DiscussãoRead it, Track it!

Entre no LibraryThing para poder publicar.


Jan 22, 12:07 pm

What are you reading in February?

Editado: Fev 29, 8:14 am

Carol Loves To Read Any Month...but here is February's.
💘 -★
💘 The Bone Orchard - Sara A. Mueller- 2★ (Friend #10) (1)
💘10 Things That Never Happened - Alexis Hall - 4.5★
💘The Road Home - L.A. Witt -4★
💘Wrangled - Daryl Banner -3.5★
💘Three Fates - Andrew Grey, Mary Calmes & Amy Lane -5★
💘Clockwork Heart - Heidi Cullinan -3★
💘Hanging With Daddy - JP Sayle -4★
💘Hide With Me - Cara Dee -5★
💘Blue Heat- Samantha Cayto -5★
💘Undisclosed Attraction - Caely Marie - 5★
💘Submission (Undisclosed) - Carly Marie - 5★
💘For the Living - L.A. Witt - 5★
💘Ignite - Nora Phoenix - 4★
💘The Art of Husbandry - Jay Hogan - 4★
💘The Only Way to Live- M.A. Innes - 4.5★
💘The Distance Between Us - L A Witt - 4★
💘The Wounded Warrior- B A Tortuga - 5★
💘Special Delivery - Jodi Payne & B A Tortuga - 5★
💘Tending Tyler - Jodi Payne & BA Tortuga - 5★
💘Trulli, Madly, Deeply - JJ Harper -4★
💘Daddy's Little Christmas List - Della Cain -5★
💘At Home - Carly Marie -5★
💘Coming Home - Carly Marie - 5★
💘Bad Boyfriends - Box Set -Nya Rawlyns - 3.5★
💘Spruce Texas - Box Set - Daryl Banner - 5, 4.5 & 4★
💘Irresistible Omegas Volume One - Nora Phoenix - 3★
💘Unexpected - M A Innes - 4★
💘A Reason To Stay - R J Scott - 5★
💘Anger is A Gift Mark Oshiro - 5★ (28)
💘Two Dead Wives - Adele Parks-5★
💘Home at Night - Paula Munier -5★
💘The House Beyond the Dunes - Mary Burton -3.5★
💘The Bell Chime - Mona Kabbani -1★
💘The Night of the Storm - Nishita Parekh -2.5★
💘In Love With A Haunted House - Kate Goldman -3.5★
💘Night Stalks the Mansion Harold Cameron, & Constance Westbie -4★
💘Wisconsin Lore- Robert E. Gard -5★
💘Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter - Tom Franklin -2.5★
💘The Michigan Murders - Edward Keyes -5★
💘Starter Villian - John Scalzi -4.5★
💘The Other People - C. J. Tudor -4.5★
💘I Have Some Questions for You - Rebecca Makkai - 4.5★
💘The Half-Burnt House - Alex North -3★
💘The Puppet Show - M W Craven -5★
💘Heartsick - Chelsea Cain -3★
💘Hellbent - Gregg Andrew Hurwitz -4★
💘The Librarian of Crooked Lane - C J Archer - 4★
💘The Pallbearers Club - Paul Tremblay 2.5★ (19)

Fev 1, 7:18 am

Hide With Me - Cara Dee - (Virginia/Washington D.C.)
The Game series Book#13
Genera: M/M/M Romance/BDSM
One of my absolutely, no questions asked, all-time favorite series. The characters in this series are filtered in and out of one each other's lives throughout...so starting at the first of the series will help you to understand where the happenings are...well, happening:) There is sometimes a lot of BDSM in the stories...just saying, in case that's not your thing. Dean, Santiago, and Gael get their story told in this one. Gael's ex, (I called him the creep), that appeared in several of the other books, is still trying to interfere in his life...but unknown to Mr. Creep. little Gael now has not one but two big protectors. Of course, we got to journey to McClean House. What would The Game series be without a visit? The Mclean House founders and the community ties that extend beyond the kink are ultimately what leads to the multiple incidents for this story. The founders take their responsibility to their members very seriously. It doesn't matter if it's safety issues; (Reese asking Santiago to use his investigative skills to check on Gael’s stalker ex), or something a little more…personal; (Macklin suggesting that Gael take Dean’s "course" once he discovers they have shared interests. The dynamic between Santiago and Dean evolves a bit more naturally, when the "Powers That Be", decide to allow for these two guys to finally explore what might be developing between them. Cara Dee has gifted us with one of the most dramatic external plots we’ve ever had in this series. Santiago’s desire to protect Gael and Dean, and with the forces of Mclean House backing him up, brings a whole new meaning to the concept of a “safe house” while also giving these characters the space, with only a bit of force, to develop in their individual relationships. Another series that I hope never ends.

Fev 1, 10:39 am

The Paris Daughter – Kristin Harmel

Sculptor Elise LeClaire entrusts her daughter, Mathilde, to her best friend, Juliette Foulon, when she is forced to flee Paris during the German occupation in World War II. After the war, Elise returns to Paris only to find the Foulon’s building a pile of rubble with no clue as to survivors or where they might be.

There are a number of historical threads woven into this melodrama: the Nazis penchant for stealing art, the role of the French Resistance, the many Jewish families who sent their children into hiding, and the post-traumatic stress survivors had to deal with.

I really liked Elise and the way she had to fight to be recognized as an artist. I had little sympathy for Juliette, though I suppose Harmel is trying to show how grief can warp one’s thinking. She certainly loved her children. Ruth Levy is perhaps the strongest of the three and shows the most resilience and positive influence. I would have liked to read more about her.

In general, Harmel’s story kept me interested, but I thought the writing was just okay. I guessed the central plot point VERY early in the book and noticed the foreshadowing as a result. The many coincidences that brought the story to its overly dramatic ending seemed contrived and tested my abilities to suspend disbelief. Don’t get me wrong. It was NOT terrible; it just wasn’t good enough to rise above many other stellar novels about this same period.

Fev 1, 3:05 pm

The Bone Orchard - Sara Mueller
Genera: Gothic Horror
It's set in a world where psychics, empaths, and other humans with strange abilities live. The entire premise of the story is really weird, and I had problems understanding what was taking place a great deal of the time. It’s a strange world where if there you have an emotion or a feeling that is too strong, you can push it out of your mind and send it to live in an artificial body next to you. Charm is the owner of the Orchard House, a place for gentlemen to eat, drink, play cards, and generally just have a good time. The woman that serves the men of Borengaurd with her other selves who represent a part of her that she doesn’t want to feel. After almost fifty years of being ageless and living in Orchard House, the Emperor who took her from her homeland and who she came to love, dies. With the Mindlock implanted in her head, he orders her to find his killer and to kill any of his sons that take the throne, but still needs to put a person that will take care of the realm; if she does all this, she will be free to leave. Some books catch the reader’s attention through the covers, others with the summary of the story. What caught my attention with this one was the idea of characters being able to harvest from a "bone tree". Not only is there the character of Charm but we also find that Pain, Pride, Desire, Justice, and Shame are also their own personas. At this point I was more than lost. I gave it 2 stars, because I simply didn't understand it enough to make a fair judgement of weather it was badly written or a bad story....but I don't believe I have ever encountered anything quite like it.

Fev 1, 4:02 pm

Hanging With Daddy - J P Sayle
A part of the Pride Pet Play Series
Genera: M/M Romance/Daddy/Pet Play
Austin owns a security business that caters to the kink community, and he has everything he wants, except... a boy to care for. When one of his employees can't attend the "Pet Play" event, he steps in and offers to go. What he doesn’t expect is to find himself completely charmed by the tiny man dressed as a koala doing an aerial display on a pole. Gaines loves all things koala and incorporates koala pet play into the events he performs at. At one such event, he sees THE absolutely perfect Daddy. With some encouragement from his best friend, Matty, Gaines takes the initiative, for the first time in his life, and tries to talk to him...but he finds he has already left. Gaines knows that Austin is everything he had ever in his life wished for or wanted. He wonders just how far the handsome Daddy would go for his affections? Gaines thinks that the guy probably wouldn’t be interested in pet play, but he soon learns that he would be very interested, and he thinks the little koala is the cutest thing ever. Gaines needs a handler when he's being the koala and he gets up the courage to ask Austin if he would be his handler for "Pride Fest", and Austin found it to be an easy yes. What could possibly go wrong? They were the hit of the show when they came up with some very imaginative moves. Each of these books can be read as a standalone. If you like playful pets who are sometimes naughty, Pride parades, and Daddy’s who love their boys unconditionally, you’ll fall in love with this bunch.

Fev 2, 6:23 am

Attraction (Undisclosed) - Carly Marie - (Oregon)
Undisclosed Series Book #3
Genera: M/M Romance
Dexter is Caleb’s best friend that lived next door to him. The two are almost inseparable. Dexter's story picks up at the point that Caleb has moved in with Travis and is no longer living next door to Dexter. You just can't keep from loving Dexter. He's starting to love himself and also how his sexy lingerie makes him feel. James is grumpy and not very "user friendly' but he just can’t seem to stay away from Dexter. He's never known anyone quiet like him, but he thinks that maybe he might like to get to know him better. He's also curious about a secret fetish that Dexter has in spades. Dexter agrees about his sexy, standoffish neighbor and begins his mission to break down his walls but isn't too sure about showing James all his kinks. Maybe a little at a time would be alright??? Carly Marie writes great characters that are vibrant and come alive on her pages allowing them to bring out the best of one another. Think of them like one big happy family, as they are all featured in some way throughout the other books. I hate losing a character when I like and get attached. I don’t want to let them go. As always with everything from Carly Marie, this is fantastic writing. It will hook you and make you not want to put it down. I have so many reread books and this will surely be another one.

Fev 2, 9:20 am

All the Days of Summer – Nancy Thayer
Book on CD narrated by Cassandra Campbell

A novel that explores what a woman’s “second act” might look like. Heather Willette has led a good life in Concord, Massachusetts: a husband, a son, a large Victorian house she inherited from her grandmother and has lovingly restored. But as her son is about to graduate from college, she realizes her marriage has pretty much ended. She rents a cottage on Nantucket for the summer to have time to herself to think on what she wants for this next chapter in her life. And then her son announces that he is NOT going to be working with his dad in the family’s hardware store. Instead, he is moving to Nantucket to take a job with his girlfriend’s father.

I enjoy Thayer’s novels. They usually feature a woman in her middle years, finding new purpose as her children are leaving the nest. Heather keeps to her stated purpose of figuring out what SHE wants next; she walks the beach, adopts a stray dog, improves her rented cottage, joins a bridge club, takes on a part-time job, and begins to make friends. But, of course, there are bumps in the road – Kailee (the girlfriend) is a spoiled brat, self-centered and immature, and her mother, Evelyn, is practically Nantucket royalty (she certainly acts like it).

Will everything work out? Well, there are no pretty ribbons tied around a perfect ending here, another thing I like about Thayer’s books. But there is positive movement and hope for a splendid future.

It's a fast, fun, enjoyable read. Perfect for the beach, or anytime you want to just relax and enjoy the experience.

Cassandra Campbell does a fine job of narrating the audiobook. She sets a good pace and I like how she interprets these characters. 4**** for her narration.

Fev 2, 10:24 am

Two Dead Wives - Adele Parks
Genera: Mystery & Suspense
Part of the book description sums the story up fairly well with the questions, "Lost? Missing? Murdered? How do you find a woman who didn’t exist? This book reads like it might be a sequel to an earlier book. Of, course I didn't read the earlier book. If anyone is remotely surprised by that...please raise your hand:) I didn't think so. I did find the earlier book entitled Woman Last Seen. Authors should understand that there are people like me and not confuse us with reading in order:) The detectives aren't sure that she has been murdered...there's no body, but they have two likely suspects...the two husbands who were unaware that the other even existed... so there was really no cause for them to even be suspects. They've been able to trace her last whereabouts, but still no Kylie. One of the husbands seemed to have moved on, but the detectives aren’t ready to let him off the hook. Finally, we get to learn why Kylie was living two separate lives. The entire story felt like too much information to absorb with each chapter highlighting a different character producing "information overload" for this reader...but it did begin to provide a solid framework for the story. It began to really advance when we met Stacie Jones, a woman recovering from an illness. There’s something odd about how protective Stacie's father is of her, which will become a significant part of the plot later on. It does have a satisfying conclusion, but I do recommend reading the first book before tackling this one.

Editado: Fev 2, 3:33 pm

The Michigan Murders - Edward Keyes -(Michigan)
Genera: Mystery/True Crime/Serial Killer
Possible Triggers: Graphic Real-Life Murders & Investigation
The Ann Arbor - Ypsilanti area of Southeastern Michigan was in turmoil over a series of unbelievable murders in 1960. Most of the coed victims were from Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti) and the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). The seven victims, ranged in age from thirteen to twenty-three. All were abducted, raped, tortured, and murdered by a killer who used the same m.o., but different. though similar dump sites. The killer's primary "hunting ground" was Michigan's Washtenaw County, although one of his victims was murdered in California. Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti is about an hour and half from where I live now...but at the time of the murders we lived in Florida, but my husband's sister lived in Jackson, Michigan...about an hour closer to Ann Arbor. The murders were almost all the news the TV stations in the entire state carried for weeks. Through no fault of their own, the police were ill prepared to work this case as the term "serial killer" didn't have the same weight of meaning in the 1960's as it does today. Also, in the early 1960's DNA profiling didn't exist, plus the detectives had no real -life conception of what they were dealing with, except that they were looking for a dangerous and "sick" individual. The teams grew to include six separate police agencies that were working the murders, but they didn't begin to coordinate their efforts or to see a pattern to the killings until after the discovery of the third victim. The killer, John Norman Collins was a student at Eastern Michigan University where, according to the author, he met many of his victims. This book takes us into the lives of his victims and also into their horrible deaths. The police, most especially Washtenaw County Sheriff Harvey do not always come out looking efficient and well-coordinated, although he was dealing with something he had no previous working knowledge of. The author is fair, and the reader is left to make their own judgement. We go through the trial and the sentencing of the killer. This killer is 78 years old today...still alive and... incarcerated in the Marquette Branch Prison in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, while his victims have rested in their graves for more than half a century.

Fev 3, 9:23 am

The Puppet Show - M W Craven - (England)
Washington Poe series Book #1
Genera: Mystery & Suspense/Thriller
Cumbria has a serial killer loose that has been burning their victims inside the county’s ancient stone circles. After the third body is found, the National Crime Agency (NCA) sees that the victim had a name cut into their chest. Acting Inspector Stephanie Flynn and old friend of Washington Poe goes to try to talk him into returning to the squad and help to find the killer. When he rejects her proposal, she tells him he needs to go into protective custody. He wants to know why, it's then that she then reveals what was carved into the third victim of the immolation man. Poe then agrees to help. This is going to be a fantastic series with brilliant characters. Poe returns to the tram with the rank of sergeant. His old sergeant is now his boss, DI Stephanie Flynn, Poe wouldn’t have it any other way. Poe is a little unorthodox, to say the least, with his investigations and doesn’t at all mind taking on the local constabulary. Much of the story takes place up in Cumbria. The author's description of the bleak landscape where Poe lives and the unpredictability of the weather sounds like an interesting place to visit.... but I wouldn't want to live there. Overall... The Puppet Show is an excellent mystery/thriller that will probably leave the reader guessing, at least I was pretty much in the dark, until the big reveal. It’s well written with lots of twists and turns and a whole lot of action. Be aware that there are also some quite gruesome parts as well. I loved the characters...especially Poe and Tilly. They will do anything for each other. Tilly provides the much-needed lighter touches to the story. I don't usually recommend books since there is so much different interests even in the same genres, but I believe die-hard mystery/thriller fans will really like this one.

Fev 3, 2:10 pm

The Distance Between Us - L. A. Witt - (Washington)
Wilde Series Book #1
Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Genera: M/M/M Romance
Rhett Solomon and Ethan Mallory have been together for ten years and much like in many relationships, the baggage has built up to the point where they were seriously thinking of ending it. They've grown apart, started wanting different things, sniping and yelling at each other so the decision to end it was staring them in the face. Unfortunately, they can't afford to sell the home they have together, and neither can afford the mortgage alone, so they're stuck as roommates. With them both in a hurry to pay down the mortgage as much as possible they advertise to rent the third bedroom out. The guy answering their ad was Kieran Frost, twenty-five and a bartender at a dance club in Seattle. He's recently moved to the area after his relationship ended and he wants nothing to do with starting anything serious. I was all prepared to not like Kieran. I had already pictured him as some slutty guy who would play these guys off of each other and create jealousy, when in fact, he isn't a jerk at all. So, Rhett and Ethan are bouncing around the question..."what do you do when your long-term relationship is over, but it hasn't really ended because you're still faced with each other day in and day out?" The addition of a third person into this household gives Rhett and Ethan breathing space from each other which, in turn, allows them to relive memories both good and bad. To remember all the things that they had almost forgotten about each other and why they fell in love. It's not all serious relationship drama in this story though. It came as no surprise that something was going to have to give, and Rhett and Ethan were going to have to get to the bottom of all their original issues and put everything on the table. I felt sorry for Kieran being caught in the middle. I really liked this book...of course I love L.A. Witt so I like almost anything she would write. This story will make you stop and think about what the really important things are in a relationship and the obvious two... love, and honest communication of both the bad and the good. Now I have to find Kieran's story.

Fev 4, 9:15 am

The Road Home - L A Witt
Genera: M/M Romance/Friends to Lovers
I love L.A. Witt as a writer but his one...??? I'm on the fence...didn't love it but didn't really not love it. There was plenty of angst, but it none of it was relationship driven, so that was a plus in its favor. The family that David was coming home to and hoping to get them to love him again or at least "like" him a little bit...was Toxic with a capital "T". How can any parent do this to their child is beyond my understanding or acceptance. I just wanted to shake him and yell at him to "STOP TRYING TO PLEASE THIS BUNCH"!!!! He could have grown wings and sprouted a halo, and they would still have disowned him. Anyway...back to best friends to lovers...although they were, or had at one time, been lovers...or maybe just boyfriends back in high school. On a road trip home for Christmas. David is still trying to win back his family’s love after going through drug addiction...oh...and choosing to do porn. His parents were mostly focused on the porn, and I can maybe understand that one...but his brother has chosen the drug addiction to hate him for. Of course, that has all been behind him for several years and never mind that he is now clean, sober, "pornless" and in Medical School. Come on...he didn't kill anyone of kick the dog... give the guy some credit for turning his life around! David is lucky to have a friend like Hunter in his life. He is the "perfect best friend". Flourishing Naval career, great family, loving and supportive in every way possible. He is so perfect that he agrees to pretend to be David’s boyfriend on the trip home hoping that David’s family will give him a break and maybe a welcome back to the family or at least let him in the door. I had yet another "slap David up beside the head moment". Sorry guy. If you have to have a "perfect" boyfriend to show your worth to someone, they just aren’t worth it. David stresses so often how his friends from his porn career saved his life and are his family. Dude, stick with them. They love you for yourself!!! Was that loud enough for David to hear??? David and myself, could have used less "on again, off again" from Hunter...but I have to remember that it is just a story...fiction...but unfrequently there is also a great deal of reality to it also. I started to give it 3 stars, but it will get 4 simply for allowing Hunter to be there in David's corner and then calmly picking up his pieces and glueing them back together.

Fev 4, 1:05 pm

The Wounded Warrior - B A Tortuga - (Texas)
Rocking W Series Book #1
Genera: M/M Romance/Ranch Life/Disability
After serving in the Navy SEALs, Luke Blanchard has come home to Texas a wounded warrior, and is staying on the ranch with his twin brother, Matt. Matt’s worried about Luke. Luke was always the more happy, fun-loving brother, while Matt was the more serious one...but now, Luke struggles and depends on a wheelchair and sometimes crutches. He finds comfort and hope for recovery in working on the ranch with the horses. A neighbor, Rory McConnell, is a smart lawyer who is "out and proud". Rory has been buying up land and ranches all around his area. He has a purpose and a secret he would prefer never to come out, for doing this. He’s trying to keep the land out of the clutches of a shifty developer....one that knows his secret because he was the instigator. He of course, approaches Matt about selling, but Matt has already refused several times, and things are now getting heated. Luke learns that Matt is behind with their mortgage payments, so to help his twin he buys into the ranch hoping to keep Rory from coming around and asking again. Luke and Rory run into each other a few times afterwards, and he constantly flirts with Luke. Things quickly go downhill after this. Luke is getting stronger every day and has a dream to create a special place on the ranch land for wounded warriors to work with the horses, so Rory sells/almost gives him a piece of land for the venture as well as helping him with the paperwork. The attraction that they have felt for one another almost from the time that Luke returns home blooms and grows stronger and stronger with every day they spend together. The pesky developer won't give up, and his pursuit of Rory and the incidents become more and more dangerous...but the straw that almost broke the camel's back was when a video of the "secret" incident that happen when Rory was a 19-year-old kid suddenly appears on the cell phones of every friend and family member and all the papers and TV stations are notified. Rory is ashamed and goes on the run... and Luke goes after him letting him know that he has love and support from everyone. I have always liked this author. I've read several of her books that was written with Jodi Payne that always include rodeo cowboys, but this is the first that I have read that she wrote alone and entirely about cowboys. This series has started out great with this one and seems to have a great deal of potential. I'm looking forward to more Matt and Luke and their friends.

Fev 5, 7:09 am

10 Things That Never Happened - Alexis Hall _(England)
Material World Series Book #1
Genera: M/M Romance/Humor
It's one of those books that will sneak up on you and before you know it you are halfway through and still have lots to learn. I found that I knew very little about Sam because he conceals so much... partly because he’s pretending to have amnesia so has to be careful about what he tells Jonathan, and partly because he’s deliberately locked away some very painful things he doesn’t want to think about. Alexis Hall does a great job of throwing around little hints throughout the story so that it’s not difficult to guess what Sam is running away from, but it still hits hard when it’s revealed near the end, and we finally fit together all the pieces and understand what Sam has been going through and why he is the way he is, especially concerning his job and the people he works with. I read it and enjoyed it, but it was only when I started to really think about it and go back through the highlights that I realized just how much the author had packed into what seemed, at first, to be a light-hearted story full of snarky talk, an ugly kitty and an oversized Christmas tree. Along with the romance, it's a story about connecting and re-connecting...about being true to yourself... and not being afraid to show that you care. One of the many things Alexis Hall does so well is to let his characters experience growth while remaining essentially the same people, and this was certainly true of Sam and Jonathan. Sam was still the upbeat guy that is so very prone to wearing his heart on his sleeve, and Jonathan is still the gruff, aloft, and anxious one...but they’ve found in one another, that "special someone" who complements them...who understands them...and who accepts them and loves them for who they are. They learn that together, they’re not necessarily different, but they are "better". I thought that the fake amnesia plot was a little shaky, and it went on too long, but it absolutely does NOT spoil the story. The book is a mixture of the "crazy and the meaningful" all wrapped up in a romance that's filled with humor that really works well. I consider this one to be a keeper.

Fev 5, 10:47 am

Submission (Undisclosed) - Carly Marie
Undisclosed Series Book #5
Genera: M/M Romance/Age Play
This is Dean's story. Dean had always thought that he was a Daddy/Dom because of his desire to care for his partners, which was admirable, but Merrick showed him something completely different about himself. This must be a very real thing for people who find they are constantly processing and then changing their sense of self as they learn more throughout life, especially if that idea of who they are is a little, or completely, outside the lines. Merrick had loved and wanted Dean for more than a friend, for a long time...but remodeling and opening a new restaurant took up a great deal of his time...plus he was a little unsure exactly how Dean viewed his own sexuality. I liked that Merrick never pushed or belittled Dean but handled the situation delicately. He was always patient and trying hard to learn everything he could about Dean, without ever forcing him into anything...always just letting Dean figure out for himself what he and most everyone else in his life, had missed. This has to be one of my top Carly Marie books. It's a beautiful, sweet and hot story. I loved seeing all my favorite guys from previous books still together and doing well. I do hate losing characters that I like, and I never want these stories to end. Carly Marie is a fantastic writer that always brings her guys to a beautiful happy ending.

Fev 5, 11:09 pm

Such a Fun Age / Kiley Reid
3.5 stars

Emira is a black 25-year old and she doesn’t have a “real” job. She is a babysitter (not a nanny) for a white couple three days/week and a typist the other two days. Briar is the toddler she looks after, mostly because Alix (Bri’s mom) doesn’t really like Bri and wants time away (though Emira is told Alix needs quiet to write her book (despite Alix taking her baby with her)).

When there is an emergency at Alix’s house one night while Emira is our with friends, Alix calls Emira in a panic asking if she can come take Bri while Alix and her husband call the police. Alix suggests Emira take Bri to the local grocery store… where another shopper decides Emira must have stolen the little white child and reports her to security. Another shopper gets the confrontation on video until it is sorted out. Emira wants nothing to do with the video and just wants to put it all behind her.

This was good. I didn’t really like any of the characters, though. (And although I don’t particularly like kids), I did love Emira’s relationship with Bri. Alix weirded me out there when she tried to befriend Emira. At the end, I liked the way the author delved into future years with how Emira was doing and what she continued on to do after the main part of the story was done.

Fev 6, 7:18 am

Crooked Letter Crooked Letter - Tom Franklin - (Mississippi)
Genera: Mystery & Suspense
Larry Ott is not popular in town of Chabot, Mississippi...most folks won't even look at him...but he's used to it as it's been a common thing for 25 years. In 1982, Larry, a white high-school student took his neighbor Cindy Walker out on a date, and she was never seen again. The whole town assumed Larry had killed her, but a body was never found, so no charges were brought, but the town still "punished" Larry, in despite there being no evidence of any wrongdoing. Larry was a mechanic that had inherited his father’s shop, but...no customers came. To survive he sold off parcels of the woods on his family's property to a timber company. Now, we move ahead to 2007, and we have another disappearance. This time it's the daughter of the timber company owner. While we’re taking all this in, a masked intruder shoots Larry on the porch of his house. He survives, thanks to quick thinking by one friend in town, Silas Jones. Silas is a black man and the town’s only cop, so we would have expected him to have had to save Larry. It's been a busy day for Silas. The decomposing body of a local drug dealer was found... a rattlesnake needed removing from a mailbox and the shooting which caused frequent flashbacks to Larry and Silas' childhood. We could have done with less of the flashbacks as they caused the story to slow way down which came as a surprise, since until the flashbacks the story had moved along smoothly. Silas and his mother had once lived in a hunting cabin in the Ott woods. Larry taught Silas how to hunt and fish until a racial slur ended their friendship. Silas was also involved in Cindy’s disappearance...which took a while to figure out how. The biggest mystery here, is what is happening and why. There are also several other happenings that just go unexamined. I couldn't quite understand why Larry hadn't just left town instead of living like a zombie and taking all the abuse for all these years...and why has Silas, after bigger assignments elsewhere, returned home to a low paying job and a town that never wanted him. The genera for this novel is listed as "Mystery & Suspense", but there is very little suspense in it...but there is a great deal of heavy-handed racial treatment.

Fev 6, 10:21 am

The Art of Husbandry - Jay Hogan - (New Zealand)
A MacKenzie County Story
Narrator: Gary Furlong
Genera: M/M Romance
Gil is grieving after an accident that took the life of his 10-year-old daughter and has devastated his own life. It also had been the final straw to end his and his husband's 10- year marriage. Depression has driven him to seek out a drastic change of pace. A temporary position out in Mackenzie Country offers him the chance to get away from the reminders of life and love lost, but the farm presents an interesting conundrum in the form of the man who runs the operation. Holden...who is young, handsome and blustery. He sparks something in Gil that he hasn’t felt in many long months, attraction. These are never essay subjects to read about and I doubt they are any easier for an author to put on paper, but this book gives the heavy subject matter the breathing room and reverence it needs and deserves. Everyone’s journey through grief is going to look and be different... Gil is psychologically literate enough to know this, and yet his apparent lack of progress over the course of eighteen months still silently angers and frustrates him. Now he's faced with something he wasn't expecting...his attraction to Holden and Holden's attraction to him. Holden isa man who’s never been interested in anything but casual fun. Gil has to decide if the potential pain once his job comes to its end is worth exploring his newfound ability to feel something other than grief again. This story just felt good, right, appropriate and sincerely heartfelt. It was very much worth the time to listen and the beautiful audio rendition by Gary Furlong was an added bonus.

Fev 6, 12:19 pm

The Edge of Nowhere
Elizabeth George
4/5 stars
This is the story of Becca, who's on the run from her stepfather and ends up with a family friend who knows what is going on. In the meantime, she meets a nice, young man, Derric from Uganda. Unfortunately, he is found at the bottom of a hill and is in a coma. There is a suspect, but Becca is not sure that he was the culprit. Whidbey Island Saga

Fev 6, 1:42 pm

Special Delivery - Jodi Payne & B A Tortuga - (Vermont)
Wrecked series Book #2
Genera: M/M Romance/Christmas
It's almost Thanksgiving and Christmas is just around the corner. We find Sky and Bret anxiously awaiting the birth of their baby with a surrogate in January. The nursery is almost done, or it will be as soon as they can come up with something better than the putrid mint green that the paint store assured them would be beautiful. Brent then receives a call that no one ever wants to receive at any time, no matter what season it may be. His best friend, Conner has been killed in an automobile accident, and because Bret agreed to be listed as the children's guardian in case of Conner's death, which he thought would just be "a good friend" jester, they are now the guardians of two children, a 3-year-old girl and an almost 2-year-old boy. In a heartbeat they've gone from 1 baby to 1 baby and 2 more children under 4 years of age. Sky is a Rodeo Cowboy and Bret is a Lawyer so it seems that chaos is what they eat for breakfast, so it was not a big surprise that they took this better than would have been expected and just set about remodeling their house and their lives to welcome and love all of their new little additions. This story will warm your soul and your heart as we watch our men talk, make decisions, and still have their sexy times. Thanksgiving and Christmas are going to be special...they're going to make sure of it. The remodeling is underway and almost done thanks to a bunch of friends...what more can they ask for. Sky and Beck have many things to adjust to and learn but they love one another and their little surprise family so together they manage to pull it off. Both men are fantastic as instant parents. Jodi And BA have done it again!

Fev 7, 6:42 am

Tending Tyler - Jodi Payne & BA Tortuga - (New York/Texas)
Lone Star series Book #1
Genera: M/M Romance/Western/Family
Jodi Payne and B.A. Tortuga has again done what they do best, written an incredibly sweet contemporary cozy romance filled with a huge supporting family and horses, and cute little goats on a Texas, ranches, and of course more cowboys than you can shake a stick at. You can’t go wrong with these things or with these two writers. Their love and knowledge of the people and this region adds a richness and truthfulness to each story. There are lots of good things filing these pages. The instant love between the two main characters and the relationship, all are written realistically. Tyler McKeehan starts the story as a New York City bartender who’s had a lifetime of grief and loss and had recently undergone yet another one...the death of his best friend, Will. I loved Tyler and how he just handled everything that life threw at him...then got up and went on...just one day at a time. The tragedy behind his friend, Will’s death was part of the storyline that I felt wasn't explained very well, but I'm not writing the book and there was more "good stuff" yet to come. Texas rancher, Matthew Whitehead, had come to NYC for the book fair and ends up with not only boxes of books, but found himself in Tyler's bar where he met Tyler with whom he shares an immediate bond and much more. An emergency drew Matt back to Texas before much other than attraction could take place...but that attraction made Tyler realize that he was tired off the loneliness, working his fingers to the bone and starting the whole thing over again, and again and again...and most of all he was tired of missing his cowboy and seeing where they could have gone with one another. So... the New York bartender gets on his first ever airplane and takes his first, but hopefully nor his last, taste of ranch life and Texas. He had walked into what his dreams were made of. Matt's entire family and the entire ranch overwhelmed him with their welcome...but he knows he's homeat last! Tyler and Matt just worked without too much effort. They worked as an adorable, sweet and delightful couple that readers of almost any genera of romance, and especially lovers of cowboy romances, will slide into and make themselves at home.

Fev 7, 8:20 am

The Librarian of Crooked Lane - C J Archer - (England)
Genera: Historical History/Fantasy
The story has a Librarian (hence the title), a library, a theft, lots about art-history, (more than I really needed to know) an artist, magic, mystery, romance, an investigation, a handsome magical detective, that all comes together making it difficult... if not impossible, to stop reading. The 4-star rating was no fault of the story or the authors ability to write an interesting, winning novel. I was surprised to learn that this book is either the 2nd or maybe 3rd addition to a series called The Glass Library...named for the Glass family that invested in the library. This books place in the series was a bit confusing as some sources say it's the 1st book of 5. It didn't read like a continuation...but who knows? If any of this books' content might pique your interest, you may enjoy this one more if you read them in order.... whatever that order is. Not to give too much away I'll just summarize by using a description I found that gives you an idea how this book fits into what appears may be an established storylines from the other books.

"Librarian Sylvia Ashe has come to London to find out who the magic user is who her brother (died in recent WW1) thought had answers to questions they've had all their lives. Father unknown and mother VERY secretive about the past. She believes that while she and her brother are artless, there is some sort of connection with those who have silver magic. Soon she meets the son of the woman she seeks (who is wealthy, war hero, police consultant), loses her job, becomes entangled in a web of art theft, becomes endangered."

Fev 7, 1:25 pm

Night Stalks The Mansion - Constance Westbie 7 Harold Cameron - (Pennylvania)
Genera: Non-Fiction/Paranormal/Haunted House
From the Book: "Author, Constance Westbie won the 1977 National Writers' Club Award for Nonfiction for her collaboration with Harold Cameron in the telling of his family's ordeal in the haunted house on Plum Tree Lane. Night Stalks the Mansion was especially interesting to me because two of the most chilling incidents in this book, (a murder and a rape), had nothing to do with ghosts or the supernatural, unless the reader believes that the house itself somehow attracted ill-luck. Shortly after WWII, businessman Harold Cameron is transferred to Philadelphia, and he, his wife, and five children find themselves living in a motel room because of the housing shortage. When Harold discovers a seventeen-room mansion on Plum Tree Lane, dating back to the American Revolution that is up for lease, he jumps at the chance to settle his family into larger living quarters. Unfortunately, as he says, "we soon realized, to our consternation, that we had not one, but two disembodied visitors who shared our residence and grounds..."

This was not a story that was over the top...let's make a movie and make a zillion dollars, like The Amityville Horror and some others, and there wasn't anything really "super scary"... although if I had experienced any of what occurred for any given length of time, you can bet your last dollar that I wouldn't have stayed...not for 2 minutes, much less for 2 years. During this family's stay they said they experienced hearing footsteps in the house, while at night they heard what sounded like a man walking up the gravel driveway, they saw and heard doors opening, doorknobs moving ...and odors in their bedroom that ranged from pleasurably mild to absolutely putrid. When family visited there were some other ghostly things going on as well. Mr. Cameron did begin to investigate the history of the house and learned a few interesting things. How much of it was true and how much of it was tales that got added on to each time they were told is anybody's guess. One thing he should have known to start with is that NOBODY rents you a 17-room historical mansion out of the goodness of their heart. At one point during their time there, an elderly black man, Enoch, had been living in their barn. I found this rather odd and wondered if they didn't ever venture out on the property. Apparently, the man had previously worked in the mansion when he was young. Harold Cameron befriends and hires him to help his wife Dorothy around the house. Eventually with much prodding, Harold gets the man to tell him the history of the property. I found this part interesting. A tragic and sad past certainly would explain why these spirits might remain, if there is actually anything to this and you really believe. Personally, I found the book to be interesting. I grew up on ghost stories. My Irish grandmother believed this was real to the bottom of her Irish soul. Something about the family's reaction through the entire ordeal was strange and "off", for lack of a better word. They were entirely too calm and accepting about the entire thing. Actually, their reactions to most of what happened, ghostly or not, was rather odd. Sometimes it seemed that the story itself would go completely off topic. At the end, there was a note...an update, about what has happened to the mansion and the property over the years. That was very interesting also. If you like ghost stories, this one will keep you entertained. I started this in December and found that I did better with it to read it in sections, so I am just now finishing it. I wanted to give the book and the authors a fair evaluation and that took more "pondering" than usual.

Editado: Fev 8, 7:01 am

The Half-Burnt House - Alex North
Genera: Mystery & Suspense/Thriller
Katie is haunted by a crime from her past. More than a decade earlier, she left her teenage brother, Chris, at home alone for the afternoon so she could spend time with her boyfriend. When she comes back, the police were everywhere. To her utter horror she learns that a man had tried to cut off Chris’s face Yes, you read that right.... I had to go back and read it again. We move ahead several years and find that Katie is now happily married to the same boyfriend that she had left Chris to meet, and they have a young daughter, 5-year-old Siena. More horror awaits our Katie as she now discovers that a man has been horribly murdered in a nearby mansion, and that Chris, who has now disappeared, is the number-one suspect. Katie investigates and discovers secrets and brutality that stretches back for decades. (From the book) “Something terrible and incomprehensible” lies ahead, Katie realizes. “Something that had always been coming for you, but which you wouldn’t even see until it swerved in out of nowhere and changed your world forever.” Those lines alone and the fact that Alex North wrote it, would have been enough to make me want to read this book. I don't think I have ever given an Alex North book less than 4 stars, usually they get a full 5, but sorry...this one is only going to get 3. While it certainly was an absolutely intriguing story, there was just so much going on...too much and all at the same time...so many twists and turns...so many characters...it simply became confusing, and I had trouble keeping up and had to make several "back trips" through the chapters to clarify what I had just read. I really love how this author's brain works and I will certainly read his next offering.

Fev 8, 12:42 pm

I Have Some Questions For You - Rebecca Makkai - (New Hampshire)
Genera: Mystery & Suspense
A podcast explores the question of if a man who has served more than 20 years in prison for the murder of a young woman could have been wrongfully convicted. The author doesn't give an easy answer but instead adds layers of complication to this question in this story. Bodie Kane, is the producer of a podcast that talks about Hollywood starlets. She has been invited back to Granby, the New Hampshire boarding school that she graduated from in 1995, to teach a course on podcasting during the two-week “mini-mester” in January 2018. One of the topics Bodie suggests to her students is the murder of her classmate Thalia Keith, which occurred in the spring of their senior year on the night of the school musical. A black man who worked for the school as an athletic trainer was convicted and imprisoned for the murder of the white girl...Thalia, however, doubts have reignited interest in the case, including a 2005 episode of "Dateline", and a website promoting the views that the boyfriend did it on "robbieserenhoisguilty.com". As Bodie works with her high schoolers to investigate, a major "#MeToo" a scandal breaks out in her own life, and it involves her partner, a well-known visual artist. Her return to Granby forces her to confront her troubled years of her younger self and the ways her disastrous childhood affected her aa well as her connection to a teacher who was if anything, a predator... and may even have been the murderer. The story is filled with lists of references to familiar crimes... particularly to one highlighting where something similar to Thalia's happened. The author places the fictional murder in the context of violence against women and an obsession with true crime. The impact of the story is totally one of emotions brought up by the topics bordering on outrage and anger rather than grief or sorrow. It seems that the readers are not meant to fall in love with Bodie or even like her much. She does come across as a bit cold, but perhaps this is because the whole narrative is addressed to a person, she seems to be furious with. Overall...there are no easy answers given in this story, which is particularly what I liked most about it. We all know that there are no easy answers in reality even if we might wish sometimes there was.

Editado: Fev 8, 9:01 pm

Small Things Like These – Claire Keegan

Bill Furlong is a coal merchant in an Irish town, and busier than ever as the Christmas season approaches and the weather gets colder. Furlong‘s teenaged mother was a servant at the home of a wealthy widow. When she became pregnant, Mrs Wilson kept her on in her position and encouraged her to keep the child at the manor as well. Now a married man with children of his own, Furlong had a great appreciation for the start he had thanks to the kindness of one person. So, when he discovers something disturbing when he goes to deliver coal at the local convent school, he struggles with whether to intervene, especially given the power the Church wields in this community.

Gosh but Keegan packs a lot into a small volume! There is not a wasted word or extraneous thought. Furlong’s inner struggle is evident in the way he behaves and the things he thinks about as he walks the streets of town on a snowy evening. When he makes his decision, he acts on it, deliberately, quietly, resolutely. He is confident he is in the right, and that gives him some comfort despite the possible (probable) consequences.

Fev 9, 6:43 am

Trulli, Madly, Deeply - J.J. Harper- - (Italy & England)
A Destination Daddies Season 3
Genera: M/M Romance /Age Play- (Daddies & Littles)
Rowan has lived the last five years trying to live his life while mourning his husband Marcus after an accident took his life. Now he is trying to honor him and his memory by completing and opening "Trulli Cupido", a resort in Italy for "Daddies" and their "Littles". that they bought together to renovate before he died. Just before the next week’s guests are due to arrive, Marcus comes to Rowan in a dream and tells him “It’s time to open your heart again, my love. You’ve grieved for long enough. I love you, and I know you love me, my best boy. But he’s coming for you soon, and when he finds you, let him in. Rowan, you deserve him.” . The "Him Of course, it turns out to be Ethan. Ethan is a "Daddy" and has an "on again off again boy", John...but John is more interested in Ethan's money than any type of relationship, but he did agree to go to Italy for the weeklong event at the Trulli Cupido, sponsored by Club Cuffed's "Destination Daddy" event...but John left Ethan at the airport. The plane had started to board so Ethan decided he would go on his own and maybe meet someone for the week or just have some sun and relaxation. Turns out that he did both. Rowan knew the moment he saw Ethan that this was who Marcus had told him about in his dream...but could a chance encounter be the answer to both men’s desires and dreams? I really don't believe in the "one look and I’ve found the perfect love that I’ve been searching for idea... however Rowan believing with his whole heart that Marcus came to him in his dream, really paved the path for me to hope that this was really the case for Rowan. Rowan needed to move on and could only find the way in his heart after he knew that Marcus gave his blessings. I loved the two friends that traveled to Italy with Ethan, Luke and Mattie. They were true friends. Mattie and Rowan became good friends right off, and Luke and Ethan had been best friends for years. This is a quick paced book that is part of a multi-author series. It was a fast read that I thoroughly enjoyed but, as usual, wished there had been more.

What is a 'Trulli? I didn't know so I asked "Mr. Google" ...and he said: Trulli's are traditional dry-stone huts with a corbelled roof, specific to the Itria Valley in the region of Puglia, Italy. These unique structures were originally constructed as temporary field shelters, storehouses, or even permanent dwellings by small-scale landowners or agricultural laborers12. The term “trullo” itself refers to a house whose internal space is covered by a dry stone corbelled or keystone vault. The word “trullo” is an Italianized form of the dialectal term “truddu”, which was used in a specific area of the Salentine peninsula. In this context, it denotes the local agricultural dry-stone hut.

Fev 9, 9:45 am

A Curious Beginning – Deanna Raybourn
Digital audio performed by Angèle Masters

Book number one in the Veronica Speedwell mystery series, set in Victorian England.

Veronica is quite the heroine! An independent woman with a healthy appetite (and attitude) regarding her own “physical needs” and a no-nonsense approach to solving problems. When the novel opens, she has just buried her spinster aunt and is looking forward to going on an expedition to further her butterfly collection. She thwarts a kidnapping attempt with the help of a mysterious German baron, and then the fun really begins.

This was recommended for my F2F book club by a member who doesn’t usually like mysteries, so that caught my attention right away. Veronica doesn’t need much but her wits, her butterfly net, and a sharp hatpin, but she is assisted by the enigmatic “Stoker” to whom the baron entrusted her care. They form quite the partnership and I look forward to more books in the series to see how their relationship fares.

Angèle Masters does a fine job of performing the audiobook. There were many characters, with a variety of nationalities, and Masters was up to the task. Brava.

Fev 9, 1:43 pm

The Night of The Storm - Nishita Parekh - (Texas)
Genera: Mystery & Suspense/Thriller
Jia and her son Ishaan have left their apartment during Hurricane Harvey to stay with her sister Seema and her family. I guess no one told her if she had safe shelter, which she did...to stay where she was during a hurricane. The large house seems to hold even larger secrets, and as people start dying, Jia's only goal is to keep her son Ishaan alive. The story starts out really slow. We meet Jia and Ishaan, who seems to be having some kind of trouble in school, as he was suspended for a week, and Jia's ex-husband has found out and is looking to use that against her in a custody battle. Then we meet the rest of the family, everyone, from Grandma all the way down to son Raj's American wife Lisa. We spend about half the book just meeting characters and trying to figure out where the story is going...which honestly is a bit too long for a what is described as being a "fast-paced" thriller. There is 100% definitely some pacing issues until the first murder happens. The book had potential; the idea of the story was good... but great deal of it was just diluted with useless information. You would be reading about a topic and suddenly you start reading about something completely different in the next paragraph with some tension randomly tossed in. The end of the book was also a bit confusing. It was almost like another book was going to immediately take over as there are twists revealed at the very end of the book that have nothing to do with this story.

Fev 10, 8:45 am

Three Fates - Andrew Grey, Mary Calmes & Amy Lane
Genea: M/M Romance/Fairy Tales
Andrew Grey, Mary Calmes, and Amy Lane have teamed up to deliver their own interpretations of Fate, Fortune, Luck, and Chance...whatever name you choose to give the whims of existence that fit into and drive your life. Three Fates, is three very unique stories that all spin one common story: men who find love thanks to the benevolence of those agents of the breathtaking adventure that we call life. These are thoroughly charming paranormal fairy tales where "Fate" delivers a Prince, a contemporary setting with a romantic Jump. The enchanting tale of perspective and opportunity takes place in "Believed You Were Lucky". These three of my favorite authors drew me into their stories and made me just want to stay there. Cheyenne and Prince Arthur; Cass and Raz; Hake and Leif...each of these men learned to trust in the formidable and sometimes tenuous balance between fate and free will, and in the process also learned to receive the blessings gifted to them by those possessed of the wisdom to successfully manipulate the weave of the very fabric of life. Accepting and embracing the inevitable is what these stories are about, though they say it all in far more eloquent ways than I ever could. Some of the mythology was new to me, but interesting. The stories would have still been exceptional even without the "Fates". Good job, Andrew, Mary & Amy!

Fev 10, 3:16 pm

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter / Hazel Gaynor
3.5 stars

Unmarried and pregnant, Matilda is 19-years old in 1938 when she is sent across the ocean to live with a distant relative in Rhode Island, Harriet, who watches the lighthouse there.

One hundred years earlier, in England, a storm washed up survivors of a shipwreck, including Sarah. Sarah’s two young children died in the wreck. Grace Darling is the lighthouse keeper’s daughter who saw the survivors still in the water, so she and her dad went to help them. Grace become a local hero after this. (And apparently, Grace Darling was a real person.)

Matilda has a book on keeping lighthouses that she brings with her. The inscription includes one from Grace to Sarah and Sarah to (a different) Matilda.

I listened to the audio and it was good. I did lose focus at times, but I think I caught the main happenings in the book. Harriet also kept secrets and it took time for her to open up to Matilda. I liked her, though she did seem “gruff” at times. I liked all the characters, really. The women were pretty tough and self-sufficient – or certainly tried/wanted to be as much as they could in their time periods. There were a lot of characters, though, and there were times that it took me a bit to figure out which time frame and character’s POV I was listening to. It did say when the POV changed, but since I know my mind wandered some plus putting away the audio and picking it up later sometimes made it a bit tricky.

Fev 10, 3:20 pm

Daddy's Little Christmas List - Della Cain
Genera: M/M Romance /Age Play (Daddy-Little)
Edwin first saw Adam at the Club Collared when he was in the playroom as part of an orientation. He didn't think Adam had noticed him.... but he certainly noticed Adam. Then he finds the next day that Adam works in the same building as him but for a different company. Christmas is coming soon, and the entire building is having a couple of weeks of "secret Santa". One of the workers in Adam's building hated the Santa idea so instead of giving the name he had drawn to someone else or just participating on some level, he throws the name away...and Edwin finds it; the name on the paper just said "Adam". Edwin finds out where Adam worked, devises a plan be become Adam's "Secret Santa", by sending him presents until he could maybe get to know him. In the elevator at their work after the 3rd or 4th day of secret gifts to Adam that Edwin talked the mailroom guy into delivering...Edwin and Adam meet, and each recognizes the other as the person they each had noticed at the club, Collared. The rest, as they say, was history. This was a really sweet story where the small gifts became a language of love between the two men that soon became "Daddy" Adam and "Boy" Edwin. They were a perfect match for each other. Daddy's Little Christmas List" is a lovely Christmas story that will make you smile. It's a short, easy read, with only warm happy feelings.

Fev 10, 10:37 pm

The Lake of Dreams / Kim Edwards
3.25 stars

Lucy has been living abroad for a number of years, but when her mother is injured and in hospital, she decides to come home. Her partner, Yoshi, will join her later. Lucy’s family has had some quarrels (particularly her father (died a while back) and his brother/Lucy’s uncle Art), mostly over the family business and inheritance. Now, her brother is working for Art, and her mom is considering selling the house and land to Art. The land sits on an ecologically sensitive lake that Art wants to develop.

While Lucy is helping clean out the house, she comes across some paperwork that mentions Rose. It sounds like Rose is someone in the family, but Lucy has never heard of her, so she does some research to try to find out who Rose was. And uncovers other secrets along the way.

Through the first 2/3 or so of the book, I would have rated it 3 stars (ok), but I increased it just a touch, as I got much more interested in the last 1/3. I did skim parts of the first of the book, so I did miss a few things. I liked that Lucy went back to Yoshi, rather than falling in love (again) with Keegan. So many novels would go the other way. I think I liked it because the author made sure that the reader could see how much Lucy still loves and misses Yoshi via their conversations, whereas so many other books wouldn’t go into that. I also liked the ecological slant to the story (though that wasn’t explored in a lot of detail, but it still appealed to me).

Fev 11, 10:20 am

At Home - Carly Marie -(Tennessee/Oklahoma)
Finding Home Series Book #1
Genera: M/M Romance/Age Play (Daddy, Boy)
Derek is the successful vocalist of one of the hottest country bands, now performing on a successful tour of the country. But no matter how hyped or invested you are in your successful career, there comes a time when you become so tired and stressed that you just need an “off” day, or days to just be yourself. Colt is an out-of-the-closet Sheriff in a town just outside of Nashville, which everyone knows is the very heart and soul of country music. Neither man would have thought that the one-night stand would turn out to be with the closeted and famous lead singer of the band, "Hometown" Certainly not Colt, who never found out who Derek was until the afternoon of the next day after their amazing night together. As the lead vocalist of a well-known, number one band in the country and always in the eye of the public, Derek craves some quiet and stress-free times. A time when he can just "let go" of all the stress and all the worries. A time when he didn't need to make another single big or small decision. When he could just let someone else be totally "in charge" of every aspect of his life. That’s what Derek, unbeknown to him at the time, had found in the small county bar...when he locked eyes with Sheriff Colt Westfield. Colt was a Dom by nature. He had almost given up ever finding a boy who will just let him care for his every need...and he certainly never thought he would find his someone special in a "sought-after" country singer. Feelings developed fast and before they know it...just one picture appearing to the eye of the public and Derek and Colt are outed...or at least Derek has been outed...Colt had been out for years. Through the media fallout Colt was always there to give support and to anticipate Derek’s every need. At Home is a story of two people who never expected to find the one they were looking for in a one-night stand but learned quickly what they have and accepting it wholeheartedly. A tale of two people who learn to accept, without hesitation or question who or what they are or what each wants and needs from the other. Carly Marie’s approach to this story is quite unique and I really liked her insight of this particular kink. I am looking forward to the next installment of this series and learning more about Derek's brother, Ty and a couple of his fellow bandmates. Note: Sheriff Colt Westfield also appears in Carly Marie's "Johnson Family" series, another great read.

Editado: Fev 11, 4:37 pm

Wrangled - Daryl Banner -(Texas/California)
Spruce Texas Series Book #4
Narrator: Chris Chambers
Genera: M/M Romance
Chris Chambers, the narrator did an excellent job... but the two main characters have communication issues to put it mildly. Lance had hated Chad and almost everyone else in this little Texas town since high school, and this reunion was his chance to get his revenge and tell them all what he felt. Lance had been bullied it seems, by almost, if not the entire school...and Chad had been hiding a secret for the past 10 years, that probably would have made him a target for the bullies also. Their 10 -year high school class reunion brought everyone together for the first time in those 10 years...Lance from California where he was a budding fashion designer, and Chad from his ranch in Spruce where he had remained after taking over the ranch from his father. After Lance confronts Chad, the one of the main sources of his frustration, he begins to realize that his perceptions and experiences may not be exactly what or how he remembers them. Chad goes out of his way to apologize to Lance for his past, telling him that he's sorry and that he’s changed, and that he knows his actions were awful, and wants a clean start...and has something else to tell Lance. Almost the entire book goes on before Chad reveals his secret and he and Lance begin a relationship...Bully and Victim to Lovers. Neither of the main characters were especially likable. Lance had a plan for a hateful, vengeful mission to fulfil...seemingly on the entire student population, and Chad jerked him around instead of just saying what he wanted Lance to know and telling him the secret he had kept for10 years...and was still keeping it seemed. The funny thing was that I believe that almost everyone in Spruce, Texas already suspected what Chad's secret was. Not a bad story but it went on WAY too long in this on again, off again...we can't have a long-distance relationship vain. I've had better.

Fev 12, 7:06 am

In Love With a Haunted House - Kate Goldman
Genera: Supernatural/Romance
We have a down-on-her-luck heroine with a broken heart who is thrown together with her "hero" who both have a desire for a particularly charming little house... as well as each other. We also have a rather unlikely character...the ghost of an old lady who continues to be a meddler even from beyond the grave. She has her ghostly little hands smack-dab in the middle of their budding romance. The book isn't your usual ghost story...it's funny, sometimes hilarious, that will have you laughing when you least expect it. To begin with one of our main characters, Mallory is in depression because she is being abandoned by her longtime boyfriend. No big loss as far as I could see. Jim was a cowardly and cruel character that I hated from the start. He was a big, spoiled brat. Now we have a character we can like, and Mallory can love...Blake. He was the perfect distraction to help Mallory mend her broken heart. Blake was witty, charming, cute, and together their chemistry was off the charts. He is everything that Jim is not! of course, that wouldn't have taken much.... a sewer rat had more charm than Jim. Mallory easily falls in love with him. Ultimately, this can be described as a heartwarming story of family, history, finding real love, and finally coming home. Actually, I like the "little old lady" ghost more than either Malory or Blake. This is a perfect little gem that you don't have to devote many brain cells to in order to enjoy it.

Fev 12, 1:15 pm

Starter Villain- John Scalzi
Genera: Science Fiction/Humor/cute cat (Is that a genera? If not, it should be)
Charlie is a divorced substitute teacher, a cat dad and former finance journalist. He’s barely scraping by and living in his father’s house, which his brothers want him out of so they can sell it. Then his mysterious uncle dies, Charlie arranges and attends his funeral service, even saying a few words and receiving the very few attendees. Charlies Uncle was a virtual stranger to him, but he attempts to do the kind thing... a kind thing that plunges him into the hidden world of people who pull the global economy’s strings...the world of villains. With his uncle’s assistant... a competent lady who only tolerates him as his guide, within a mere 12 hours, Charlie negotiates with a dolphin union, attends a business conference for evil start-ups, tours a volcano lair and tries his best not to get killed. Might have been everyday occurrences in his uncle's life...but not Charlie's...at least not yet. Charlie’s unerring desire to try to do the right thing and his keen sense of observational humor carry the reader along on this wild ride with him, as he reluctantly navigates the role of sort-of-evil business owner. The story has a unique and mostly hilarious premise along with a great deal of sardonically humorous commentary on the state of modern billionaires and the house of cards that is better known as...the economy. There is also some posturing about the lasers that can blow up satellites and cranky old men who believe they are owed the world for just having the most money. Funny, insightful and character-driven, this book is a quick and delightful read, especially for people who are skeptical of the myth of self-made CEOs. I picked up Starter Villain based on the eye-catching cute cat on the cover but actually found it nearly impossible to put down. Charlie understands enough about capitalism and his fragile place in it to be tired, but he keeps trying and taking risks trying to help people. He’s a good character for a lot of reasons, but the main one is something that is becoming very lacking in today's world... Charlie genuinely CARES. No person...or cat...oh yeah there is a very strange cat involved also...but not left behind. I believe perhaps the core message the author is trying to get across is that no matter the crazy, total insanity of life, you totally have to care, or you’ll lose yourself and may not be able to find the same "you" again.

Fev 12, 2:43 pm

The War That Saved My Life – Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Book on CD narrated by Jayne Entwistle

Ten-year-old Ada lives in a one-room apartment with her mother and younger brother. Ada, however, has never left the apartment. She has a club foot and her mother doesn’t want anyone to see Ada. So, she sits at her window and watches the neighbors. She has no friends. She’s never attended school. Still, she feels responsible for her brother Jamie, so when he reports that the children of London are to be sent to the country due to the war with Germany, Ada makes up her mind to go with him.

This is a marvelous story of courage and tenacity. Bradly doesn’t sugarcoat the difficulties Ada faces, from her abusive mother, to her ignorance of things we take for granted, (she doesn’t know what soup is!), to the anger and fear that sometimes overwhelm her. But Ada is a very strong girl. And with perseverance, she will overcome the poor start she’s had in life.

The story is also about grief and tolerance. Susan Smith is the grieving woman who is coerced into taking Jamie and Ada in. She doesn’t want children; she doesn’t like children; she doesn’t know what to do with or for children. But over time she comes to understand their struggles and to care for them not just because they’ve been place in her charge, but because she genuinely loves them.

There is a sequel to this story and I can hardly wait to read it to find out what happens to Ada, Jamie and Susan.

The audiobook is masterfully performed by Jayne Entwistle. I have to admit that I initially kept thinking of Flavia deLuce because Entwistle narrated those books, but I quickly adjusted.

Fev 12, 2:47 pm

The Little Italian Hotel – Phaedra Patrick

A radio show host and “relationship expert” has planned a special Italian holiday to celebrate her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. But when Ginny presents her husband with the tickets she is not prepared for his response. He not only does NOT want to go to Italy, but he wants a divorce. The tickets are nonrefundable, but for a small fee she can change the name of the guest. So, Ginny changes to a budget hotel and invites four of her listeners with “broken hearts” to join her for a healing vacation. Her treat.

This was mostly predictable, but I didn’t care. It was exactly the kind of “coming of middle age” adventure I wanted to read as an escape. The characters are interesting and sometimes surprised me, and the setting was gloriously depicted. I felt as if I were in Venice or Florence. And I loved the food descriptions!

It’s not a uniformly feel-good story. These people have some serious issues to face, but they all come to realize that while each of us has to make our own decisions about our lives, opening up to others can help ease the burden.

A fun, fast, enjoyable read.

Fev 12, 10:33 pm

What Strange Paradise / Omar El Akkad
4 stars

Amir is a 9-year old Syrian boy who survives a shipwreck. Everyone else to be seen has washed up on shore, dead. He is on an island, but doesn’t know where he is, nor does he understand the language. When two men see him and point and shout, Amir gets scared and runs. He runs into Vanna, 15-years old and though they are unable to communicate verbally, she hides him.

The story then shifts to “Before”, which brings us up to date on how Amir got where he is. We go back and forth between Amir’s before and “After”. Much of after is told from Vanna’s POV, but occasionally we switch to the POV of a colonial who is dead set on finding Amir, the little boy who ran away.

Given that it’s (primarily) from a 9-year old’s POV, it took a bit to figure out what was going on through much of the story. I am still not sure I understand the ending. But it was a “good” (powerful) story, even so.

Fev 13, 7:34 am

Home At Night - Paula Munier - (Vermont)
Mercy Carr Series Book #5
Genera: Mystery & Suspense/Paranormal
The story is about a haunted house, some poachers, and a murderer that threatens our house-hunting people. Mercy Carr is a former soldier, and her husband, game warden Troy Warner, have had plenty of experience with murder. We find now that they are house hunting for a larger house, but when an offer falls through and they find themselves crammed into a tiny cabin along with their dogs, Elvis and Susie Bear...who are absolutely adorable by the way...but then...what dog isn't? In that tiny cabin were Mercy and Troy, but also a teen-aged mother that Mercy had met on another case and had taken in... her baby, Helena; and Brodie, Mercy's boyfriend...so 5 people and 2 dogs were a bit much and they really needed that larger house. When the house of Mercy’s dreams comes on the market they make an offer, never imagining that getting it would be a "death-defying" experience. "Grackle Tree Farm", is a beautiful piece of property complete with a decrepit Victorian mansion that is said to be haunted...but how much room can one ghost possibly take up? It's just what they were looking for and perfect for them. The house was once owned by a famous poet, Euphemia “Effie” Whitney-Jones and her longtime companion, who are both now deceased, so the property is finally going on the market. Undeterred by the amount of work the place needs, they WANT it. Meanwhile, Troy and his park ranger friend are searching for poachers who are poaching endangered species, and Mercy’s great uncle, Hugo Fleury, a retired military veteran and intelligence officer, along with Daniel Feinberg, a wealthy neighbor who she’s done several security jobs for, want Mercy to find a mysterious "something" that Effie supposedly hid somewhere on the farm, with only a very cryptic clue. Hugo also knows that another private detective and some other folks are also searching for whatever was hidden by the puzzle-loving poet. Accompanied by Troy’s boss, who provides their official cover, Mercy finds not only the hiding place but along with it the body of the private detective. More deaths will follow before Mercy can unravel the puzzle that involves both her case and Troy's. Someone, in another review, described the book as "a combination of physical and mental feats by both humans and beast". At times those feats become a bit unbelievable but if you can just "dispend your disbeliefs" and remember that it's fiction and "just a story", you will find it's a really good way to spend a few hours of reading time.

Fev 13, 11:31 am

Gracie: A Love Story
George Burns
4/5 stars
Written by the actor George Burns, he talks about his life and his love for his wife and partner Gracie Burns. He talks about his adopted children since Gracie couldn't have children and he also goes over their roles in entertainment including films, radio and television. Very entertaining!

Fev 14, 6:34 am

Clockwork Heart - Heidi Cullinan - (France)
Genera: M/M Romance /Steampunk/Supernatural
As the French army leader’s bastard son, Cornelius Stevens enjoys a great deal of latitude. But when he saves an enemy soldier using clockwork parts, he’s well aware he risks hanging for treason. That doesn’t worry him half as much, however, as the realization he’s falling for his patient. Johann Berger never expected to survive his regiment’s suicide attack on Calais, much less wake up with mechanical parts. To avoid discovery, he’s forced to hide in plain sight as Cornelius’s lover—a role Johann finds himself taking to surprisingly well.

The words above, from the book, explains the story so much better than I felt that I could. The story has intrigue, espionage, pirates, revolutionaries, and steampunk style, romance. The setting is early twentieth century Europe, France and Austria are at war, and at the center of it all, are our exhibitionist "tinker"-surgeon and his rescued soldier. I really don't care much for steampunk in any genera but have always liked Heidi Cullinan so when I learned that this was her first steampunk novel, I thought that I would try it and see if I liked the genera more when it was done by a favorite author. I can't say that I did but this story did have some very interesting parts and being familiar with her work, I had no doubt that I would probably find something I would like about it. The characters are likeable, and the story was definitely a lot of fun. The entire plot revolved around a surgeon's spur-of-the-moment decision to give "his" soldier, Johann, the clockwork heart. The idea of the heart itself came about during a discussion over Johann’s worry over what having the heart meant, Cornelius, the surgeon, says this to him, “…I know everyone fancies the heart as the seat of the soul, but it truly isn’t. It’s nothing more than an organ, frail and mortal. I can’t control you with it. No one can.” The reader can understand the whole philosophy behind it. We talk of “heartache” and “broken hearts,” but does it really mean anything? Are our hearts simply a vessel for pumping blood? Things that make you think about all the things we humans attribute to our hearts. Did having the clockwork heart change Johann from who he always was...make him any less Johann? In spite of this not being my favorite M/M romance genera, Heidi managed to tell a sweet, compelling story, but I believe she has only begun to explore this world and the things she can do with it and these characters. Would I read another like this? I'm not sure... but fans of steampunk will more than likely find it something that captures and holds their interest,

Fev 14, 11:47 am

Weather Girl – Rachel Lynn Solomon
Digital audiobook read by Sarah Mollo-Christiansen

Publisher’s book blurb A TV meteorologist and a sports reporter scheme to reunite their divorced bosses with unforecasted results in this charming romantic comedy.

My reactions
This was a cute rom-com with an underlying serious issue. Ari is a charming young woman who has achieved her dream of becoming a TV meteorologist. But she sometimes struggles to maintain her on-screen persona; she suffers chronic depression, although therapy and medication help her cope. Still, she IS coping, even thriving. And a scheme to get Torrence Hale (the station’s star meteorologist, and Ari’s hoped-for mentor) back together with her ex-husband Seth (who is also the station’s news director) brings Ari and Russell together in more ways than one.

I liked these characters. They seemed genuine, with real-world challenges, and recognizable coping mechanisms. I liked the way Ari and Russell interacted, though I did think they were a bit quick to jump into bed, but hey … consenting adults. The ups and downs of both their career paths and their romance kept me interested in how this would play out. Were some of the scenarios just a bit too outlandish to be real? Sure. But it’s a rom-com and it wouldn’t be fun without those scenes.

Sarah Mollo-Christiansen does a fine job of narrating the audiobook. She sets a good pace and has diction clear enough to easily understand even when listening at double speed.

Fev 14, 1:06 pm

The Bell Chime - Mona Kabbani - (New York)
Genera: Psychological?
It's not often that I can honestly say "I don't get it"...but this one? I don't get it, and I don't think from what I did get, that I ever want to. It's a novella of psychological horror that makes the worse nightmare you ever had fall into the best dream you ever had category. The story is mostly a horrible depiction of a person in the midst of a quite severe mental illness, and much of the narrative is from the main character's muddled and delusional point of view. To say this character's grasp on reality has taken the last train out of the station and is far down the line...is a vast understatement.

Fev 15, 7:11 am

Coming Home - Carly Marie - (California)
Finding Home Series Book #2
Genera: M/M Romance/Age Play (Daddy/Little)
Coming Home...the second book in the Finding home series, is an incredibly warm and cute story about two guys who have been best friends since they were 5 years old, and some time ago discovered they are in love with each other but wasn't sure if or how, they could act on it. Declan’s family turned on him when the boys were in high school, and Ty’s family took him in and shows him what a true family is, and what love should be. Ty's mother is a force to be reckoned with:) Fast forward a few years and both guys are successful in their own fields, Ty a veterinarian and Declan a Navy Seal, and of course they are still living together, as well as still being super close friends...both secretly still wanting more, but neither brave enough to take it any further for fear of ruining a 20 plus years friendship. When Declan comes home from his latest deployment, both know they need to stop keeping this secret from each other...but how do they tell each other how they feel? I loved how Carly Marie brought them together for that first explosive time. Also, how well thought out and realistic the characters were. The story flowed well with just the right amount of angst. Their chemistry was intense right from the beginning, and I enjoyed reading about their friendship over the years and how it changed. It was good to see the family and get caught up with Derek and Colt from the first book. Hope the characters from previous books continue to filter throughout the remainder of the books,

Fev 15, 10:11 am

Unexpected - M A Innes
Unconditional Love Series Book #1
Genera: M/M Romance/Age Play
Ryland, a 21-year-old man who while doing some grocery shopping with his best friend, when they realize that someone in the next aisle has overheard them talking. That someone is Holden, a college professor and Ryland’s neighbor who can’t believe it when he hears what Ryland, and his friend are talking about. He knows that Ryland is the "boy' he was hoeing for and couldn’t be more perfect for him. He confronts the boys and tells them there are websites for adults that provide "things" for adult kid play. Rylands fiend explains it to him, but Ryland doesn't quite know what to think about it all...except it appeals to him on some level. Ryland knows if he and Ryland are going to get to know one another more, he is going to have to try to get the "boy" out of his closeted comfort zone. Ryland is a sweet guy who just wanted but didn't know he wanted or needed, someone to take care of him. And Holden was glad to do that for him. I really liked these two characters and their dynamic, but I became a little bored about halfway through with the waiting for Ryland to get with the program. I know Holden didn't want to scare Reyland, but this guy is 22 years old and can't possibly be all that "innocent" with today's access to the internet and the interest he has had in the BDSM lifestyle. The writing is decent, and everything is explained in a way that’s engaging and keeps the reader and the story interesting. So 4 stars for a good story by a wonderfully talented author.

Fev 15, 11:24 am

The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies – Alison Goodman

From the book jacket: Lady Augusta Colebrook – “Gus” – is determinedly unmarried, bored by society life, and tired of being dismissed at the age of forty-two. She and her twin sister, Julia, need a distraction. One soon presents itself: to rescue their friend’s goddaughter, Caroline, from her violent husband. The sisters set out for Caroline’s country estate with a plan, but their carriage is accosted by a highwayman. In the scuffle, Gus accidentally shoots and injures the ruffian, only to discover he is Lord Evan Belford, an acquaintance from their past who was charged with murder and exiled to Australia twenty years ago.

My reactions
What a delightful romp! These ladies are up to any task, it seems. They are intelligent, determined, resourceful and certain of their course. They move from crisis to crisis with a sense of purpose and quick-witted improvisations. Of course, Gus can’t stop thinking about Lord Evan, and she will prove he was wrongly convicted if it’s the last thing she does.

Gus and Julia are assisted in their efforts to right the various wrongs by their butler, Weatherly, footman Thomas, and stableman John Driver. And of course, Lord Evan, who seems to have recovered from having been shot by Gus, but not from being pierced by Cupid’s arrow.

I particularly appreciate that Goodman has given us women of a certain age, who would most often be ignored. That “invisibility” is a great asset to them. They adopt the mantel of doyennes of Regency society when it suits their purpose. But Gus, in particular, is just as comfortable donning a gentleman’s garb and going where no respectable lady would deign to visit.

The book ends on a bit of a cliff-hangar, and I hope Goodman is a fast writer, because I can hardly wait to find out what the sisters get up to in the next episode.

One final note -
This book is dedicated to all the women out there who no longer have the patience or desire to put up with any nonsense.
Amen to that!

Fev 15, 12:52 pm

Bad Boyfriends - Nya Rawlyns - (California/ New York)
3 -Part Box Set
Narrator: Michael Ferraiuolo
Genera: M/M Romance/
The box set is composed of a trilogy anchored around three main alphas, each with a newly acquired crush, totally believable in many instances and respects even though a bit off-the-wall in plot twists.

Curling Iron, the first in the set is where we meet the two main characters that reappear in the other two renditions, David Black and Thomas Kane. Kane owns a gym and a high-class escort service called "Bad Boyfriends". The agency meets the very special and particular needs of the mostly gay clientele. All is well and good until Kane’s ex, Marshall, decides to ruin him by hiring away all the talent for his rival service. Kane needs to find more workers, and quickly. Into the story comes David. His day job is being downsized, leaving him with only his part-time work at a bar to try to make ends meet in NYC. When the chance comes for David to get out from behind the bar and hit the stage as a pole dancer, that part was really funny, but it catches Kane’s interest in ways that don’t precisely fit the employer-employee mold...but then little of these episodes do...at least not any that anyone I know has ever encountered. Good start to the series.

Marshall ups the stakes, and Kane’s friend and manager of the gym, Mike Douglas, and escort Sean Rourke are called on to babysit a client for a Boston lawyer whose taste borders on the wrong side of the barely legal. His shenanigans threatens the reputation of his firm. Marshall isn’t the only one willing to use underhanded means to achieve his goals, and Mike and Sean have their hands, and other things, full keeping the client and "Bad Boyfriends" out of jail and worse. This was the one that I liked the least.

Nick Lopez is an ex-cop that has been wounded in the line of duty. Jace Mcclune, is a New York City cop that works vice. Both have seen and done too much for too long. Thomas Kane puts out a call for help, and Nick and Jace answer it, joining forces for what should have been a simple sting operation. They're about to find out why "a man you can't break is a man worth breaking". This one is darker and more suspenseful. I think of the three I liked the characters in this one the most...but the story seemed rushed.

All three stories have characters that are sometimes way beyond flawed, and the situations that are truly unmerciful and not for the faint of heart. I'm glad I did the audio as I'm not sure I would have finished a text version. Michael Ferraiuolo did a fantastic job on all the different voices.

Fev 16, 6:21 am

The House Beyond The Dunes - Mary Burton - (North Carolina)
Genera: Mystery & Suspense
The story had some seriously ridiculous plot points. Some things about the story had me rolling my eyes, but the writing created a compelling, chilling, atmospheric thriller that kept me turning the pages. Lane McCord hasn’t been lucky in life or love, but meeting Kyle has her hoping that will all change. They head off to his beachfront house on the North Carolina coast, Lane has plans to eat, sleep, and do a lot more than just "work" on their relationship, but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men...instead of Kyle's bed she wakes up in a hospital bed after falling down a steep set of stairs in Kyle’s home. Her insurance is a joke, (what else is new Lane?) so despite having injuries that she should have just stayed, she insists on leaving the hospital. Seems that Kyle was the unlucky one as he didn’t survive the fall. All Lane can remember about the fall is lying in a pool of his blood, having no idea how either of them ended up on the floor. That’s a question that Detective Donald Becker would like to have the answer to. When he shows up at Lane’s door, he is skeptical about her insistence that she has no memory of the events surrounding Kyle’s fall. The detective is also looking into the disappearance of two women... Stevie Palmer and Nikki Kane, who vanished after spending time with Kyle. Our Kyle has been a "busy boy". The discovery of a diary belonging to one of the missing women left in Lane's mailbox gives her some interesting reading. Some mysteries are written to encourage and aid the reader to solve the mystery, and others are about just watching the characters do all the work. By the less than half the book I had already figured out the major plot points and only needed a few more details to work out who all the characters were and how they fit into the whole thing. The main impetus of the tale is just watching Lane and Stevie, whose diary recounts her search for the missing Nikki, as they investigate Kyle. I didn't quite understand how Lane could be so uncomplicated and yet be a psychology student. She was also way too trusting and almost sickening sweet. The "bad guy" actually had the best personality of all the characters, and I was almost rooting for him by the end. However, the ultimate reasoning for the 3.5-star rating comes down to two factors that were ludicrous regarding Lane, Stevie, and Detective Becker, and a denouement by a secondary villain that bordered on the stuff that comic books are designed from. I did enjoy the majority of the book, but most of the plot had elements that would better fit in a science fiction novel. I usually get better from this author...but if you are a fan of Karen Slaughter's mysteries you will more than likely also like this one.

Fev 16, 8:21 pm

A Reason To Stay - R J Scott - (Vermont)
Genera: M/M Romance/ Adventure Thriller
Viktor and Aiden have a long history. In high school a 16-year-old Aiden professed his love to 18-year-old Viktor. Unfortunately, Viktor was set on becoming a SEAL and nothing would keep him in a small town, even Aiden. 14 years later they reunite while Viktor is home recovering from an injury. Viktor thinks he’s in trouble for walking out on Aiden, which he is, but the spark is still there. They spend a couple of hot weeks together, but the Navy calls and Viktor goes. Again, leaving a hurting, in love Aiden behind. Two years pass and they are brought together again, when Viktor’s nephew, Ben is found injured in the woods. Aiden is a Sheriff's Deputy and has stayed close to Viktor’s family. He is on the scene when Ben is found and is the contact between the Sheriff's Department and the family. Viktor returns home to be with his family and can’t avoid seeing Aiden. This is really the beginning of the story at the heart of this book. There is serious anger and tension between the two men, they get caught up in a nasty story involving missing ATF agents, hunters, and a very dangerous mountain. Aiden is trying to keep Viktor out of the investigation, partly because he’s being...well Viktor, and partly because he wants Viktor to stay with his family. Viktor is throwing his weight around and calling in favors. He means well but he goes about it the wrong way. They are both stubborn as mules. They do get their act together, finally...but not before hiking up a mountain in below zero weather, facing human trafficators, rescuing ATF agents, and falling in love again. The story is an M/M romance but it's more adventure with the romance mainly thrown in at the last...but it was worth waiting for. I was really a great mystery action story with good guys, bad guys and a really great ending.

Fev 17, 9:07 am

Wisconsin Lore - Robert R. Gard - (Wisconsin)
Genera: Folk Lore/Travel
It has ghost stories, lumberjack tales, Indian legends, hoaxers, superstitions, proverbs, and much more. I was bad and chose the book for the interesting cover...but I'm glad I dd. The tales in this book are mostly "hometown" and regional lore. What you'll learn about Wisconsin is a lot of what tales such as these tell about any area that they cover and in this case it's obviously.... hence the title...Wisconsin. If there are any truths to these yarns, and you can decide for yourself, we learn that there are more ghosts per square mile than in any other state. Do you know how the town of Eleva, Wisconsin got its name? I didn't even know there was such a place...but I do now, and I know how it got its name. I also learned some of what the area lumberjacks called "simple talk". I visited the homes of the early pioneer healers and enjoyed the strange tales and the antics of the "real folk". Many of the Indian tales are linked to their environment. I still am not sure if there is buried treasure in Wisconsin...but I'm sure there have probably been many that tried to find out. In a nutshell, the book is about legends and lore that have been timelessly woven into the fabric of Wisconsin's history. I might have to go check out that buried treasure tale:)

Editado: Fev 17, 1:38 pm

The Only Way to Live -M A Innes
The Mechanics of love Book #1
Genera: M/M Romance
M.A. Innes (Shaw Montgomery) is one of my favorite authors, no matter which persona she's writing under. This book shows the lifestyle from the relationship and the perspective where both partners are switches. Readers of this author's work will remember meeting both Derek and Sean before in another series but might never have expected them to get together judging by their age difference. Derek is a 24-year-old business owner, very successful, incredibly confident in who he is and what he wants...and what he wants is an older man who is ready and willing to engage in a power exchange relationship. He finds this with Sean. Sean is his previous boss and the father of his best friend. Even though Sean has been out of the romance game and has never even dated a man before, Derek helps Sean to work up the courage to give them a try. What I liked most about the story...other than Derek and Sean...was that there wasn't any angst surrounding any of that. I really expected there to be a lot of "I can't, we shouldn't, what will we tell people"? The usual.... but surprise surprise...there wasn't. Just two sweet guys trying to fit feelings and family into a rather unusual situation that in spite the age difference and being best friends with the older man's son...simply worked. Sean is totally accepting of his feelings for Derek, and the focus of the story is solidly on their developing relationship, and how their kink will play a role. The chemistry between them is honestly really a lot of fun. They don't take the D/s aspect of their love life overly seriously and are happy to adapt to what works for them. There is no "cookie cutter" D/s type of relationship here. I was happy that they listened to their hearts and found their "happy ever after".

Fev 17, 3:30 pm

The Grandmother Plot by Caroline B. Cooney
273 p. - ★ ★ ★ 1/2

Freddy is kind of a disappointment to his family. He is a glassmaker, allegedly making lampwork beads for a living, when in reality, he makes more money making glass bongs and fancy pipes. He has, however, stepped up to care for his aging, Alzheimer's afflicted grandmother when his three sisters couldn't and his mom was killed in car accident out of the country. Freddy has had to put Grandma in a memory care facility, but he visits every day and actually has gotten to know some of the other families and helps with some of the other residents. Freddy's easy-going life hits a huge speed bump, though, when one of Grandma's friends at Middletown Memory Care is murdered. Freddy, realizing his income and friends are both sketchy, tries to figure out who could have killed Maude. He, along with Laura Maple, one of Memory Care's extended family, try to solve the murder on their own.

Can fly through the last third of the book
Cooney really understand glass
Cooney talks about the dementia patients with great respect and she recognizes the different feelings that families may have

Large cast of characters
First two-thirds of the book dragged a little. I think it was because of how each of the characters was introduced.
The ending leaves some things open - Was Auburn really at Memory Care? Will Gary the Leper really leave Freddy alone? What will happen with the Charles Ives manuscript?

Her other books for adults are less frenetic, and more enjoyable, in my opinion.

Fev 17, 8:57 pm

Giant: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Edna Ferber, and the Making of a Legendary American Film
Don Graham
4/5 stars
I have seen this film years ago and highly enjoyed it. The author did a nice job of relating the history of the making of this film and the events around the actors lives in that time period. I am definitely going to re-watch it.

Fev 18, 12:38 pm

The Other People - C. J. Tudor - (England)
Genera: Mystery & Suspense
A few years ago, Gabe Forman’s wife, Jenny, and their 5-year-old daughter, Izzy, were killed in their home, but Gabe is thoroughly convinced that Izzy is still alive, he begins traveling England in a camper van which is now his home, in an endless search for clues to his daughter might be. That of course is no way to live, but Gabe, is a mere shadow of his former self, seeing this as penance. During the attack on his family three years ago, Gabe wasn’t home. He was on the road, where he insists, he caught a glimpse of Izzy in an old car. His father-in-law identified the bodies, but Gabe’s sighting of Izzy that day, and a few other things, has convinced him that she’s still alive. He was a suspect for a while, but he was cleared and couldn’t convince the police of what he saw. A tip on Izzy from a mysterious man who calls himself the "Samaritan" leads to a submerged car, a dead body, and an underground network that calls itself "The Other People". Its website that is only accessible via the dark web, and it offers a very exclusive service for victims of crime who feel robbed of the justice they feel they deserve, but the group's help isn't free, and it comes at a terrible price. Meanwhile, a woman, Fran, is on the run with a little girl called Alice, who has terrifying visions of a girl on an eerie beach. Noone knows who the girl is or what is she trying to tell Alice. The narrative is saturated in menace, and the action, once it starts, barely lets up. Gabe’s urgency becomes almost electric as he gets closer to finding out the truth about that horrible day that he lost his family and changed his very life. The author skillfully weaves in poignant observations on the nature of justice and the overpowering essence of grief. While the supernatural storyline is certainly creepy, it could have used a bit more, but it was still a fantastic read. Thos eof us that like Dean Koontz's books will enjoy this sinister and unsettling offering.

Fev 18, 2:35 pm

The Cold Vanish / Jon Billman
3.5 stars

When Jacob Gray disappeared in Olympic National Park in Washington state, his dad Randy would not give up looking. Luckily, Randy had the stamina and money to be able to continually look for his 22-year old son. The author, Jon Billman, was often along to help out. This book is primarily Jacob’s search story, but the author also brings in many other missing persons cases (missing in the “wild”/in nature) in the U.S. and Canada, some who were found and others not.

I don’t personally know anyone who has gone missing and not been found, but I know someone whose brother has (and my brother does know him – the one who went missing). I couldn’t help but think about him at various points while reading this. That’s beside the point of what I thought of the book, however.

Some of the stories peaked my interest more than others, but with as many as there were, it’s hard to remember them when a short time was spent on many (as opposed to the bulk of the book on Jacob’s case). The book also highlighted differences in the types of searches, for how long they last, etc, depending on where a person goes missing; much of that comes down to cost. It included stats and went into a few various “oddball” theories like Bigfoot and UFOs (Jacob’s father Randy insisted on following any and all leads, no matter how “out there”).

Editado: Fev 19, 6:22 am

Hellbent - Gregg Hurwitz - (Florida)
Orphan X series Book #3
Genera: Suspense/Thriller
Bodies are piling pile up. "Orphan X", who is now Evan Smoak, is the "Nowhere Man". People, mostly strangers, can call him on his untraceable phone to ask for his help if they are in desperate trouble. His father figure, Jack Johns, calls him shortly before stepping out of a flying helicopter to his death. Seems that might have been a little on the "too late" side. Our Evan receives Jack’s before -"the big step"- note about a “final mission” to get a “package” that turns out to be Joey, a testy teenage girl and fellow "Orphan" who to thank him for his efforts...immediately tries to kill him. Meanwhile, Charles Van Sciver, Director of the "Orphan" Program, is chomping at the bit on his own mission. His “top priority is to stamp out wayward "Orphans,” especially "Orphan X"... the headaches that escaped from the program. Evan obsesses about killing Van Sciver and everyone else who helped kill Jack. Rivers of blood gush toward a showdown. Joey becomes Evan’s partner in crime... but I had already figured that she was becoming an “inconvenient aggravation". Mission almost accomplished when at the very moment that Evan’s universe would consist of a single goal, namely the annihilation of Charles Van Sciver...we receive the 90% possibility that there may be a sequel with Van Sciver’s taunt to Evan, “You have no idea, do you? How high it goes?” ! That lets us believe that someone really wants Evan dead. Evan is way too busy for a love life. Afterall slaughtering is hard work and extremely time consuming, although he has an almost-could be-girlfriend...the D.A., Mia Hall. There was another woman that comes on to him, but he didn't have time to pay much attention to her, as he “needed to get food", and then he totally had more people to kill. He does have priorities after all. Some characters will be familiar to readers of the series, such as Van Sciver and the deadly Candy McClure. My favorite is the gangster "Freeway", who has a tattooed eyeball. Never saw one of those but it sounded interesting....and painful. Other than this one, I only read the first book before. If you like science fiction or adventure books you will probably eat this series up and anxiously await the next "Orphan X" offering. If not a fan of those genera's, then maybe.... but as another reviewer said, "it's just bloody good fun"!

Fev 19, 1:32 pm

Not a Drop to Drink / Mindy McGinnis
3.75 stars

There is not much water left in the world. 16-year old Lynn lives with her mother in a rural area and they have been able to protect their source of water. Lynn has been very sheltered during her life and has never really known much about the real world or any other people, but she does know they have a neighbour her mother has helped a little bit. Just before her mother decides it’s time for them to leave, she is killed. Now, Lynn is on her own. Lynn has been taught how to protect their home and pond, but she and her mother knew there were people not far away, based on the smoke from their fire.

I listened to the audio and it took a little bit before I was fully paying attention, but it got better and better as the story moved along, I thought. I actually didn’t like Lynn much at first, but she learned and changed.

Fev 19, 1:41 pm

Everything That Rises Must Converge–Flannery O’Connor
Book on CD performed by by Bronson Pinchot, Karen White, Mark Bramhall, and Lorna Raver.

I’ve been meaning to read O’Connor for quite some time, and a challenge to read a book published the year I was fifteen, led me to this collection of short stories published posthumously, after O’Connor died at age 39 from complications of lupus.

I like Southern literature, and particularly Southern Gothic literature. The dark themes explored in such works intrigue and interest me. O’Connor excelled at this.

She gives us characters with flaws (both obvious and slightly hidden) and forces them to interact with others frequently against a backdrop of racial tension. (In this collection, the title story Everything that Rises Must Converge and the final one Judgment Day focus on the changing perceptions in 1950s-1960s America.) O’Connor also frequently includes religion, and her characters sometimes show a change in their religious adherence. While her characters may be blind to their (and others’) faults, the reader has a clear view.

There are occasional bits of … well, not exactly “humor” but lighter observations which lessen the tension and give the reader a short break from the frequently bleak story.

The audiobook features a quartet of talented voice artists. Unfortunately, I cannot clearly tell which person narrated which story, other than the men taking on those stories that primarily featured a male point of view, while the women voiced the tales with a female point of view.

Fev 19, 9:46 pm

The Paris Apartment / Lucy Foley
4 stars

Jess is headed to Paris to visit her half-brother Ben in his new apartment. When he isn’t there to pick her up, she makes her way to his place, but he’s not there. He knew she was coming and when and said he’d be there. What’s going on? Once she finally manages to get into the apartment, no one is around, but something feels “off”.

Wealthy Sophie and Jacques live in the penthouse; introverted 19-year old Mimi and her outgoing roommate Camille are on the 4th floor; Ben’s apartment is on the 3rd; Ben’s friend Nick lives on the 2nd floor, and alcoholic Antoine and his wife, Dominique are on the 1st floor. An older woman, the concierge, lives in a shack on the property.

POV switches between many of the different characters. The book “grabbed” me from the start. It was hard to tell who was telling the truth and who wasn’t, as well as who might be an unreliable narrator. Everyone had a secret. Had a twist at the end, as well as one about half-way through. As with Foley’s other books that I’ve read, I really liked this.

Fev 20, 8:50 am

Blue Heat - Samantha Cayto - (Massachusetts)
Boston's Brave series Book #1
Genera: M/M Romance/Age Gap/Law Enforcement
Finn Callaghan is the youngest of three brothers who is following his family tradition to become a police officer. Also, he wants to prove that his father was not a dirty cop and also to look into his death. Finn graduates from the police academy and gets his first assignment which turns out to be undercover. Finn is excited and anxious to prove himself and not to do anything wrong. In the real world a rookie officer would never do this type of assignment alone...but it's just a story and a good enough book that I will try to overlook it. Soon we meet Michael Caruso who is the head of the task force to end an underage prostitution ring that is preying on homeless gay teens. While he has mixed emotions about taking on a rookie in his investigation...one with no experience what-so-ever, Finn looks and fits the part that Michael needs. The closer that Michael works with Finn the more he cares about him in more ways than one and wants him to be more than just a work partner. Michael is a gay but hides his sexuality at work. The connection between Michael and Finn is really intense. They become a pair that can work together as well as have a relationship together. I found the book well written with a distinctive, easy to plot. The main characters were fascinating. The ending was predictable if you read much M/M Romances, but it did have some unexpected twists and turns. Overall, I would have to call the story "captivating". Since it seems to be the start of a series, I hope these characters show up again in the future books.

Fev 20, 9:40 am

Velvet Was the Night – Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Digital audiobook performed by Gisela Chipe

Adapted from the book jacket: 1970s, Mexico City, Maite is a secretary who live: the latest issue of Secret Romance. When her next-door neighbor, Leonora, disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman – and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents. Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life. As Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora’s disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives.

My reactions:
This is the third book by Moreno-Garcia that I’ve read and by far my favorite. In this work she does NOT include paranormal, horror, or magical realism elements. Rather she writes a wonderful noir crime novel based on historical events in Mexico, with interesting characters, multiple twists and turns in the plot and an unlikely partnership that I’d love to see again.

Maite starts as a somewhat naïve, dreamy young woman, more interested in romance stories that what is actually happening around her. But once she’s caught up in the mystery of her missing neighbor, Maite shows her intelligence, grit and determination.

Elvis is a marvel. A street punk and henchman, who love literature and music. He’s not sure he is where he wants to be in life and the events that unfold help him find a better life path.

The action is fast and furious, and totally believable. Well done, Ms Moreno-Garcia!

Gisela Chipe does a marvelous job of performing the audiobook. I particularly loved how she interpreted Maite.

Fev 21, 6:41 am

Ignite - Nora Phoenix - (South Dakota/Wyoming)
Genera: M/M/M Romance/dystopian/ Science Fiction/ BIG SCARY SPIDER THINGYS (I have now made that a genera)
I had to check a few times to be sure this was Nora Phoenix...MY NORA PHOENIX...the same Nora Phoenix that wrote the 45 other books that I own with her name on it? It was...I compared the pictures on the book to the one on all my others... so I continued...that is until the alien spider robot "thingys" showed up. I love animals of all kinds, but I am a firm believer that even God can make mistakes, so he must surely have been having a really awful, bad, off the wall kind of day when he said, "I'm going to have some fun today...I'll create something with at least a million eyes, some with hairy gigantic bodies, and give them eight legs so they can run faster that most of those human "things"! Other than that part...which I am yet recovering from...this was a pretty good story. An alien race is trying to take over the Earth but are not sure they want Washington D.C.... and three very special young men are trying to just survive the whole fiasco. I give the German Shepherd bonus points...you'll understand why when/if you read it... but I'm not telling. Just saying "good doggie"! Back to the boys. Each was special in his own way. They were all broken, battered and bruised, but trying to survive. Their time at the "camp" was like no camp I ever went to and for that I am extremely grateful. Mack was the new guy so he missed most of the torture, but Tan and Austin have scars they will carry for life.... both inside and out. Home life for them wasn't much better. It’s an interesting journey to take with the boys, especially if you really like science fiction...are not offended by guys that love one another...own a giant spider "splatterer"... (that's a technical term) ... and/or a BIG, BIG, BIG can of extra strength Raid...and lots and lots of doggie biscuits for the cute German shepherd. I can't remember when I had so much fun with a story.

Fev 21, 12:27 pm

For the Living - L.A. Witt
Gener: M/M Romance
This was a wonderfully written book. Your heart will go out to Jay and there will be nothing but admiration for Scott. They were both such very well thought out, planned out and portrayed characters. Jay was dealing with some very real situations that shouldn’t and couldn't be taken lightly... and they weren’t. I was glad to see that under the circumstances Jay and Scott didn't take their romance from 0 to 60 in just a matter of minutes. I was afraid that was going to happen, and it would have absolutely ruined the story if it had. They begin with a tentative friendship between two men and then it evolves into love as the story progresses. The relationship in itself takes root quickly after Jay's wife dies, he and Scott only talk about Jays life with his wife and try to understand these feelings they have for each other that are quickly growing. Jay is grieving for his late wife, but still the story has a light heartedness to it and not the dark feeling that you might expect it to have. It's just sort of romantic and bittersweet. Scott and Jay are both believable characters with ordinary jobs and ordinary lives. They aren’t overly rich, and they both have such sweet and loveable personalities. There are eventually some steamy scenes that are amazingly hot and have just the right amount of romance...but no one says "hello" and then jumps into bed in the first 20 pages. L.A. Witt is a fantastic writer, and she created so well the thoughts that we "heard" in Jay's head when he was anxious or nervous. Anyone who has had anxiety or panic attacks will be able to easily relate.... but Jays are not enough to be a trigger. Some of his thoughts we "hear" are especially common when he doesn't want to do something and is trying to think of anything he possibly can to get out of it, no matter how far-fetched his thought may seem. I'm a bit predigest when it comes to L.A. Witt's writing, and in spite of loving everything she puts on paper, I put off reading this one for quite some time, but I found that in spite of the sadness of the topic, this story turned out to be the absolutely perfect blend, of friendship and romance.

Fev 21, 12:50 pm

Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs
Jennifer Finney Boylan
4/5 stars
This is the autobiography of Jennifer Finney Boylan who talks about her life when she becomes a transgender. She also writes about her love of her dogs and what she learned from each of them. Nicely written.

Editado: Fev 23, 7:59 am

Spruce Texas Box Set Books 1-3 - Daryl Banner - (Texas)
Narrators: Chris Chambers, Sean Crisden, Kirt Graves
Genera: M/M Romance
5★ 4.5★ 4★
College football star Tanner Strong returns to his small country hometown of Spruce, Texas for the summer. Despite his discouragement by the tough competition at school, he puts on his "big boy pants", plasters on a smile, at least in front of his family and friends, showing that he is determined to keep up his image of success. Summers are meant for relaxing, and he intended to do plenty of that...but, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. He soon finds that that's going to prove difficult when he reunites with his former classmate, Billy Tucker who stayed behind to help at his parents at their diner. When Billy makes and serves Tanner some of his "own creation" deserts at the family diner...he discovers the cute, sexy chef might not just create and serve these delicious desserts...but Billy himself, might be willing to become Tanner's very own personal dessert.

Cody was the most hardheaded individual I think I have ever read about or actually knew. I really didn't like him in the beginning. He was formerly an Army soldier who had been injured and spent months in an Army hospital sustaining a near-fatal injury after saving his best friend's life. Returning to his hometown of Spruce, Texas to recover, Cody must endure the town's prying eyes and endless questions and speculations. He needed but didn't want help and proved that by scaring away his first five nurses, and now his last resort has come into his life in the form of Trey Arnold...the preacher's son. Trey isn't the least bit intimidated by Cody. Oh, they butt heads...but that only makes Trey more determined. Trey is still haunted by his mother's death. An unlikely relationship forms between Cody and Trey and the closer they grow, the more secrets they discover about each other and the more than can't get enough.

These were all good, sexy, well written stories but this one was my least favorite of the three, but I can't really say why that was. Jimmy Strong is a dancer. He's absolutely, drop-dead gorgeous, head-strong and stubborn as a mule, but fiercely protective of the people he loves. and 100% heterosexual...he thinks. No... that's not right...he's 100% SURE. Yelp...SURE as night and day. After breaking up with his latest girlfriend... he comes home with his best friend and roommate Bobby Parker. He's determined to just hang out, maybe find a new "sweetie" and lick his wounded heart, and just enjoy the summer in Spruce, Texas. How anyone can enjoy a summer in Texas was beyond my understanding:) Been there done that. Our Bobby is having a bit of dilemma: he has feelings for Jimmy. Actually...a lot of very intense ones - and they aren't the "just a friend" kind. The two men have been best friends since high school and shared every aspect of their lives together. Now they have to figure out what to do about and how to handle these new feelings.

Fev 22, 9:42 am

Push – Sapphire
Digital audiobook narrated by the author

I’ve wanted to read this ever since the Oscars ceremony that highlighted the film (which I have yet to see).

Precious Jones is a young pregnant black teenager, who is functionally illiterate and the product of an abusive home. But Precious has a fierce determination to care for the baby growing inside her and to better her life. She WILL learn to read. She WILL keep her baby. She WILL succeed.

The issues raised are horrific and difficult to read about and process. Brava to Sapphire for highlighting the plight of young people such as her protagonist. The writing is raw and brutal; the story is gripping and inspiring. My heart broke for Precious, even as I cheered her on.

I did have a copy of the text handy, as I typically do for audiobooks. But I didn’t look at it until I had finished listening. On opening that first page I am struck by the author’s use of vernacular dialect, and the kind of misspellings a person like Precious would resort to in writing her own story. I’m reminded of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and how listening to the audio of that work made it easier to absorb the story.

The author narrates the audiobook herself, and I cannot imagine that anyone else would have done a better job.

Editado: Fev 23, 8:01 am

Heartsick - Chelsea Cain - (Oregon)
Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell series Book #1
Genera: Mystery ^ Suspense
It's the story of Archie Sheridan, a detective who is very emotionally damaged. Two years ago, he was kidnapped while tracking beautiful but treacherously demented and evil serial killer, Gretchen Lowell. After torturing Archie for days, Gretchen eventually saves his life by calling for help and turning herself in, but Archie’s remains tormented and emotionally trashed. He's separated from his wife, addicted to various prescription drugs and is still on disability from his work. Every single Sunday, without fail, Archie visits Gretchen in prison because he is the only one, she’ll disclose the locations of her 200 murder victims (??) with. This was one of his "too stupid to live" moments and there are many more to come. It seems his "attraction" (??) to her borders on his addiction to how she controls him. Despite Archie’s emotional state...he is asked by the department to investigate when someone begins to murder 14-year-old girls. I found this absolutely unbelievable. Was he the only cop they had in the entire department? No... but he was the only cop in the story, so I let it pass. It seems that because he had survived the kidnapping, Archie had become a celebrity, so the local paper sends Susan Ward, a young reporter, to profile him as he works on this case. Archie begins to manipulate her thinking that her articles about him will encourage Gretchen, who has recently gone silent, to offer up the locations of more bodies. Like the reporter she is...Susan finds easy access to interviews with Archie’s ex-wife Debbie...and another unbelievable part... his doctor, who does everything except hand over his medical records on a silver platter. He tells her all about Archie’s unimaginably cruel torture and other juicy aspects of his condition. Somehow Gretchen knows all about reporter Susan’s own ghosts. Her father died when she was 14....and when she was freshman at Cleveland High School...the same school that one of the recent victims also attended, she may or may not have had an inappropriate sexual relationship with her drama teacher. At 14 please define "appropriate"! Archie realizes almost too late that Gretchen has actually been setting a trap of her own, and Susan is the intended victim. Despite many obvious red herrings, the author has created a contorted thriller and characters with memorable, if not necessarily likeable, personalities. An interesting story but way too many unbelievable parts.

Fev 23, 4:37 pm

Ursula Under – Ingrid Hill

I don’t remember why I put this on my TBR list, though I suspect it was a recommendation from my local indie bookseller back in 2004. Having finally read it, I wonder why I kept it on the list for so long.

The basic story line is that a two-year-old child, Ursula Wong, falls into an abandoned mine while on a holiday with her parents in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. While her parents wait for the rescue teams to organize and arrive at the remote location, and for the painstaking preparations they need to make to shore up the mine before attempting to go after the child, the author goes back in time to give us Ursula’s ancestry. The story line moves back and forth in time from the drama unfolding in Michigan to the 3rd century BC where we meet a Chinese alchemist, to 17th-century Europe, to Ursula’s great-grandfather who died in a mine collapse. Some of these stories were fascinating, others failed to capture my attention.

Hill does have some strikingly original and beautifully written passages in the book. And those fed my love of literary fiction and kept me turning pages, hoping for more of this. But, it was a slog to get through. It took me over a month to finish it, because I kept putting it aside for other books that required less brain power to enjoy. (I did have a number of other things on my plate which kept me from doing much reading, so it’s not entirely the book’s fault.)

So, while I appreciate the message that each of us owes much to our varied ancestry, the novel seemed bogged down by the complex structure and timeframe Hill chose for delivering her message.

Fev 23, 10:41 pm

Garment of Shadows / Laurie R. King
2.5 stars

A woman wakes up in a place she doesn’t know. Nor does she know how she got there, nor even who she is. She appears to have been hurt and is wearing men’s clothes. She is able to get up and leave and follows a mute boy. Meantime, Sherlock Holmes, in Morocco, is looking for his wife, Mary Russell. She was there to shoot a film(?) and has disappeared.

I enjoyed the book more when it focused on Mary and the amnesia. I wasn’t as interested in what was happening in Morocco, nor in Holmes and what he was up to. Oh, near the end got a bit more interesting, as well. A bit of tension/suspense at that point made it a bit better. Overall, though, I’m not a fan. I think I picked up this book in a Little Free Library, not realizing it was #12 in a series; when I learned that, I did back up to read the first in the series (I don’t believe I was super-excited about it, either, but still wanted to read this one, anyway).

Fev 24, 10:24 am

Irresistible Omegas - Volume One: - Nora Phoenix
Genera: M/M Romance
Narrator: John Solo
I've read Alpha/Omaga, M/M Romance stories before and have always been on the fence about them. Frankly... I just don't "get" them. It seems that the people are humans (???) and that they must exist in some type of an alternate universe or something (???). I love Nora Phoenix...I've read and own almost everything she has ever written so when I saw that she was the author...I thought I would try this M/M Romance sub-genera (??) again. I also listened to the audio...since John Solo is also a favorite and I thought that might add some insight. I'm not saying that I didn't like it, but I can't really say I liked it either, (see...on the fence again), and that was not in any way the fault of the author or the narrator. I did love the Palani character.... the cop. So... for the one amazing, warm, character, the wonderfully talented author that I love, and the beautifully done audio rendition by one of my favorite narrators, these three books will receive a 3-star rating...but I believe I will stick to more traditional M/M romances in the future. Please don't anyone try to explain this to me...my gay son and son-in-law have tried and have told me that they have given it up as Mom being a hopelessly lost cause.

Fev 24, 5:19 pm

The Home Edit Life: The No-Guilt Guide to Owning What You Want and Organizing Everything by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin
255 p. - ★ ★ ★ 1/2

The cover photos drew me to this book, and if I were rating it just on the photos in the book, it would be 5 stars. The photos are gorgeous, and almost makes me wish I had white woodwork and white closet doors. But. I don't want white woodwork and white closet doors. I would like my cupboards and closets as gorgeous as the ones pictured, but I would also like the book written from the standpoint of not having enough storage space for all the stuff you have to have - like the jumbo pack of toilet paper. (No, I don't have room for a tea station in my kitchen. I do have room for a few boxes of tea and tea bags, but not for an entire tea station. Seriously - who does??) I like some of the philosophy behind the book - there's a difference between organized and minimalism and that it is great to own things, but some of the advice is questionable. The authors show a home library. It has maybe 250 books - arranged in rainbow covers, with non-color-conforming books turned spine-side in. And the child's library has maybe 20 books. The best advice was for storing photos and other similar items and keepsakes. The storage bins and labels used were cool, but I don't know that most of us can completely replace what we already have.

I would read their other works and would like to see the workbooks that go along with this book, but I would really like to see them organize for a family of five living in a too-small farmhouse that sees four seasons. (Their photo of the boots also drove me nuts.) I want realism!

Fev 26, 7:02 am

The Pallbearers Club - Paul Tremblay - (Rhode Island)
Genera: Horror
If you were in the 18-25 age group in the 1980's you will probably not only like this one but will also understand it a lot more than us 'ancient ones". It's described as "A darkly romantic tale of gothic obsession set to a post-punk playlist of the mid to late 80s stumbling into the early alternative rock years and is guaranteed to bring cynical joy to horror loving Gen Xers". The character of Art Barbara is endearing as well as simply frustrating...for lack of a better word. Paul Tremblay manages to bring something new with his take on one of horrors most enduring myths...the vampire. Mercy, the other main character, was hard to read at times. She seemed to me she was less well written than Art... either that or her "anti-cool girl schtick" was simply nerve grating to me since I didn't grow up in that era. Large parts of the story went on forever without adding anything new and frankly could have just been omitted altogether. It's probably one of those books that you need to be a big fan of vampires and zombies to really get into. I've read other books by this author and enjoyed them, but this one just wasn't for me.

Fev 26, 8:52 am

Lessons In Chemistry – Bonnie Garmus
Book on CD performed by Miranda Raison
4.5**** rounded up

Elizabeth Zott is a chemist, but in 1960s America her intellect is not valued. After a series of life-altering events, she winds up the host of an afternoon television cooking show. But Elizabeth refuses to bend to the rules of entertainment and insists on treating her audience the way she wants to be treated – with respect for their intellect.

This is basically a fairytale, with many improbable coincidences, a strong heroine (with little need for a big strong man to save her), a kind and common-sense-wise neighbor, a precocious kindergartener, and a highly intelligent dog.

I loved it.

I loved that Elizabeth forged her own path, recognized her mistakes, and did her best to correct them. I cheered for her when she refused to bow to other expectations and kept demanding that she be valued for her real ability to contribute. I applauded the way she inspired so many other women to strike out against repressive societal norms.

My F2F book club had a stimulating discussion, with many of us sharing stories of “how bad it really was for women” back in the day. I don’t think any woman today is asked “When was your last period?” in an interview, but our club members remembered when that did happen to them.

Now, please excuse me while I go sharpen my pencils.

Miranda Raison does a marvelous job of narrating the audiobook. She brings these characters to life and even gives Six-Thirty a believable voice.

Fev 27, 10:25 pm

North and South / John Jakes
4 stars

This is set in the decades leading up to the American Civil War. It focuses on two families: the Hazards, living in Pittsburgh, and the Mains, who own a plantation (and slaves) in South Carolina. George Hazard and Orry Main become best friends when at military school in the early 1840s(?). They fight together in the Mexican War, then retire from the military. George does marry, but Orry falls for a woman who is marrying a brutal slave owner.

Years later, George’s youngest brother, Billy, and Orry’s young cousin, Charles, head to the same military school together (though they have known each other through the families’ friendship for a while now)… but now the school is much more divisive along North/South lines with slavery/politics being the issue.

Orry’s brother, Cooper, is very much against owning slaves and he marries a woman from the North. George’s sister, Virgilia, is a staunch abolitionist and gets in Orry’s face whenever the Mains visit. Billy has fallen in love with Orry’s youngest sister, Brett, though he had a brief flirtation with a sister, Ashton, just slightly older. Brett really is the marrying type vs Ashton’s flirtatious ways.

There is a lot going on in this long book and a lot of North/South mixing between the families and their friends/acquaintances. It’s not often I rate a book this long (over 800 pages) this high, but I really liked this one all the way though (though it was a bit tricky at the start to get a handle on who was who!). There is even more going on (and more characters) than I’ve detailed in my summary. This is the first in a trilogy. I assume the others are also very long, so it might be a while before I get to the next, but I will definitely read it at some point. I’ve never seen the miniseries, but would like to; I hadn’t realized Patrick Swayze is in it!

Fev 28, 1:03 pm

The Edge of the Water
Elizabeth George
4/5 stars
This is the second book of the Whidbey Island Saga series. Becca returns in this novel, but there is also a story of a girl who won't speak and an island mystery about a seal who returns yearly to the Island. Whidbey Island Saga

Crying in H Mart
Michelle Zauner
4/5 stars
This was a wonderfully written autobiography about the rock musician, Michelle Zauner. She writes about her life as a musician, and her Korean family but she also talks about her mother's cancer diagnosis and the effect it had on her family. Highly recommended! Biography

Fev 28, 10:36 pm

Gallows Hill / Darcy Coates
4 stars

Margot was sent away from her parents and her home when she was a young girl, and really doesn’t remember anything about her old house. When both her parents die suddenly at the same time, she inherits not only the old house (on Gallows Hill), but the very successful wine business her ancestors have run for generations (she learns this when she returns). But the house (and things inside it) is pretty creepy and a bit of a maze; there is something very wrong here. But the staff of the business (many who live on the property) appear to love it there.

Like the other books I’ve read by this author, I thought this was very good. Very creepy. Enough that I decided early on to (mostly) not read it at night! As a horror book, I feel like that’s what it should do – scare me enough to want to only read it during the day! It did its job.

Editado: Fev 29, 8:09 am

Anger Is A Gift - Mark Oshiro - (California)
Genera: LGBTQ/Racism/Mental Health
This is the book that my 13-17- year- old LGBTQ+ kids chose for their group read for the month of March. I always read their choice a month ahead to be sure that it's not going to cause any issues with them. Our on-site mental health professional has also read the book and given his okay for this age group and will discuss the book with them.

Possible Trigger Warnings: Police and other violence, Racism, Homophobia and Transphobia, Depression and panic attacks.
The story is set in a working-class neighborhood of California, and tells the story of a youth of color, who is diverse in his sexuality and gender, who takes a stand and organizes to challenge the sanctioned violence that the school...with the blessing of the state...thought was a grand idea. California, by no means, is the ONLY state that has taken this stand...it's just the one state that the author was familiar with. Moss Jeffries is a student and a black teen who is still grieving for the loss of his father six-years earlier by the police. Moss struggles with self-doubt along with anxiety-induced panic attacks, but finds comfort in his new relationship with Javier, a Latinx boy who’s just as sweet as he is bold and outgoing. When the school year begins, the resource officer assaults a friend of Moss; Shawna, claiming he suspected that she had drugs...but the students and some of the teachers know that it’s really about her recent decision to fully embrace her transexual identity and her "drugs" were prescribed by her doctor. The metal detectors that the school administration recently installed had resulted in a tragic injury for their friend who was using a wheelchair. Moss and his circle of friends and students of all races and colors, felt that the administration's attitude about the incident was nothing short of appalling, and organized a peaceful protest in order to try and convince the school to "dismantle the violence" that had reared its ugly head and taken a front row seat. They started with a student walkout. They wanted to demonstrate that there would continue to be resistance, and aggrieved groups would continue to gather in solidarity, until a meaningful solution with student struggles being recognized as real and ending with love and acceptance for everyone...regardless of race, religion, or sexuality. Wanda... Moss's mother offers a line that sums the book up fairly well and what my kids based their pick on for this book to be their monthly group read and discussion. From the Book “Anger is a fragile but special gift. But you have to remember it can become a raging monster so, you gotta grasp on to it, hold it tight and use it carefully as your ammunition. You use those feelings of anger and injustice to get things done...changed...understood, instead of just stewing in it." . This is not the first book on similar topics like this for this author who sums it up by saying, "Anger is a Gift" that is hella precious, and a hella dope." - I honestly believe I had more problems with the content in the book that any of my young folks will have. As Marcus... one of the brightest 17-year-olds I have ever encountered remarked..."This isn't fiction for some. For some people this is "their normal." I can't speak for other countries, but in the United States of America, this should NOT EVER...BE ANYONE'S "NORMAL"!

The term "Latinx" may be unfamiliar to some. It's a term that is used for a person of Latin American origin or descent that is used as a gender-neutral or nonbinary alternative to Latino or Latina. (An "O" or an "A" on the end of Latino & Latina, indicates the gender as male or female.)

Fev 29, 11:30 am

Feelings: A Story in Seasons – Manjit Thapp

What a lovely and remarkable graphic novel! Thapp explores one young woman’s feelings over the course of a year, from the highs of a sunny summer day to the doldrums of a gray winter.

The artwork is beautiful and evocative (and illustrated by Thapp). We see the woman energized and working with purpose, and we see her depressed and struggling to cope. We see her embrace her connection to nature, and find strength in expressing herself through her art. As she nurtures her plants, she nurtures herself, allows herself a quiet respite to regroup and be ready for Spring’s growth.

The text is spare and poetic, although she does begin each seasonal shift with a few paragraphs to set the mood.

Fev 29, 10:36 pm

A Call From Hell: The True Story of Larry Gene Bell... / Genoveva Ortiz
3.5 stars

In South Carolina in the 1980s, 16-year old Shari was kidnapped from in front of her house just after she arrived home and was checking the mailbox. Her car was left running. Shari also needed medication that she did not have with her. The kidnapper then continually called her family, talking to either her mother or sister. They were tormented while trying to keep him on the phone so the police could trace the calls, in hopes of finding Shari alive. Not long after Shari was found (dead), a 9-year old little girl was also kidnapped. It was these last two that finally led police to Larry Gene Bell, and there was a list of other missing girls/women from the ‘70s and ‘80s that he is/was the main suspect in, as well.

This was good. I’ve read others in the series and I know they are short, but it would have been nice to learn more about the other missing women, as well. The author included many of the conversations Larry had with Shari’s family and wow, he was garbled and didn’t make sense much of the time. I’m assuming the author used transcripts, so the confusing statements were legitimately what he said.

Mar 1, 11:14 pm

Victoria / Daisy Goodwin
4 stars

This is a fictional account of Queen Victoria from right around when she turned 18 years old (just before she became queen) until she got engaged to Prince Albert, only a year or two after she became queen. So, it focused initially on her (strained) relationship with her mother (in part, due to her mother’s involvement with power-hungry Sir John Conroy). When Victoria became queen, the prime minister at the time, Lord Melbourne, advised her, despite his reputation with women and people worried that he would influence Victoria politically. The story then shifted to her meeting her cousins Ernst and Albert.

I listened to the audio and thought this was very good. In the past few years, I’ve read some about Victoria, so I don’t think anything in this book came as a surprise, but it was interesting and I feel like the author’s writing style is easy to “read” (or, in my case, listen to!).

Editado: Mar 3, 11:08 pm

When Gods Die by C. S. Harris
4 ****

A continuation of the Sebastian St Cyr mysteries, this one takes place in the Regent's quarters in Brighton during one of his outrageously expensive fetes. The people of London are starving, children without mothers beg in the street, and the Regent needs everyone to love him. So he throws this ball.

And as I'm finding with this mystery series, the murder happens right at the beginning of the book with the Prince Regent entering a private chamber for a private assignation with a Marchioness, only to find her dead and his own antique dirk protruding from her back.

Added to the mystery is the lack of blood in the chamber, the access to the Regent's collection of antique swords and knives, and how a medallion belonging to Sebastian's drowned mother was found around the dead woman's body. Woven into the thread of this tale are the suppositions about James II, whose descendants have as good a claim to the tottering throne as the Hanovers do. And the name of the dead Marchioness is Guinevere, her older sister named Morgana, and Gwen's childhood sweetheart whose family lost everything during the French Revolution.

Somehow, Harris manages to keep all these threads well-woven with just enough explanation to instruct but not condescend. I'll be interested to see how these novels continue.

Editado: Mar 3, 11:10 pm

Pan: The Great God's Modern Return by Paul Robichaud

A well-researched deep dive into the demi-diety Pan, his origins in Arcadia, his following among shepherds, and his listing in the pantheon of Greek gods. One of the currents throughout this book comes from Plutarch, reporting on a ship's journey the words spoken by the ship's pilot Thamus: "Great Pan is dead." This statement is taken up by the early Christians as an acknowledgement that the old gods have died when Jesus was born (or was resurrected, depending on the writer), and later in English Romanticism when the poets seek to re-invoke Pan in their "green and pleasant land."

In addition to Plutarch there is Ovid, linking Pan to the nymph Syrinx, and others who include Echo and Pitys as two more nymphs linked with Pan. Robichaud uses these ancient springboards to discuss facets of Pan's character: panic, elemental, all-encompassing, lecherous, beneficent, seldom seen, guardian to the natural world.

From the ancient writers, Robichaud researches Medieval Pan, up through Pan's Romantic Rebirth with the writers' and artists' seeking of a deeper connection to nature during this time. There is artwork through the ages, there are poems, there are invocations, and there are the stories "Peter Pan" and "Wind in the Willows" that bring in elements of Pan. Robichaud also goes into detail about the chapter in the latter work called "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" that was removed from most American editions of "Wind in the Willows."

And he doesn't stop with the Edwardians. Pan is brought into the 20th century with neo-Pagan ideas and writings, including new rituals and hymns. There is also music (Pink Floyd and the Waterboys), films and television series, and an undercurrent of Pan's many aspects as we move through into the 21st century. Like the "pan-demic" that he mentions at the very end of this informative work.