead of the sweaty sheet books that are too prevalent in this genre.

Love hurts no matter what your age and unfortunately, fate is not yet finished with Nancy de Freitas. Having given up her own music career when she married, Nancy now finds herself alone when Christopher walks out after thirty-four years. Four years later, she is all that is holding her small family together. Her ailing mother Frances refuses to get the medical treatment that she needs, her daughter Louise is in a troubled marriage to a man that cannot see beyond his own dreams to understand that his family is suffering. And two adorable granddaughters that are of the age where they can both see and need to be sheltered from the dynamics surrounding them.

Taking an evening for herself, Nancy is introduced to Jim, a pseudo successful, but past his prime, country singer. There is a spark, but Nancy knows that she has more pressing responsibilities at home then starting up with a man that may not be completely honest when it comes to his current situation.

Yet she cannot get this man off her mind. This may be her last chance at not being alone, that is until fate once again steps in. Does she choose Jim and the new life that he has to offer or does she stay firmly within her comfort zone and resign herself to the needs of her family.

That is what I like about Hilary Boyd – she writes realistic characters. We can feel Nancy’s pain and confusion and we can understand why Jim is not willing to let go. We find ourselves constantly preaching to and cheering on this couple and it is not until the last pages that we can finally exhale and hope that destiny has finally connected this couple.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Chapter and Hearse

Title: Chapter and Hearse
Author: Lorna Barrett
Published: August 3rd 2010 by Berkley Prime Crime
Format: Paperback, 326 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Booktown Mystery #4

This is one of those series that I continue reading with no real reason why. I guess it is because I love the idea of a town centered on bookstores that each specialize in a different genre and with a murder or two thrown in to keep things interesting.

When a gas explosion kills the owner of the history bookstore ‘History Repeats Itself’, Tricia Mills, owner of the mystery bookstore, ‘Haven’t Got a Clue’, must spring into action before her sister Angelica’s boyfriend is accused of the crime. It is not as if Tricia has any free time since she is responsible for two bookshops since Angelica is on a book tour with her cookbook and it appears that she herself is having a bit of trouble. There is curious tampering and downright acts of violence that are following Angelica and not wanting to upset Tricia, she leaves this information out of their conversations. With Angelica’s boyfriend not talking about what he knows, Tricia is left to investigate on her own and hopefully, she will find the answers before the next plot twist sends the reader down a weedy path.

With recurring characters, this is an easy series to pick up and put down. A perfect summer read where you do not have to concentrate too deeply and from time to time just the right amount of humor.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Better Late Than Never

Title: Better Late Than Never
Author: Jenn McKinlay
Published: November 1st 2016 by Berkley
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystr
Series: Library Lover's Mystery #7

Like the previous book in the Mystery Lover's series, “A Likely Story”, Jenn McKinlay needs to stop using the word “said” (forty six times in the first chapter) every time one of her characters is speaking. Not only is it annoying, is it distracting and downright maddening.

Who knew that holding an amnesty day for overdue books at Briar Creek Library would open a twenty-year-old unsolved murder mystery, but that is exactly what happened. Lindsay Norris, director of the library, once again involves herself when she cannot let sleeping dogs lie and is determined to find who could have possibly returned the book that was last checked out by the murder victim.

Convinced that the murderer must have dropped off the book, Lindsay delves into the decades old mystery to find justice for the much loved high school English teacher Candice Whitely. What she did not realize was how many lives this woman touched and the unsubstantiated rumors that were flying around about her. As the story is revealed, with the meddlesome help of returning character Robbie Vine, Lindsay not only solves the mystery, but also clears a young woman’s name.

There were a couple of good parts to this book, some unexpected humor and a twist or two, unfortunately they were overshadowed by word repetition and the need to hide a budding romance between two unencumbered grown adults.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

May the Best Man Die

Title: May the Best Man Die
Author: Deborah Donnelly
Published: September 30th 2003 by Dell
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Genre: Mystery
Series: Carnegie Kincaid #3

Carnegie Kincaid, a Seattle based wedding planner, is not in the mood for a last minute call to a stag party, but when funds are running low she will do what she needs to do to keep a bridezilla, and her wealthy mother happy, and her business afloat. Ok, that is a play on words since her business in run out of a houseboat when it is not being quarantined over repairs.

You would think that keeping two holiday weddings on track would be the most difficult parts of Carnegie’s life, but you would be wrong. The whole idea of juggling brides, grooms, family members, florists, caterers and a whole flux of details straight pales in comparison to juggling two men and a couple of dead bodies.

It does not help that she is a pseudo witness when she peers through binoculars and sees a fight breakout between two guests, but when one is found in the canal the next morning and the other is the brother of her best friend, things heat up quickly.

Add in a corporate merger that has way too many twisty parts and an ending that seems pulled out of nowhere and you have the third book in the Carnegie Kincaid series. This is an older series that I had started years ago and had forgotten about. There are parts that stand the test of time, but other parts that did not age well. Since this book is the midway point in the series, I will trudge on when I can, but I will not be rushing for the next book.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Killer Party

Title: Killer Party
Author: Lynn Cahoon
Expected Publication: July 18th 2017 by Lyrical Underground
Format: eBook
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: A Tourist Trap Mystery #9

This series is definitely growing on me. I know that most people would not wait until the ninth book in a series to reach this conclusion, but I do believe that this just might be the best book in the series.

South Cove, on the California coast, is a tourist stopping off spot that houses a unique combination of shops and eateries. When she is not serving up coffee or enticing readers with new book releases, Jill Gardener, the owner of Coffee, Books and More, tends to get involved in local murders, which is a touchy point between Jill and her boyfriend, local detective Greg King, since Jill seems to have a better track record when it comes to solving crime.

Levi Walker, tech millionaire and best childhood friend of Greg, is hosting a friend’s weekend at The Castle, a local historical spot in South Cove. After a night of drinking and old wounds opened by the group, a body is found floating in the pool and since Greg is a little too close to this crowd, he asks Jill to do a little sleuthing on the side and get to the bottom of this latest murder.

The book follows one main storyline with a few added bits and parts tossed in along the way. The high school friends are an interesting sort with their own drama, Aunt Jackie is hauling around a five pound binder of wedding plans, Amy and Justin decide on an engagement party, there is a new shop in town, and Jill is trying to offload her responsibilities when it comes to who will represent CBM at the next planning meeting for the upcoming winter festival in South Cove.

There had better be another book in this series since this one ended with a shocking announcement by Aunt Jackie and though Jill wants answers, she is going to pull a Scarlet O’Hara and just deal with it tomorrow. Not sure what Jackie’s announcement is going to be, but I do know, Jill will be in for another adventure and this time, she might be wearing an elf costume.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Driving Miss Norma

Title: Driving Miss Norma: One Family's Journey Saying "Yes" to Living
Author: Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle
Published: May 2nd 2017 by HarperOne
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
Genre: Memoir

This is a hard one for me. I love what Norma’s son and daughter-in-law did for her, but throughout the book, I kept wondering if Ramie knew what a weak man that she was married to. That if anything happened to her, her husband Tim would not be able to take care of her. I have never read a memoir where a grown man would willingly tell his readers that he was too afraid of the world knowing his name, or having to leave a room when a bandage was needed. A man that left it up to his wife to be the caregiver to his own mother that he himself should have been. He came across as a very selfish child and I feel that he distracted from the story that was being told.

After the death of her husband, nonagenarian Norma received her own cancer diagnosis. When given the treatment options, of which none sounded appealing, she weighed her options and decides to hit the road with Tim and Ramie -- which is a good thing since I wonder if her son would have left her in a care facility so he could return to his own self-indulgent nomadic lifestyle. Together, this band of three plus a dog, hit the road to embark on a yearlong adventure.

From the accounts relayed, it sounded as if Norma was kept cloistered by an overbearing husband and when the opportunity to see and experience parts of the US, that she had only dreamed of, she took hold and in doing so, would slowly come out of her shell and live the life that was denied her.

There is laughter and optimism in this book, there are times when I wanted to shake a selfish man and hug a daughter-in-law. Ramie was tested in ways that she was not prepared for, yet took on so she could give a woman that she had grown to love, the final days that she deserved. This was also a healing trip for Norma, she never spoke about the death of her only daughter until she met a woman on her journey that had also lost a child and realized that sometimes people are put in your life to help you to heal and that is what both this woman and this journey did for Norma.

That is the part that I am going to focus on. I am not going to count the number of times that Tim spoke about himself or lamented that his privacy was invaded (yet he did not have a problem when he was the center of attention or free accommodations were given to them). I am going to remember Norma as a person that was finally able to live her moments and to meet and share her story with the people that would carry her to final days with a smile on her face.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But the Pool

Title: I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But the Pool
Author: Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella
Published: July 11th 2017 by St. Martin's Press
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 320 pages
Genre: Humorous Essays
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

Every summer I look forward to the publication of their essays, but this time, it is bittersweet. In previous years, I would pop the audio into the car and listen as I took my daughter to check out colleges or to drop her off for the upcoming semester. She has now graduated and our mother daughter time listening to this mother daughter team has come to an end.

Now I am not going to get weepy over life changes, I have been doing that for the last couple of months, what I am going to do is celebrate that I have wonderful memories and as each new compilation comes out, I will remember our trips.

Each year Lisa’s essays talk to me in a different way, sorry Francesca, but your essays make me glad that I am not thirty anymore. Even though Lisa does comment on the aches and pains of aging, I would not trade them for the aches and pains of discovering who I am.

This is one of those books that you do not want to read in public, not that the cover would embarrass you, but because you will suddenly burst into uncontrollable laughter -- namely her essay on pot. That had me laughing so hard that I had to reread it again the next day to laugh some more.

Thank you ladies for a wonderfully enjoyable book and lasting memories.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Silent Corner

Title: The Silent Corner
Author: Dean Koontz
Published: June 20th 2017 by Bantam
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 464 pages
Genre: Suspense
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Jane Hawk #1

Dean Koontz loves his words and in the beginning, I was hoping for an abridged version since this book starts out a bit too wordy for my taste. A tad overly descriptive and in parts repetitive, but once the reader reaches part three and gets into the flow, the book just opens up and you find it hard to put down. I am not going to say that “The Silent Corner” is in equal running with vintage Koontz, but this book does come close.

Not a usual reader of tech/sci-fi, I am a bit out of my element when it comes to describing rogue FBI Agent Jane Hawk who after discovering a surge in suicides, including that of her highly decorated Marine husband, sets out to right the wrongs of a conspiracy that reaches the highest echelons of the technology world.

Nano brain implants are injected into those that this particular unnamed group has deemed either unnecessary or are needed to perform services for a wealthy select few. A mind-controlled group that will perform without question, or if necessary, end their own lives.

Jane is staying off grid, she has left her son in the hands of the only people that she trusts, but even with that, she knows that decisions are going to be made that will affect them all. With the help of an interesting character with access to interesting toys, Jane and Dougal head out to make a grand entrance and hopefully make a dent into this empire without having to leave her Silent Corner, that place in the world where a person can live off grid, but still be able to use the benefits of the internet.

Though this book ends, Jane’s story does not. I do not know how many installments are planned (I see that Dean is currently writing book number 3) for Jane, but with such a far-reaching conspiracy unfolding, this tough and uncompromising woman will have many either fearing her or cheering her on.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Down A Dark Road

Title: Down a Dark Road
Author: Linda Castillo
Expected Publication: July 11th 2017 by Minotaur Books
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 320 pages
Genre: Police Procedural / Suspense
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Kate Burkholder #9

This book was a disappointment. If it were not for the previous eight books that I could not put down, I would have given up early on. It was not until three quarters of the way through that things got interesting. Usually there are multiple plotlines in a Castillo book, but other than a brief mention of a call to graffiti on a bridge, ‘Down a Dark Road’ concentrated on a single straight line to a mediocre end.

Kate Burkholder knew that one day she would get a call that would hit too close to home. She grew up Amish and now she is the police chief of Painters Mill, the same area where she played in the creek and picked berries as a child. Now she must separate her childhood memories of Joseph King, the boy next door with the man that broke out of prison where he was serving a life sentence for killing his wife.

Kate becomes his unwilling hostage yet that is not how she is viewed. There is too much history and with a photo that could have multiple meanings, Kate is not only frantically searching for the truth, but she is also trying desperately to keep her job.

The story boils down to secrets and what a precocious 3-year-old saw. Kate will not give up, she made a promise to Sadie before she realized how deep this murder investigation went and who, in the surrounding areas of Ohio, are responsible for a cover-up.

For me, this book would have been much better if they had cut out most of the first third of this book and continued where it had ended. There would have been more “meat” to the story if she had continued with the conspiracy and brought the real criminal to justice.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

An East End Murder

Title: An East End Murder
Author: Charles Finch
Published: November 15th 2011 by Minotaur Books
Format: Kindle Edition, 32 pages
Genre: Mystery
Series: Charles Lenox Mysteries #4.5

This quick novella can easily be skipped since there is no forward momentum within the series and just another way of teasing the reader into reading the included first chapter of the next book in the series.

It appears the constable’s first call is to Charles Lenox when a local man is found strangled and an interesting twist in the story appears on the back of the man’s neck in the shape of initials. Charles is out of his element in this seedier part of town, but there is something interesting going on and it is not until Charles tracks down Phil Jigg’s lodgings and sees an orphanage on site that helps him to put the pieces together.

Unless you need to fill in an hour, I would say to skip it and just move onto the next book “A Burial at Sea”.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Night She Died

Title: The Night She Died
Author: Dorothy Simpson
Published: Re-Release - June 6th 2017 by Open Road Media Mystery Thriller
Format: eBook, Paperback 208 pages
Genre: Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Inspector Thanet #1

This was a reread for me, about nine years ago I had read it and enjoyed it. This weekend, I tried again and by the time I was half way through, I could not bear it any longer and jumped to the end to see who had murdered Julie Holmes. I would have thought that some parts of the book would have seemed familiar, but I could not pull any part of this book from my memory.

This is the first book in the Inspector Thanet series which find Mrs. Julie Holmes dead in the entryway of her home from a single stab wound. Told in a back and forth, with a little bit of sideways thrown in, manner, Thanet and his sidekick Lineham, interview suspect after suspect, coworkers, neighbors and even people from Julie’s past where it was discovered that as a child, she was a witness to the never solved murder of her caregiver.

By the time that I had jumped to the ending to see who was guilty, there was no surprise, this person had stood out in the beginning as being a bit stand-off’ish and when Thanet finally pulled the pieces together, those that were not thoroughly farfetched, rounded out the story.

Originally published in 1981, this book reads as if it was much older and just does not hold the interest that I had remembered from my first reading.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Aunt Dimity and the Widow's Curse

Title: Aunt Dimity and the Widow's Curse
Author: Nancy Atherton
Published: May 30th 2017 by Viking
Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
Genre: Mystery
Series: Aunt Dimity Mystery #22

Though the Aunt Dimity books are short and very hit or miss for me, I am glad to say that this book was better than most and packs a very interesting story.

Lori Shepard will admit to anyone that will listen that she is gullible. She tries to accept everyone at face value so when Mrs. Annabelle Craven, a long loved village member, admits that she had killed her husband, Lori is both shocked and curious. Not wanting to jump to any conclusions, and with her husband and son’s out of town, Lori grabs Bree Pym and heads out to Old Cowerton to do a bit of investigating on her own.

I know that the premise does not sound too enticing, but Nancy Atherton was able to wind a very interesting “she-said, she-said” story, almost to the point where you cannot figure out who is actually telling the truth. Just understand that old stories and old jealousies die-hard and when you can fit a scenario to your own liking, just about anything is possible.

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Panicked Premonition

Title: A Panicked Premonition
Author: Victoria Laurie
Expected Publicaton: July 4th 2017 by Berkley
Format: eBook, 320 pages
Genre: Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Psychic Eye Mysteries #15

I love it when I am reading a mystery and begin to have my own “but what about” questions and then one by one the author answers them. “It’s like she gets me” (ok, you will have to read the book to get that reference).

This is a unique series in that fourteen or so books back this was a cozy mystery series and within time, they have shifted more to a regular mystery with parts and subjects that are on the un-cozy side yet you forgive Victoria Laurie because, as a writer, she is growing.

With a twisty plot that involves dear friend Dave and the new panic room business that Dutch and Brice have started, now that Milo is no longer in the picture, things go sideways quickly when there is a double murder at a recent project and Dave is nowhere to be found.

Abby and Candice are the main focus in this book and in between working out, the ladies tend to be going back and forth between their private investigator skills and their being on the FBI payroll. Guess you walk on a very narrow edge when you husbands are with the FBI and they need their girlfriends to solve crimes.

After a few bumpy books in this series, I can say that this is one of the better ones. Not too much is given away early and though the author sends you down a couple of weedy paths, the conclusion makes sense without the reader having to reach too far out to pull in all the pieces.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You That She's Sorry

Title: My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You That She's Sorry
Author: Fredrik Backman
Published: June 16th 2015 by Atria Books
Format: Hardcover, 372 pages
Genre: Fiction

There is nothing more special than a quirky grandmother and her precocious almost 8-year old granddaughter. They are both “different”, but that is what makes their relationship all the more special.

Every night, her grandmother carries Elsa away to the mythical Land-of-Almost-Awake, which has six kingdoms, each with its own power and Elsa knows by heart, including Miamas where everyone is different and no one needs to be normal. What Elsa did not know, was the true meaning behind each character that her grandmother spoke of. All that reality came crashing down on the day that her grandmother died.

Her grandmother was her only true friend, she was bullied at school, but home was her refuge. Her apartment building was full of misfits and with her parents’ divorce and her mother’s remarriage with a “halfie” sibling on the way, Elsa is trying desperately to not only fit in, but to work through her grief. It is not until she is tasked with delivering letters in a kind of treasure hunt. This is where the title of the book comes from and where the reader sees the whole story unfold and how each and every person in the apartment building is there for very surprising reasons and how their stories are revealed in the Land-of-Almost-Awake.

This is a complex tale that needs to be read in large parts so the reader can keep all the relationships together. Every chapter discovers a part that leaves the reader grasping for more. The revelations are boundless and the love that is revealed within the walls of the building that they call home is deeply heart touching and spellbinding.

This is a book that will remain on my shelf so I can return to the Land-of-Almost-Awake and meet up with them again when I need to add more fairytale and imaginings to my life.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Town in a Lobster Stew

Title: Town in a Lobster Stew
Author: B.B. Haywood
Published: February 1st 2011 by Berkley
Format: Paperback, 384 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: A Candy Holliday Mystery #2

The first book in this series was only so-so for me, so I decided to give the second a try. Unfortunately, this is where the series will stop for me. Overly descriptive, overly drawn out and desperately boring to the point of being able to skip entire paragraphs without losing any of the storyline.

Cape Willington, along the Maine coast, is hosting their annual Lobster Stew Cook-off that is apparently a big deal since not only does it come with bragging rights and an entry into “caper” society, but also worth conspiracy and hiding a body over.

When not helping her father at Blueberry Acres or working in the local bakery or making pies at home, Candy Holliday is a community reporter for the hometown newspaper. It was not until a local octogenarian asks for Candy’s help when she notices that Mr. Sedley’s recipe has gone missing and her neighbor cannot be found. On the surface, the two are not linked, but Candy’s instincts go into overdrive when she is asked to judge the local competition and someone has submitted a stew made from the missing recipe.

There is enough shenanigans going on in this town and enough backroom dealings to keep any reporter on their toes and the reader is brought into the entirety of their goings on. Unfortunately, this writing team is determined to overly describe every incident and if you were not paying attention the first time, they will describe it again and if you are still unsure of how a specific character fits in, just hold on for a chapter since they or their occupation will be mentioned again.

By the end of the book, the only interesting character was Captain Mike and unfortunately he has literally sailed off, and with rough choppy waters, no one is sure if he will be seen or heard from again.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

Title: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
Author: Matthew J. Sullivan
Published: June 13th 2017 by Scribner
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Genre: Fiction
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Though other rated this book highly, I did not like it. I found myself putting it down, picking up other books, and then only begrudgingly picking it back up to finish. For me, it read as if the author had no idea what his ending point should be and continued to throw ideas out there in hopes that something would reignite him.

Lydia takes her job as a manager of a community bookstore personally, she has her regular customers and a select few that she calls Bookfrogs that consist mainly of down on their luck, if not homeless, people who spend their days within the stacks.

One evening, around closing time, she hears a banging noise. Turns out that one of her Frogs, Joey Molina, has hung himself. Little did she know that this tragic act would reopen the door into her own tragedy twenty years prior. With his crate of possessions, she discovers messages that he left for her, breadcrumbs really, that not only explains who he really was, but helps her to answer the most troubling questions of her own life.

A dark and twisty story that literally bored me to sleep on numerous occasions. I do not see what all the hype is about, but I am glad that others were able to find in this book what I was not.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Only The Lucky

Title: Only the Lucky
Author: Linda Castillo
Published: May 23rd 2017 by Minotaur Books
Format: eBook, 56 pages
Genre: Police Procedural
Series: Kate Burkholder #8.5

At only 56 pages, this is a quick story that brings you back to Painter’s Mill on Friday the 13th where an Amish “rager” is planned on an eerie abandoned farm and the county is thrown into a complete blackout due to an accident on the highway. There is very little that Police Chief Burkholder can do to stop this party, since permission has been given by the property owner, so when a young girl is found unconscious with a severe head wound Kate and her team enter and quickly to “size up” the “designer” situation.

Linda Castillo does her best to leave the suspect pool open, and though it would be easy to point your finger at an easy suspect, the truth is a bit closer than anyone has originally assumed.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Killing Kate

Title: Killing Kate
Author: Julie Kramer
Published: July 26th 2011 by Atria Books
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Genre: Mystery
Series: Riley Spartz #4

To me, this came across as a lifeless book. Bouncing between two narratives, the reader is either interested in Buddy, a dog that was left in an overheated car by an aggressive owner or a killer that is stalking waitresses in the Midwest.

Riley Spartz, an on air TV personality, is juggling two stories. The public is obsessed with the dog angle, yet a serial killer has met his match in Riley when his latest victim is an unassuming woman that has a secret life as a bestselling writer of erotica. Whereas the dog viewpoint will bring in many readers, it is not until the explosive end to that story where things get interesting. Yet, the dark angel and a family tree of homicidal killers is what kept my interest. Especially when you add in chalk outlines around the bodies in the shape of angels.

The Riley Spartz series is basically a big ball of fluff. There are no deep characters or interesting plot twists. Just straight forward writing that at times is completely skip worthy yet, there is something about Riley that makes me want to read the next book. If only Julie Kramer did not have to give so many camera angel notations. We get that Riley is an on air personality, but telling me what is going on with camera shots during her on air appearances was just annoying.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Bitter Harvest

Title: A Bitter Harvest
Author: Wendy Tyson
Published: March 7th 2017 by Henery Press
Format: Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Greenhouse Mysteries #2

Rural Winsome, located in Eastern Pennsylvania, is preparing for their first Oktoberfest, not all participants are happy about which farm, and more importantly, which craft brewery will be showcased. It is not that this is a competitive thing among the residents, unfortunately, it is more along the lines of favors and who knows whom that has some upset. Things ramp up quickly when first one and then a second body is discovered. Who is behind this and why has Megan Sawyer found an old battered Adirondack chair on Potter Hill angled to watch her property?

Megan is the owner of the Washington Acres Café and Larder in addition to an organic farm, where she lives with her grandmother Bibi, and in the last book, the reader found out that there might be some hidden items of interest located on the property.

With Oktoberfest gearing up and the expected influx of thousands of people over the next week, Megan and the local police chief need to answer a few questions quickly and it is not just about the dead men, but there are other oddities as well, that are confounding them. Dealing with the “human foibles of greed, lust and jealousy” this is a twisty story that had me on a number of occasions going back a bit to remind myself who was who and who was related and who was dating and who was an employee and who was dead. By the end, the dots were connected but not before I was completely confused and wondered what Wendy Tyson’s storyboard must have looked like with dozens of pushpins and connecting strings pointing in multiple directions.

As the book says, “a bunch of disparate facts and no cohesive theory” not only tells of the murders in Winsome, but also perfectly describes this book considering the ulterior motives behind the slayings came completely out of left field.

Monday, June 5, 2017

A Grave Calling

Title: A Grave Calling
Author: Wendy Roberts
Published: June 5th 2017 by Carina Press
Format: ebook
Genre: Paranormal / Police Procedural
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Bodies of Evidence #1

I enjoy Wendy Roberts and though I have wished that her standalone books had continued as series, I am glad to see that Julie Hall and Bodies of Evidence will.

Twenty five year old Julie Hall refers to herself as a corpse magnet ever since, as a young twelve year old child with dowsing rods, she found a body instead of water. Having changed her name from Delma Arsenault to Julie Hall, she now leads a quiet life as a gas station attendant. That is until FBI Agent Garrett Pierce appears in her life and knows about her past, a past that can now help him find three missing girls.

She does not like taking money for her talent since that feels like a bad karma thing to do, but will take enough to help pay for a birthday present for her beloved grandfather. She had been dropped at her grandparents’ farm when she was six and hoped that her mother would come back for her. When that did not happen, the unimaginable abuse from a brutal grandmother ensued. She had always wondered why her grandfather never intervened, but that was a long time ago. Her grandmother was now gone and her grandfather and dog are all that she has left.

Then she begins to find the bodies and her life will never be the same.

This is creating yet another downward spiral for her, the alcoholism is bad enough, and the quicksand – her name for PTSD, is unrelenting. Yet, she does not want to give up on the missing girls. As one by one, she finds them along with white ribbons, she is in deeper then she wishes. So deep that the truth of “betrayal comes from friends and not enemies” hits her so hard that this is a spiral that she may never recover from.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Turning Angel

Title: Turning Angel
Author: Greg Iles
Published: December 27th 2005 by Scribner
Format: Hardcover, 512 pages
Genre: Suspense
Series: Penn Cage #2

When you begin an Iles book, I certainly hope that you have no other plans because you will not be able to put it down. You are taken hold of from the beginning and with a giant exhale, you slowly sink into the atmosphere that surrounds you.

Natchez, Mississippi is divided when Harvard bound class valedictorian Kate Townsend is found dead. What was at first thought to be an accidental drowning turns more ominous when it is deemed a murder and Penn’s old friend, Dr. Drew Elliot is the main suspect. Turns out that their relationship was anything but innocent since Kate, who had a few secrets of her own, was a couple weeks pregnant.

With a book that is over five hundred pages, the reader knows that there is more to this tale than meets the eye. This is where the deep dive begins. Drew asks prosecutor now bestselling author Penn to lead his defense team. Pursuing the investigation, Penn discovers more than he wishes to about his town, the high school mindset, drugs, Kate, Drew, and just about everyone that he meets. Other than Penn’s daughter Annie, I truly wonder if there are any good people in this town.

As Penn is delivering St. Stephen's commencement address, he comes to a realization, his beloved town is in trouble and with the mayoral seat now available, maybe he is the only one that can step up and save it from itself.

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Stranger in Mayfair

Title: A Stranger in Mayfair
Author: Charles Finch
Published: November 9th 2010 by Minotaur Books
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: Charles Lennox #4

I know that people love this book, but for some reason, I just could not connect. The humor was there and the characters were just as intriguing as ever, yet, for me, something was missing.

Charles Lenox and Lady Jane Grey are now married and have returned from their honeymoon. Charles is about to take his seat in parliament when a friend, Ludovic Starling, contacts him in regards to the murder of the son of one of Starlings’ former housekeepers.

Charles loves his sleuthing, but now with his position in parliament and having to decide what to do with an extra butler in their combined households; Charles is drawn in too many directions. With the help of Graham as his newly installed secretary and John Dallington as his sleuthing buddy, all seems on the right track until Toto, a close friend of Lady Jane’s has a child and the idea of Charles and Lady Jane adding to their family keep the two lovebirds in a constant state of unease.

As I said, not my favorite. I think what bothered me the most was Charles Lennox’s wishy-washy attitude towards his wife and marriage. The “oh darling, whatever you want is perfectly fine with me”, started to grate on me. I do hope that in further books, Charles will grow a backbone and he and Jane can be the dynamic duo that I remember from previous books.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Paradise Valley

Title: Paradise Valley
Author: Robyn Carr
Published: April 1st 2009 by Mira
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Genre: Romance
Series: Virgin River #7

I have a love hate relationship with this series. I love coming back to familiar characters and guessing who will be the main attraction in her next book, but I hate, if you will, the idealized version of the men and women that she writes about.

Rick is back from Iraq sooner than expected and his relationship with Liz is put to the test. How this played out would have made more sense of they were both older, but I feel that Robyn Carr has put too much maturity into a relationship where neither is old enough to drink. There was an interesting exchange between Rick and Shady Dan that I did not see coming and with any luck, that was all Rick needed to keep his head on straight.

Muriel and the General are adorable. I hope that they continue in this series. Their story is slowly unfolding and that is the way that it should be.

Whiney Abby and her pregnancy were beginning to grate on my nerves. Why she had to make it so hard on everyone around her, including the father was pushing me beyond my limits.

Shady Dan, the pot farmer, from a few books back has reappeared and has cleaned up his ways. He is now living in the rental home of the town’s ex-drunk Cheryl and with her living out of town, he has started wooing her and it appears that they are both remodeling their lives as he is remodeling her home.

For me, this series will take a while to get through. It is just too syrupy sweet at times and does not ring true when compared to the real world. Maybe that is what escapist romantic fiction is all about and I need to step away from my cynical ways.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Path of the Crooked

Title: The Path of the Crooked (aka Stirring up Strife)
Author: Ellery Adams
Published: December 29th 2009 by Minotaur Books
Format: ebook, 247 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Hope Street #1

When the book started, I was fine with the relaxed modest tone. Unfortunately, as the story went on, it became tiresome and began to drag on unrelentingly.

Lead character Cooper Lee, when she is not repairing office equipment, is attending Bible Study. Having recently ended a long-term relationship, she is looking forward to a new direction and friends. What she did not expect was that the person who had invited her to attend services was recently found murdered.

With cozy mysteries being what they are, Cooper quickly jumps in with her fellow study cohorts to solve this rather twisted mystery. Obviously, the husband was too easy of a target and when Cooper literally starts putting the pieces together a name and a convoluted story comes to life.

No, this is not a series that I will be continuing, though I do enjoy other works of Ellery Adams, the next book in this Hope Street series will not be appearing on my bookshelf.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Hospitality and Homicide

Title: Hospitality and Homicide
Author: Lynn Cahoon
Published: May 16th 2017 by Lyrical Underground
Format: eBook
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: A Tourist Trap Mystery #8

This is one of those series where I cannot say that it is my favorite, but I do find myself going back every time there is a new release.

When mystery author Nathan Pike arrives in South Cove looking for a peaceful and private place to take on his next writing project, no one knew that an integral scene would be played out in real life. As fingers are pointed and gossip spreads, there is more going on in the background than the people of this sleepy tourist town know.

Lynn Cahoon is trying to move her regular characters forward, but I am confused when she has the main character Jill Gardener taking what are supposed to be graduate courses in business but sound more like undergrad type of work. Then again, I do tend to get caught up in the minutia.

Esmeralda is still reeling from an old case where she was wrong in her prediction and now another boy is missing and no one will take her seriously. She cannot survive another disaster and there is nothing that Jill can do for her since Jill has her own problems with both school and trying to run her book and coffee shop with an ever-decreasing number of employees and deciding if it would be a good time to move her personal relationship forward.

This is a story of bad blood. The past seems to be getting in the way of each of the characters in different ways. Who will be able to move forward and who believes that revenge is the only way out?

Monday, May 8, 2017

16th Seduction

Title: 16th Seduction
Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro****
Published: May 1st 2017 by Little, Brown and Company
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Genre: Police Procedural
Series: Women's Murder Club #16

Half way through the book, the reader gets the feeling that the case is all tied up and you begin to wonder if the author confused this book with his Bookshots novellas only to have it take off in a different direction to fill in in the next hundred or so pages, then everything is tied up with a pretty bow in a rushed ending that left questions. Sometimes I wonder about this author, but I have invested this much time in the Women’s Murder Club series that I find myself reading each new installment no matter my opinion of the last. The best I can say, Lindsay is not the whining mess that she was in the last book.

As a quick summary, you have a bomber heading to an airport doing the work of a TLA (three letter acronym) group, a bomb going off at a science center with an equally ridiculous name - that was witnessed by Lindsay and Joe while they are having a “let’s learn to trust each other again dinner”, a faulty confession, devastating injuries that quickly heal in a manner that are nothing short of miraculous. Then to fill out the book, a serial killer is making his way around San Francisco. There is a court trial that is both rushed and ridiculous since no district attorney would take it on with so little evidence. Liars. Sociopaths. The usual cast of characters.

After trudging through this monotonous book, I do have to say that I was impressed with Cindy finally standing up to Lindsay with her “you’re not the boss of me speech”, it was a long time coming and for me, the only bright spot of the book.

If you are looking for a good laugh and an honest recap, I suggest that you track down the digested version of 16th Seduction written by John Crace at the Guardian, he nailed this book.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Ginny Moon

Title: Ginny Moon
Author: Benjamin Ludwig
Published: May 2nd 2017 by Park Row Books
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 368 pages
Genre: Fiction
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

Wow. This book grabs you from the beginning and will not let go of you until the final gasp. Ginny is stuck in an aftermath. This is a new word for her but after being removed from prior foster homes; she is now with Brian and Maura – whom she refers to as her Forever Mom and her Forever Dad in the Blue House. That is when she is not referring to them by their first names.

Being somewhere on the Autism Spectrum, Ginny has a hard time with what is going on around her. She is very bright and understands that people lie and that they cannot always be reliable. This is the issue with her birth mother and ever since she was removed from Gloria, the second scariest person she knows, and her Baby Doll was placed in a suitcase for safekeeping, Ginny has been trying to get back to them. Gloria is not a safe person and is not capable of taking care of her Baby Doll and now that her aunt Crystal with a C is no longer there to help, Ginny needs to get back to the apartment so she can “take excellent care of it”.

The rules are what keep Ginny going. You do not hit, you do not steal, you do not lie, you must have nine grapes for breakfast, and exactly and approximately are not the same thing. Ginny lives a great deal in her brain. Sometimes it is hard to come up out of her brain when others are talking, especially if they ask two questions at the same time, but that is where she does the math. She loves math and when things do not add up, she finds herself as (–Ginny), which is heartbreaking when you understand what she is saying.

I love the child that Benjamin Ludwig introduced us to. Through his personal life experience, he has given a voice to a brilliant character. A coming of age teen that has to learn how to self-advocate and find her own place in the world no matter which side of the equal sign that she is on.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Garden of Small Beginnings

Title: The Garden of Small Beginnings
Author: Abbi Waxman
Expected Publication: May 2nd 2017 by Berkley Books
Format: eBook, Paperback, 368 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

When it comes to traditional women’s fiction, I usually go running in the other direction. I cannot tell you why I first picked up this book, maybe it was the cover and spring, but I can tell you that I could not put it down.

Three years before this story began, Lilian Girvan saw her husband die in a horrendous auto accident just feet away from their front door. This event sent her in a tailspin that left her in a mental hospital and two young daughters at home parentless. Each day was a struggle, but eventually she pulled herself together and with the help of her sister, they seemed to have weather that storm with only a few clouds on the horizon.

You would think that with a beginning like that, this story would be sad and depressing, but you are wrong. With the sardonic humor, you cannot help laughing aloud at what others would consider inappropriate.

Lilian now supports her little family as an illustrator and with the imminent closing of her publishing branch; she is offered an assignment to illustrate a series of vegetable gardening books that beats the current job of textbooks and whale reproductive parts. The one requirement is that she attends Saturday morning gardening classes at the Los Angeles botanical garden lead by Edward Bloem, an heir apparent to the company publishing the gardening books.

With a sundry group of fellow gardeners, Lilian, her sister Rachel, plus the girls, learn not only about gardening, but also about life. About people that are different and about how you should not always judge by outward appearances.

Falling in the genre of Women’s Fiction / Contemporary Romance, the reader knows from the beginning where this book is going to go, but the ride there is well worth it. Lives are examined, tears are shed, realities that were not apparent from the start continue to throw this family through the wringer, but that is the messy part of life. The toys on the floor and the dishes in the sink can wait, what is important here are the children. They are wise beyond their years and when the biting insults from a grandmother, that has her own issues, are shut down by a three year old you know that they will all make it to the happily ever after.

Not just another white knight to the rescue type of book, this book adeptly winds the reader through the many lives and loves of each character. You will find yourself missing them, their humor, their outlook, their lives and even their gardens complete with benches and fairy houses. I hope that this is not the last that we will see of Abbi Waxman, she has a special voice in this genre and I for one, will look forward to seeing what is to come.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

One Good Thing

Title: One Good Thing
Author: Wendy Wax
Published: April 25th 2017 by Berkley
Format: eBook, Paperback 432 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Ten Beach Road #5

I had to keep reminding myself of Nikki’s age. Granted, a forty-seven year old woman pregnant with twins would be uncomfortable but her incessant whining had me putting down this book on more than one occasion. I do not know what Wendy Wax was thinking with this, there must have been some other way of bringing this couple back together.

The women continue to be at their wits end. The legal wrangling over the ownership of ‘Do Over’ is not going in their favor and the selling of the condos or memberships at the beach club are not moving fast enough to pay off the loans leaving Bella Flora and Kyra with looming debt and no way, other than using her son’s father and his business proposal, to bail them out.

Maddie is continuing to questioning her relationship with music icon William Hightower and her ex-husband Steve is still lurking in the background. Yet, there is a spark that he just might be getting his life back in order.

Unfortunately, what started the book, Palm Beach matron Bitsy Baynard’s husband leaving her broke when he skipped out with a younger woman, was left to flounder. This could have been an excellent storyline, maybe even one that involved Maddie’s ex-husband Steve riding in to the rescue, but it was just left as empty as the rest of the book. Maybe this will be drug out further in subsequent books since she did finally find an attorney to take her case.

Then there is Avery, trying her best to keep the women afloat but her personal life is what brings her down. She and Chase are definitely on the outs with Chase’s son rebelling at every turn. Not sure how they will address their relationship in the next book, but it looks as if they are currently parked in the overused land of ‘maybe, but let me find myself first’.

Like all of the storylines, this book came across as a placeholder. Very little forward momentum with any of the characters or their stories. Babies were born. Relationships redefined. Overall – nothing here to look at folks.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

I Found You

Title: I Found You
Author: Lisa Jewell
Expected Publication: April 25th 2017 by Atria Books
Format: eBook,Hardcover, 352 pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

This book takes shattered people, shatters them again, and then finds a way to put them back together that not only makes them stronger but gives them hope and purpose.

When Alice Lake decides to take a jacket to a lonely looking man that has been sitting on the beach in front of her home for hours, she did not realize that she would be involving herself in a 20-year old mystery. Alice is notorious for making bad life choices so it is no surprise that she invites him back to her home and allows him to live in her shed for the time being. Unaware of his own name or how he got there, the man that Alice’s children have name “Frank”, just knows that his answers are on this stretch of coastline.

Outside of London, Lily Monrose, a young recently married Ukrainian woman waits for her husband to arrive home. He is always on the same train, always answers his phone when she calls, always draws her bath at night and treats her in a way that no one has ever treated her before. What she did not know, was that her husband was not the person that she thought he was. His name is a fake, his passport a lie.

In 1993, the Ross family takes their annual vacation to the seaside town of Ridinghouse Bay. Kirsty, a young 15-year-old is smitten with a 19-year-old that she meets on the beach. Her brother Gray does not trust Mark, there is just something wrong with him. He warns his sister and their parents, but Mark comes from a local wealthy family, what could possibly go wrong.

Ms. Jewell expertly weaves these three stories together. As your brain intertwines the three narratives, you find yourself trying to figure out exactly who the man on the beach is. With various twists that prevent you from reaching the conclusion too quickly, you are drawn to this book in a way that only a well-written psychological thriller can.

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Cast of Vultures

Title: A Cast of Vultures
Author: Judith Flanders
Published: February 21st 2017 by Minotaur Books
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Genre: Mystery
Series: Sam Clair #3

Part publishing, part neighbor curiosity, part relationship issues, part unexplained fires, and a whole lot of humor, makes this a perfect weekend book.

Samantha Clair wants to deal with her hangover in peace, but that is not to be when Viv, a delightful reoccurring character, ask for help when her neighbor has gone missing. The missing neighbor quickly takes a backseat when a fire destroys a house that lodged squatters. Funny, everyone in the neighborhood knows that a family and others lived there, but the local police had no idea. It was not until Sam informed her detective boyfriend of the situation before matters were taken seriously, that and a body was found in the rubble.

This is a tight community and when Sam offered her front garden to one of the now homeless to grow some vegetables, Jake’s police antenna goes into full alert which puts quite a strain on the Sam and Jake relationship. A relationship which on the outside is in trouble, but they manage to make it work. They still seem to be working on trust, but when two people who do not see things in the same way, tackle the same issues, there are going to be problems.

There is a great deal going on in this book, if one part does not catch your attention, another half dozen will. You will be delighted in the mother daughter relationship between Sam and Helena and the pseudo mother son relationship between Sam and a neighborhood boy. People, their relationships, and humor are central to this book.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sunshine Beach

Title: Sunshine Beach
Author: Wendy Wax
Published: June 21st 2016 by Berkley
Format: Paperback, 420 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction
Series: Ten Beach Road #4

The excessive whining over money and finances was a drawback in this book, I understand that the women needed to find backing for their next home renovation project, but it was a bit too much. There is a great deal of rehashing of the prior books in this series. The reader is reminded on a couple of occasions of the Ponzi scheme that had gotten the women into their current situation and Nikki’s reluctance to have any further contact with her brother. There is a bit of forward movement with this part of the story, but Nikki’s has another secret. One that will both terrify her and delight her at the same time.

Maddie is still with Wild Bill and her ongoing angst of “she is good enough” was beginning to wear thin. Kyra is somewhere in her on again off again relationship with her son’s father who is going to funny extremes to see his son. Surprisingly, there were only a few brief mentions of Avery’s grief over the loss of her mother. Plus, there is a new designer on the scene that waits until the last minute to reveal why he is so good at what he does.

Stumbling across a dilapidated beachfront hotel, the women get it into their heads that this would be the perfect renovation project for their yet newly unnamed show. Since they quit “Do Over” so publicly, they are now in need of a new network, project and cash. How hard could an independent show be? Turns out that the wreck of a hotel is owned by locals and has quite a dubious past. Wendy Wax does an interesting job here in trying to throw in some depth, but it was too little too late.

This book was intended to be a mindless summer type read, but I was hung up over the numbers. Loans, costs and profit figures did not add up. I know, that is not what this book was supposed to be about, but still, it started to distract me. Yet, I will continue with this series, I figure that I am invested this far, why not ride out their adventure.

Monday, April 10, 2017

One Perfect Lie

Title: One Perfect Lie
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Published: April 11th 2017 by St. Martin's Press
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 384 pages
Genre: Suspense
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

Clear your calendar because you are going to want to read this book in one setting. Ok, maybe two since the book is divided up into three sections and it is not until section two that you get to the non-stop action. Granted, in section three, you are going to hit a part that has you wondering what Lisa was thinking and if she had spent too much time at the circus, but still, you will forgive that as you barrel to the end.

Central Valley, PA is an idyllic town. A place that a man can picture settling down with a family. At least that is what Chris Brennan tells school officials as he applies for a temporary teaching and coaching position at the high school. Chris has prepared his background story; no one could tell where the real man ends and ‘Chris Brennan AP Government teacher and coach’ begins. As your mind wonders who exactly Chris is, there is a slip up or two, but as Chris narrows down his “unwitting” the story takes off.

Chris has only three days to find his person. Three days until the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing and he knows that someone on this baseball team is going to be involved in a deadly attack. Chris has done his research. There are four boys that match the profile and as he, and the reader, analyzes each, the full story begins to unfold.

Lisa Scottoline does an excellent job in keeping the reader unbalanced. From the beginning, there is no clear-cut target and you find yourself unsure if you can trust anyone. Each child and parent is held up to a microscope. They are each examined as people and as parents. As worlds are crumbling, in the end, who will be left unscathed?

Monday, April 3, 2017

Lucky Bastard

Title: Lucky Bastard
Author: Deborah Coonts
Published: May 14th 2013 by Forge Books
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages
Genre: Fiction
Series: Lucky O'Toole #4

It has been a while since I have read a book by Coonts so I thought that I would get back on the crazy train and see what Lucky has been up to.

Lucky O’Toole, the general manager of mayhem at the Babylon Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, has seen her fair share of shenanigans, but this week seems to be never ending. Deborah Coonts is throwing the whole load into this book. A week that begins with a dead woman on the hood of a Ferrari with a stiletto in her neck ends with a baby in her arms as she climbs out of a storm drain after a near death drowning experience. You will also have to add in a poker room manager with a few sneaky secrets, a French Chef and his adorable son, Shady Slim Grady’s questionable heart attack and his cowgirl attired wife Betty Sue wanting to throw an over the top Celebration of Life party, and the return of someone that will have Lucky questioning her future.

There are many characters that the reader has to keep straight, but since this is the fourth (in addition to a couple novellas) book, the series reader will have no problem keeping most of them straight. The multiple story lines may be a different matter, but the author keeps the flow moving and there might only be a couple of times that you have to remind yourself who someone is.

Lucky’s mother Mona is still one of my favorite characters in this series, where else would you find a former madam who is now wanting to run for a council position and her past would not be held against her. A woman who says what she is thinking and has no problem with the insanity that is going on around her – even if she is the one that is causing a great deal of it on her own and is in the last trimester of a later life pregnancy.

This series needs to be read from the beginning to not only understand whom Lucky is but to get a firmer grasp on her friends, but more importantly, her enemies.