Original topic subject: WHAT ARE WE READING & REVIEWIN IN MARCH 2023?

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Editado: Mar 31, 12:47 pm

Carol's March Reading Plans
🍀 - ★
🍀The Girl in The Corn - Jason Offutt - 4★ (Friend)
🍀The Last Coyote - Michael Connelly - 4.5★ - Group Read
🍀A Lethal Love - Max Walker - 5★
🍀The Magnolia Murders - Aimee Nicole Walker - 5★
🍀Marriage is Murder - Aimee Nicole Walker - 5★
🍀Killer Honeymoon - Aimee Nicole Walker - 5★
🍀Safe Words - Jodi Payne & Chris Owen - 5★
🍀Bondage - Jodi Payne & Chris Owen - 5★
🍀Soft Limits - Jodi Payne - 4.5★
🍀A Rocky Start - Annabeth Albert- 5★
🍀Restraint - A J Rose- 5★
🍀Consent - A J Rose - 4 ★
🍀Seb's Summer - K C Wells - 4★
🍀Unscripted Love - Aimee Nicole Waker -4★
🍀Someone To Call My Own - Aimee Nicole Walker -4★
🍀This Time Around - Aimee Nicole Walker -4★
🍀Make Music Together - Ariella Zoelle -3.5★
🍀The Boyfriend Gambit - Elle Keaton -4★
🍀Sean's Sunshine - Amy Lane -5★
🍀Borrowing Blue - Lucy Lennox - 5★
🍀Just Friends - Saxon James - 4★
🍀Fake Friends- Saxon James - 4★
🍀Getting Friendly -Saxon James -3.5★
🍀Obey - Piper Scott - 4★
🍀Beg - Piper Scott - 4.5★
🍀Breathe - Piper Scott - 5★
🍀Ride the Lightning - Aimee Nicole Walker - 4.5★
🍀Unwritten Law - Edna Finley - 4★
🍀It Lives in The Woods - Boris Bacic -5★
🍀They Came from the Ocean - Boris Bacic- 4.5★
🍀The Killing Pit - Wes Markin - 4★
🍀After He Killed Her - James Rice -3★
🍀Doorways - Robert Enright -5★
🍀The Long Cold Winter - Colin Conway -5★
🍀Malice House- Megan Shepherd - 4.5★
🍀Catherine House - Elizabeth Thomas - 2.5★
🍀The Whispering House- Elizabeth Brooks - 4.5★
🍀The Stories You Tell - Kristen Lepionka - 4.5★
🍀Friends Like These - Kimberley McCreight - 4.5★
🍀The Dark Days Club - Alison Goodman - 3★
🍀Utopia - Lincoln Child - 4.5★ - (Also published as Lethal Velocity)
🍀In the Silence - M. R. Mackenzie - 4★
🍀The Scrying Game - Christina Zane Thomas- 3★
🍀Callander Square - Anne Perry - 4★
🍀Shutter Island - Dennis Lehane - 2.5★
🍀 No One Gets Out Alive - Adam Nevill - 5★
🍀Not Really Dead - Leslie Wolfe - 3★
🍀Iced Malice - Marla Madison - 4★

Mar 1, 7:37 am

Friends Like These - Kimberly McCreight - (New York)
Genera: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Six college friends have reunited for a glamorous weekend in the Catskills, a decade after a fatal accident that nearly destroyed them. Keith, once the ringleader of the group, was a handsome charmer on the fast track to success. Now he’s spiraling into addiction and stands at the edge of losing it all. This weekend is the last chance to save him. But Keith, it turns out, is not the only one who needs saving. By dawn on Sunday morning, a car has been found deep in the woods—one of the friends is dead, another is missing. When a local detective turns up to investigate, it’s clear the group is hiding something ominous. Haunted by her sister’s murder years ago, Detective Julia Scutt has her own share of problems. But she’s a skilled detective and knows a rehearsed story when she hears one. It is up to Julia to untangle a decade-long web of friendship, lies and betrayals to discover the truth. But first she needs to face her own past—including the secrets that could, in the end, offer the key to everything.

The story portrays very well the evil in some people, as if we needed any reminding of this with the constant evil in the news of today. The entire story was believable, as was the desperation, and the dedication of a group of like-minded friends. I wish their personalities had been toned-down a bit. Their arrogance is unappealing and the ties that bind them are self-serving, but in spite of that I found myself caring about them. I never, through all the twists, turns and palpable tension, even came close to guessing the ending. The attention to detail, the descriptions, the research all worked together to put the reader right in the story and propel you through it to the absolutely unexpected ending.

Mar 1, 9:19 am

Obey - Piper Scott - (Colorado)
His Command series Book #1
Genera: M/M Romance/Omega Verse/MPG
In the dim lights of Aurora’s premier kink club waits an alpha eager to take control. Billionaire Crawford Daniels has bedded submissives before, but he’s never given one his collar. That privilege is reserved for the man who’s strong-willed enough to tell him no, but whose pretty lips always say yes. Crawford wants more than a pet—he wants a partner. Someone to pamper and spoil or punish. Hidden behind case reports and paperwork waits an omega afraid to give it all up. Owen Ellis has fought tooth and nail to rise above his omega status and find success. He’s educated, successful, and independent, but deep inside, he knows something is missing. A mistake during his teenage years has led to a lifetime of loneliness, and Owen refuses to surrender his heart again. He’s afraid to be hurt. He’ll never let another alpha in. But some rules are meant to be broken. When Owen meets Crawford and sparks fly, Owen has to decide if happiness is worth the risk. The choice is always his. He can walk away and embrace loneliness...or he can wear Crawford’s collar and obey.

I have to be the first to admit that I don't totally understand this genera of M/M romances, but I really liked the two characters of Crawford and Owen, and the book moved along fairly fast with very little of the on again off again to the relationship that I absolute hate. A beautiful story of love at first sight and finding your way around growing as a couple and determining your needs and wants in a relationship. I have book 2 of the series and I was happy to see that even though it features a different couple; Crawford and Owen are still there and anxiously awaiting their special event which we will get to share.

Mar 1, 2:34 pm

Girl in The Corn - Jason Offutt -
Genera: Horror
Fairies don’t exist. At least that’s what Thomas Cavanaugh’s parents say. But the events of that one night, when he follows a fairy into the cornfield on his parents’ farm, prove them wrong. What seems like a destructive explosion was, Thomas knows, an encounter with Dauðr, a force that threatens to destroy the fairy’s world and his sanity. Years later, after a troubled childhood and a series of dead-end jobs, he is still haunted by what he saw that night. One day he crosses paths with a beautiful young woman and a troubled young man, soon realizing that he first met them as a kid while under psychiatric care after his encounters in the cornfield. Has fate brought them together? Are they meant to join forces to save the fairy’s world and their own? Or is one of them not who they claim to be?

The story follows Thomas, a young kid living on a farm. Within only a few pages he meets a fairy-like creature in the family cornfield and from there we’re off and running. It’s hard to really say much more of the events that follow without running into some serious spoilers. We get an apocalyptic doom approaching, a well-done antagonist and a complicated love interest. Thomas was an easily likeable character, one you root for but also annoys you slightly, which I found worked really well. It was great to see how others around our main character saw glimmers and slices of approaching doom and how its tendrils really slinked out and grabbed ahold of them. There were a few parts that came off a bit under-whelming and under-described or merely glossed over. For example, the character of Bobby when we first meet him. The entire scene is slightly more than odd. Bobby and his parents go camping. He meets a boy, and the boy touches him inappropriately and just like that we have pages of massive violence. The cops arrive and Bobby tells them what happened but truthfully, not as much detail is given as the scene would indicate should have happened. It just seemed a bit deflating. The book's psychological elements are great, and you get sucked along and drawn right in. The author has done a great job of taking a seemingly basic idea and building on it. At the end I have to say that this was a really fun, but brutal book, with lots of twists and turns.

Mar 1, 10:42 pm

Chief Piapot: I Will Stop the Train / Vincent McKay.
3.5 stars

In the late 19th century, Chief Piapot lived, mostly in Southern Saskatchewan (or what became such), through the coming of guns, the extinction of the buffalo, white man coming to take the land, the NWMP (North-West Mounted Police) coming, and the train coming to the West. He liaised between the Assiniboine, Cree, Sioux, and Blackfoot peoples. He knew a few languages (including French and English) and negotiated with the Canadian government for the treaties.

I grew up in Southern Saskatchewan, so I recognized names of places that had been named after some of the people (including a town called Piapot), and I recognized names of people who were historically in the area (Sitting Bull probably being the most well-known, and Gabriel Dumont made a few appearances). It appears the author did a lot of good research and seems to have portrayed him well. I have to say the end was pretty exciting, when Piapot really did stop the train!

Mar 2, 9:30 am

It Lives in The Woods - Boris Bacic
Genera: Horror
A group of friends goes on a hike in search of an ancient spring deep inside the forest. Mythical stories come from the woods - tales of gnomes, fairies, and other not so benevolent creatures. Everything changes for the group when they run into a hiker that mysteriously vanished in the area weeks ago. She is malnourished, dehydrated, and hurt, but she keeps raving about the danger in the woods, repeating one incoherent word over and over in a foreign language. By the time they turn back the way they came, it's too late. There's something ancient in these woods. Something far more dangerous than fairies and gnomes...and it's after them.

Oh my...does it ever!!! This could make you take a second and a third look at a group of trees, before you dare to ever enter them. Just the title did it for me! It wasn't a ghost story but it sure could raise goosebumps before I even opened the book. It's a very original monster story with a really excellent "creature". I thought I knew what the monster was but believe it or not...I was SOOO wrong. This is the first time I've read anything from this author...but I already have a second book on my list by him. If you are not a fan of blood and gore, be aware that there is lots of it as well as terror involved, but it is SO worth it if you are a fan. Thank you, Mr. Bacic for a really good, really, really scary book.

Mar 2, 12:39 pm

The Boyfriend Gambit - Elle Keaton - (Washington)
Crimes of the Heart Series Book #3
Genera: M/M Romance
How do you repair a broken heart when you were the one who broke it in the first place?
Charley: It's been four years since Simon broke up with me, but who's counting? I'm fine these days, thank you very much. I don't need a man to make me happy.
Simon: Past me had to make a choice. Current me knows it was the wrong one. Future me hopes I can fix it. I've never stopped loving Charley this is a hail Mary on my part.
The book is first-person dual POV that follows Charley Hunter and Simon Ellison as Simon lays all his cards on the table in an attempt to get Charley back.

Charley was unceremoniously dumped without an explanation, by Simon when he was younger. As a result, he walked away from the path set for him by his father...who is a rich first-class creep, and becomes an escort. He leaves that "career" behind him and reenters the art world. At his first show, with a little push from his friend Arnie, Simon shows up and stakes his claim to Charley...or at least hopes Charley will see it that way. The two guys start to build a new life together that at times we are almost sure is going to collapse before it has a chance. I felt sorry for Charley and the parents that he had. Money IS NOT everything, especially if it's thrown out there without an ounce of love. Charley had learned from a young age that love only hurts and wasn't sure that he wanted to trust Simon again with his heart. Some of the best parts of this story is Charley’s "found" family in his best friend Tobias and his fiancé Arnie, and his friends Duff and Jacob, especially Jacob’s grandparents, and his Uncle Michael...all which have appeared in the first two books. The books can be read as standalones, but they are better if you follow these characters in the order that they appear.

Editado: Mar 3, 8:10 am

Utopia - Lincoln Child - (Nevada)
Genera: Science Fiction/Mystery/Thriller
The world's grandest theme park is a place known for its cutting-edge robots, awe-inspiring Holographics, and white-knuckle thrills. Stretching out beneath a vast golden dome in the desert north of Las Vegas, Utopia attracts 65,000 visitors a day who travel into the pleasure dome via a gleaming monorail to experience state-of-the-art rides, fireworks, light shows, amazing robotics and even a gambling casino. When serious mishaps start to disrupt the once flawless technology and a popular roller-coaster nearly kills a rider, the brilliant computer engineer who designed much of the technology is summoned to put things right. But on the day that Andrew Warne arrives, Utopia finds itself in the grip of something far more sinister and every man, woman and child trapped in the dome are at risk. As the minutes tick away, Warne' s struggle to outwit his opponents becomes increasingly urgent - his teenage daughter is just one of the unsuspecting potential victims amongst the crowd in the park.

Hey folks.... this is not by any stretch of the imagination, Disney World! Disney World will just take all your money...this one will be happy to kill you. This deadly park is located in the desert outside of Las Vegas. The park is a technological wonder set into the desert canyons that includes four different themed worlds: Gaslight (old London), Callisto (space age future), Camelot (medieval times) and Boardwalk (a Coney Island simulacra). There are also casinos that, together with the $75 entry fee, the gift shops and restaurants, take in a total of about $100 million a week. So, no one should be surprised that just as Dr. Andrew Warne, the computer genius who designed much of Utopia’s hyper automated mesh of computers and robots, arrives in Utopia, a band of criminals is putting their big heist into play. They’ve got inside people, a deadly sniper on the outside, a brilliant hacker, and a psychopathic leader named John Doe. Having thoroughly hacked Utopia’s systems, Doe’s people are able to kill at whim among Utopia’s 65,000 visitors, especially by causing the park’s rides to suddenly malfunction, if park personnel don’t give in to their demands. It’s up to a fast-thinking Warne, a feisty tech sidekick named Terri, and a "right-place-at-the-right-time" guest named Poole who’s on Warne’s side and just happens to have a background in security. Child’s descriptions of the park in all its holographic glory is so lovingly and precisely detailed that you hate to have to deal with the mostly clueless people who dash about this deadly paradise. Isn't there anyone that understands how to deal with terrorist? I guess not. Anyway, I loved the book and there are worse ways to kill a few hours than in the walls of Utopia. But I did miss the horde of hungry velociraptors:)

Mar 3, 10:33 am

The Great Santini
Pat Conroy
4/5 stars
This novel is based on the author's father, the mercurial "Great Santini'", a Marine pilot. They led a nomad's life with having to move from town to town when their father had to go to different bases. Conroy relates the ups and downs of Marine life, not to mention the stress of having to kowtow to all his father's demands. Wonderfully written!

Editado: Mar 3, 1:57 pm

The Magnolia Murders - Aimee Nicole Walker - (Georgia)
Sawyer and Royce: Matrimony and Mayhem Series, Book 1
Genera: M/M Romance/Mystery/Police Procedural
Narrator: Tristin James
Everything old is new again in love and murder. Work together, live together, and play together is the name of the game for Royce Locke and Sawyer Key. But one of those things changes when Chief Mendoza taps Sawyer to lead the newly formed cold case unit. His first task: solve the Magnolia Murders that spanned three decades and suddenly stopped in 2000. Chaos ensues when a fourth Magnolia Queen contender is murdered during a preliminary round. With the pageant's one hundredth anniversary looming, the pressure is on to produce results. Royce and Sawyer, along with their new partners, have to team up to solve the Magnolia Murders—old and new. As the investigation continues, a surprise visitor and an unexpected phone call force the men to face painful things from their pasts. The future Royce and Sawyer dream of is within their grasp, but first, they'll need to uproot the seeds of discontent they've buried deep.

It's been three long years since I last visited with Royce and Sawyer. I was so happy when I found that there was a new trilogy and bought the 3 books right away. I missed these two guys and was so excited to see how life had been treating them and where they were at in their lives now...especially as a couple. Glad to see they are still going strong, and that Royce has mellowed a great deal. I missed these two guys and was so excited to see where they are at in their lives now. Things seem to be going to change for the better. Sawyer has found a ring in Royce’s drawer and is waiting for him to pop the question. On the other hand, poor Royce’s proposals keep getting spoiled and murder and other aspects of their jobs and lives keeps putting the proposal on the backburner...again. If things weren't topsy-turvy enough...we get to meet Royce’s family and see all the dirt and discontent, they bring along with them. Then the guys learn that they are being split up at work. Royce to head a troubled teen program and Swayer to head a newly formed cold case team. The first case for the new team is "The Magnolia Murders". The case is that there were three winning beauty queens that were murdered after they won the crown. The Pageant is getting ready to celebrate its 100th anniversary, so a fresh look at the cases is needed. The investigation kept me glued right to the end and when everything is solved it all makes perfect sense. A few roadblocks in their paths, from not so co-operative retired detectives, to witnesses that are either dead or can’t be spoken to. It's always good when we are allowed along for the ride and not just told what happens. This author is never a disappointment when it comes to writing a believable detective story. There is always just the right mix of love and murder.

Mar 4, 9:36 am

The Killing Pit - Wes Markin - (Maine)
Jake Pettman Series Book #1
Genera: Mystery/Police Procedural
Possible Trigger: Graphic gore
A broken ex-detective. A corrupt chief of police. A merciless drug lord, and a missing child. Running from a world which wants him dead, ex-detective Sergeant Jake Pettman journeys to the isolated town of Blue Falls, Maine, home of his infamous murderous ancestors. But Jake struggles to hide from who he is, and when a child disappears, he finds himself drawn into an investigation that shares no parallels to anything he has ever seen before. Held back by a chief of police plagued and tormented by his own secrets, Jake fights for the truth. All the way to the door of Jotham MacLeoid...an insidious megalomaniac who feeds his victims to a Killing Pit. And the terrifying secrets that lie within.

We are taken on a dark and twisty journey has we follow Jake who is drawn into an investigation when a child disappears. I haven't read any this author's other books but from other reviews I see that some of the characters in this new series have been taken from some of the authors other books from other series. Be aware that this is a fast paced, terrifying story that will either have you on the edge of your seat or have you running away in terror. Markin has introduced an element of horror so thick that you can almost taste it. If this is not your "thing" then I wouldn’t recommend this to you, but if you enjoy being scared...go for it. I gave the book 4- stars because it was almost too much for me who regularly reads this type of books.

Editado: Mar 4, 4:34 pm

Marriage Is Murder - Aimee Nicole Walker - (Georgia)
Sawyer and Royce: Matrimony and Mayhem Series, Book 2
Genera: M/M Romance/Mystery/Police Procedural
Narrator: Tristin James
Spring is in full bloom, love is in the air, and Cupid has taken deadly aim in Savannah. Newly engaged, Royce Locke and Sawyer Key are ready to set the date and charge full-steam ahead into their happily ever after, but homicides and unresolved conflicts keep getting in their way. Neither detective has met a case they couldn't solve, but their latest investigations will push their limits and challenge their faith when the line between friend and foe becomes blurred. And if that weren't enough, a random encounter with a stranger will trigger a series of events that could either make or break the couple. Love is often a thriller, sometimes a killer, but always worth the battle.

Sawyer and Royce are now engaged to be married and still heading up separate divisions of the Savannah PD... but they have worked it out between them, and all is well in their lives. Aimee Nicole Walker has again brought us an amazing story filled with special moments of love and gripping moments of chaos and violence, and a storyline that will keep you interested and invested in the story. This three-book series needs to be read in order even if you are familiar with Sawyer and Royce from other series. The guys are starting to plan their wedding but thankfully Sawyer’s mom steps in to help. Meanwhile, Royce is called out for a homicide when a wedding planner is murdered. Sawyer is busy also working to get answers for two missing people that disappeared in the mid 80’s. All the while there is a string of burglaries sprouting up around town. There’s also drama that pops up from Sawyer’s past that needs dealing with. What I love most about this entire series is the amazing love between these two men, which remains unbreakable, even when events involving family members puts their relationship to the test. i also love their cat who is obviously "IN CHARGE". On to book #3.

Mar 4, 11:14 pm

The Wagoner / C.A. Simonsen
3.25 stars

It’s the late 19th century. Ott has lost his grandfather and he had promised to take his body to rest with his grandmother somewhere in the Plains of the U.S. He takes his old mule, Sir Lucien, who has to pull the wagon with the coffin and they set out from (what would later become) Southern Saskatchewan to likely somewhere in South Dakota to deliver his grandfather. He bumbles his way along and meets many characters on the way there and back, including picking up a dog.

To be honest, I was bored through the first third or so of the book. For some reason, the way to drop off his grandfather just didn’t peak my interest at all. But it picked up and got better for me as the book continued on, when Ott first ended up at a brothel as he turned around to head home.

From there, he continued on and met up with various Indigenous peoples, Metis, a thief, a runaway slave from Louisiana (though technically free, her master didn’t seem to agree), and more. And it was harsh, travelling back on foot and by mule (by the way home, his wagon had disintegrated). I think his concern for his animals helped pull me in, eventually, too. It’s another book where (being originally from Southern Saskatchewan), I did recognize some place and people names, which is always kind of fun.

Mar 5, 9:17 am

Rocky Start- Annabeth Albert - (California)
A-List Security Series Book #4
Genera: M/M Romance
I think I’m falling for my bodyguard co-worker. Now I need protection… from myself. As a former SEAL intelligence officer, I’m supposed to be smart. Unfortunately, those smarts don’t apply to love. I did a nice thing and took my heartbroken fellow bodyguard out for a Valentine’s dinner. Just us bros. But my plan worked a little too well, and a night that ended with a scorching kiss has turned into the most awkward morning at the office ever. Now we’re working together as bodyguards on a remote mountain movie shoot. And we’re roommates. I’ve never been attracted to a guy before, but something about Avery calls to every protective instinct I have. We’re not dating, but every night alone together, I fall a little deeper. It’s also Avery’s first time with a guy too, and while we’re both enjoying all sorts of new things together, I worry my heart will be broken when we return to civilization. No matter how badly this may end, I can’t seem to stop wanting Avery. All of him. I want to see who he’ll become if he ever manages to get out of his own way. I want to be his biggest cheerleader, best friend, and the guy he comes home to. But going from secret hookup to forever after is a big ask. Are we both brave enough to take the leap?

Avery and Malik don’t quite understand what’s happening between them. They started out as friends just experimenting, but it seems like it’s turning into so much more. When circumstances have them sharing a hotel room while on a job at remote location things get awkward and then things get hot! I loved how these two guys explored new things with each other. Both of them always dated women and Avery, especially, believed himself to be straight. Any other desires he’d ever had he kept to himself. His father was a former pro-football player and Avery was always expected to do the masculine thing...guy things. When he and Malik begin exploring each other he slowly began to let his more feminine side come out. Until Avery, Malik had never wanted to explore anything else but after a little experimenting he really wanted and welcomed more... but only with Malik. Malik enjoyed helping Avery explore his desires and learn about what he likes...like silky, lacey stuff. There were tense moments for Avery throughout the story. He had a difficult time coming to terms with his newly recognized desires. Malik helps to show him that none of his feelings are wrong, no matter what they may be. A pivotal moment finally makes Avery realize that he needs to be true to himself and not let anyone tell him how he should feel or who he should or shouldn't love. The final chapter in the book goes forward a year and lets us see what these two are doing after the main story ends. I hope there is going to be book 5 in this series.

Mar 5, 11:15 am

This Time Around - Aimee Nicole Walker -(Ohio)
Road to Blissville series Book #4
Genera: M/M Romance
Narrator: Joel Leslie
At the cafe Milo Miracle co-owns with his twin sister, coffee and pastries are served up along with his unique blend of sass and snark. Milo knows that small-town life often means that every day is the same as the one before, and excitement can only be found in the gossip that travels faster than the speed of light. When the Adonis who broke his heart returns home after a 12-year absence, Milo unhappily finds himself at the center of Blissville's favorite pastime.
Andy Mason was practically a kid when he left home to pursue big-league ambitions, but the man who returns to Blissville is humbled by shattered dreams and secrets. Andy's no stranger to grit and determination, and he'll need both to win back Milo's cynical heart. Strong wills clash with stubborn hearts, triggering combustible passion once Andy starts renovations at the cafe. Milo would like to keep Andy's hands busy doing something other than construction. Andy would like to suggest what Milo can do with his wicked tongue besides trade barbs with him. Neither man is willing to budge until they get a little shove from an outside force. Will Andy and Milo learn that trust is a two-way street?

While I enjoyed the book, I have to say that I didn’t fall in love with it. Even though I have read the books in this series in order, (surprise, surprise), I felt that I was missing some critical piece of the puzzle. The story tells of a second chance at love when Andy and Milo are reunited after over a decade apart. Andy Mason returns to Blissville not the "full of himself" boy he was, but a man who has fought his demons for years and wants to come home to be near those he loves including the man who broke his heart 14 years ago. He finds that their reunion is not anything like he planned and 2 years later he is still trying to figure out how to prove to Milo Miracle that he wants a life with him. One small problem that I had with the book was that it begins with a few chapters that take place right after Andy comes home and then it flashed forward two years with chapters in the present time. Andy and Milo are nothing short of combustible together, but the trust they once had is gone and getting it back takes time and a bit of soul searching and confessing. I’ll admit I kept waiting for something big to happen between them after they got back together. I felt like the story could have benefited from it. I enjoyed watching them together, but I kept feeling like they skirted around their issues and solved a lot of their problems in the bedroom. I just wanted more depth. I wanted to concentrate on Milo and Andy and not on everyone around them. I gave the book 4 stars, but it felt "uneven" for lack of a better term.

Mar 5, 10:46 pm

The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century / Sarah Miller
3.5 stars

Lizzie Borden was 32-years old when her father and stepmother were murdered with an axe while she was home. Their servant Bridget was also home at the time. Rhymes indicate that Lizzie murdered them both, but she was acquitted of the murders. This book takes us through what little was known of Lizzie pre-murders, the day of the murders, and the trials (and all other steps leading up to the trial: indictment, preliminary hearing, etc).

I have never before read anything about Lizzie Borden and had assumed she had murdered those whom she was accused of murdering (not even sure I could have told you it was her parents). This book, I believe, is geared to a YA audience, though I didn’t think it really read that way. The author did a lot of research on this and tried to present both sides. It turns out nothing Lizzie said (it was pretty much all contradictory) during the indictment was included at the trial, nor was key testimony of one witness. Even if they had been included, I’m not convinced it would have been enough to convict her. That being said, I’m not sure how anyone else could have done it. But, I’ve only read this one book.

There were some photos included at the end and a bibliography and notes. I was quite shocked at the look of the skulls (quite bashed in!) of Mr. and Mrs. Borden. And who knew there was (is?) a “Lizzie Borden Quarterly” journal!? I thought this was a good place to start to read about Lizzie and I am likely to find and read more.

Mar 6, 8:08 am

Killer Honeymoon - Aimee Nicole Walker - (Georgia)
Sawyer and Royce: Matrimony and Mayhem - Book#3
Genera: - M/M/Romance/Mystery/Police Procedural
Honeymoon, happily ever after, and . . . homicide? Newlyweds Royce Locke and Sawyer Key embark on a honeymoon road trip where their biggest threat should be dodging drunk tourists on golf carts. But their arrival on South Bass Island lands them in the middle of a contentious battle between lifelong islanders and a property developer who won't accept no for an answer. Tempers soar as the barometric pressure drops, signaling a dangerous storm brewing on the horizon and across the street. Minding their own business becomes impossible when a homicide wrecks their vacation and puts Royce and Sawyer in the path of a twisted killer. Will their honeymoon be two tickets to paradise or a one-way trip to the morgue?

This is the second series for the detective couple of Sawyer Key and Royce Locke. Their story starts with the Zero Hour trilogy and now, hopefully only temporarily, concludes with their wedding and a honeymoon....to die for in this last story of the Matrimony and Mayhem trilogy. What a truly entertaining story this one proves to be. Aimee Nicole Walker incorporates all the elements that we expect from the couple’s relationship, humor, thoughtful introspection, respect, and deep abiding love as well lots of what M/M Romances are known for. She weaves a tale of murder carried out in a tiny resort town. One that they just happen to be honeymooning in. We get a moving wedding, a hilarious jaunt to their destination, and then a lakeside mystery and murder worthy of any romance novel no matter the genera. This author never lets our focus stray off of the fact that it’s Sawyer and Royce’s honeymoon, with all the resplendent joy and happiness they have in the fact they are each other’s husbands, with a new future and family ahead of them. We get to revel in that along with them. Whether they are investigating an element of the murder, or a break in, or some aspect of the fact they are newly married, it all threads nicely into the picture. As always, the surrounding cast only adds to the story. They are all well-defined and just plain terrific characters. We may not like all of them...but they are believable. It’s a mystery wrapped up in a suspenseful, edgy climax. The ending is so good and leaves us and them in a great place with the ability to make a return sometime in the future. Soon Ms. Walker...please soon.

Mar 6, 11:33 am

Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show
Daniel de Visé
4/5 stars
Daniel de Vise writes a fascinating book about the relationship between Andy Griffith and Don Knotts as he follows their lives and careers and especially their time on The Andy Griffth Show. Highly recommended!

Mar 6, 11:43 am

Finished and reviewed The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud and Monster of the Week by F.T. Lukens. Both stories were YA, both were urban-fantasy, both were second stories and both were pretty good (each in their own way).

Mar 6, 3:00 pm

Just Friends - Saxon James - (Oregon)
Never Just Friends Series Book #1
Genera: M/M Romance
Narrators: Kirt Graves & Alexander Cendese
Roo: Five years ago, I walked away from Sunbury, Oregon, and left my best friend behind. The move was supposed to get my life on track. I even had a list: Life-changing epilepsy surgery. Check. See the world. Check. Get over my straight best friend... Not exactly. No matter where I go or who I meet, I can't let Tanner go. I'm back to tell him how I feel. To get the closure I need once and for all. Only now I'm here and falling for him all over again, it's getting harder to say the words. Because once I have my closure, I'll be gone. And this time it will be for good.
Tanner: When my best friend, Roo, left for Australia, it was the worst day of my life. I thought we'd have each other always. But Roo needed the surgery so I let him go, thinking he'd come straight back. Five years is a long time. Now he's here, all I want is to hold on tight. I need to show him what he means to me. The problem is, I'm not exactly sure what that is. My draw to him has always been confusing and different - everyone in town says so. But I struggle to understand it. All I know is I won't survive him leaving again. And I'll do anything to make him stay.

Here we have Tanner and Roo who's been inseparable best friends since Roo moved to Sunbury, Oregon with his family. They are extremely close and happy, even with Roo's epilepsy and Tanner's dyslexia poses challenges for both of them. Roo's condition requires his family to have to move back to Australia because Roo needs surgery. Tanner is heartbroken but continues on. Five long years pass with hardly any contact. Then Roo comes home. Roo's been in love with Tanner since he realized he was into guys. Those 5 years apart has changed absolutely nothing. He has to tell Tanner and hopes for a miracle that his straight best friend might somehow feel the same way. Tanner loves Roo with his whole heart...he always has...but what he believes to be as a best friend... someone he cares about...someone he can't live without...someone who he wants to give everything...but surely he's not IN love with him despite the whole town including his parents saying he is. Their reunion, their getting used to each other again, and the massive realizations they have about one another tell another story. While they discover their feelings for each other we also get a glimpse into a nosy small town, a great group of friends, and lots and lots of fun and laughter. Looking forward to book #2.

Mar 7, 11:16 am

Callander Square - Anne Perry - (England)
Charlotte & Thomas Pitt Series Book #2
Genera: Mystery/Historical Fiction
Murders just don’t happen in fashionable areas like Callander Square–but these two have. The police are totally baffled. Pretty, young Charlotte Ellison Pitt, however, is curious. Inspector Pitt’s well-bred wife doesn’t often meddle in her husband’s business, but something about this case intrigues her–to the point that staid Charlotte Pitt is suddenly rattling the closets of the very rich, seeking out backstairs gossip that would shock a barmaid, and unearthing truths that could push even the most proper aristocrat to murder.

It moved along ang flowed very nicely but there were a few things that I found odd and lost the book a 5-star rating. I also had to remember that women in the era that the books are set didn't have the freedoms that women have today. t seemed that at times Charlotte was not even that interested in the investigation. She spent numerous hours immersed in helping General Balantyne with his family history. There were great stretches of time when she made absolutely no moves toward resolving the case at all. Her only reason for being in the vicinity at all was to enable her to meet a secondary character and provide a link for the end of the story. Then suddenly her sister Emily was front and center playing a huge part in the solving of the mystery by providing information that Charlotte would have certainly been helpful in uncovering. This series very much offers an "insiders" view to the lives and thoughts of life during the Victorian era. This author and this series was one of my mother's all-time favorites and I try to read at least one book a year from her favorite authors or titles...this was 2023's. as a "modern woman" I am still slightly put-off by the hypocrisy and double standards of this era. In spite of that, I think Anne Perry does a fantastic job of immersing the reader in the time period. If you just want to escape into a good mystery...Anne Perry is an author to trust to provide this escape for you.

Mar 7, 4:16 pm

Safe Words - Jodi Payne & Chris Owens -(Illinois)
Deviation series Book # 5
Genera: M/M/ Romance/BDSM
Tobias, Noah and Phan are all working on finding their place, both at Bradford's club and in their personal lives. They're all living together, and Tobias has taken on the role of full-time Dom to both men, which he loves but finds incredibly challenging. While Noah finds comfort in their new arrangement and is looking forward to deeper submission, Phan has a harder time finding balance and peace. There are many changes happening too fast and making Phan act out, and neither Tobias nor Noah are sure how to deal with it. Life is not perfect for Bradford, either, as he finally confronts his feelings for his sub, Nikki. How will Tobias help his closest friend, manage his job training other Doms at the club, and juggle his relationship with Noah and Phan without allowing the house that he's built for himself fall down around their ears?

I didn't want Phan to have this much of a place in Tobias and Noah's life at first. He is a little drama queen, but eventually became very likable...and Noah and Tobias love him...so he'll find his place in their lives. Actually, the inclusion of Phan into the relationship was just meant to be, as there just wasn't another answer for Phan. This series has been wonderful allowing us to watch the character’s growth. Noah is the outstanding character of this series. His transformation from the broken, unsure man who wanted desperately to submit to the confident and settled sub in tis the final book was fantastic to read. Before reading this series, I would have pictured Tobias, as the key to keeping the threesome together, but it was Noah’s ability to communicate clearly and naturally and to be able to give each member of the relationship what they needed, was what kept them working. I did so enjoy this series and will visit Tobias, Noah and Phan by re-read these books again and again.

Mar 7, 10:40 pm

All Things Wise and Wonderful / James Harriot
3.5 stars

In this book, veterinarian James Herriot is training for the RAF (Royal Air Force) during WWII. So, this one includes stories of that training, alongside stories of treating animals (pets and farm animals) and the lives of some of the humans to whom those animals belonged.

I listened to the audio, and there were times my mind wandered, probably more often during the RAF training anecdotes (though not all of them). The narrator did a very good job with voices and accents. I’m rating it good, but am debating if I should continue on. It looks like there are only two books left, so I likely will.

Mar 8, 7:48 am

Someone To Call My Own - Aimee Nicole Walker - (Ohiio)
Road to Blissville Series Book #2
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Genera: M/M Romance/Mystery/Paranormal
Psychic Emory Jackson and former black ops specialist, Jonathon Silver, are men from two completely different worlds with one thing in common: heartbreak. Emory still mourns the loss of his husband five years prior, and Jon is reeling with grief from the recent death of his twin brother. Sparks fly when mutual friends introduce them, but it's so much more than basic attraction. There's an undeniable awareness and a sense of belonging that neither man can deny. Despite Emory's premonition of a future with Jon, he has vowed never to love again. Jon is convinced that his tainted soul is the reason he will never have someone to call his own. What if they're both wrong? Maybe these broken men with their jagged edges could somehow align perfectly to form something whole and beautiful. But will that realization come too late for them?

Jon is a sweet and lovely character. He oozes uncertainty is some areas and absolute confidence in others. It's his entire make up and he is just right for Emory. I don't think that we got to know Emory as well as we might have, and although he took his time coming to terms with the whole "moving on" from a lost love, it only made him more loveable. The presence of River in this story made it more believable. I thought that the explanation of his abilities and the fact he has no idea know how to tap into them, or to control them, only tells us that he has the ability and the willingness to help and that he is not ego driven but just plain hurt. This is the second book in the series, and it seems the "Road to Blissville" series is going to keep getting better. All the other characters in the story rallied around to support them, which seemed to surprise Emory. I was expecting big things from him. He is a very complex character. The story left us knowing that Nate and River can go on knowing their loved ones are safe and that they want them to be happy...whatever life brings.

Mar 8, 1:03 pm

The Dark Days Club - Alison Goodman - (England)
Lady Helen Series Book #1
Genera: Historical Fantasy/Paranormal/Young Adult
Helen must make a choice: Save her reputation or save the world. London, 1812. Eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall is on the eve of her debut presentation at the royal court of George III. Her life should revolve around gowns, dancing, and securing a suitable marriage. Instead, when one of her family’s maids disappears, she is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few able to stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons that has infiltrated all levels of society. Carlston is not a man she should be anywhere near, especially with the taint of scandal that surrounds him. Yet he offers her help and the possibility of finally discovering the truth about the mysterious deaths of her parents. Soon the two of them are investigating a terrifying conspiracy that threatens to plunge the newly Enlightened world back into darkness. But can Helen trust a man whose own life is built on lies? And does she have the strength to face the dangers of this hidden world and her family’s legacy?

Not my usual type of story but you know the lengths I will go to complete a challenge:) At least I did start with book 1. This is a regency romance and dark fantasy, filled with mystery, dangerous secrets, rivalry, and lust. Yeah...lots of lust but toned down quite a bit. I liked Helen more than I thought I would. She's quick, witty, curious, loyal and strong. Unlike some heroines she is also rational and just cautious enough, without being paranoid. She thinks for herself and is willing to entertain the ideas of the impossible. When she is revealed to have "gifts" she never dreamed were possible she finds that she is forced to make a choice: choosing the life she's always believed she'd have or one in which she would be able serve a greater purpose but would mean her life would be in constant danger. As Helen reasons..."Sometimes there is no right choice". We also have a colorful cast of back-up characters...the mysterious, dark, and handsome, and commanding Lord Carlston...the witty, kind and loving Duke of Selburn... and the fiercely loyal, sassy, willful Darby. However, there still remains many unanswered questions and the battle against good and evil is only just beginning. I believe it will continue without me though.

Mar 8, 5:33 pm

E Is For Evidence – Sue Grafton
Digital audiobook read by Mary Peiffer

Book five in the “alphabet” series has PI Kinsey Milhone dreading a not very merry Christmas. Her ex-husband, Daniel, pops in to complicate matters, and she can’t get the bank to take seriously the $5,000 mistake they’ve clearly made by crediting her account for a check she did not deposit. So, she’s pleased to have a case to investigate. But not for long; she’s accused of insurance fraud and finds herself out on her own trying to clear her name.

What I love about the series is the time frame – no cell phones or computers. Kinsey has to rely on her wits and good old-fashioned footwork to ferret out the information she needs. There are a lot of characters, most of whom are suspects, and enough twists and turns to keep this reader guessing right up to the reveal.

Mary Peiffer does a fine job of narrating the audiobook. If I actually read the text of one of these books, I’m sure I’ll hear Peiffer’s voice as Kinsey.

Mar 9, 7:52 am

Restraint - A J Rose - (Washington)
Power Exchange series Book #4
Genera: M/M/ Romance/Mystery
Who brings a Glock on a honeymoon? Not retired detective Gavin DeGrassi. When his husband Ben asks who he plans to shoot, Gavin has no answer. They’re spending three weeks in Ben’s family cabin near Seattle, not chasing down bad guys. Or are they? Ben finds evidence the car accident that claimed his parents’ lives more than fifteen years ago was not so accidental. To avenge the Haversons, Gavin dusts off his detective skills and unknowingly paints a target on their backs. Suddenly, Ben is the prime suspect in a crime and the message couldn’t be clearer: drop the investigation or suffer untold consequences. Gavin will stop at nothing to ensure Ben’s safety and bring the Haversons’ killers to justice, but without help, they’re sitting ducks. Gavin must make unlikely allies in his quest to clear Ben’s name and stop a ruthless crime syndicate. But with his loyalties divided, how far is too far in his quest for justice?

This one, book 4 in the "Power Exchange" series, is really much more a mystery than an M/M romance... although there are a couple of hot scenes between Gavin and Ben, his new husband. Gavin is more the outstanding character in this one also, putting his police training to work to help find an art thief and to find out who ordered the deaths of Ben's parents that has remained labeled an accident for the past ten years. Gavin is now retired but it seems that you can't take the "cop" out of him. Of course, things start innocently enough. Ben and Gavin have just been married and off on their honeymoon at the Puget Sound Island cabin where Ben remembers spending many summers when he was a kid. When Ben starts reading through his mother's old journals, he uncovers what he believes could be evidence that the car crash that killed his parents may not have been an accident after all. They start their quest for the truth which eventually puts the guys on the trail of a very talented art thief, and right in the sights of a crime syndicate that they already know will stop at nothing to protect their dirty business. The art thief becomes a reluctant and then a willing partner in their venture which leaves several bodies in their wake. I have really enjoyed this series and hope that Ben and Gavin appear in many more. Not only does each story seem to be complete, but each one also ends rather emphatically with no dangling loose ends, and with the main characters seemingly in a good place. Gavin and Ben seem to attract trouble wherever they go, or maybe it's just that trouble finds them. The plot line in this book, like the last one, is not your typical detective story...but it's also not Ben, the Dom, that is in charge. I have book 5 so more to come.

Editado: Mar 9, 10:22 am

Shutter Island - Dennis Lehane - (Massachusetts)
Narrator: Tom Stechschulte
Genera: Suspense/Thriller/Mystery
The basis for the blockbuster motion picture directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Shutter Island by New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane is a gripping and atmospheric psychological thriller where nothing is quite what it seems. The New York Times calls Shutter Island, “Startlingly original.” The Washington Post raves, “Brilliantly conceived and executed.” A masterwork of suspense and surprise from the author of Mystic River and Gone, Baby, Gone, Shutter Island carries the reader into a nightmare world of madness, mind control, and CIA Cold War paranoia and is unlike anything you’ve ever read before.

Ha! Will anyone be surprised. I actually reread, well relistened to this one that I didn't like the first time, to complete a challenge. Guess what? I didn't like it any more than I did the first time around. I tried it with the audio this time. The narrator did a fantastic job, but the subject matter was just a bit too much and frankly I have to admit that I just wasn't very interested. I remembered what the twist was that followed along the best part of the movie. (yeah, I watched it and liked it more than the book, but who wouldn't like Bruce Willis? ) It was where the young boy says, "I see dead people" and you only then realize, almost instantly, that the character played by Bruce Willis is dead....and now you have doubts about the rest of the inhabitants. The book starts out on a strong premise: a missing person's report.... A patient has vanished from her cell in a hospital for the criminally insane, which is located on an island in an old army fort. Her room was locked from the outside. There's a hurricane coming, and rumors have it that the hospital staff is conducting unethical treatments on its patients. Sounds like I should have loved it...but I didn't. Oh Well, another challenge category completed, and I did like listening to Tom Stechschulte read.

Mar 9, 5:16 pm

High Tide In Tucson – Barbara Kingsolver

Subtitle: Essays From Now Or Never

Kingsolver was already a successful novelist when this collection of essays was published. She relates her thoughts on family, home, politics, nature, social issues and personal responsibility with humor, compassion, wit and integrity. Her training as a scientist is evident, as is her talent as a poet.

As she ponders what is meaningful in life and what one person’s impact may be, she takes the reader to a number of surprisingly diverse locations and situations: from a small village in West Africa (where she obtained a voodoo love charm), to her backyard (where she battled the wild pigs intent on digging up her lovingly tended plants), to a museum of atomic bomb relics (which she found both fascinating and horrifying), to a bird-watching hike in the Virginia mountains. She examines the impact of too much television, or the use of pesticides, against the natural wonder of nature and biodiversity.

As I did with Small Wonder, I read this through as I would a novel. But this collection is probably best enjoyed by reading a chapter/essay now and again.

Mar 9, 8:37 pm

Bookish And the Beast – Ashley Poston

Book number three in the Once Upon a Con series can easily be read as a standalone, though characters from the earlier books do show up here without much backstory. Still, the focus is on a new couple: Rosie Thorne, high school senior and geek girl bookworm, and Hollywood bad boy Vance Reign, who plays the villain in the Starfield movies.

Vance has recently been caught by paparazzi in a potentially scandalous situation (which really isn’t all that), so his mom and stepfather have sent him into exile in a small town with his godfather as guardian. Rosie stumbles onto the estate when chasing a dog, which she assumes to be a stray or runaway. And one thing leads to another.

I didn’t see a lot of Beauty and the Beast here, though Rosie does share Belle’s love of books & libraries. Vance is surly, to be sure, but hardly a beast. There’s a nice subplot involving Rosie’s dad and Vance’s guardian (I’d read THAT sequel).

To sum it up, this is a YA romance, full of the drama of homecoming, friends, college applications, frenemies, gossip, the pitfalls of social media, and a bit of Comic-Con nerdiness thrown in. The characters were pretty much right out of central casting, and the plot (even without the supposed B&B background) was predictable. I was hesitant at first and thought I might DNF it, but I found myself caught up and sufficiently entertained to finish. It was a fast read and I can certainly see the appeal for the intended audience.

Mar 10, 7:59 am

Bondage - Jodi Payne & Chris Owen - (Illinois)
Deviations Series - Book 4
Genera: M/M Romance/BDSM
In this final installment of the Deviations series, Noah and Tobias come back from Paris with a renewed contract and a deeper personal bond but find that things don't go as smoothly at home. They face a crisis that could threaten their brand-new contract, as well as their personal intimacy. This has a ripple effect, but with careful and deliberate communication, Tobias and Noah finally learn that they can evolve with it, instead of collapsing. They experiment with scene after scene, making them longer and deeper, which allows them to explore more than they've ever dared. They even move in together. When Noah is forced to face the dangers of his job, he begins to question why he became a cop in the first place. Tobias is also questioning his commitment to his own work, and soon enough, their external life is changing enough that they're forced to lean on each other to get through. How will they achieve a comfortable balance between their outside lives, their scenes, and their deep, love and devotion to one another?

I don't think that I have ever been as sorry to see a series end as I am this one. Glad that I bought all the books so I can visit Tobias, Noah and even Phan again whenever I want. I wasn't happy to have had Phan become a part of Tobias and Noah's relationship but was glad to see that he didn't divide them but actually was a good part of blending them together more. Tobias had never stopped loving Phan and Noah was crazy about him. Phan did totally understand and respect his place. Lots of changes happened for the guys...all really good ones. I was proud of how Noah handled Phan's horrible parents and was also happy to see Bradford and Nicky becoming closer. Overall...it was the characters more than the lifestyle that made this series such as success for me and I was happy to see them get so much "more" with all the big changes in their lives. The wonderful characters and the intricate and detailed world/lifestyle make the whole series a joy to read...but be aware that it is not going to be something that will appeal to all readers.

Mar 10, 1:41 pm

Seb's Summer - K C Wells - (Maine)
Maine Men Series Book #3
Genera: M/M/Romance
Steamy summer nights with a hot older man aren’t the smooth sailing Seb expects. A mysterious older guy. Seb Williams has one plan for the hot, sultry nights of his summer vacation—to get laid. What isn’t on the agenda? Running his uncle’s fishing business. Seb has no choice but to help his family. So, it’s goodbye, Ogunquit’s gay bars and hook-ups. And it’s hello, Cape Porpoise, a quaint, quiet fishing harbor. A small town that promises to be boring AF until he meets Marcus Gilbert. His summer prospects start to look promising. Silver fox—hell yeah. Hot bod? Check. Slow sultry gaze? Oh yes! Only one problem. Marcus Gilbert plays hard to get. A hot distraction...Cape Porpoise is exactly how Marcus remembers it from long-past childhood, and just what he needs. A sabbatical to get his life back on track, and work on his book. Peaceful surroundings. The calm of the ocean. Perfect—until Marcus’s boat is well and truly rocked by a hot, younger guy. Marcus can’t ignore the lure of Seb’s lean frame and gorgeous eyes. One night can’t hurt, right? Except one-night leads to another, and another. It’s just a summer fling—until it isn’t, and the pair are suddenly in uncharted waters. Because now, Marcus’s past threatens to tear apart their future.

Marcus was an okay guy even if he did try to ignore Seb in the beginning. Not interested in a relationship or it seems even a friendship... until suddenly... he is. After a while, Marcus’s "secrets" became a little annoying. Then, when he finally reveals his past, I found the plot to be confusing. I’m absolutely on board with the idea of life not being black and white...knowing that judgments sometimes come on way too fast, but I think after all they’d been through, Seb had a right to get upset with Marcus's past, especially when he waited until the day before he was to go back to settle things with his job to tell Seb everything.
Then Marcus made it all sound like he was a victim only and Seb was in the wrong. I wanted Marcus to realize that no one was really in the wrong...and both Marcus and Seb had a valid point. The question is, can the other accept what they are holding back? And will they get what they've discovered they want...and they do want each other. It was interesting and thought producing that it took a look at the other side of substance use. Good addition to this which has been a really good series.

Editado: Mar 11, 9:35 am

Consent - A J Rose - (Illinois)
Part of Power Exchange series
Genera: M/M Romance/BDSM/Mystery/ (very graphic torture)
Trigger Warning:
Content Warning: contains scenes of rape and graphic violence and diffidently will not be suitable for sensitive readers. Discretion is strongly advised.

"Cole, what’s wrong?" Former detective Gavin DeGrassi likes his new life and his job as a university professor, molding the minds of the next generation of law enforcement. It keeps him in the field he loves, but out of the media and out of the danger he seems to draw. He’s settled and happy with his partner and Dom, Ben Haverson. "It’s Myah." Until a middle of the night phone call from his brother, Cole, whose desperation and fear yank him back into the world of criminals and countdowns. Only this time, the stakes are much higher. "She’s missing". Detective Myah Hayes, Gavin’s sister-in-law and former partner, has a past of her own, one that has returned to claim her. With only their instincts and the help of a rogue CSI, Gavin, Ben, and Cole will do whatever it takes to find Myah, following a flimsy trail of evidence to Chicago, where all is not what it seems—dirty cops, moral pimps, and a nest of snakes who call themselves businessmen. They’re on a collision course with the worst of humanity, and more than Myah’s life is caught in the vortex. Can they find her, and if they do, will there be anything left to save?

I really do try to read series in order...believe it or not:) Especially ones like Power Exchange that I love the main characters and try to follow their lives and their growing relationship as it happens. In some ways I was so glad that I accidently read Restraint and Consent out of order because I'm not sure if I could have finished Consent if I didn't know how things were going to work out for Gavin and Ben in Restraint. I read a lot of books where terrible things happen to good people, but honestly, I have NEVER read anything that bothered me on so many levels like this one did. The brutality, viciousness and level of evil that these people were capable of inflicting on innocent human beings was so way, way, way over the top and outside the boundaries of decency and most people's comfort levels, that you desperately wanted to believe that this is only fiction... that "this just can't happen".... but after reading the info at the back of the book...I learned that it CAN, and it DOES. I even found myself holding my breath and hoping that Gavin and Ben would come out of this nightmare whole even though I knew the answer to that already. As I said, I am so glad that I did read these out of order. This one is not in any way for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach.

Mar 11, 3:14 pm

Garbage Man / Joseph D'Lacey
3.5 stars

There is something going on at the town’s landfill. Something big. And Mason manages to egg things on in a very bad way. (Hard to do a good summary without giving too much away!)

It took a while for this to get going, and in fact, I wasn’t sure where it was headed originally. But it got much better for the last 2/3ish of the book and I was more invested once things really started happening. There were two couples, though, that I kept getting confused. Eventually, I (mostly) figured out the characters, but even toward the end, I often had to stop to figure out who was who, and which couple they were a part of. Once it picked up, it was good.

Mar 12, 9:47 am

They Came From The Ocean - Boris Bacic - (New Zealand}
Creature Encounters Series
Genera: Horror
Exploring the bottom of the ocean is scary. It's worse when something down there is stalking you. Off the coast of New Zealand, there's an underwater mining facility 8,000 feet under the ocean. The crew stationed there knows that drowning is the least of their worries at such depths. That's why they panic when a maintenance member goes missing while out on a repair mission. He had only eight hours of oxygen, and almost a day has gone by since they lost contact, so the crew can only hope to retrieve his body. Then they receive a distress call from him - at a depth of 11,000 feet. A small rescue team suits up and dives to find their missing crewmate. But descending into the unforgiving depths of the ocean is much easier than going back up, and the team learns that too late. Now, stranded at the bottom of the trench without the ability to call for help, they realize that coming down here was a terrible mistake. There's something far worse down there than the crushing pressure, the ticking timers on their oxygen tanks, and the everlasting darkness that inhabits such depths. And it's hunting them one by one.

It was a really excellent, creepy, icky bug story with a likeable main character and a cast of delicious victims. The plot nightmarishly well done and helped to keep the story interesting and the story and victims digesting. I had read a book by this author several weeks ago and really was looking forward to this one. I did really, really enjoy it...since I seem to have this obsession with being scared out of wits, even though I'd as soon not have the image of giant bugs crawling through my brain:) Thank all the "Books Gods" that the author didn't choose spiders as the villains, or the book would have ended very quickly for me:) Other reviews have said the story made them feel claustrophobic....so that might be something that some readers may want to watch out for. What a fantastic creepy read! I would say that to produce the reactions that this book is capable of, is the mark of an author that is more than capable of writing a really good scary story. I think if he has any more "buggie" characters staring in any of his stories that I'll invest in a giant can of Raid.

Mar 12, 1:18 pm

The Four Winds – Kristin Hannah
Audiobook performed by Julia Whelan

As she did in The Nightingale, Hannah uses female characters to tell a bit of the history of a time and place. In this work, the timeframe is 1920s to mid-1930s, and the place is America, specifically the Great Plains and California.

Elsa Wolcott had a bad start in life despite being born into a prosperous family; she was sickly as a child and rather plain, especially as compared to her sister. Her parents have declared it her fate to be a spinster. But Elsa wants more. Her need leads to some bad decisions, and she winds up in a hasty marriage to an unsuitable man. Still, Rafe Martinelli’s family accepts her, and she learns to become a wife and mother. And then the Depression and the Dust Bowl hit their Texas wheat farm.

Elsa turns out to be quite the warrior. She is fiercely protective of her children, in turns frightened and courageous, but determined and willing to nearly kill herself in the fields to feed her family. She is suspicious of dreams of a better tomorrow because dreams don’t put food on the table or a roof over one’s head. But when pushed just a little too far, Elsa will answer the call to fight. Brava!

I loved Elsa’s teen-aged daughter, Loreda. Oh, I definitely recognized the push-pull of the mother-daughter relationship as the youngster is trying so hard to grow up. I feared for her but cheered Loreda on as she found her voice and learned to temper her impulses with good sense and planning.

And I also loved the mother-daughter relationship between Elsa and her mother-in-law Rose. Here is a woman who has seen hard times, but retains her faith in God, and in hard work, and in sacrifice to see them through the toughest trials. She shows Elsa the kind of love that helps her release the strong woman inside her.

I’ve heard some say it’s like Steinbeck’s masterpiece The Grapes of Wrath, but with the focus on women. I certainly see the comparison, but I always felt the most important character in that classic was Ma.

While I saw a couple of plot points coming a mile off, the twist at the end caught me by surprise, and I found myself crying in my car in the grocery store parking lot.

Julia Whelan does a superb job of narrating the audio edition. As a bonus there is an interview with both Hannah and Whelan at the end of the book. I had to laugh when they went to such pains to avoid spoiling the ending; they even acknowledged the folly of this since, if the listener has gotten to the interview, she’s already read (listened to) the twist at the end.

Mar 12, 3:35 pm

The Dog of the South
Charles Portis
3.5/5 stars
Charles Portis who wrote True Grit explores the ups and mostly downs of Ray Midge's life after his wife takes off with another man and his car. Ray is determined to find his wife, his car and is able to track her down with his credit card statements but along the way he meets a variety of kooky and interesting people. 1979

Mar 12, 11:20 pm

The Rape of Nanking / Iris Chang
3.5 stars

Nanking, China was attacked by Japan in December 1937 during the Sino-Japanese War. The Chinese military had abandoned the city and the Japanese military took advantage and tortured, raped, and murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians. There has not (at least as of the publication date… I haven’t yet followed up) been any apology or reparations for the war crimes from Japan. In fact, Japan has spent decades trying to hide this part of their shameful history.

I really knew nothing about this beyond having heard of it. The lead-up to the main part of the story didn’t catch my interest – this was the history leading up to Nanking being taken over by the Japanese. The things that happened were incredibly awful, but the author also followed up with chapters on Westerners who tried to help with a “safe zone” in the middle of the city (one of those Westerners was actually a Nazi), then chapters on how the Chinese people fared after and how the Japanese tried to hide what had happened (despite it having been on the news around the world, even at the time).

I read the ebook and there was mention of photos in the notes, but my ebook edition did not have any photos. My edition was published in 2011 (originally, this was published in 1997), and had an afterword by the author’s husband; the author herself committed suicide at the age of 36, and her husband addressed this in the afterword.

Mar 13, 8:13 am

Doorways - Robert Enright
The Bermuda Jones Case Files - Book #1
Genera: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
When will you discover The Otherside? There is more to the shadows than just darkness. The Otherside is located at the fringes of our world, hiding in plain sight and existing within our shadows. Shielded from humanity, the Otherside is watched over by the BTCO, a highly secret government agency, whose members all possess 'The Knack', a genetic anomaly that allows them to see this other world. Franklyn 'Bermuda' Jones is the BTCO's finest agent, the only human to have passed to the Otherside and returned. Gifted with the ability to physically interact with both worlds, Bermuda reluctantly stands between both worlds, pining for the life he had to leave behind and the daughter he can no longer see. Teamed with Argyle, an enigmatic Otherside warrior, Bermuda is assigned the case of a missing woman who has vanished under mysterious circumstances. As Bermuda delves further into the disappearance, he uncovers a threat that could destroy the truce between two worlds...and finds himself in a race against time to safeguard humanity's very existence.

So glad to have found this author and his quirky character of Bermuda Jones. Bermuda is different, to put it mildly. He has the ability to see what other people can’t. It is because of that, that Bermuda works for a government agency that is so secret almost no one knows it exists. When people start going missing Bermuda and his partner Argyle are sent to investigate the disappearances and hopefully to put an end to them. Will they be able to get one step ahead and stop the next one from happening? Ah...that is the "sixty-four-thousand-dollar question" (is anyone else old enough to remember that TV show?) I was hooked into this story from the beginning. It's a beautiful mixture of supernatural/ fantasy and crime thriller with some mystery thrown in and blended together. The character of Bermuda is drawn in a very realistic way. It made you really feel for the man, not only because of his gift...or curse, as he calls it... but also because he’s been through and lost so much. That is something he’s still struggling to come to terms with. I love how this guy despite hating that he has the ‘knack’ still continues to fight and tries save everyone, all whilst flaunting his lack of respect for his superiors at the BTCO. Great first book and I'm getting the 2nd one... The Absent Man (Stay tuned:)

Mar 13, 9:45 am

In The Silence - M R McKenzie - (Scotland)
Anna Scavolini Mystery series Book #1
Genera: Mystery Suspense/Thriller/Police Prcedural
Anna Scavolini hasn’t set foot in Glasgow for ten years – and she’s not short of reasons… On her first night back in town, what should have been the start of a relaxing Christmas getaway takes a decidedly macabre turn when she stumbles upon an old flame, Andrew Foley, bleeding to death on the snow-clad slopes of Kelvingrove Park. Who killed Foley in such a brutal manner – and why? If the police have any leads, they’re keeping them under wraps. Convinced that Foley was deliberately targeted rather than the victim of a random attack, Anna begins her own investigation, and in so doing unearths a trail of long-buried secrets, leading back to a crime committed over a decade ago. A crime so unspeakable its perpetrators are prepared to take their silence to the grave.

Anna, who has returned to her native Glasgow after an absence of 10 years to celebrate the birthday of her best friend Zoe. Left alone temporarily in a nightclub she bumps into her schoolgirl crush Andrew. When she later finds him stabbed and dying in the street, it is the start of her nightmare as she becomes involved in the murder investigations when the police are convinced, she is either involved in some way or knows far more than she is letting on. Then when another victim is found, Anna decides that she wants to know the truth about what happened and why, bringing her into the firing line of the less than happy police detectives. It took me a little while to warm to Anna as she comes across as being quite cold and doesn’t seem to find it easy to relate to other people, including her best friend, but it was this character flaw that enabled her to dig around for the truth as she was unconcerned if her questions and digging upset or offended anyone. in fact, if that someone was in the police force, she almost seemed to take some pleasure in it. The more they pushed the more she went from wanting to escape Glasgow and get back to her life in Rome, to poking around in the investigations, determined to find the truth. Anna’s friend Zoe seemed a little self-centered especially when Anna’s life seemed to be crashing around her, but they both seemed to be desperately clinging to their close friendship of the past, despite having grown apart. The two detectives in charge of the case seemed to desperately want to link Anna to the murders. I hope to never come across any like them in real life as one of them seems to take great pleasure in humiliating Anna at every opportunity. This is the first book in this series and I look forward to more from this author in the future.

Mar 13, 3:59 pm

The Last Coyote - Michael Connelly - (California)
Harry Bosch Series Book #4
Genera: Mystery & Suspense/Police Procedural
Suspended from his job with the LAPD, Harry Bosch must face the darkest parts of his past to track down his mother's killer . . . even if it costs him his life. Harry Bosch's life is on the edge. His earthquake-damaged home has been condemned. His girlfriend has left him. He's drinking too much. And after attacking his commanding officer, he's even had to turn in his L.A.P.D. detective's badge. Now, suspended indefinitely pending a psychiatric evaluation, he's spending his time investigating an unsolved crime from 1961: the brutal slaying of a prostitute who happened to be his own mother. Even after three decades, Harry's questions generate heat among L.A.'s top politicos. And as the truth begins to emerge, it becomes more and more apparent that someone wants to keep it buried. Someone very powerful...very cunning...and very deadly.

I have always liked this series but hadn't read any of it in years so was excited to take it up again when my Mystery & Suspense group chose it as our monthly group read on LibraryThing. One thing that I remember from reading this series before is that just when you think this is simple...the killer is..."Nope...guess again and from then on plan on looking for all the tricks that Michael Connelly throws into the plot. In the first two novels in the series, we find Harry under investigation by Internal Affairs and in one, actually on suspension; in the third he was the defendant in a civil action prompted by his shooting and killing a suspected serial killer. When this one, book #4 opens we learn, gradually, that he has once again been suspended following a confrontation with Lieutenant Pounds, his divisional commander, which resulted in the senior officer being thrown through a window. As a consequence of that incident Bosch is required to attend psychiatric evaluations with a therapist used by the police force who will contribute towards the decision over Harry's future. Since our Harry has ample free time, he decides to investigate a murder that took place more than thirty years ago...the murder of Marjorie Philips Lowe, his mother. Harry is a man driven by hidden demons, but if you look closely, you will find a core of sensitivity. The plot here is sinuous but credible. Harry's friend, Irwin must be some kind of superhero as it seems to be the only one who can survive Harry Bosch...but what a fun adventure it is for we the readers to be invited to try.

Mar 13, 10:58 pm

Talking to Strangers / Malcolm Gladwell
3.75 stars

In this one, Gladwell looks at how we communicate (or not) with people we don’t know. Or really, how well (or not) that communication is. Generally, people assume other people are telling the truth. But what if they aren’t? Drinking changes communication and how we read (or don’t) other people. Police interactions. Spies. Crime and safety. And more. Of course, there are studies that show us some surprising results.

So he actually started off with what was the least interesting to me of all the stories – the spies. But the rest of the stories were of much more interest to me. I listened to the audio and he did it (so he said – I don’t really listen to podcasts) similar to a podcast where he used recordings of the people themselves talking or he used actors to reenact what someone said. Although some of the recordings were sometimes hard to hear, I quite enjoyed it done that way. So an extra ¼ star for the audio.

Editado: Mar 14, 8:40 am

A Lethal Love - Max Walker - (New York)
Stonewall Investigations series Book #2
Genera: M/M Romance/Mystery
Alejandro Santos is a sharp as nails detective who’s been struck with a spell of boring cases. That is until Griffin walks in through the doors of Stonewall Investigations and suddenly everything changes. Griffin Banks is the son of a tech mogul and appears to have everything set. But Griffin’s battling demons of his own. Things become exponentially worse when he wakes up from a drug and alcohol-fueled blackout to find his friend in his living room. His dead friend. Someone murdered her and left him behind. Griffin’s case is exactly what Alejandro was looking for, and Alejandro happened to be exactly whom Griffin was looking for. When powerful sparks begin to fly between the two, both men will be faced with new challenges. They’ll be tested in ways neither would have ever seen coming.

I have never read a bad or boring book by Max Walker. Thank you, Mr. Walker, for another great read. Please keep them coming. Alex and Griffin will touch your heart with the love that blooms in a murder filled scenario. Griff is fighting his own personal demons when he looks for help at the 'Stonewall Investigations Agency and meeting Alex is the catalyst that helps him to change his life around and even make peace with his estranged father. In spite of being busy looking for a killer, Alex and Griffin find time to get to know each other and fall deeply in love. The excitement of finding a killer and falling in love makes for another really great story in the Stonewall Investigation series. I always hate for these stories to come to an end. But on a high note, we do have a wedding to attend so I know we'll see Alex and Griffin there as well as in future books.

Mar 14, 10:05 am

Buy a Whisker – Sofie Ryan
Digital audio read by Marguerite Gavin

Book two in the Second Chance Cat Mystery series, featuring Sarah Grayson, proprietor of Second Chance, a consignment shop in North Harbor, Maine, and her rescue cat, Elvis. Sarah gets involved in a controversy over developing the waterfront. Sarah, along with most of the residents, are in favor, but one notable holdout is baker Lily Carter. So, when Lily is found murders in her bakery, fingers are pointed as those who were in favor of the development.

Once again Sarah is helped in her sleuthing for her band of friends who’ve dubbed themselves “Charlie’s Angels.” This colorful crew of senior sleuths are tenacious and inventive. And, though I’m not a cat person, I love Elvis and his ability to recognize a lie.

It’s a pretty typical cozy mystery. There are enough suspects and red herrings to keep the reader engaged and guessing, and an interesting regular cast of colorful, quirky characters.

Marguerite Gavin does a fine job of reading the audio version. She sets a good pace and has clear diction.

Editado: Mar 14, 11:16 am

Family Reunion – Nancy Thayer

Thayer specializes in family dramas set on Nantucket. As per usual there is at least one troubled marriage, a grandchild that relates more to grandma than to parents, a possible new romance (or two), and at least one pet too cute for words.

And in this case, there is also a major decision regarding whether to keep the home that’s been in the family for generations or sell out to developers willing to pay millions of dollars for prime ocean-front land. Eleanor Sunderland is a widow who loves living in her family’s large home. She cherishes the memories of coming there when she was a child, and of bringing her children to the island when they were younger. She’s now one of the year-round residents and though the house is large and drafty and needs maintenance it is HER family home. Her adult children, though, think she should sell and move to a retirement community near them in the city.

Eleanor decides to invite her family to the island to help her celebrate her seventieth birthday. It will be a family reunion like they had in the old days! Well, not exactly … The majority of the drama comes from Eleanor’s daughter, Alicia, who is married to a surgeon and lives in Boston, and Eleanor’s only grandchild, Ari, who has just graduated from college and broken off her engagement to the scion of a wealthy family. Alicia is one of the most spoiled and self-centered characters I’ve come across in all my years of reading. Hard to believe that a woman like Eleanor could have raised a woman who is so shallow and money-grubbing. No wonder Ari wants to spend the entire summer with her grandmother!

Eleanor’s wonderful son and confirmed bachelor, Cliff, makes several appearances, though his contributions to the story are minimal. And the subplot involving a day camp for disadvantaged kids adds a nice touch (and a respite from Alicia’s self-made drama).

As is true of the other works by Thayer I’ve read, this was a quick read full of mostly likeable characters in recognizable situations. Perfect choice for a vacation read.

Mar 14, 11:25 pm

The Road / Cormac McCarthy
4 stars

A man and a boy are travelling along a road. They are trying to avoid other people, while trying to stay alive. It turns out something has happened and most of the human population has been wiped out. The man and boy are trying to reach the coast, while trying to survive.

This was surprisingly good. It’s an award-winner (usually a bad sign for me), and I didn’t like the other book I’ve read by this author. I found it interesting that neither of the characters had a name. It was slow-moving, and often not much happened (though there were a few things that happened along the way that got the blood pumping!), but I really liked it.

Mar 15, 8:16 am

Borrowing Blue - Lucy Lennox - (California)
Made Marian Series Book 1
Genera: M/M Romance
Blue: When my ex walks into the resort bar with his new husband on his arm, I want nothing more than to prove to him that I’ve moved on. Thankfully, the sexy stranger sitting next to me is more than willing to share a few kisses in the name of revenge. It gets even better when those scorching kisses turn into a night of fiery passion. The only problem? Turns out the stranger's brother is marrying my sister later this week.

Tristan: I have one rule: no messing with the guests at my vineyard resort. Of course, the one exception I make turns out to be the brother of the woman my brother’s about to marry. Now we’re stuck together for a week of wedding activities, and there’s no avoiding the heat burning between us. So fine, we make a deal: one week. One week to enjoy each other’s bodies and get it out of our system. Once the bride and groom say I do and we become family, it’ll all be over between us. Right?

I fell in love with these two guys. I can't even say that I liked one more than the other. Blue is so sweet and funny. No wonder a "kinda straight" guy fell head over heels for him. Tristan is equally as wonderful. He didn't have a lot of filters and just went with spewing out all his feelings. He "liked" Blue so he did everything he could to get him to "like" him too. There was nothing too heavy about the storyline but plenty to keep you reading to see what these two or one of the crazy family members was going to do next. So much humor packed into what could have been a frustrating, hair-pulling situation. The cast of characters is filled with crazy ex's...homophobic family members, which I usually don't find funny and hard to tolerate... hilarious siblings...crazy and impulsive soul searing love...and hot bedroom antics. Blue's family is equally entertaining. I simply loved them all. I have to give a special mention to Granny, Aunt Tilly, and Irene. Those girls are something else and added so much more humor to the story. Reminded me of some of my relatives...especially Granny:)

Mar 15, 1:07 pm

Catherine House - Elizbeth Thomas - (Pennsylvania)
Genera: Gothic Mystery
Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises a future of sublime power and prestige, and that its graduates can become anything or anyone they desire. Among this year’s incoming class is Ines Murillo, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. Even the school’s enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves within the formidable iron gates of Catherine. For Ines, it is the closest thing to a home she’s ever had. But the House’s strange protocols soon make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when tragedy strikes, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—might be hiding a dangerous agenda within the secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.

Students are cut off from the outside world during their three-year courses and must take part in all types of strange rituals. Ines is far from devoted to her studies, but she also has good reason to want to remain hidden away from the world. But when she starts trying to find out more about the schools sinister "new materials" research program, Ines finds herself in even more trouble than would have been if she had been in the outside world. It was an interesting concept. At first, I thought the story was just a bit slow starting...then I realized that it was quickly heading for a full stop. The premise had the potential to be really exciting, but for me, it never delivered on that. The solutions to the mysteries were not well or even completely explained. Maybe I never really understood what the school's personnel were attempting to achieve or what they wished to gain with this strange program. There's no clear motive to suggest a conspiracy and the further along it went the less believable it became. The big reveals at the end didn't help at all. I think I am primarily frustrated by what the book could have been...but wasn't. This was a first novel by this author so perhaps that may also have been part of it.

Mar 16, 8:35 am

The Long Cold Winter - Colin Conway - (Washington)
509 Crime Stories Book #2
Genera: Mystery
It’s time that Detective Dallas Nash returns to his Major Crimes assignment after suffering a personal loss. His supervisor assigns him a cold case to ease him back into the job. The thirty-year-old unsolved murder leads to a startling revelation - Nash and his friends saw the victim right before her death. Before he can work the case, though, dispatch sends him to a wintery crime scene. A snow-covered body lies in an open field, and Nash has no witnesses or immediate suspects. Amid freezing temperatures and under an oppressive gray sky, can Dallas Nash locate two killers—one of whom has remained hidden for three decades?

Dallas Nash is a veteran and seasoned homicide detective who is just returning to work after he lost his wife when she hit and deer in a freakish one-car accident. The loss of Robbie has literally crushed Dallas. He finds himself doing irrational things but constantly reassuring himself that he's okay. It wasn't his most rational decision, but he decides to go back to work because he feels that occupying himself with the job will help him return to normal. Instead of returning to the regular case roster he gets assigned to a 30-year-old cold case. Jennifer M. Williams was found dead one late afternoon after leaving home and not informing her parents where and why she was going out. She was a beautiful high school student who was 18 years old at the time of her death. Looking at the files Nash learns that Jennifer's case was first assigned to a senior investigator whose reputation of solving murder cases was impeccable...but years past and it remained unsolved and became a cold case and was given to yet another detective, whose reputation for solving cold cases was anything but faultless but again it went nowhere. Nash continues with Jennifer's case, but in addition he is assigned a current case... the murder of a man in his 60's who was found in the middle of a snowy field with a neck wound, very likely exsanguinated was the cause of death. The body is unidentified, but a few days later, a prostitute is arrested by patrolman with the dead man’s driver’s license and credit card in her purse. Nash still isn't doing well with his wife's death and seems to be becoming almost psychotic...thinking that he hears his dead wife giving him clues through varies means like song lyrics in his head. He refuses to admit that he needs help...LOTS OF HELP. He talks to her every day even though she doesn't "always" answer him, "I'm not crazy." he says but who is he trying to convince? Both the character and the story were heart wrenching but entirely gripping. I seldom actually recommend books because people have such diverse likes and dislikes, but this one I believe anyone to anyone who is a fan of crime fiction will absolutely enjoy.

Mar 16, 1:15 pm

The Amityville Horror
Jay Anson
4/5 stars
In 1975 the Lutz family has moved to Amityville, New York because of George Lutz's new job. However, things go terribly wrong when they moved in. Strange and horrible things were happening in the house. They were never informed that the son of the previous family, Ronald J. DeFeo Jr. killed his family. As much as they tried to live there, they eventually had to move out. What a fascinating story. Several film versions were made of the events. 1977

Mar 16, 5:01 pm

Iona Iverson’s Rules For Commuting – Clare Pooley
Digital audiobook performed by Clare Corbett

This is a delightful ensemble piece featuring Iona Iverson, a woman of a certain age, who has long held a position as an advice columnist. Every day she rides the tube to her job site, along with her French bulldog, Lulu. She recognizes the regular riders but doesn’t interact with them and knows them only by the descriptions she’s given them, such as “Impossibly-Pretty-Bookworm,” or “Mr-Too-Good-To-Be-True.” And then one morning, one of the group chokes on a grape, and another performs the Heimlich maneuver, saving the first man’s life. And this shared experience brings them into one another’s circles with charming results.

I really liked all these characters, even the insufferable Piers, and enjoyed watching how their expanded circle of friendship affected each of them. I worried for some of them as their backstories unfolded and cheered them all on as they emerged from their troubles and all vowed to “be more Iona.” It’s my own new rallying cry!

Clare Corbett does a marvelous job of performing the audio version. She has a lot of characters to deal with and gives them each a unique voice.

Note: Originally published in the U.K. as The People on Platform 5

Mar 17, 8:16 am

Soft Limits - Jodi Payne & Chris Owen - (Illinois)
Part of The Deviations series
Genera: M/M Romance/BDSM
Bradford as the beloved owner and Master of the elite and exclusively male BDSM club that anchors the series, and also as the wise man who introduced Tobias and Noah. Dominant Bradford’s story is one defined by sudden opportunity, unimaginable heartbreak, and new-found purpose. His calling is to provide a safe and supportive environment for men in the lifestyle. Bringing Doms and subs together is his superpower, yet he feels fated to be alone himself. In this prequel to the series, you’ll discover how Bradford is first drawn to Nikki, a beautiful and hungry young man living on the streets, and the unexpected ways Bradford grows and changes while helping Nikki understand a world of strange, new desires. Deviations readers already know outcome of Bradford and Nikki’s journey together. Soft Limits is a deep-dive into Bradford’s story, into what makes the Dom tick, and how he ended up with ownership of the club. It also introduces Nikki, the sub that tests Bradford’s patience, steals his heart, and soothes his soul.

Bradford has been a big part of this series from the very first book. Even as much as he appeared with the other characters in the series...he remained somewhat of a mystery-man. He was the club owner...he was Nikki's rescuer...he was Nicki's Dom... he was a teacher...and he was someone that was always willing and available to listen and help...but this is the first time that we long-time readers actually got to know Brandford for the wonderful, caring person that he was above all that. He spends a good deal of their story allowing Nikki to set the pace, to decide whether or not subbing is something he wants to do at all, and to decide if a relationship that includes more than just care and support is even a component of what Nikki wants and needs. It is this patience that creates the delicious tension and makes you ache for Nikki to sub for him. The elements of Nikki's poverty and Bradford's status absolutely add to the atmosphere of the story but becomes secondary to the scorching, growing connection between them. While this book delves into kink, it does so with a less actual sexual element than most MM romance novels even those in this series. Nikki was a treat. He had depth that we never got to see before and how these two guys had their own special relationship that was so different from what has seen with the others in the series but was absolutely perfect for them.

Mar 17, 8:26 am

The World That We Knew – Alice Hoffman
Book on CD performed by Judith Light

A slightly different take on the usual WW2 stories. Hanni Kohn recognizes the imminent danger the Nazi’s pose, so she goes to a rabbi for help. But it is the rabbi’s daughter, Ettie, who offers to make the mystical golem who will protect Hanni’s daughter, Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she will join with Lea and Ettie to escape to France. Although separated their paths are fated to intersect.

I was skeptical about reading another WW2 story, but Hoffman’s writing captured my attention and kept me interested and engaged throughout. I grew to love Ava in particular. What an interesting character! Not truly human, and not intended to “feel,” nevertheless, she has been charged by her creators to act as a mother to Lea, and so she begins to feel for this child/teen/young woman. Her devotion is no less than that of a mother, and she suffers many of the same heartaches a mother would feel as her daughter grows up and away from her.

Ettie is a marvelous young woman. Strong, independent, determined to make a difference. She will not accept the role that has been prescribed for her by her strictly orthodox parents. She will fight against tyranny with every fiber of her being.

Lea is a bit of an enigma. A child at the outset she grows into a sullen teenager and then a strong-willed young woman. There were several times I wanted to just throttle her! But by the end of the book, I was cheering her on.

While the focus of the story is really on Ava, Ettie and Lea, there are a number of supporting characters who help them throughout, from the Mother Superior at the convent where Ava and Lea hide for a time, to the French resistance group Ettie works with, to a kind doctor and the farmer and his daughter who keep bees and a charming goat, Bluebell.

Judith Light is an accomplished actress and voice artist. She does a marvelous job of performing the audiobook. She really brings these characters to life.

Mar 17, 8:29 am

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Mar 17, 10:41 am

All about Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business
Mel Brooks
4/5 stars
What a great book about all the films that Mel Brooks wrote and filmed! He also writes about his life growing up, his time in the military in WWII, how he got into show business and how he met his wife, the lovely Anne Bancroft and their relationship. Definitely for film fans!

Mar 17, 2:24 pm

Sean's Sunshine - Amy Lane - (California)
Flophouse Series book #3
Genre: M/M Romance
As a young detective, Sean Kryzynski expected violence on the job, not to get stabbed coming back from lunch. Add an angsty bedside breakup, and by the time he gets home from the hospital, he’s over everything, including his irritating, hot-as-balls nurse, Billy No-Last-Name with the big, cynical brown eyes. Billy’s whole porn-model flophouse is experiencing a wave of altruism and adulting—people getting real jobs and going to shrinks and doing good works. Billy opts in too—he wants to be a good guy—but his assignment is taking care of the world’s most exasperating, headstrong patient. At least bunking with Sean means Billy has his own spare bedroom and some peace and quiet to do classwork. The porn model and the policeman seem to have no common ground, but Billy's experience herding his younger siblings helps him manage Sean with unexpected empathy—a skill Sean has been working on too, because he wants to be a good cop. Eventually they chip away at the walls around each other’s hearts and discover a real connection. If not for their incompatible day jobs and inconvenient pasts, they might even be falling in love.

Amy Lane has long been one of my favorite M/M romance authors. I will buy almost sight unseen anything that bears her name and I trust her to deliver a really good story no matter which characters are featured. If you have never read any of her work, you should start with the Fish series. From then on characters appear with one another throughout the different series, but beginning with the Fish series will allow you to meet almost everyone. Her books are above all love stories. Love in all its guises.... love in all its genres. Billy is starting to get his life figured out, thanks to the good luck at finding the flophouse. It’s amazing how your life can change when someone actually cares about you and respects you no matter what you are or how you choose to support yourself. Billy has been asked by Sean's friends to care for him during his recovery for a lung injury after he was stabbed. Sean is doing his best, but the beautiful young man taking care of him is pushing way too many of his buttons for comfort. He needs to get better as quickly as possible. Billy and Sean are in the meantime, doing a complicated dance around each other. Their circumstances sometimes put them at odds, but they are definitely on a direct path leading to one another. This little universe that Amy Lane has created is very hard to resist. The characters are all so adorable, loveable, and human, warts and all. Do I think this is how most people involved in porn are treated? Diffidently not... but it would be great if a little compassion and understanding would take place. The characters are wonderfully complex. Sean’s upbringing influences his life as much as Billy’s does his. The story makes an interesting comparison between the two. They are taking two very different journeys through life, yet somehow end up in the same place when they need to be. Thank you, Amy Lane. Keep the books coming and I'll keep buying and reading.

Editado: Mar 18, 9:57 am

Make Music Together - Ariella Zoelle - (New York)
Harmony of Hearts Series Book #2
Genera: M/M Romance
Sparks fly when Noctis meets his new neighbor. But will their shower duets lead to true love?
Noctis Ralston: How odd am I? I’m a “fall in love with my new neighbor before I’ve formally met him” level of awkward aardvark. But in my defense, this mystery man has a golden voice that gives me chills even in the hottest of showers, thanks to our thin apartment walls. I’d love to be bold enough to introduce myself, but since I have the self-confidence of a dull doorknob, that’s not happening. My life changes forever when I unexpectedly meet my neighbor at an open mic night. Not only is Levi nice, but holy frickenfrack, he’s a “make me forget the entirety of the English language” type of gorgeous. And for some inexplicable reason, he seems interested in me, despite the only “relationship” I’ve ever had is with my right-hand man, if you know what I mean. Can I be brave enough to let him introduce me to a whole new world of lace, love, and learning how to embrace my uniqueness?

Levi Benowitz: As a rock star drummer for one of the most famous musicians in the world, music is my whole life. Even though I’ve never seen my neighbor’s face, the sound of our voices blending together in harmony gives me indescribable pleasures. I ache to be with the man who completes the melodies of my heart. When I’m finally lucky enough to meet Noctis, he utterly captivates me. He is unabashedly himself, honest to a fault, has a wonderfully colorful vocabulary, and is so cute that my little crush on him turns into full-blown love. Everything about him is irresistible to me. I’m ready for our happily i>ever after, so how can I convince him that I seriously want to be with him?

I did like this story, but not as much as the first one. There was something a little off that just didn't hold as much interest. I think it was that there so much cross-dressing and less of the band and all the guys together. Situations don't have to be on-again off again before the main characters can find their happy ever after. Sometimes it just takes two people willing to take and love one another for who they are...and that was Levi and Noctis. Levi really helps Noctis come into his own. He supports him and encourages him, which is something Noctis had never had before. We see Noctis really start to love himself just as much as he loves Levi, and he builds his confidence through the entire book. Levi doesn’t force it or try to change him; he just encourages him to be himself while reminding him he does love him for who he is. Overall, Make Music Together is a sweet story with a lot of passion and loads of steam

Editado: Mar 18, 7:51 pm

Children of the Night by Mercedes Lackey
3 1/2 ***

The Gypsy boy had asked for Di's help--called on her for her magical assistance--and she could not refuse, especially after he was slain practically on her doorstep. But the vampire Di finds cradling the body isn't the killer-he's the Gypsies' protector André LeBrel, who informs Di that there's more than one monster stalking the streets of New York. Now it's up to Diana Tregarde, Guardian and practicing witch, to find the killers and destroy them . . . with a little supernatural assistance from a very friendly, and very sexy, vampire!

This installment of Mercedes Lackey's Diana Tregarde series features a young Diana fresh out of college and covering for her friend's occult shop in the early 70's Manhattan. At least I think that's the timeframe - she references Nixon a couple of times, so either it's pre-Watergate or it's an alternate timeline. I'll go with the former.

Diana is becoming a successful romance writer, lives in a lovely brownstone with dancers of several different genres, and helping out at her friend's store during her friend's final stages of pregnancy. Several visitors enter the store who are not among the normal customers, and one is a young Gypsy boy with the Sight.

The concurrent story involves an ex of Diana's who's in a burgeoning rock and roll band. While at a party he takes one of the proffered pills and wakes up a couple of days later with very little memory of the rest of the party evening and a deep and gnawing hunger that just won't go away.

Add in Diana's good friend Lenny from the apartment, Lenny's new boyfriend Keith, and a rather sexy vampire whom Di has no idea if he's the killer of the Gypsy boy or just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and you've got a pretty good cast of characters.

What made this book lose half a star was the constant inner dialogue, in italics, that gets in the way of the storyline or action or events. Just tell the story already, and let the character's actions determine their intent! Diana's right-turn into her panic attack and how Andre is able to talk her through it seemed more like the author's need to self-reveal than a vital plot point. Plus, and I realize I'm talking about a story that involves vampires and other elements of the strange and weird side of things, being 18 months out of college and already an accomplished brown belt in martial arts and already a signed, successful author does not lend itself to the "realistic" side of Diana's story.

So, it still shows, in the early 90's when it was written, a gutsy heroine who has fears and doubts and still faces them and helps those in need. And has friends among the human as well as the not-quite-human race.

Mar 19, 10:36 am

The Chicken Sisters – K J Dell’Antonia
Digital audiobook narrated by Xe Sands and Cassandra Campbell

Adapted from the book jacket: In tiny Merinac, Kansas, Chicken Mimi’s and Chicken Frannie’s have spent a century vying to serve up the best fried chicken in the state – and the legendary feud between their respective owners, the Moores and the Pogociellos, has lasted just as long. No one feels the impact more than thirty-five-year-old widow Amanda Moore, who grew up working for her mom at Mimi’s before scandalously marrying Frank Pogociello and changing sides to work at Frannie’s. Tired of being caught in the middle, Amanda contacts Food Wars, the reality-TV restaurant competition. But in doing so, she launches both families out of the frying pan and directly into the fire.

My reactions
This came to my attention as a result of looking at the “readers also enjoyed” prompt on the main book page for The Sweetness of Water. I didn’t even notice that it had been a Reese’s Book Club pick until I had the book in my hands.

In addition to the long-running family feud, which no one currently knows the origin of, but which all parties in the families nevertheless adhere to, there is a more current “feud” of sorts between sisters Amanda and Mae. While Amanda has stayed in Kansas, helping her mom (at home, not in the restaurant where she’s not allowed to enter since her marriage to the enemy), Mae has escaped to Brooklyn where she is a nationally famous “organizing guru” (think Marie Kondo). But Mae’s carefully orchestrated life is imploding – she’s just blown her shot at TV stardom, and her marriage is on shaky ground. But she figures if she can transform her mom’s somewhat dilapidated chicken shack into a more hip and with-it restaurant … on TV no less … that will help re-launch her career. Let the fireworks begin.

I was quickly engaged in the family’s issues, though I thought the sisters behaved like much younger people – more like teenagers than thirty-something moms. There are some family secrets that come out, a new hunky chef, a manipulative TV producer who wants more conflict, and more than one effort to sabotage the competition which all serve to keep the plot moving forward with surprises, twists and insights into the family dynamic.

There can only be ONE winner of “Food Wars” and in this case, it’s the reader.

The chapters alternate between Amanda’s and Mae’s points of view, and the audiobook uses two talented voice artists – Xe Sands and Cassandra Campbell - to bring the sisters to life.

Mar 19, 10:58 am

Malice House - Megan Shepherd - (Washington)
Genera: Paranormal/Mystery Suspense/Thriller
Of all the things aspiring artist Haven Marbury expected to find while clearing out her late father’s remote seaside house, Bedtime Stories for Monsters was not on the list. This secret handwritten manuscript is disturbingly different from his Pulitzer-winning works: its interweaving short stories crawl with horrific monsters and enigmatic humans that exist somewhere between this world and the next. The stories unsettle but also entice Haven, practically compelling her to illustrate them while she stays in the house that her father warned her was haunted. Clearly just dementia whispering in his ear . . . right? Reeling from a failed marriage, Haven hopes an illustrated Bedtime Stories can be the lucrative posthumous father-daughter collaboration she desperately needs to jump-start her art career. However, everyone in the nearby vacation town wants a piece of the manuscript: her father’s obsessive literary salon members, the Ink Drinkers; her mysterious yet charming neighbor, who has a tendency toward three a.m. bonfires; a young barista with a literary forgery business; and of course, whoever keeps trying to break into her house. But when a monstrous creature appears under Haven’s bed right as grisly deaths are reported in the nearby woods, she must race to uncover dark, otherworldly family secrets—completely rewriting everything she ever knew about herself in the process.

Megan Shepherd has written a seriously spooky mystery with plenty of red herrings, shocking twists and even a few scares, making it a chilling thriller with a totally immersive setting. At the same time, it is a deliciously dark fantasy that certainly shows the power of certain stories and the hold they can have on the reader. It's simply haunting, full of secrets and yet strangely charming. This horror/mystery solely follows Haven’s perspective. I found it engaging, but it started to lag a bit around the middle, but then the conclusion really picked up with so many things happening all at once. Haven made several unwise choices and ignored a slew of red flags, but it helped to make the story interesting and intriguing. Since this is a horror story, there are many dark and gruesome themes throughout that may not be to everyone's liking, however the author did a great job of creating an ominous and disorienting atmosphere. Overall... Malice House is a great read for lovers of horror stories and would be an excellent choice for the Halloween season.

Mar 19, 3:20 pm

Off Key - May Archer
Whispering Pines series Book #3
Genera: M/M Romance
I’m about to sing you the saddest song in the universe, and it’s called “The Man of My Dreams Married My Sister.” It’s kinda my theme song. And trust me when I tell you, it’s heavy on the violins. Because the man in question? He’s not just any guy, he’s Rafe freakin’ Goodman. My former best friend. The boy who made my summers on Whispering Key magical. The guy who inspired every love song that led to the chart-topping music career I have today. The man I always sort of figured would wait for me, while I pursued my dreams and finally found a way to tell the world I was gay…But instead of waiting, he married Aimee. Rafe and Aimee’s marriage has been over for a while now, but it doesn’t really matter. He doesn’t love me even though I feel like I’ll love him until the day I die. Trying to be “just friends” would tear me apart. We’re a broken chord. A blue note. Hopelessly out of tune. Or so I thought. But when circumstances throw us back together on a crazy cross-country road trip, suddenly all kinds of secrets come to light that make it seem like maybe our show’s not over yet. If I want a life with the man of my dreams, though, I’ll have to be honest--with Rafe and the rest of the world, too--and find the courage to write us a new song. One that’s exactly like us: perfectly imperfect… and a little off key.

This book spends a lot of time on the mainland, on a cross country road trip and despite not having the darling townsfolk so involved in the second/first chance love story, it worked. Rafe, the angry and breeding Goodman brother's time is up. Time to come to terms with the anger, hurt and loss of his unrequited Love who left him behind to go be a rock star. Jay is living the dream. Until he isn't. He has his whole world coming apart at the seams and feels helpless, alone, yet determined to right it (all of it), by sheer will and force if necessary...if force is using his rock star status and money. But life has a way of throwing things together that seem hard and impossible to deal with or even contemplate overcoming or solving, and Rafe and Jay's working life, family life, and love life are about to collide and there will be sparks. I just love the crazies who live in Whispering Key and the sewage spill was hilarious. I can’t wait to read Gage’s story next, he’s far too full of himself and needs someone to come along and unexpectedly sweep him off his feet.

Mar 19, 4:53 pm

Game / Barry Lyga
4 stars

This is the second book in this YA series. Jasper (Jazz) is the 17-year old son of a sociopathic serial killer. He was raised by his father (and grandmother) after his mother disappeared, and he is very worried that his father’s sociopathic killer genes may have passed down to him (in addition to all the indoctrination and “training” his father gave him in hopes that Jazz will follow in his footsteps).

In this book, Jazz’s father, Billy, has escaped from prison. But the killings in New York City (Jazz lives in a small town elsewhere) started before that escape. So imagine Jazz’s surprise when a NYC detective finds Jazz, hoping for some help getting into Billy’s head in order to help solve these more recent murders in NYC. Meanwhile, Jazz’s girlfriend, Connie, insists on coming to NYC, as well. And Jazz’s best friend, Howie is staying home to help watch out for Jazz’s (crazy) grandmother, along with Jazz’s aunt (who hasn’t been “home” in years).

This was really good, but I still have a hard time believing so many police officers/detectives (this was similar in the first book) want to rely on a teenager for help solving the crimes. Setting that aside, though, the premise of the murders was really clever, I thought: the “game”. Unfortunately, the book ended on a bit of a cliffhanger for each of our teenage characters. I believe there is one more book to the series, in addition to a few prequels that I haven’t yet read.

Editado: Mar 20, 10:12 am

The Whispering House - Elizabeth Brooks - (England)
Genera: Mystery/Gothic
It was like holding a couple of jigsaw pieces in my palm, knowing there was a whole picture to be made, if I could only find the rest. Freya Lyell is struggling to move on from her sister Stella’s death five years ago. Visiting the bewitching Byrne Hall, only a few miles from the scene of the tragedy, she discovers a portrait of Stella―a portrait she had no idea existed, in a house Stella never set foot in. Or so she thought. Driven to find out more about her sister’s secrets, Freya is drawn into the world of Byrne Hall and its owners: charismatic artist Cory and his sinister, watchful mother. But as Freya lingers in this mysterious, centuries-old house, her relationship with Cory crosses the line into obsession and the darkness behind the locked doors of the estate threatens to spill out. In prose as lush and atmospheric as Byrne Hall itself, Elizabeth Brooks weaves a simmering, propulsive tale of art, sisterhood, and all-consuming love: the ways it can lead us toward tenderness, nostalgia, and longing, as well as shocking acts of violence.

In a house as old as Byrne Hall, there are certain to be secrets hidden behind the locked doors. Freya Lyell’s life had felt as if it had been on hold since her sister, Stella, committed suicide five years ago by throwing herself off the cliffs near Byrne Hall, a stately manor on the English coast. When Freya has way too much to drink at her cousin’s wedding held on the estate’s grounds, she finds a portrait that eerily resembles her dead sister. unable to get this portrait out of her mind, she leaves her life in London and heads back to Byrne Hall to try to find the answers. What she’s finds instead is not answers but an almost instantaneous happiness that she feels there is something wrong with considering the issues that brought her back here...her sister’s suicide, her mother’s death when she was 5, and her troubled childhood. Along with this strange feeling of happiness is her whirlwind romance with would-be portrait artist Cory Byrne, who lives in Byrne Hall. The Hall is his family estate that he shares with his ailing mother. In spite of this overwhelming happiness Freya feels the weight of a darkness...almost a morbid sense lingering uncomfortably close: “In every version I kiss him right back, and it’s almost like the last scene in the movie, except that there’s an old woman curled up on the bed, and her fingers are twitching restlessly on top of the sheets.” When the author suddenly shifts the narrative back in time to when Stella was alive, the darkness bubbling beneath creaky floorboards begins to boil over. Elizabeth Brooks’ elegant prose and artfully written protagonist keep this somewhat predictable thriller from feeling formulaic. I found this to be a good chilling, ghostly story and look forward to more books by this author.

Mar 20, 2:25 pm

The Stories You Tell - Kristen Lepionka - (Ohio)
Roxane Weary Series Book # 3
Genera: Mystery & Suspense/Police Procedural
A 3am phone call is never good news. Private investigator Roxane Weary receives a panicked call from her brother, Andrew: his one-time fling, Addison, who turned up at his apartment the night before drunk, bloodied and hysterical, has gone missing. As police suspicion quickly falls on her brother, Roxane knows she is the only person who believes him, she just has to figure out what happened. Through tracking Addison's digital footprint she goes deeper and deeper into the events preceding her disappearance. But, as Roxane struggles to distinguish the truth from the stories people tell about themselves online, the case takes another dramatic turn.

Roxane Weary is woken in the middle of the night by a frantic call from her brother, Andrew. Andrew is panicked that he might be in trouble...really big trouble, more than his stash of marijuana might get him into. He tells Roxane a story about a girl named Addison Stowe and how he had once knew her.
She had come by his apartment scared to death...made a phone call...then disappeared into the night. Of course, now Addison is missing and Andrew’s the last person to have seen her. He knows he's going to need a friend...an alibi like Roxane if and when the cops come knocking on his door. He'll need to convincingly explain the suspicious scratch on his face that suggests he might’ve been more than just a safety net to Addison. Andrew claims he hadn’t seen or heard from Addison for ages before this last visit. Roxane wants to protect Andrew, whom she trusts in spite of his unconvincing story. She reaches out to Tom Heitker, a friend on the police force who was a close friend to their father, to ask for his help. Tom and Roxane had been more than mere friends, but have put a brief romantic interlude aside to pursue a less involved friendship, though Tom has shown interest in revisiting their past. Roxane and Tom connect Addison’s presence at Andrew’s to the Nightshade Club across the street, where Addison was a sometime the DJ, and to the BusPass dating app. Just as things start to go Roxane’s way in the investigation, Mickey Dillman, a former cop connected to the case, turns up dead, bringing Roxane back to square one and Andrew into police custody. The author seems to have a knack for integrating national news and technology into her characters’ and her plotlines to produce a story that’s timely in more ways than one. The Weary family story gets more complex in this book as we learn more about them. Also the plot is based on real world problems and politics that are woven into the story with a very light touch.

Editado: Mar 21, 2:42 pm

Unscripted Love - Aimee Nicole Walker - (Ohio, New York, Nevada)
Road To Blissville Series Book #1
Genera: M/M Romance
Kyle Vaughn had three goals in life: become a vet, find the man of his dreams, and start a family. He easily checked off the first item on the list when he took over his grandfather’s veterinary practice. Too bad he wasn’t as lucky in love. Chaz Hamilton took a leap of faith when he decided to pursue a career in writing, but one best seller didn’t mean he could quit his day job. All work and no play threatened to make Chaz a very dull man when the only romantic action he saw was in the pages of his manuscript. Too bad he couldn’t write his own happily every after. Circumstances pushed the two men together, and one magical kiss beneath fireworks and stars changed everything. Kyle knew his luck had finally turned around and Chaz found a man far better than any book boyfriend ever written. There was just one problem. Chaz has kept a secret from Kyle that could ruin their chance at a beautiful life together. Kyle and Chaz learn that the best-laid plans often go awry, the heart has a mind of its own, and the greatest love is unscripted.

I did enjoy this story; it just felt a little flat to me in places. These two characters appeared in another series by Aimee Nicole Walker and with this being the first book in a new series with the same two characters, we had a lot of rehashes of almost everything we had read in the previous book that involved these two. It was a little...well, a lot... tedious. Since I have no suggestion as to how the author could have pleased old readers and new readers, and still introduced the two characters any other way...I didn't let it lose any rating stars. One thing I liked about this series...yes, Surprise...I read them out of order... was that they are true romance story with very low angst. There were plenty of funny moments, some great sex scenes and a story with two characters that were very sweet. I wish the "secret" had been revealed a lot sooner, and that it wouldn't have then ended up being such a nonissue. I loved Mere, Josh, Gabe and the birds. I also enjoyed the brief appearance of Agnes, from Chasing Mr. Wright from the Fated Hearts series. I'm running out of Aimee Nicole Walker books that I haven't read so I need her to write faster, please.

Mar 22, 8:16 am

Not Really Dead - Leslie Wolfe
Tess Winnett Series Book #5
Narrator: Gwendolyn Druyor
Genera: Mystery & Suspense/Thriller
After a high-profile victim survives a brutal attack in her own home, FBI special agent Tess Winnett accepts to handle the investigation off-book. With every question she asks, the truth unveiled poses more questions, but leads to only one possible conclusion: The Word Killer is back. The Word Killer has emerged after years of absence, more blood-thirsty and vicious than ever. Yet, his identity remains hidden, a mystery figure among the city’s millions, despite DNA evidence left at each crime scene. An impulsive murderer, disorganized and lightning-fast, fueled by an all-consuming rage that cannot be quenched. The worst kind of killer there is. Then, why did his latest victim survive? Why was Danielle still alive?

It was a short story... (less than 100 pages), but I knew it was a novella going into it. I felt because of that though, that the story was rushed. The usual twists and turns that this series usually has, had also gone missing. Overall I will have to say that it was just okay, and fans of the series will enjoy it for who and what it is.

Mar 22, 10:13 am

Mistress Of the Ritz – Melanie Benjamin
Book on CD narrated by Barbara Rosenblat

As she has done for many other women in history, Benjamin, turns her attention to a previously little-known woman who made a significant impact. This novel focuses on Blanche Auzello, a former American actress who was married to Claude Auzello, the manager of the Hotel Ritz in Paris, and their experiences during the Nazi occupation of Paris.

I was completely caught up in this story from beginning to end. Blanche is portrayed as a larger-than-life character; she is brash, friendly, emotional, kind, brave, and a loyal friend. I can easily picture her hobnobbing with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, F Scott Fitzgerald and Coco Chanel. She has a harder time hiding her disdain of the Nazis than her husband does, and she resents the devotion he has to his job and his hotel. Would that he showed such devotion to HER! But when push comes to shove, it is their love for one another that sees them through and drives their actions.

But the Hotel Ritz is a marvelous setting, and practically a character in itself. Benjamin fills the novel with descriptions of the hotel: from the furnishings to the personal service provided to her guests. The Ritz shines on these pages.

It’s worth reading the author’s note at the end to learn the few facts the author had on which to frame this engaging work of fiction. As she explains, the story of the Auzellos is barely known or commented about in existing documents. So, Benjamin states that this novel is “inspired” by the, rather than actually based on them. Some things are known: Blanche changed her name to hide her Jewish background; Claude did work to pass messages for the Resistance through a network of hotel managers and supplies; Blanche was arrested; they died in 1969.

Barbara Rosenblat narrates the audiobook. She had a lot of characters to deal with and she did a marvelous job of it.

Mar 22, 12:43 pm

The Scrying Game - Christine Zane Thomas - (Florida)
Genera: Mystery/Paranormal/Cozy
Plagued with visions…When Willow Brown was seven, she had her first vision. Her death played out like a movie. Her second vision came along shortly after that when she predicted her father’s cancer diagnosis. Her mother always wanted her to hide her gift away. That’s what she called it, a gift. To Willow, it was never a gift. When her great aunt leaves Willow a house and a cat, she's forced back to her hometown to sort out the affairs. But it turns out Aunt Cora is a little less dead than anyone thought. The old psychic inhabits the body and mind of the cat—and she’s hellbent on teaching Willow how to properly use her psychic abilities. But that's not the only trouble she encounters in Mossy Pointe, Florida. Willow isn't in town ten minutes before she's thrust in the middle of a murder investigation—an investigation that puts her on a collision course with the vision she’s been running away from all her life.

The story features the psychic Willow Brown who is a police officer from Virginia, that inherits a house from her aunt in her childhood hometown in Florida.
She has no desire to return to Florida or live in this house in spite of loving her aunt. Willow goes to deal with the unwanted inheritance leaving her marriage in trouble and not knowing what to do about that, She soon finds an old friend had been murdered and she can't resist investigating. I couldn't imagine any police department anywhere allowing this to happen...but it is a work of fiction. Her psychic abilities are helpful as is the spirit of her dead aunt, which is currently inhabiting a cat. I believe I once owned that cat, or she owned me:) The paranormal elements are imaginative and are well done fitting in with the town's quirkiness. I found the characters and their relationships to be lacking something. Willow comes across as immature and not very likeable. No real effort is made to engage the reader in the stated relationships. Williow's marital issue is a perfect example...Willow and Tim have unknown discord for unknown reasons; he simply appears and after "discussing a lot of things" she's instantly back in love. I think this is more than likely the reason I don't usually read cozies.

Mar 22, 11:20 pm

How I'll Kill You / Ren DeStefano
5 stars

Sissy is one of three triplets; they were abandoned as babies and brought up in various foster homes (mostly separated). As adults they are serial killers. Moody and Iris have each killed three men, and Sissy is the clean-up person, and it’s finally her turn. They pick out a man, get him to fall in love with them, then murder him. (One of them usually works “alone” while the others mostly hide away, just making sure one of the others is out and about somewhere noticeable as an alibi at the time the other is doing the killing.) And make a nice clean getaway. That’s how it works. But Sissy makes the mistake of really falling in love.

Wow! None of these women is particularly likeable, though I suppose Sissy is the most of the three (I guess, given what they do, that’s not a surprise). Not only did Sissy fall in love with Edison, she even made friends (really became friends; something the sisters also tend to avoid beyond how the “friend” can be of help to them getting away with what are doing) with the neighbour. I was really not sure how this book was going to end and it really surprised me, but I thought it was done really well.

Mar 22, 11:39 pm

Curse of the Blue Tattoo / L. A. Meyer
4 stars

(Book 2 of the series.) It’s 1803 in Boston. Jacky is off her ship since they found out she’s a girl and is at a boarding school (I missed where the money came from to pay for it). The school is meant to teach this orphan and former homeless waif and sometimes thief to be a “lady”. Of course, she really doesn’t fit in and she learns how mean some girls can be. However, she still manages to make a friend in outcast Amy. Jacky misses beau Jaimy and writes plenty of letters, hoping to catch him on whatever ship he is now on. And she tries to stay out of the way of the Reverend(?) Mather.

I listened to the audio and really liked this! The narrator is very good, with Jacky’s cockney accent and any other accents thrown her way. Jacky’s fun, but can go a little too far, sometimes, for sure. But a very enjoyable book and enjoyable series.

Mar 23, 9:27 am

No One Gets Out Alive - Adam Nevill - (England)
Genera: Horror/Supernatural Thriller
When Stephanie moves to the notoriously cheap Perry Bar neighborhood of Birmingham, she's just happy to find an affordable room for rent that's large enough not to deserve her previous room's nickname, "the cell." The eccentric ― albeit slightly overly-friendly ― landlord seems nice and welcoming enough, the ceilings are high, and all of the other tenants are also girls. Things aren't great, but they're stable. Or at least that's what she tells herself when she impulsively hands over enough money to cover the first month's rent and decides to give it a go. But soon after she becomes uneasy about her rash decision. She hears things in the night. Feels them. Things...or people...who aren't there in the light. Who couldn't be there, because after-all, her door is locked every night, and the key is still in place in the morning. Concern soon turns to terror when the voices she hears and presence she feels each night become hostile. It's clear that something very bad has happened in this house. And something even worse is happening now. Stephanie has to find a way out, before whatever's going on in the house finds her first.

The "Ghost Story Junkie" is a happy camper wit this one. I have read this author before and have always loved everything he writes. This one is as terrifying as what I consider my favorite of his...Last Days. Adam Neville has the ability to capture and put onto paper, horror that is far scarier than anything I have ever read. The lead character, Stephanie, is a young woman with no social life to speak of who gets trapped in what seems at first to be a dreary lodging house for the poorest of the poor, but there are beings, things, in this disgustingly dirty depraved old Victorian house that Stephanie cannot ignore. The landlord quickly goes from incredibly creepy to over the hill psychopathic. Stephanie s struggle is to escape not just everyday horror but horror founded on and stoked by the most revolting of things. Stephanie is not without faults. She has plenty of chances to make better choices, but she doesn't, and her stupidity somewhat overshadows some of the early suspense. It's the kind of book that stays with you even after you're done reading it. The old house seems to take on the role of a character in its own right.

Mar 24, 7:05 am

After He Killed Her - James Rice
Genera: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
First, he murdered his wife. Then he lost his memory. Now he has to remember where he buried the body or his in-laws will kill him. "Dear Frank, I know you killed your wife, and I can prove it..." After receiving this note, Frank Fowler, a man suffering from amnesia, begins to suspect he may have murdered his wife Kelly, who vanished three days before he lost his memory. The bad news is Kelly's family has the same suspicions and will stop at nothing to make him remember what he has done to their beloved sister and where he buried her body. Frank's search for answers becomes a fight for survival after he recalls that his wife's relatives are a clique of ruthless serial kidnappers serving a mysterious one-legged man. His chances are slim: one of the in-laws is a cop and another is a multimillionaire. However, the question still remains: Why did he kill his wife?

I thought the idea of the storyline was intriguing but I found that the constant conversations between Franks' mind and his conscience were confusing. It would have been better if italics had been used for the conversations Frank was having with his mind...but that is an editor problem and not necessarily the fault of the author. The author wrote a really, nail-biting story here...can't fault him on that at all. There is a lot of drama, suspense, and twists and turns as Frank tries desperately to even remember killing his wife let alone where he may have buried her. The book didn't receive particularly raving reviews, but I think it was because of, as I have mentioned before, there was so much "talking" that Frank did in his dreams and in his unconscious mind. Anyone that liked "Vampire Diaries" will probably like this one also.

Mar 25, 12:02 pm

River of the Gods: Genius, Courage and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile
Candice Millard
4/5 stars
Millard relates the tale of English explorers Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke, along with the guide/slave Sidi Mubarak Bombay as they try to find the source of the Nile River in the 19th century and reap the rewards from the Royal Geographical Society who was offering a prize for those who found it first! However, the two men clashed, and this undertaking would prove too much as they separated. Fascinating! Geography/Africa

Mar 25, 1:22 pm

Ride The Lightning - Aimee Nicole Walker - (Georgia)
Sinister in Savanaha Series Book #1
Narrator: Tristian James
Genera; M/M Romance/Mystery & Suspense
Truth seeker. Promise keeper. Guarded heart. By day, Jonah St. John is a criminal analyst for the Georgia Bureau of Investigations. By night, he produces Sinister in Savannah, an investigative podcast, with his two best friends. Jonah’s life revolves around three principles: a man’s word is his oath, friendships are priceless gifts, and love is for other people. When the Sinister in Savannah team delves into the thirty-eight-year-old murder of a drag queen, they quickly discover that the story doesn’t end with the alleged killer’s confession in 1995. Continuing the investigation could have fatal consequences for Jonah and everyone he holds dear, including his irresistible intern. To love is to lose: a lesson Jonah has learned the hard way. For a decade, he has embraced solitude as his penance for a past mistake. Then came Avery Bradford, a man whose warmth and sunshine infuses Jonah’s battered soul and challenges his resistance. Over the past eight months, Jonah has soared closer and closer to Avery’s flame until the thing he’s feared the most becomes the one he can’t live without. The chill of danger merges with the heat of desire, forming a deadly superstorm. Will Jonah seek shelter or ride the lightning?

"Sinister in Savannah" is a crime podcast run by three friends, one of which is Jonas St Johns , a criminal analyst for the Georgia Bureau of Investigations. Jonas is a mesmerizing character. Tall, scarred, highly intelligent, and haunted by his past, Jonas is half the heart of this story. The other half belongs, not to the romantic interest, Avery...although he’s quite wonderful also but to Jonas’ neighbor, Marla. Marla is dying from cancer, but she has more life in her than most people that are going to make it to their 100th birthday. Marla, is a magnificent drag queen, who has let Jonas into her life and now has a serious favor to ask of him....she wants him to care for her little French bulldog, Bette, after she's gone. Marla and Jonah's touching, intimate, relationship is what immediately connects the reader to this story. There’s Kendall, Jonas’s roommate, Avery, the love interest and Jonas’ intern, Felix and Rocky, the other two men who run the podcast with him. By the time the story has ended , the found family and community has swelled around him, due in part to the murder mystery he was asked to investigate. An old murder mystery touches off all kinds of revelations and reverberations...including ones that bring up old memories that have traumatized Jonas for years. It's a story is about growth and healing and about leaving and letting go... and found families and forgiveness and giving second chances.

Mar 26, 5:12 pm

The River
Peter Heller
4/5 stars
Wynn and Jack take off canoeing in Canada and encounter a couple fighting but they disappear. Later on they find the woman injured and they can't leave her because a forest fire has taken over. They grab the woman and take her in their boat but are afraid that the husband may come after them. Heller doesn't disappoint in this novel. Peter Heller Book

Mar 26, 6:07 pm

Invisible Women – Caroline Criado Pérez
Digital audiobook read by the author

Subtitle: Data Bias In a World Designed For Men

From the preface:
Most of recorded human history is one big data gap. Starting with the theory of Man the Hunter, the chroniclers of the past have left little space for women’s role in the evolution of humanity, whether cultural or biological. Instead, the lives of men have been taken to represent those of humans overall. When it comes to the lives of the other half of humanity, there is often nothing but silence.
. And these silences are everywhere. Our entire culture is riddled with them. Films, news, literature, science, city planning, economics. … They are all marked – disfigured – by a female-shaped ‘absent presence’. This is the gender data gap.
. The gender data gap isn’t just about silence. These silences, these gaps, have consequences. They impact on women’s lives every day. The impact can be relatively minor. Shivering in offices set to a male temperature norm, for example, or struggling to reach a top shelf set at a male height norm. Irritating, certainly …
. But not life-threatening. Not like crashing in a car whose safety measures don’t account for women’s measurements. Not like having your heart attack go undiagnosed because your symptoms are deemed ‘atypical’. For these women, the consequences of living in a world built around male data can be deadly.

I really can’t add much to that. Read the book. Fascinating, engaging, surprising, infuriating, inspiring. Criado Pérez has done extensive research, but she does more than just present her findings. Her writing is clear, logical, and compelling.

I listened to the audiobook, which Criado Pérez narrates herself. I felt as if I were attending a master class with her as the lecturer. She is clearly passionate about the subject. I cannot imagine anyone else doing a better job on the audio version.

Editado: Mar 26, 8:27 pm

The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly
Group Read on LT Mystery Group

Harry Bosch's life is on the edge. His earthquake-damaged home has been condemned. His girlfriend has left him. He's drinking too much. After attacking his commanding officer, he's been forced to turn in his L.A.P.D.detective's badge. Now, suspended indefinitely pending a psychiatric evaluation, he is obsessed with investigating an unsolved crime from 1961: the brutal slaying of a prostitute who happened to be he own mother. Even after three decades, Harry's questions generate heat among L.A.'s top politicos. And as the shocking truth starts to emerge, the fallen cop gets closer to an enemy who is very powerful, cunning . . . and deadly.

A very well-written police thriller, with the rogue cop Harry Bosch on leave due to assaulting his superior in the department. While on leave he has to undergo therapy with a psychologist trained for working with police and that is where this book starts.

Along the way, we watch Bosch struggle to stay in house house, condemned after a recent earthquake, and make a decision to investigate the death of his mother when he was only 11 and living in a home for troubled boys. This was the early 60's, and Bosch was also drafted to Vietnam. His mother's death had never been solved so he uses his police detecting skills and contacts to start looking.

As one would expect, he finds more than he bargained for: several former cops, a pimp who "ran" his late mother and was later killed in a hit-and-run, a contender for District Attorney who drops out of the race, and all kinds of twists and turns and dead ends and branches leading to more places than the LA Freeway system that Connelly describes.

I recommend this book as a standalone, and a good one to start with on the Harry Bosch series as it gives a lot of detail about his background.

Mar 28, 12:06 pm

Unwritten Law - Eden Finley - (New Zealand)
Steele Brothers series Book #1
Genera: M/M Romance
Being an identical twin doesn’t come without issues. No one can tell us apart, not even our parents sometimes. We don’t usually use that to our advantage, but it comes in handy when my brother needs help breaking up with his boyfriends—which happens more than I’d care to admit. I know it’s enabling him, but I can’t say no to Anders. I will do anything for my twin. The breakups always go the same; they’re swift and simple. Until Reed. He’s everything I've fantasized about but never allowed myself to have. When I give in to temptation and begin to freak out, it’s not because he’s a guy. It’s because he thinks I’m my brother, and I can’t bring myself to tell him the truth.

This gives an entire new meaning to the old saying "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." It amazed me that the twins could keep this going for over 6 months but then they had been doing this all of their lives. I felt so sorry for Reed. He not only loved this man that he thought was Anders but was in reality Lawson who had rejected him FOR Anders. Confused yet??? Anders met up with guys and then had Lawson break up with them pretending to be him. Usually, one night was the end until the next time but this time Lawson's heart became involved, and the lie went on way too long causing both Lawson and Anders to almost lose everything. The whole twin switch could've been overlooked on night one, but Lawson being in Reed's life as himself and pretending to be his brother was beyond stressful and so unfair to the guy he's fallen in love with.

Mar 28, 10:26 pm

The Courts of Love / Jean Plaidy
3.5 stars

Eleanor of Aquitaine was next in line to the throne in Aquitaine and married Louis, the next King of France in the 12th century. Louis never wanted to be king (he was second-born and wanted to become a monk), but when his older brother died, Louis was next. He really wasn’t interested in marriage, though, nor creating a heir, to Eleanor’s chagrin. Eleanor had been brought up in a court of “love” with music and dancing and fun and laughter and missed it. And did not enjoy not being close to her husband.

She and Louis did have two daughters, but Eleanor was eventually able to get a divorce and she married Henry, the next King of England. They were madly in love, but Eleanor hadn’t realized (initially) that Henry continued to have affairs after they married, and she was not happy when she discovered this. Despite that, they had a number of children. As they grew apart, Henry eventually imprisoned Eleanor for a number of years. In the end, Eleanor outlived most of her children.

This was good. It was long, but Eleanor lived a long life. I have read one or two books about her, but it’s been a while, and I don’t recall the stories of Thomas a Becket and Richard the Lionheart, which Plaidy included in her book here. (Becket was a friend of Henry’s and Richard was Eleanor and Henry’s son.) They were likely there, but maybe I just didn’t know who they were when I read about them originally, so the stories didn’t “stick” in my memory. Plaidy is very detailed with her history, and that is to be commended, but it doesn’t always make for the most interesting fiction. Even so, overall, I liked it.

Mar 29, 8:25 am

Iced Malice - Marla Madison - (Wisconsin)
Det. Kendall Halsrud Series Book#2
Genera: Mystery & Suspense/Police Procedural
In the midst of the worst winter in Eau Claire, Wisconsin since 1890, Detective Kendall Halsrud is investigating a case involving two murdered teenagers. Kendall and her partner soon realize the teens’ murders appear eerily similar to the Fiancé Murder case from twelve years ago when three couples disappeared from the area. Their bodies were never found, and the case remains unsolved. Kendall asks herself if the faceless killer has returned, or does someone else have his own reason for killing couples? With her personal life in chaos, Kendall immerses herself in her work. When another woman disappears, Kendall is left with more questions than answers. Does the killer have an accomplice? And can she find them before they target the next young couple?

Kendall has to solve three cold cases while hot on the trail of a killer who kills without remorse and in some macabre ways, all the while dealing with her feelings for her colleague, Detective Adam Nashlund, who after being severely injured while on an undercover operation, suffers amnesia and no longer remembers what they meant to each other. It's a chilling mystery, (no pun intended), as well as a warm human emotional story. I felt that there was a bit too much made of a lovelorn woman pining for her man...but other than that small thing it was a fairly good mystery and an actually well-written book.

Mar 30, 10:54 pm

Ashen Winter / Mike Mullin
4 stars

Possible spoilers for book 1 in the series: 16-year old Alex and Darla have been living with Alex’s uncle and his family (and Alex’s sister) for a while now, after he found them after the volcano left the MidWest covered in ash and in seemingly perpetual winter. But, where are Alex’s parents? Despite the dangers, Alex insists on heading out to find his parents, and Darla won’t let him go alone. And it is dangerous with people out there hunting other people (to eat, to sell…).

I really liked this. It got going quickly, and kept up the pace throughout. I liked the two new characters, Alyssa and Ben.

Editado: Abr 9, 10:23 pm

Head On by John Scalzi

Hilketa is a violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain our opponent's head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are "threeps," robotlike bodies remotely controlled by people with Haden's Syndrome anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real and the crowds love it. Until an up-and-coming athlete drops dead on the field.

Oh, how I have come to love John Scalzi! There is a view of the world that is something between snarky and brave, hopeful and jaded that I find so compelling in his writing. His take on his futuristic world where threeps are the bodies of those with Haden's Syndrome is almost drawn from the headlines of today's events.

The continuation of his world from "Locked In" now expands into the speculation of what would sport look like, if threeps were the ones who played instead of humans? How much punishment would the robot called a threep take, including having one's head removed to be used as a ball by the opposing team? Yes, that is the speculation which leads to the challenge which leads to the mystery that is the bulk of this book.

Chris Shane is the threep/human who works with Leslie Vann on this FBI case, and during their search the use of different threeps by Chris makes their investigation take some interesting twists. Like, what happens when Chris' threep that he borrows from a different field office is so low on power that it affects his hunt for clues? And the use of the personal space called the Agora that all threeps create and personalize for their inter-threep communication becomes a vital part of what led to several murders that begin this book.

Add to this police procedural the funding of a sports franchise in order to take it global, the corruption of wealth, a rescued cat, and a master storyteller to weave these threads into a fast-paced, intelligent read. That sums up this book. And you will have a hard time putting this book down for any reason!

Abr 9, 10:23 pm

Roses are Red by James Patterson
4 1/2 ****

In this heart-pounding new thriller, Detective Alex Cross pursues the most brilliant killer he's ever confronted, a mysterious criminal who calls himself the Mastermind. In a series of crimes that has stunned Washington, D.C., bank robbers have been killing bank employees and their families if the robbers' instructions are not followed to the letter. Alex Cross knows this is no ordinary criminal--the pathological need for control and perfection is too great.

A terrific, humanized, police procedural that picks up soon after "Pop Goes the Weasel" leaves off. Christine is traumatized by her ordeal by the Weasel though her little boy with Alex is the apple of everyone's eye. Still, Alex is still a detective and works the streets and his personal life has to pay a price.

The premise is a series of bank robberies where sometimes hostages, sometimes bank employees, are shot. And the reader is in the mind of the robbers as well as The Mastermind, the evil human being who selects the robbers and plans the murders. There is a repetitive counting and exactness for the timing of each robbery that makes the psychological bent of the killers and the Mastermind the forefront of the episodes.

And then shortly after each robbery is a twist. And a woman is attacked by the Mastermind. And still some clues just don't lead to any results. It is one of those mysteries that did not take pity on anyone, hostage or bank robber alike, and just when things couldn't get worse, they do. Till the very end where a clue just leaps off the page and gets the reader ready for the next book!