Original topic subject: WHAT ARE WE READING & REVIEWING IN APRIL 2023?

DiscussãoRead it, Track it!

Entre no LibraryThing para poder publicar.


Mar 21, 10:32 am

What do you plan to read in April?

Editado: Ontem, 7:57 pm

Carol's April Never Finished Reading List
☂️ - ★
☂️Hellburner - Clive Cussler & Mike Maden - 4★ (Group read)
☂️Scraps of Paper - Kathryn Meyer Griffith - 5★ (Friend #1) (2)
☂️Cover Me- L. A. Witt - 4.5★
☂️Trust Me - L.A. Witt - 4.5★
☂️Search Me - L.A. Witt -4★
☂️At the Corner of Rock Bottom & Nowhere L, A, Witt- 4★
☂️The Hitman's Guide to Codenames and Ill-Gotten Gains -Alice Winters - 5★
☂️Beyond the Surface - Felice Stevens - 5★
☂️His Missing Pieces - M.A. Innes- 5★
☂️Carry the Ocean - Heidi Cullinan - 5★
☂️Touch The Sky - Christina Lee -5★
☂️There's Something About Ari - L.B. Gregg -4.5★
☂️Back Piece - L.A. Witt - 5★
☂️My Only Regret- Leigh Lennon - 5★
☂️No Distance left To Run - L.A. Witt - 5★
☂️Find Me Worthy - Annabeth Albert - 5★
☂️A.J.'s Angel - L.A. Witt - 5★
☂️Owen's Lost Hero - Della Cain - 4.5★
☂️Gordon's Lost Mitten - Della Cain - 4.5★
☂️Last Resort - Morgan Brice - 5★
☂️Havoc - Kindle Alexander - 4.5★
☂️Seeking Sunshine - Carly Marie - 5★
☂️Satin - K. C Wells - 4.5★
☂️The Trouble With Cowboys - Jodi Payne & B.A. Tortuga 5★
☂️Guys Like Him - Aimee Nicole Walker - 4.5 ★
☂️Two Daddies for Henry - T. L. Travis - 4.5★
☂️The Fortunate Son - Aimee Nicole Walker - 4.5★
☂️ Jakub - Joe Satoria - 5★ (no touchstone available)
Happy Pride - R.A. Frick - ★ (California) - (27)
☂️Terrier Transgressions - Molly Fitz -4★
☂️Sinfully Delicious- Amanda M. Lee - 2.5★
☂️Plantation Shudders- Ellen Byron -2.5★
☂️Miss Polly Had A Dolly - Willow Rose- 4★
☂️The Professor - Lauren Nossett -5★
☂️The Book of Lost Names - Kristin Harmel - 4★
☂️Rose Hill - Pamela Grandstaff -3★
☂️We Have Always Been Here - Lena Nguyen -4.5★
☂️Seating Arrangements - Maggie Shipstead - 3★
☂️Not a Creature Was Purring - Krista Davis -5★
A Ghostly Light - Juliet Blackwell - ★ (California)
☂️Exposed In Edinburgh - Scarlett Moss - 4★
File M For Murder - Amanda James - ★ (Mississippi)
Don't Fear the Reaper - Stephen Graham Jones - ★ (Idaho)
☂️Four Will Die - L. A. Detwiler - 5★
All Things Slip Away - Katheryn Meyer Griffith - ★ (16)

Abr 1, 8:43 am

Cover Me - L. A. Witt - (Washington)
Genera: M/M Romance/Mystery/Thriller
Cover Me Series Book #1
Nick is a paramedic. Like all cities everywhere, enough money to go around is the big issue in everybody's face...so when the city's budget cuts created a hopeless situation that made emergency workers like himself have to take care of an area that was far too big and too far away...the result is that people often just don't get the help they need until it's way too late, and difficult decisions have to made in a heartbeat. This is nothing he can do anything about so he just does the best he can by treating the ones that he can save which often means leaving the ones that are so badly wounded that they wouldn't have survived anyway...and he often has to make this decision in a matter of seconds. At the scene Nick is confronted with two-gunshot victims...both still alive but one so badly injured that she was nearly dead. He had no idea that the one that he decided had the best chance was a police officer that had been shot confronting the one he left to die. Nick was threatened and held at gunpoint at the scene for making that choice. Now he has a stalker threatening to kill him for it. He seeks out Detective Andrew Carmichael. It was his work partner that Nick saved. It turns out they have a lot in common and eventually hook up as more than just friends. The man that threatened Andew at the scene is out to hunt him down and kill him. Of course, everyone has an opinion about what he did and a media circus over whether he did the job that they know nothing about, "right". They are now following his every move. Andrew wants to continue to do the job, but sometimes his presence just makes things worse, and this includes his budding relationship, but neither he nor Andrew are sure what they mean to each other, or where the danger to Nick may come from next. I liked the characters, and the story moved along smoothly. The ending was not a big surprise, except in the details, and the conclusion to the romance happened really fast. It had a few plot issues...especially the department and the city putting Nick in the position that they did knowing that he was being stalked, but then I have never written a book, so I'll trust the author on that one. I understand there is a sequel.

Abr 1, 10:07 am

Back Piece - L.A. Witt - (Virginia)
Skin Deep Series Book #1
Genera: M/M Romance/Homophobia
As a huge, huge fan of L.A. Witt, I’m never surprised that I am most always more than happy with what she writes. I have to say that this one was no exception....and it was a "bonus", (didn't count against my borrows for the month), on Hoopla. I liked this story but hated Daniels parents with a passion...but I was SUPPOSED to...so mission accomplished, Ms. Witt. It kept me interested, I read it in a day...and the two main characters, Colin and Daniel were absolutely perfect. But... the internal and emotional dialogue with both characters was simply exhausting. Daniel could have saved himself so much torment and uncertainty if he had just manned up and spoken to his parents. He was 26 years old...what were they going to do ground him? Our Colin had a troubled past, but he’d overcome a lot to get to where he is today. He owns his own business, Skin Deep. a tattoo place, he's physically healthy and relatively happy for the most part. When he and Daniel spot each other for the first time at the gym it’s an instant attraction, when they meet later the attraction ignites and it proves to be impossible for either man to ignore. Daniel is stationed in Virginis and of course that means Navy. He’s found acceptance in the Navy, and he loves finally being able to live his life "out and proud"...but it only was when he was away from his terrible, creepy, nasty, homophobic family. Get the idea that I didn't like them? Colin seems like the perfect person to be with...and to fall in love with. The attraction is insane and intense and the feelings that follow leave both men with questions. The only thing they know is they want more of it. Things of course come to a head when Daniel’s family visits him and he goes right back in the closet and slams and bolts the door. What surprised me was that he expected Colin to share that closet with him. All of Colin’s personal issues that have been simmering at the surface explode and leave both men at odds. Angsty to the max, and incredibly repetitive, but this book had a saving grace and that was that L.A. Witt had written two incredible, easy to love, main characters. Daniel and Colin are so solid and so well developed. The passion, openness and acceptance was nothing short of beautiful. I loved the story and I thank Hoopla for the "extra one".

Abr 1, 11:25 am

A.J.'s Angel - (Washington)
Wilde's Dance Club series Book 3
Genera: M/M Romance
Luke didn’t just cheat on Sebastian once; he was a "serial" cheater that showed no remorse what-so -ever for doing so. Partly it was because he was scared of commitment, and partly was, he was just a cheating creep. But the final result was that Sebastian was completely devastated. When he walked into Sebastian’s tattoo shop for a tattoo, he figured the worse that could happen would be that he’d be tossed out. To his surprise Seb was nothing but a professional. As time went on, they of course started seeing one another again and trying to mend fences. Yet, Seb never trusted Luke. Above all else, he couldn’t deny the chemistry. it wasn’t until Luke finally tells him the story behind the tattoo that Seb finally can forgive him. Luke seemed to finally be sorry for his part and was ready to move on. Seb found that forgiveness is miles different than trust and wasn't sure if he could trust Luke again, at least enough to be in a relationship. It would take time and perhaps a little magic to make it work. Luke was the reason for my original love/hate relationship with this story, but everyone deserves a second chance...don't they? After all we all make mistakes, and no one is perfect. It was the fact he just didn’t seem to care how bad he had hurt Seb. I’m all for second chances if the person is trying to change and make things right. It took a friend telling him how thigs were and how much he had hurt Seb to finally cause him to change. The story of who A.J. was and what she was to Luke as well as the reason why Luke wanted THAT particular tattoo was the best part. The angst and the push and pull of the characters is also what made this such a good read.

Abr 2, 8:14 am

My Only Regret - Leigh Lennon
Love is Love Series Book #2
Narrators: Chris Chambers & John Solo
Genera: M/M Romance
It's an emotional and beautiful second chance story. The two main characters, Dallas and Banks, can really raise all the emotions. This story hits on so many levels, from a second chance romance to the building and bonding of a new family. Every page has something almost magical to steal your breath and your heart. I was cheering for these two for a multitude of reasons. Their love, the kids, their families... just about everything. I wanted Banks and Dallas to have it all and when they finally do...it’s absolutely incredibly, beautiful. The two narrators, Chris Chambers and John Solo, were so perfect for the voices of Dallas and Banks.

Abr 2, 10:29 am

Scraps of Paper - Katheryn Meyer Griffith
Spookie Murder Mystery series Book #1
Genera: Mystery & Suspense
Abigail discovers that her husband who went out one evening two year earlier on an errand and never returned had actually been the victim of a crime. She sways thought that he had deserted her but what she had yet to learn was actually so much different. At any rate she decided that it was time to stop waiting for him to contact her or to return...she had to return to her life and start living again. She quit the job that she hated and started to look for a new place, a new town and new people to begin her new life. She chooses the small town of Spookie without much investigation into it at all, other than the name lured and fascinated her. The house she buys had belonged to Edna, an old woman whose sister Emily and her children...Chris and Jenny, had vanished into thin air some thirty years ago. Then Abigail starts to find little scraps of paper with what looks like drawings and messages from Edna's kids. Of course she has to start investigating, and asks the help of Frank, a retired cop and another resident of the little town. What they soon discovered is that some things maybe should just be left alone. Mysterious disappearances seem to follow her wherever she goes, and she learns that another woman and her two children, had also mysteriously disappeared many, many years ago. She and Frank knew that somebody in this small town had to know more than they were letting on...and they certainly wouldn't want anyone, especially a cop, retired or otherwise, looking into it. This book is the first in the "Spookie Murder Mystery" series that I am certainly going to be obtaining more of. I want to learn more about this quaint little town and it's rather laid-back but rather strange inhabitants. It would have been nice if we had been given a bit more information about the town itself and some of the characters that are obviously going to be on-going parts of the series...but I am sure that more information will be in later books. Overall...a good start.

Abr 2, 9:04 pm

Dial A for Aunties – Jesse Q Sutanto
Digital audiobook read by Risa Mei

From the book jacket: When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate – especially when it is inadvertently shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding that Meddy, her Ma, and her aunties are working, at an island resort on the California coastline.

My reactions:
This was really ridiculously implausible, but still quite fun to read! The aunties steal the show at every opportunity, but I mostly liked the relationship between Meddy and her Ma. The way that Ma SOoooo misinterpreted the basics of social media (especially alternative meanings to emojis) was hilarious. Makes me glad that my mother had the patience to wait for me to find the man of my dreams rather than take matters into her own hands. (Although, it helped that I lived five states away from her, and cell phones weren’t a thing when I was still single.)

I’m glad I finally got to this book which so many of my book-loving friends have enjoyed. It was the perfect escapist light read during this time in my life.

Risa Mei does a great job of voicing the audiobook. I particularly loved the way she interpreted Ma and the Aunties.

Abr 2, 10:43 pm

Daughter of Calamity / Rosalie M. Lin
2 stars

Jingwen is a dancer in Shanghai in the 1930s. Her grandmother, who raised her, is a doctor… and works for one of the local high ranking gangs. Jingwen does errands for her grandmothers to make extra money; this is dangerous as these errands often involve gangsters. She dances in the evenings where men buy dance tickets to dance with the girls, and during the day, she is learning a routine with a group of dancers (none have had formal dance training) so they are not well-known nor particularly sought after.

An American doctor-turned-businessman dances with Jingwen one night and charms her (and/or vice versa?)), but at the dance, there is a horrifying scream. One of the other dancers is crying on the floor and when she turns her face up, they see her lips have been cut off.

The next day, the building and dance company Jingwen is dancing with during the day has been bought and she, herself, is going to be the next star of the company. They are switching from ballet to traditional Chinese dancing (this type of dance is new to all the dancers).

There is a lot going on! It does all end up meshing together, with Chinese mythology and fantastical elements weaved in, as well. The mythology was told like a story-within-a-story (which I’m not a fan of), so I kind of skimmed that. Also not a big fantasy fan, so the fantasy stuff didn’t peak my interest, either. The book was very dark. I like horror, so the “type” of darkness in a book doesn’t always bother me, but dark mysteries, for example, are not always appealing to me. The darkness in this book also didn’t “do it” for me. I really didn’t like any of the characters in the story, either. So, this one is definitely not for me.

Abr 3, 6:59 am

Find Me Worthy - Annabeth Albert - (Oregon)
Safe Harbor series Book #3
Genera: M/M Romance
I'm rather sad that this is our final visit to the small Oregon town of Safe Harbor. It's the last book in what has been an amazing trilogy. Finally, we have the story of the couple who have been in the background of the previous two books, Sam Bookman, and his coffee shop, The Blessed Bean, who is, in many ways, the heart of the Safe Harbor community, and Worth Stapleton, who hasn’t been back to his hometown in decades, but we have seen parts of his story reflected in the other two books also. The murder of his mother, the blame that he and the rest of the town placed on his father. It helped to somewhat already know that things would end well for him eventually. Now he has returned, but we find that his life is crumbling about his ears. Anxiety, and depression his constant companion...he feels anything but "Worthy". I’ve been looking forward to his and Sam's story... to watch Worth come home and find his place in this small world. Sam finally getting the man of his dreams, the boy/man that he has loved since childhood...and we know who that is. Annabeth Albert always tells a wonderful story but has really done an above average job with this deeply emotional story about grief, loss and sadness, and the struggle to find a way back to the light. This trilogy absolutely must be read in order, otherwise you will miss meeting and learning about the wonderful residents of Safe Harbor, how their lives blend together, and seeing the stage being set for Worth's homecoming and his and Sam's "Happy Ever After". You are going to have to go to some great lengths to top this one Ms. Albert.

Editado: Abr 3, 1:12 pm

Trust Me - L.A. Witt - (Washington)
Cover Me Series Book #2
Narrator: Charlie David
Genera: M/M Romance/Police Procedural
Even though it is book 2 in the Cover Me series, it can still easily be read as a stand-alone. A drug raid goes from bad to worse and one of the bodies in the alley looks like the investing detective's boyfriend, James. But James appears and is very much alive...the dead man is Jame's identical twin brother...which Brian didn't know even existed. Brian wonders just who this man that he's grown to love is and why does he have a drug dealing brother and never mentioned it? As the investigation continues all of the evidence points to James, but Brian has trouble believing the evidence and holds off believing it as long as possible… unsure if it’s because he simply is too in love with James to believe what he’s seeing, or if it’s because there’s some nagging sense in the back of his mind that something isn’t adding up. None of his fellow officers believe that James is innocent...but they can't find him because Brian is hiding him until he can figure out if his trust is misplaced. This plot is a bit complicated yet plays out quite well...but makes this story seem more like a mystery with a lot of erotic romance elements, making it more than just a simple mystery. The solution hits you in the head when it comes racing out of nowhere but was sooo worth waiting for.

Abr 3, 6:29 pm

You, Again – Kate Goldbeck

This is a retelling of the very popular (and brilliant) film, When Harry Met Sally. Ari is a wannabe stand-up comic, making do writing bar mitzvah and father-of-the-bride speeches, serving at catered events, and gathering petition signatures. Josh is a chef from a wealthy family who definitely does NOT want to follow in his father’s footsteps and take over the famous deli he runs. They meet when Ari is collecting signatures in the park. They meet again when Josh shows up at the apartment Ari shares with her friend Natalie, ready to cook a romantic dinner for two. They dislike each other. Three years later … etc.

I really disliked these two characters. Ari, in particular, is a hot mess. Insecure, prickly to the point of being antagonistic, full of self-loathing and wallowing in pity, the front she portrays is what she thinks is an independent woman who loves to have meaningless sex with random strangers and who lives her life on HER terms. BUT … hot mess, remember?

Josh is kinda full of himself. He’s so concerned with making it HIS way that he runs roughshod over anyone who gets in his way. The result is that he also fails.

Well, you’ve seen the movie, so you know what’s coming. Do yourself a favor. Skip the book and re-watch the movie.

Abr 3, 10:35 pm

The Amaranth Enchantment / Julie Berry
4 stars

Lucinda is 15-years old and living and working with her aunt and uncle. She is an orphan and was taken in by them, but her aunt (not the blood relative) hates her and does not treat her well. Her aunt and uncle run a jewelry store where she helps and has two unusual customers in a row. One is a woman who brought in what is obviously an expensive jewel, and the next turns out to be the prince. Lucinda is very charmed by him. When Lucinda’s uncle dies, though, her aunt accuses her of stealing and throws her out. Where to go now?

I really enjoyed this Cinderella-like story, with a few extra things thrown in. It was a very fast read with short chapters. I also loved Dog (a goat!). And Peter (a thief turned friend) was fun, too. Lucinda was very very quick to become best friends with Beryl and to fall for Gregor, but oh, well. It was still fun.

Abr 4, 6:11 am

#5 - a character plays checkers or another board game (Gordon and Parker play checkers and other various board games)

Gordon's Lost Mittens - Della Cain
Found By Daddy Series Book #7
Genera: M/M Romance/Daddy, Little
Gordon was a very lonely "little" with a very stressful job. He did have "friends", but they were all stuffed with fiber filling. When Gordon attended a "little's" Christmas event at the club Chained...he spotted Parker who was the guest of a friend. Gordon just knew that Parker was a "Daddy" but thought that Parker looked as lonely as he was. He didn't have a "little" with him and it was a "little" party. When it was time for everyone to go outside to build snowmen, Gordon decided that he was going to somehow get Parker's attention. He knew that Parker was going to have to put his boots on to go out, so he conveniently dropped one of his mittens into Parkers boot. Parker did indeed notice Gordon when he returned the "little's" mitten and they spent a delightful time building the biggest, tallest, "bestest" snowman ever! Things go very well as would be expected. I liked these "Daddy"/"little" stories. They are rather repetitive in theme, but they always have such happy endings and make you feel good. The world today can sure use more "happy" and "feel good".

Editado: Abr 4, 1:08 pm

Rose Hill - Pamela Grandstaff - (West Virginia)
Rose Hill Mystery Series Book #1
Genera: Mystery & Suspense/Cozy
This is the first in a series of mysteries about the town of Rose Hill. It is a college town nestled in the foothills of West Virginia. Scott Gordon is the chief of Police, and he likes how things are at work and in his small town...on the slow side. So when the town bully is murdered at the Vet's office, Scott is stumped. He's never thought of himself as a detective, nor does he have the manpower or the necessary connections to solve this or any other murder, so he ends up calling in Sarah from the sheriff's office to help him solve this crime. The plot was interesting even if it was somewhat predicable. The two main characters, Scott and Sarah were believable as well as likeable but there were just way too many sub-plots going on. Maybe because it's the first book in a LONG line of the Rose Hill series of books, 14 to date. I hope the characters in the future books receive some extra "meat" on their bones along the way and also that the crimes become a bit more complicated and harder for the reader to solve. I knew "who-done it" before the halfway mark of the story. I chose this book for the reason that I choose many of the books that I wouldn't normally read... for a challenge category for one of my groups. I intend to try another in the series to give them a fair chance.

Editado: Abr 5, 7:41 am

Seating Arrangements - Maggie Shipstead - (Connecticut)
Genera: Fiction/Social Satire
The story is set on the fictional island of Waskeke, off the Connecticut coast. We join Winn Van Meter who is marrying off his eldest daughter, It's a weekend of precise wedding choreography.... getting it "just right". Our Winn is not the "proper gentleman" that he might want society to believe him to be, since we have found him lusting after one of the bridesmaids, feuding with his youngest daughter and pulling his hair out over all the wrong things. Winn is behind the camera through much of the story, and since we have already found him ogling the bridesmaid, it comes as no surprise that he is also smothered in lusts of many kinds. He is also a "social joiner", starting with "Ophidian", an elite ...and also fictional... Harvard club, and he seems willing to happily offer his first born or sell his soul for entry to Waskeke’s Pequod, the exclusive and prestigious golf club. I did think that the name he gave his house was rather clever, the “Proper Dews,” ...but alas, the Pequod was much less impressed than I was:) From the Book: “For three years he had kept a bitter evening vigil on the widow’s walk, staring out at what he could see of the course from the house: . . . that bit of grass was the gateway to a verdant male haven and confessional.” There were too many frequent shifts in point of view, giving the book a dance-like feel. In the first five sentences, the author hinted at the sexual tension that holds out through the three-day span that the story takes place in. We are introduced to the two daughters, a wife with the awful name of Biddy...and then, the threat of adultery is slipped in. Trying to describe it was difficult, but it boils down to a lot of unlikable characters, yet in spite of that, it was their attitudes and outlooks on life that made them complicated and interesting. Winn, as you will expect only minutes after meeting him, is just a pompous social-climbing blowhard. I didn't find anything about him to even slightly like. In a nutshell, the story is about very rich people behaving very, very badly and expecting everyone else to be forgiving. This quote pretty much hits it on the head. Reading Seating Arrangements is like looking into a mirror or peeking through the window, the gin-soaked escapades are difficult to turn away from.” —The Phoenix - Portland, Maine

Abr 5, 8:18 pm

Owen's Lost Hero - Della Cain
Found By Daddy Series Book #6
Genera: M/M Romance/Daddy/Little
Will meets Owen and realizes that he is everything that he ever wanted in a "boy", but he deliberately keeps the relationship more adult and romantic rather than steamy, as they get to know each other. Owen was in a bad accident and has numerous facial and upper body scars that are sometimes a 'turn off" to people when they first meet him in everyday encounters, so he has a hard time believing that there is a "Daddy" anywhere that wouldn't be repulsed by his scars. Owen does have a really good friend, his stuffed bear..."Bear Bear". The pacing of them getting to know one another along with the emotional connection that radiates from Owen and Will was so sweet and so very, very perfect. There was no rushing. Both men cared and worked hard to be sure that each truly understood what worked for the other. There was a bit of a crossover with the guys from some of the past books in the series when they visited the Club... Chained. This has been a sweet series even though each book is very short and can be read in a couple of hours. The only thing I have found a bit annoying, not just in this series but in most all "Daddy/Little' stories is how the "little" talks. I know this is adults in the headspace of a child around 3 or 4 years old...but none of my three-and four-year-olds, nor any three-and four-year-olds I ever encountered, talked the way these "littles" do. Oh well...just an observation and nothing that is going to make me stop reading them.

Editado: Abr 6, 1:16 pm

Terrier Transgressions - Molly Fitz - (California)
Series: Pet Whisperer P.I. Book #2
Genera: Cozy Mystery
As I have said before, I am not a big fan of cozy mysteries, but I am a huge fan of anything with four feet and fur...and I found that this series while boarding greatly on the ridiculous and totally impossible side...is high on the side of out and out cuteness. Angie has the unusual ability to converse and understand OctoCat, her cat. OctoCat has an even more unusual ability, as it seems he owns, and can use, an iPad. When you think about it, that's kind of scary since that is more than some humans can do:) Angie tries to keep all this quiet but now she's been caught by the new lawyer at the law firm where she is a paralegal. When everyone is supposed to have gone to a lunch, she gets a face time call from OctoCat. He tells her that there is a fly in his Evian and she needs to come home NOW, to remove it and clean and refill his water dish. While she is arguing and telling him she will ask a friend to come take care of it, Charles, the new lawyer comes in and catches her carrying on a diffident conversation on facetime, with her cat. I didn't see why he found that so strange since I think my cat could have easily used Facetime if she had wanted to. He now knows that she can talk to and understand the cat and he asks her help on a case... if she can speak cat maybe she can also speak dog??? The dog in question may have seen his owner murdered and can tell them who did it. She says she can't understand the dog, but OctoCat who speaks fluent dog can be an interpreter for them. Angie doesn't believe their client was the murderer and persuades her mom, who is a television reporter, to not air the planned special on the murder with the promise of an exclusive later. OctoCat also reminds her that she "owes" him a big, huge, gigantic favor for putting up with and talking to the dog in the first place. It gets rather wild for a bit toward the end. Charles comes up with valid proof of who the murderer is while Angie is trying to get a confession from who she thinks the murderer is. If you just need a quick fun read, this series so far has been that.

Abr 6, 1:31 pm

The Burnt House
Faye Kellerman
4/5 stars
Decker and his wife Rina get involved in a mystery of a woman airplane employee who was supposed to be on a flight that crashes. Her body is not identified and Peter Decker gets the assignment to track down Roseanne when her stepfather insists that she was killed by her abusive husband. Great read! Favorite Mystery Authors

Abr 6, 9:59 pm

Bone Crossed / Patricia Briggs
3.5 stars

Mercedes (Mercy) is a mechanic and a shapeshifter, more specifically a coyote. She was raised by werewolves, so has a foot in that culture. She is also friends with at least one vampire. Her vampire friend, Stefan, appears as an almost “dead” blob on her floor one day. It takes a bit to bring him back. Some things have happened with the vampires (in other books earlier in the series), so they are not on good terms with Mercy (except Stefan). When Mercy is asked by an old college friend to come to Spokane (from Tri-Cities where Mercy lives) to help with a ghost in her house who is bothering her 10-year old son, everyone thinks it’s safest for Mercy to be away for a while. Spokane has only one (very territorial) vampire. Of course, somehow Mercy is unable to avoid him. And things escalate…

I liked this, though it took a while to remember the characters. There was some refresher on what had happened in the previous book (this is the 4th in the series), but I still found it tricky to remember the characters, who they were, or how they related to Mercy and others. It got better in second half, right around when Mercy headed for Spokane. I found the ghost story most interesting of the entire book (and the lead-up to the end). I wonder if this is because I used to like werewolf/vampire stories more than I do now, plus I’ve gotten more interested in ghost/haunted house stories.

Abr 7, 9:22 am

Last Resort - Morgan Brice - (New Jersey)
Treasure Trail series Book #3
Genera: M/M Romance/Paranormal/Mystery
It seems that I waited a long, long time for the third book in this series...but it was SO, SO worth it! Erik and Ben are now moving in together, trying to enjoy this new part of their relationship. They are committed to and really working hard on having a long, and beautiful future together. The morning mail brings a surprise to Trinket...Erick's antique shop...a set of mysterious casino chips. With no idea who the sender was, he does recognize by the markings, that they were a part of the old Commadore Hotel Casino that has been the source of so much supernatural trouble throughout these three stories. Then a man is found dead in one of Ben's rental units...they know that it was a murder and was more than likely linked to the mob who owned and ran the Commadore in its hay-day. Now Erik and Ben with the help of their friends, some from the other books in different series... are trying to discover the location of a hidden treasure before anyone else gets hurt or dies. Familiar supportive secondary characters and Ben and Erik, our main couple begin investigating the paranormal while sharing some steamy times together making this a fun return to Cape May. I began reading Morgan Brice's books some years ago with the first book in the Witchbane series and later continued to her Badlands series. Her books were actually my introduction to the M/M Romance genera. It seems that it is simply impossible for her to write anything that isn't intriguing, entertaining and top of the line, making no difference if it's M/M Romances, Mysteries, or Supernatural. She has an amazing talent for creating wonderful, warm, sweet, and sizzling hot characters that you will want to visit again and again. I hope we; her fans, can look forward to many more offerings in all three of these wonderful series.

Editado: Abr 7, 12:03 pm

Miss Polly Had A Dolly - Willow Rose - (Denmark)
Emma frost series Book #2
Genera: Abuse /Horror/Mystery
Possible Triggers: Physical Abuse, Trama, Sexual Abuse of Children
The story follows the life of Emma, a young girl who is found wandering the streets alone, with no memory of how she got there. The town’s doctor, Polly, takes her in and tries to help her regain her memory. As Emma slowly starts to recall her past; she remembers that she has been the victim of a terrible crime. The story is told from multiple perspectives, including Emma’s... Polly’s...and the person that committed the crime. Please be aware that in spite of the cute title, there is nothing what-so-ever, in anyway... "cute" about this story! Actually, it may be hard or impossible for some people to read since it deals with trauma, memory loss, and child sexual abuse with all the resulting lucid psychological effects. I read a lot of grizzly things, but I have to admit that I was not prepared for that... but I'm not sure that the story could have been told without including it. I also have to admit that I chose the book based on the tile and the cover. I think that I should probably watch that in the future. Important questions are also raised about the nature of evil and the human capacity for violence. Seems we may not be as far from the cave as we thought. The entire atmosphere of the book is eerie and chilling adding to and jacking up the tension and suspense. There are some terrific twists and turns and, I guarantee that you won't see what comes at the end. The underlying story is beyond tragic for so many reasons, but it sets the stage for the horror and the mystery. Fans of Psychological thrillers will more than likely like it or at least be able to tolerate it. Something interesting that I discovered along the way is that the title is based on an old children's rhyme.

Abr 7, 4:13 pm

Saving Simon / Jon Katz
3.5 stars

Simon was a donkey close to death in a tiny enclosure with no shelter when he was rescued. Jon Katz had a small farm and offered to take Simon in and, along with his wife, bring Simon back to health and happiness. Jon indicates in this book that he also benefitted from having Simon, learning about compassion along the way.

I really liked the parts about Simon and the other animals on Jon’s farm (and neighbouring animals, particularly the 101-year old’s elderly blind pony, Rocky). When he philosophized about compassion, though, I didn’t agree with him. Yes, I am more compassionate toward animals than (some) people; I feel like animals are more like kids or babies, in that they are dependent on humans and aren’t always able to change their circumstances, whereas humans are more likely to be able to have the power to do that for themselves (or they can ask for help). He doesn’t address this when he insists that we should still be compassionate towards the humans who abuse animals. He did tend to repeat himself at times, though I think that’s a small thing. The stories about the animals were great, though, and that really was the bulk of the book.

Abr 7, 5:16 pm

Ramón and Julieta – Alana Quintana Albertson
Digital audiobook narrated by Alexandro Amado and Vanessa Vasquez.

This is a retelling of Shakespeare’s most famous couple, set in San Diego’s thriving Mexican-American community. Ramón Montez is the scion of a family fast-food empire. Julieta Campos is a celebrity chef who is determined to save her sea-to-table taqueria from closing. But her new landlord is none other than the charming mariachi she met at the Dia de los Muertos celebration. And worse, his father is the man who stole her mother’s taco recipe decades ago.

Of course, these star-crossed lovers will find a way to join forces despite the bad blood between their families.

I really liked Julieta; she’s intelligent, determined and fiercely loyal to her family and her community. I was not a fan of Ramón’s at first, but he eventually grew on me. I did think that the way Albertson chose to “fix” the central conflict was unrealistic and rushed, but it was still a fast, fun read. And it sure made me hungry for Mexican food (thank heavens I’m about to head to Texas to visit family).

The audiobook is perfectly performed by Alexandro Amado and Venessa Vasquez. Dual narrators was a great choice for this work.

Abr 7, 7:43 pm

The Hunting Party: a novel by Lucy Foley
349 p. - ★ ★ ★ ★

Nine thirty-something friends from their college days in Oxford go on a New Year's Eve holiday in the Scottish Highlands. Emma, the group's newest member, has planned the outing. A few fine dinners have been planned, along with a hunt on the side of the mountain. The problem, though, with old friendships, is that sometimes, those friendships should have worn away long before this. As the champagne flows, so does the resentment among the friend group. Even Doug, the Highland guide, and Heather, the lodge's manager, can see the cracks in the group. But what wasn't anticipated was murder.

A deliciously crafted mystery, the reader doesn't know which of the nine friends is even the victim until the last few chapters, let alone who did it. Some of the nine are just there as window decoration, someone who can remind one of the characters "about that one time when that one thing happened," without being really important to the plot. We quickly see, though, who the five main suspects - for both victim and perpetrator - are. Doug and Heather are sympathetic characters. The members of the friendship group are quite unlikeable.

Abr 8, 7:32 am

Four Will Die - L.A. Detwiller - (Colorado)
Chameleon Killer Chronicles Book #2
Genera: Mystery & Suspense
From the first book Five Must Die The Chameleon is now using the name Finn Miles and is in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, where he is targeting his second victim. He is no longer the suave Lucius Barr. He is no longer a marketing expert, and he is definitely no longer in the New York skyscrapers he called home when he killed his first victim. Colorado has a more laid-back vibe, and he’s gone from flashy suits to jeans, but one thing hasn’t changed. He’s still targeting members of the Fab 5, a group of kids that made his school years miserable. Indiana Thomas is the next target. So, “Finn” gets a job as a cook in the same hotel where Indiana works. Indiana has working there while living in an RV and apparently tending to his aging grandmother. Becky Rusett (born Margaret Minnows) is working in the bookstore, and living in the motel, waiting. Unknown to “Finn”, Becky, who was a co-worker of his in New York, has followed him to Colorado, knowing that they were very much alike. She is determined that they will become the next Bonnie and Clyde. But “Finn” likes to work alone, and Becky is complicating things.

We can clearly see that the first book and this one as well as the next 3 unwritten books are and are going to be about... revenge. I believe they are also about manipulation and love, which are sometimes closely intertwined. This story is again told from different perspectives and different timelines. That was a bit confusing at first but eventually worked very well. The characters are interesting.... but not necessarily likeable. Sawyer (Finn) has a really disturbing background. He's angry about his childhood and how he was treated in high school...actually how he perceives the treatment his has received his entire life. Then we meet Becky. She also had a hard life, but it was more her own decisions that turned her into a killer. She has turned manipulation and murder into an art... her way of life. Then there's Indiana who just never got his life in order, and once again it was his own decisions. whether you like them or not, the characters are so well-developed throughout the book that you can't help but have an opinion. Mystery and Suspense fans will eagerly await the next book in this 5-book series.

Abr 8, 1:35 pm

Sinfully Delicious - Amanda Lee - (Michigan)
Two Broomsticks Gas & Grill Witch Cozy Mystery series - Book #1
I came very close to not finishing this book. It was recommended by a neighbor to who I had mentioned that I needed a book set in Michigan for a challenge, so she rushed right over and handed this one to me. Now I'm not quite sure what I'm going to say to her...but I guess 'thank you, it was interesting", will maybe be all I need to say. I don't know if she's read it or not so......I'll leave the worms in that unopened can. The two main characters are Stormy and Hunter, a typical heroine and her cop boyfriend. I understand that they are regulars in most all of this author's novels. I do have to say that the mystery in itself is relatively good, and while it isn't a complicated "WhoDunnit" by any means, it had "good bones" and the motivation was a complete surprise. Not to mention the very, very cute cover! Now... the downside. The terrible, horrible obnoxious grandfather!!!!...I wanted to kill him and hide the body...perhaps providing suitable fodder for the next book. The scenes with Stormy and her grandfather weren't just over the top...in your face obnoxious they were repetitive to the point I thought I had accidently missed a page or had read the same page twice ...or three or four...or five...times. Get the idea? It was literally the very same conversation covering huge amounts of multiple chapters in a row. It lost any hope of the reader knowing, understanding or emphasizing as to how Stormy felt by the end of these numerous recitations. This is the first book in this series that I have read by this author and I'm not going to say that I'll never read another one...but I sincerely hope that Stormy and her grandfather come to some terms, and I will be extremely careful in the future telling my neighbor why I'm going to library.

Abr 8, 8:50 pm

Havoc - Kindle Alexander -(Texas)
Tattoos and Ties Series Book #1
Genera: M/M Romance
Motorcycle clubs are not one of my favorite subjects, but this one was fairly mild, and it was a good group of guys...well except for Keye's father. Luckly, he didn't have much time in the story except at the very first. Alec is an upcoming DA whose father has high aspirations for him to become a judge. He doesn't want any part of it. Why it just didn't tell his father to get lost was beyond me. This is only the first book in the series so maybe he will grow a backbone in the next book. Keyes is a biker. Together they are pretty explosive. I really liked Keyes. I liked him as a person and his attitude toward life in general. Their chemistry is explosive creating enough sparks to burn down the entire town. They each thought they were too different, but actually they aren't all that different except in their bank accounts. They do start to communicate more by the half-way point of the story. It took me a little while to get into this book...even though I was I was more than invested in Alec and Keyes story. Alec's friend can use some work...but maybe he'll drop him by the second book. We can only hope. The story is told from a duel POV, which is easy to read. I like getting into both characters heads. I really hope book 2 has more of the answers to Alec and Keys relationship and what Alec intends to do about a position that he never wanted. I believe there is 3 or 4 ore books in the series and I am anxiously waiting for the climax. Glad I picked it up. As I said it's not something I would normally read.

Abr 8, 10:30 pm

Requiem / Lauren Oliver
3.5 stars

This is book 3 of (I believe) a trilogy. The gist of this dytopian trilogy is that people are “cured” of a disease with a surgery when they come of age. That disease is love. They will no longer feel love. They are then paired with someone to marry. But there is a group of people who don’t want this to happen, at least to them. This book follows Lena and Hana, once best friends. Their points of view alternate.

Possible spoilers for previous books: Lena is living with a group of people in the “wilds”; she has not had the surgery nor does she want to. Hana has had the surgery and is slated to marry Fred. Fred’s father was the mayor, but he died in an uprising and Fred is now mayor. He emphasizes how much he despises the uncured. He was married previously to Cassie, but Cassie seems to have disappeared.

I listened to the audio and this was good. Once again, it took a bit for me to figure out who many of the characters were (though I knew the main characters). It was interesting to see Hana’s and Lena’s different viewpoints, given where they each were at this point in their lives. I found Hana’s POV a bit more interesting than Lena’s. I did like how it ended.

Editado: Abr 9, 7:37 am

Exposed in Edinburgh - Scarlett Moss - (Scotland)
The House Sitters Cozy Mysteries Series Book #1
Genera: A Travel Cozy Mystery
Retired Texas law enforcement officer Alen and his wife Joan are on their way to Scotland for their first new job...house sitting. I had to laugh when Alen says "I am glad that our first job is somewhere where they speak English" ... I immediately thought "famous last words my friend... you Just you wait!" My grandfather was from Scotland, and I spent the first 12 or so years of my life literally translating his "English" to our neighbors. Joan and Alen arrive... settle in... and are thrilled with it all... the house...the dog, (especially the dog) ...even the weather. Quickly they are being asked for help by one of their neighbors. Seems he has become the victim of blackmail. Now this "mystery" which really wasn't much of one to start with...kind of takes a back burner...as is often the case with cozies. While sightseeing and taking several tours Alen & Joan are learning a lot about Scotland...the history and the various traditions. They actually start to understand the speech of the people. While doing these things and settling down, they take the opportunity to enjoy the things closer to home like taking long walks with the dog. I love the dog's name...meet Sherlock, a border collie that is sometimes smarter than the people around him. This book is truly a part of the "cozy" genera. You won't find any dead bodies lying around...or more bodies meeting their ends in various gory manners...no bloody knives or smoking guns. If you are waiting for these things, you may find this story.... boring...but the characters are very likeable, and the dog is so, so cute. The book also has a lot of information at the end about the history of Scotland and some recipes and a lot of pictures. It was good to quietly visit Scotland again as I used to do with my gramps. You can almost hear the drone of the pipes if you close your eyes and listen closely.

Abr 9, 3:30 pm

Tiger Honor – Yoon Ha Lee

From the book jacket: Sebin is a young tiger spirit from the Juhwang Clan who wants nothing more than to join the Thousand Worlds Space Forces and, like their uncle Hwan, captain a battle cruiser someday. But when Sebin’s acceptance letter finally arrives, it’s accompanied by the shocking news that Hwan has been declared a traitor. Apparently, the captain abandoned his duty, and his whereabouts are still unknown. Sebin hopes to help clear their hero’s name and restore honor to the clan. Nothing goes according to plan, however.

My Reactions
This is a fast-paced space opera adventure tale. It’s the kind of book my nephew would have loved when he was about 10-12 years old.

Lee has built a fantasy world that includes various shape-shifters, interplanetary travel, military jargon, and various magical elements. Not all the “good guys” are good; not all the “bad guys” are bad. Sebin struggles with conflicting loyalties as he tries to outwit far more experienced adults. He may be a new cadet (and not even sworn in when the battle begins), but he has trained at home for a long time to take his place in the Space Forces. He is a keen observer and frequently thinks several steps ahead. Though relatively inexperienced, he manages to gather a small group of loyal friends to help him. He’s a born leader, and not afraid to bow to another team member’s particular expertise

I haven’t read the first book in the series, so was a little lost in terms of the world-building. I felt I didn’t fully understand the Thousand Worlds setting. Still, it held my attention and I was intrigued enough that I’ll probably read more from this author.

Abr 10, 7:41 am

Seeking Sunshine - Carly Marie - (Tennessee)
Sunshine Rance Series Book #1
Genera: M/M Romance/Learning Disorders
My heart went out to Liam who is a stressed and exhausted young man (26), who had been turned into single parent of his little brother, Jakson, (8), since the sudden, unexpected death of their parents. He holds a stressful job with a company run by a boss that is ill-fitted for the job and doesn't want to understand that his employees...especially Liam, who battles with dyslexia, are on the brink of total collapse. Liam is a very talented ad designer but just can't work well under all the added pressure being piled on him every day. A great deal of that pressure comes from Jackson's school who refuses to believe that Jackson has some type of learning disorders... and calls Liam several times a week to leave his job and come to the school for yet another hopeless meeting. With all this, Liam doesn't know how to make time to accomplish all his "adult" obligations. In spite of his asking, begging repeatedly, the school is unwilling to put in the extra effort into testing Jackson for Discalculia...instead calling it laziness. With the daily struggles of living with dyslexia himself, he feels like he is holding on by a thread...and to his "blankie"... to not fall into a total burnout. Then he discovers a place called Sunshine Ranch and signs Jackson up for riding lessons. This turns out to be the best decision he ever made. He meets Garrett and Garrett's younger brother, Gunner. Gunner takes on the task of helping Jackson with his math and reading using methods that allows him to "see" the numbers and words in a different manner...making them make sense and making all the difference in the world in Jackson's young life. This book is loosely linked to Carly Marie's terrific other books & series, most notably, "At Home" where Gunner was the band's drummer. The story has a wonderful happy ending with these three men and Jackson, who start by trying to figure out who they are but somehow along the journey they all find something they thought they would never have again...a true loving "family" Now I need to find Gunner's Sunshine Ranch story.

Abr 11, 7:31 am

Plantation Shudders - Ellen Byron - (Louisianna)
Cajun Country Mystery series Book #1
Genera: Cozy Mystery
Maggie Crozat, the Great- Great - Great Granddaughter of Magnolia Marie Doucet, works at the Doucet Plantation as a tour guide, while she lives on the Crozat Plantation grounds in shotgun styled home common to that area of the state. Both sides of her family are "Louisiana royalty". The Crozat plantation has been remodeled into a Bed and Breakfast since times have been hard, and now the family does the work that is no longer done by servants along with the hired cleaning crew. The story takes up at the exciting time of "Fete L'ete", and the town of Pelican. "Fete Lete" is a celebration that honors the ending of summer season. The Bed and Breakfast is filled with all varieties of interesting guests that all have their own agendas as we soon learn. During a dark storm...is there any other type ???, two guests "depart" rather spectacularly. When the lights come back on, the local police are almost living at the door. The Chief of Police hates the Crozat's family because of a "Curse" that was placed by them on his family 150-years or so ago, and he continues to feud with the family and carry a grudge. The plantation is now a crime scene, and it is up to Maggie...why I don't know...to solve these crimes. I've never quiet understood the reasoning behind it being okay to allow common, non-law enforcement citizens do the work of the police in these stories...but what I cared for much less than that was the "supposed to be funny" labeling of a cross dresser by the all-white guests and the paid staff as “Norman Batesy”....not once but several times. If you need romance in your mystery there is a connection and a bit of romantic tension flying between Maggie and Bo. I did wonder how the 150-year-old feud and curse between the two families was going to make a relationship between them work, but I really don't think I care enough to read the next one to find out.

Abr 11, 2:51 pm

At the Corner of Rock Bottom & Nowhere - L. A. Witt - (Nevada)
Genera: M/M Romance
Adrian is a blackjack dealer for one of the big casinos in Las Vegas, as well as a dancer at one of the strip clubs nearby. On his way back to his car after work, he passes yet another man begging on the street in front of the Bellagio fountain. He almost continues to walk by, but there is something different about this man that catches his attention, so he goes back. The man is well dressed... well dressed in a suit no less, and on his feet...expensive shoes...so what is he doing on the street? His broken his expression nearly does Adrian in. Adrian offers him dinner at one of the nearby buffets and eventually is accepted by the man. During dinner the two men begin to talk. The homeless man is Max, from California who has gotten himself into a desperate, seemingly hopeless situation. He had lost everything and made the decision to take what little money he had left and blow it all in Vegas...then take a handful of pills and put an end to it all...all his misery...all his mistakes. He stops just in time, but all his money is gone, his job is gone, leaving him with nothing. He is surprised by the kindness of a complete stranger...then he recognizes Adrian as the dealer at whose table he lost all his money. What must this young man think of him? Finally, he shoves his pride to the background and accepts the help that Adrian offers. I don't think many...if anyone, would invite a total stranger into their home like Adrian did...but it worked well for the storyline. He was lucky that Max was a really good guy. Things happened fast between the two guys but it's a short book...less than 200 pages. Adrian and Max get way more than either of them thought they were going to, and I got more than I expected out of this story...but that shouldn't have been a surprise...it is L.A. Witt.

Editado: Abr 12, 7:21 am

Search Me - L.A. Witt
Cover Me Trilogy - Book #3
Genera: M/M Romance/Police Procedural
This is the third book of the trilogy and also a fairly short one wrapping up the "Cover Me" trilogy. It brings us back to Andrew the cop, and Nick, the paramedic, who now that everything has settled down have been having problems in their relationship. They are both suffering from PTSD and their respective traumas and there has been a lot of resentments directed at each other compounded by the intense irrational emotion common to trauma. It has produced a complete inability to process their emotions or to have a complete or meaningful conversation. In spite of understanding what they were feeling, I also felt a fair amount annoyance with each of them. Nick is pulling away. There’s a lot going on in his head and he doesn’t know what to do with it and he can’t talk to Andrew about it, so he just wants to give up. Andrew has just as much going on internally as Nick does with his nightmares and the constant reminder of the event leading up to this time in his life his along with his ongoing surgeries and physical therapy. Andrew and Nick both began to annoy me. Andrew seemed to be the most invested one in working on their problems and spent a good bit of time trying to convince Nick that they shouldn’t just give up and walk away, but every time Andrew tries to repair their relationship by talking about it; Nick says “well what if it doesn’t help”?... only to have Andrew respond, “Do you have any better ideas”? I wanted to yell "Well, No, Andrew, he doesn’t. If he had even one bloody idea, he wouldn’t be so hot to walk away!!! Now let's examine Nick. When Jesse strangled him in book #1, I think the lack of oxygen must have killed a few important brain cells because trauma or not, he's just not making any sense whatsoever. “I feel trapped and obligated to stay with you because you took a bullet for me and I resent you, but I also love you and have been pushing you away because I’m afraid of losing you”. Really??? Talk about contradiction!! Somewhere toward the end of the story they finally manage to have something that resembles a conversation that promises a HEA because at least they agree that they need therapy both alone and together. I totally agree. I liked this trilogy and I absolutely love L.A. Witt but I believe I may be in need of some therapy after listening to these two:)

Abr 12, 10:58 am

Satin - K.C. Wells - (England)
Material World Series Book #2
Genera: M/M Romance/Female Impersonator
We have a “straight” cop who is actually slowly discovering his bisexuality and a gorgeous young man who sings in a local club as a female impersonator he calls "Satin". He is also a talented ballet dancer, who will get a fabulous chance later in the story. Their chance meeting leads them to a sometimes-bumpy journey that both want and put in a lot of effort to make work out in their favor. I believe it would have worked out sooner if they had had a little less "help" from their "well-meaning" friends... but in the end they all come out stronger and happier together. I've read this author for years and everything she writes is praise-worthy, and this one is right up there with her others. The chemistry between the two main characters was strong and very well portrayed, and the inner struggles are not over whelming and have a good balance with all the other details. Together they blend to create an intriguing, heartwarming and entertaining read. All the secondary characters add to the story. There are some you want to hug, some you want to smack upside their heads, but the feelings in the story are all definitely there. Some parts were a little predictable, and some were on the cheesy side... but overall, it was a good addition to the Material World series and well worth the reading time.

Abr 12, 3:07 pm

Off Season – Anne Rivers Siddons
Book on CD read by Jane Alexander

Lilly Constable, reeling from the sudden death of her husband, decides to go to her family’s Maine cottage to regroup and reflect on her marriage to the love of her life, Cam McCall.

I thought this would be a book about her marriage, but at least half of it was about Lily’s first love, at the tender age of eleven to the “boy next door,” Jon Lowell. It was tender and sweet, with drama provided by Peaches, a girl who has lost her parents and is being raised (and coddled) by her grandparents. Still, it’s an idyllic summer that Lily remembers; or it was idyllic until tragedy struck.

I’d previously read another book by Siddons, and I liked her writing. But that was a horror / supernatural read and this one was not. Oh, she does include a “presence” (ghost?) in the story, but it’s not the focus of the book. In any case, I kept turning pages, but it was hardly memorable.

Jane Alexander does a fine job of narrating the audiobook. She has a lot of characters to handle. But she sets a good pace, and I found her performance easy to listen to. Still, I read at least a third of the book in text format.

Abr 13, 10:37 am

The Hitman's Guide to Codenames and Ill-Gotten Gains - Alice Winters
Narrator: Michael Ferraiuolo
Genera: M/M Romance/Mystery & Suspense/Humor
In this one, which may be the last...but I hope not...Leland faces a world of robbery and danger. He stops a robbery and that was just the start. Now he finds himself running into chaos and mayhem. Jackson, his partner, is concerned, but Leland charges forward anyway, gun ready for action. Then to his amazement, the young robber begs for his help...and of course Leland can’t refuse. The boy believes his brother has been wrongly accused, and Leland is determined to uncover the truth even if he will have to take on not one, but two gangs. These two always chase the danger instead of fleeing from it, and soon Leland’s safety becomes a real concern. Lucas, the mysterious figure trailing Leland, adds to the complexity of the story. Who is right, and who is wrong? Amidst lifejackets, tragedy, and unexpected friendships, Leland’s journey continues to unfold. I have always liked and admired Michael Ferraluolo's voice and renditions he adds to a story, but he 100% outdid himself on this one....and that’s really saying something! The singing alone was worth the 5 stars! The rap? The stripper scene? Truly a thing "to write home to mother about" as my grandmother used to say:) Alice Winters has hit the jackpot with this story in Leland and Jackson’s romance and their hilarious and heartfelt over the top adventures. I hope it's not finished but Leland and Jackson are truly a couple I’ll never forget.

Abr 13, 1:16 pm

Ham on Rye
Charles Bukowski
4/5 stars
"In what is widely hailed as the best of his many novels, Charles Bukowski details the long, lonely years of his own hardscrabble youth in the raw voice of alter ego Henry Chinaski. From a harrowingly cheerless childhood in Germany through acne-riddled high school years and his adolescent discoveries of alcohol, women, and the Los Angeles Public Library's collection of D. H. Lawrence, "Ham on Rye" offers a crude, brutal, and savagely funny portrait of an outcast's coming-of-age during the desperate days of the Great Depression." From the Good Reads Book Synopsis 1982

Editado: Abr 14, 8:47 am

The Professor - Lauren Nossett - (Georgia)
Genera: Mystery & Suspense/Thriller
An honor student at the University of Georgia is found dead, and a former detective searches for the answers. It appears that all the evidence points to his professor, beginning the start of a witch hunt, or maybe a hard path to the truth. Marlitt Kaplan has been wanting to solve a case. For months, she’s been less than popular at the Athens, Georgia Police Dept. Seems that she has refused to "play" by all the rules while investigating a local fraternity. She had resigned in disgrace which didn't help her relationship with her former partner and closest friend, Teddy. The whispers about her “assaulting a fraternity member” or having a “gender-coded psychotic break” only added fuel to the raging fire...literally... as someone broke into her house and set it up in flames. Now she’s living with her parents and bored OUT OF HER FREAKING MIND! Then the police bring Professor Verena Sobek into the station for questioning. Verena’s student, Ethan Haddock, was found dead from what appeared to be a suicide, but rumors are going around that he and Verena had been sleeping together. Verena's facing an investigation for misconduct as well as murder, and Marlitt’s mother, her colleague in the German Department, begs her daughter to please prove that Verena’s innocence. Marlitt is not comfortable working on behalf of the accused professor, but it allows her to investigate a case again, so she plunges into Ethan's world and soon discovers that her wish that the case had been a murder investigation may well be coming true. The story is filled with family secrets, rocky romances, a potentially "dirty" officer, and vindictive students. Despite a few opening chapters weighed down by exposition, the novel succeeds in being a page-turning mystery full of potential suspects, exciting twists, and a few red herrings. Just enough clues are dropped so the reader can investigate alongside Marlitt, but not so many that the ending feels given to us on a silver platter. It's an entertaining and well-presented mystery.

Abr 14, 1:01 pm

Touch The Sky - Christina Lee -(California)
Free Fall Series Book #1
Genera: MM Romance/Mental Illness &Depresion
Possible Triggers: Mental Illness & Depression
Lucas and Gabe are two young guys who, at some point, had a close enough connection to talk about their dreams, and that they wanted to meet up as adults and somehow make their way together. However, they mysteriously and tragically loose contact, but then find one another again in the very place they both wanted to escape to when they were kids. Nothing worth having is easy. There are usually always obstacles to overcome. The story and the method of storytelling grabs you from the beginning. A lot of the story is told through emails between the two, which are interspersed as flashbacks throughout the chapter giving us a peek into their early friendship. Things are tense when they first reconnect. They are both shocked to see each other, of course, and Lucas is harboring some serious bitterness towards Gabriel for dropping out of his life with not a word five years earlier. Gabe is sincere and sweet in his desire to explain, though, and their friendship returns with a natural ease. You can't help but adore them both. Their honesty and true attraction for each other shines brightly through. The story portrays characters who are struggling with mental illness. But it is handled with by this author with a great deal of care and understanding. Gabe’s battle had a very real feel and was delicately well done...but it may cause some readers anxiety. I couldn't help but admire how Gabe decided he needed to handle his therapy. Luke also had some demons of his own, along with a heavy dose of guilt and self-loathing...but seeing these guys fight through these things together was so touching and emotional. First book I've read by this author, but it won't be the last.

Abr 14, 2:10 pm

Calligraphy of the Witch / Alicia Gaspar de Alba
3.5 stars

Conception is brought from Mexico to Massachusetts as a slave in the late 1600s. But on the ship on the way there, she is raped over and over. Once in New England, she has a baby, but the couple who bought her want a second child and haven’t been able to. So, while Conception tries to teach her daughter Spanish and some of her own culture, Rachel takes it upon herself to turn the child against her mother, and eventually takes Hanna (or Jeronima, depending if you ask Rachel or Conception). In a town not too far away, people are being accused of being witches, including Conception’s friend, Tituba.

This was good. There were parts that were a bit slower to read (literally), when Conception was writing letters, as the font was changed to look like handwriting. It does make me wonder if younger people will be able to read those parts of the book at all (if kids are no longer being taught cursive). It’s a tough book to read, though. I saw someone use the word “gritty”. Good way to describe it. Hanna/Jeronima drove me nuts sometimes! But I guess it’s hard for me to understand how easy it is for a child to be “brainwashed”, and that’s really what it amounted to.

Abr 14, 2:40 pm

The Story of My Life / Helen Keller
3 stars

This is Helen Keller’s autobiography (for about the first half). Then, it includes some of the letters Helen wrote to various people. Helen, of course, was both blind and deaf in the late 19th century as a child when she and a teacher had a breakthrough as her teacher, Annie Sullivan, was trying to teach her to communicate. Helen grew up to become very educated and published more than one book.

I listened to the audio, and it was ok, but I did lose focus more than I would have liked. It turns out Helen loved books and reading, which was interesting. It was kind of repetitive between the biography portion, then much of what was in the letters had already also been mentioned in the autobiography. Helen Keller was a pretty impressive woman.

Abr 14, 3:29 pm

Up and Down / Terry Fallis
4 stars

David used to work in Ottawa, but moved to Toronto to be closer to his dying mother, who has been mostly taken care of by his sister. His new job is with a PR firm and he is thrown into the fire immediately to help with a NASA campaign. Some love, some don’t, his idea of a “citizen astronaut” campaign. People can enter to randomly be selected to go up to space, as long as they can pass the training requirements. But the people at NASA who matter love the idea and it’s on. There will be one winner from the US and one from Canada. But someone (in the DC office of the PR firm) have specific ideas about who they think should win the “random” draw. And the random person in Canada? Definitely not what anyone expected!

This was fun! Fallis’ books are humourous and this was definitely that. And I loved L Percival, Canada’s winner. There were interesting “side” stories for both David and L Percival. The PR guy in DC was horrible! But, I suppose, for the humourous slant of the novel, it makes sense to have some over-the-top characters. I really should read more of Fallis’ books (I’ve already read the political ones with Angus, but no others -- yet.)

Editado: Abr 15, 7:49 am

No Distance Left to Run - L.A. Witt - (Washington)
The Distance Between Us Series - Book #4
Wilde Dance Club Series Book #6
Genera: M/M Romance/Homophobia
Joshua and Chris had been best friends growing up. just before they each left for their church missions…going in different directions...Joshua disappears and is presumed dead, Chris is beyond devastated…so much so that he never goes on his mission and leaves the church. When Chris leaves the mission and his church it also meant leaving his family.... or more so his family leaving and forsaking him. At any rate, when Chris lost his faith, he lost everything. So, what is a guy to do when the long-lost best friend, the reason for your five years of heartache, just comes waltzing back into your life? Chris is floored, but deliriously happy, but also equally angry that Joshua could just take off without a word, at least without a single, solitary word to him. Weren't they best friends? Weren't they beginning to feel more? I really felt bad for Chris, but I also completely understood Joshua, who is now calling himself Julien. Julien not only took off, but he joined the French Foreign Legion and now has returned as a soldier, and even has a French accent. That is a lot to wrap your head around, but even though Chris gets his digs in for taking off on him, he is still has a huge attraction…they both do…but now they are no longer inexperienced, scared kids...now they are experienced men…and they are nothing short of hot together. Wish I could say that Julien and Chris put all their issues behind them and rode off into the sunset, but it didn't happen because...you guessed it...the church is back rearing its head again into their lives. This time it has come between Julien and his dying father. They have to deal with an ungodlike totally unlikeable awful Bishop who gets more of a thrill out of causing more pain for the family than actually helping them. I cheered when he gets his "just reward" in the end. This a typical L.A. Witt novel. It has a great storyline that keeps the reader captivated until the very end. The story may offend a few people, but in reality, it appears to be very well researched, and you know that sometimes the truth is just not necessarily wrapped up in all that pretty.

Abr 15, 10:43 am

Not Your China Doll: The Wild and Shimmering Life of Anna May Wong
Katie Gee Salisbury
4/5 stars
This was a wonderfully interesting story about the American Asian actress Anna May Wong. She grew up in America, lived in Los Angeles and worked in her family's laundry business where she was discovered. She starred in the Douglas Fairbanks' film Thief of Bagdad and that started her career. Well written!

Abr 15, 9:54 pm

The Letter Writer – Dan Fesperman
Digital audiobook performed by David Bendena

After his wife left him and his partner was killed, detective sergeant Woodrow Cain left North Carolina to start over in New York City. But it’s 1942 and the USA has entered the war against Germany and Japan. When a body is found floating in the Hudson River. Cain meets a man named Danzinger. He looks like a “crackpot,” but he speaks five languages fluently and has the manners of a man of means and education. But who is he really? And is Danzinger really helping Cain solve the murder, or ensnaring him in a larger espionage plot?

This was really a great read. Many of the hallmarks of literary fiction, as well as the pace of an espionage thriller. The characters are fully realized, and I liked the way Fesperman wove their relationships together. The writing is atmospheric, and the setting is vividly portrayed. There are enough plot twists to keep the most ardent mystery fan guessing. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading more works by Fesperman.

David Bendena does a marvelous job of performing the audiobook. He’s a talented voice artist and is able to use a variety of accents as required by the eclectic mix of characters.

Editado: Abr 16, 7:46 am

The Trouble with Cowboys - Jodi Payne & B.A. Tortuga - (New York)
Sin Deep Series Book #2
Genera: M/M Romance/Ds Relationship
I think I own every book that Jodi Payne & B.A. Tortuga have written together and separately. Jodi knows romance and B.A. is a "cowboy expert"...always giving us an interesting, entertaining read. This one involves a new Dom/Sub dynamic which always makes it even more interesting. We've met Sam and his Dom in several of the other books in this series. Sam and Kacey are friends and both ex-rodeo cowboys as well as proud Texans. I felt sorry for Kacey even though early in the book we didn't know exactly what all he had been through, but as we slowly learned his story, we find that he's badly broken and had obviously been through the "school of hard knocks". Not only that, but he had also learned all the wrong lessons. After yet another betrayal and abandonment by someone he trusted and thought he loved, he’s literally at the end of his rope. He’s left the cowboy life behind when he shows up in New York City asking to spend a few nights with Sam, an ex-lover and friend that had already found his HEA in a D/s relationship. As expected, Kacey and Sam quickly mess up big time when they get into a fight with some bikers in a bar and Kacey’s hair trigger temper gets the two of them needing to be rescued by Sam’s Dom and his friend, another Dom, River. River has been a long-time casual Dom in the D/s scene, but he’s never taken on the responsibilities of having a full-time sub of his own. He's drawn to Kacey, and he wants to take care of him. So, to a large extent this is a tale of both Kacey and River’s journey. Overall, this is a fairly low-angst story, and it is certainly engaging. The prose is well constructed, giving the story an authentic feel.

Abr 16, 7:46 am

Guys Like Him - Aimee Nicole Walker - (Colorado)
Redemption Ridge Series Book #1
Narrator: Lance West
Genera: M/M Romance/Wrongful Imprisonment
Kieran Sullivan is being released after 20 months in prison. For a crime he didn’t commit. Cash, an ex-con himself who runs Redemption Ranch where he tries to give back, picks him up. Kieran worked with Cash’s dog rescue and training program in prison, and he has a way with animals, so Cash offered him a place at the ranch. Kieran meets Finley Ashe at the ranch and learns that he’ll be working with him in the equestrian program. Kieran hasn’t been around horses before, so he has a lot to learn. He also cannot believe how gorgeous Finley is and finds that it’s difficult to ignore the gorgeous guy. Finely has had a breakup with a man who then joined a religious homophobic cult, so Finley hasn't wanted to get involved again with anyone...but he has a "thing" for bad boys... he’s a MAGNET for them. Kieran is a gorgeous bad boy if ever he saw one...but it seems the guy has a lot going on below the surface. He absolutely refuses to discuss anything about his past. It takes a while, but Kieran finally lets Finley in...and the walls come tumbling down. Turns out that he was set up to take the rap for a stolen car racket by a guy he thought loved him, but it turns out that there is MUCH more going on with the perpetrator than meets the eye. This sting operation results in more damage than good. I have liked almost everything that Aimee Nicole Walker has written and was happy to see this new series. I’m hoping this is a "stage setter" for a visit to a larger world with the guys of Redemption Ranch. Being the first book in the series. there was a lot of character introduction going on that slowed the story down a bit. The twist was good although it was a very long wait to get any information. I liked Finley and his family right away. His mother is so funny. I hope we get to see more of her and Finley’s sister in future stories. Cash, Reuben, Ivan and the rest of the ranch crew proved to be an interesting bunch, and of course "Mama Kitty" and her little ones. Obviously, there are lots of opportunity for more stories with them all. Lance West as a great narrator with an easy to listen to voice. Hope to hear more from him also.

Abr 16, 1:43 pm

The Garden of Evening Mists – Tan Twan Eng
Audible audio narrated by Anna Bentinck

This is Eng’s second novel, following his Booker-Prize nominated The Gift of Rain. Once again, he sets the work in Malaysia, specifically Penang, Yun Ling Teoh is the sole survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, who now (1951) lives in the Cameron Highlands, where she hopes to find peace. She discovered Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, Aritomo, the exiled former gardener of the emperor of Japan. Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling asks Aritomo to create a garden in memory of her sister, who died in the camp. He refuses, but he does agree to take her on as an apprentice, at least until the monsoon comes, so that she can design the garden herself. World War II is over, but there is still a communist guerrilla war raging in the mountains, and there is considerable danger for the residents of the area. Slowly their stories - how Aritomo came to Penang, and how Yun Ling escaped the camp – come to light.

What a marvelous book! Poetic writing. Complex characters. Atmospheric descriptions. Eng brought right into this world. I felt the peace and serenity of the garden, and the terror of guerilla attacks. I could smell the jungle, feel the humid heat, hear the rain. I was fascinated by the tattoo art.

The story is told in flashback, as Yun Ling is trying to recollect the time she spent as an apprentice to Aritomo. But her memories, and her ability to commit them to writing are hampered by her physical deterioration. She is slowly but inextricably descending into a kind of dementia. Yet she faces her future, as she did her past, with courage and grace. “Before me lies a voyage of a million miles, and memory is the moonlight I will borrow to illuminate my way.

The audio is narrated by Anna Bentinck. She is a skilled actor, but the accents she used for some of the Asian characters were rather badly done. I almost wish she had abandoned the idea of using different voices and just read it without the accents. I very nearly took away a half-star for her performance, but ultimately felt that the book deserved the full 5-star rating.

Editado: Abr 17, 8:01 am

Beyond The Surface - Felice Stevens - (New York)
Genera: M/M Romance/Firefighters/9/11
POSSIBLE TRIGGERS: Survivor's guilt, 9/11 flashbacks
The story is a very in-depth account of two men who are living their lives on the surface. Julian Cornell is a world-famous clothing designer. His entire life is all about "the beautiful". Julian has all the beautiful male models he could possibly want, some to grace his bed, some his arm and some his catwalk. Yet, he can never admit, even to himself, that it’s all "on the surface" since he never lets his heart or emotions become involved in any of his relationships or one-night stands. Then we have Nick Fletcher; a fire-fighter whose life changed irrevocably on 9/11. Not only does Nick suffer from survivor’s guilt because he lived while his entire team of men died. He now suffers from many different phobias... most of them he never even heard of before that terrible, unforgettable day. Nick sees a psychiatrist once a week to discuss his problems and is mostly working through them. The biggest thing Nick has suffered from all his life is the fact that he is gay, but he has also never acknowledged that fact to anyone, not even to himself. He’s managed to keep this particular secret for fear of his family would find out. Nick knows he lives on the surface but feels there’s no other option if he not only wants to keep his family and his job. The saddest part of his reasoning is that he doesn’t feel he deserves to be happy when his friends and co-workers are dead. Julian and Nick have been in love with each other since high school. Nick ended the relationship when he realized he had fallen in love with Julian. Julian was devastated when Nick ended things and told him he wanted to be “normal” ...to have a wife and family, and above all...NOT to be gay. Nick really tried. He slept with some girls...but it never felt right. After 9/11 Nick swore that he was through making excuses as to why things didn’t go well when he tried to have feelings for women. He started to hide and sneak around and have hook-ups with men.... some very questionable. Julian life however was different as he had never been in the closet...he didn't particularly care what people thought... he was just who he was...take it or leave it. The only thing he never allowed to be touched was his heart. Julian knew his heart had and always would...belong only to Nick. Eighteen years pass before they meet again, and it was like they had never been apart. They were surprised how much their life experiences had changed them both.... everything except for their desire for each other. Julian has to convince Nick to make some life altering choices though before they can take up again where they left off. Nick invites Julian to go with him to the hospital where he volunteers almost every day to help with the burn victims...and it turns Julian’s life around. Not only is he excited about his designing again, but he can see how his helping is a benefit to the burn victims themselves. To get the full story of these two men you have to read "beyond the surface".

Editado: Abr 17, 9:41 am

Hellburner - Clive Cussler & Mike Maden - (Turkey)
Oregon Files series Book #16
Genera: Adventure/Thriller
Mercenary Juan Cabrillo and his Oregon crew confront a ship carrying contraband, which leads to uncovering the Pipeline, a massive smuggling enterprise. As fans of the series know, the Oregon is a 590-foot “rust bucket" tramp steamer on the outside and a technological marvel on the inside. It can move like a speedboat and can even change colors. The plot is complicated to say the least, and I will admit that I quicky lost most interest trying to follow all the "bad guys" and "might be bad guys". The main antagonists are two businessmen.... Hakobyan and Katrakis, one is Armenian, and the other is Greek. They have known each other for more than 50 years. Their "Pipeline" is a conduit for transporting arms, munitions, and meth, making it “the envy of the criminal world.” The Armenian has a plan to achieve “wealth beyond imagination” and avenge the genocide of Armenians by the Turks at the same time. Their plan is to steal a 100-megaton bomb and set it off underwater in the Bosporus, causing a tsunami that will “drown sixteen million Turks in a flood of their own radioactive water". It will happen when the U.S. President and the Turkish president are in Istanbul. Turkey can and will, blame Russia and that will surely start a war, dragging in NATO. World War III will be in full swing, and the two crooks will become richer than who knows by rebuilding atop the rubble, I guess. Their plan diffidently has a few holes. Cabrillo and crew learn of the nuclear-tipped torpedo, and of course the clock is now ticking. Spectacular fighting scenes ensue, with ex-SEAL Cabrillo displaying tenacity and skill worthy of the best of the fictional heroes. The evildoer Hakobyan will “do business with the Devil himself if it turned a profit,” Juan Cabrillo will never do anything against America or American interests. I wondered several times where the name "Hellburner" came from since it only occurs twice near the end and doesn't seem to be reverent in any way to the storyline, but hey...it does make a good title. This story, as all the Oregan Files stories, is fast-moving, entirely implausible, but still, lots of fun.

Editado: Abr 17, 2:33 pm

We Have Always Been Here - Lena Nguyen - (Outer space)
Genera: Horror/Suspense Sci-Fi Thriller
Outer space story enthusiasts will love this one. It has a huge space exploration agency, a divided and mostly unhappy crew, and a ship full of uncanny, evil androids that converge on a mysterious planet. Grace Park is one of two psychologists on a ship bound for Eos, to study whether the planet is fit for human colonization. The space agency, buoyed by deteriorating conditions on Earth that have forced people into a life of conscription in exchange for a place on a colonized planet. The agency maintains a tight control over the crew, which means, as we begin to suspect, that Grace might not know what the true mission really is. It’s unlikely that anyone will tell her what’s really going on either. Her crew doesn’t trust her because of her close relationship with the ship’s androids and they believe that she might be a spy for ISF. As the crew arrives at the planet to begin their explorations, they begin to become mysteriously ill and complaining of strange dreams and behaving erratically. Grace wants to learn the truth, but can can't if only the androids are on her side. As Grace's paranoia increases and the androids grow stronger, it becomes increasingly clear that there’s more to the planet than anyone knows or had known, before the mission began, including the company head and ISF. The entire story...a debut novel for this author, is claustrophobic and very dark, full of twisting ship corridors that don't seem to lead anywhere and unreliable characters. We've encountered these elements before, but Lena Nguyen combines them in ways that raise questions about totalitarian systems, environmental destruction, and the true underlying nature of humanity.

Abr 17, 10:46 pm

Back on Blossom Street / Debbie Macomber
3.5 stars

Lydia runs a knitting store on Blossom Street and often runs classes. She is currently renting the upstairs of the store to Colette, who has recently started working closeby at the flower shop. Colette seems to have plenty of secrets and seems wary of opening up. Alix is recently engaged, but her “adopted” mother/friend and soon-to-be mother-in-law have taken over the plans and won’t listen to what Alix and Jordan actually want (though Jordan seems to not be bothered too much, either way). Lydia’s sister, Margaret works with Lydia, but when Margaret’s daughter is caught up in a carjacking, and is injured, Margaret is in full-on revenge mode and won’t stop until the carjacker is found and pays for what he’s done.

Some of the characters have returned from earlier books in the series, but I don’t think you need to read them in order; I leave so much time in between, I never remember the previous books, anyway. I found Colette’s story the least interesting, but they all rose above the 3.5 star “good” rating temporarily, but then it all ended up very (possible) sickly sweet and tied up in a way-too-perfect bow for my liking. Overall, though, it was a good story. I will continue to the next book.

Abr 18, 6:18 am

Not A Creature Was Purring - Krista Davis - (Virginia)
Paws and Claws series Book #5
Genera: Cozy Mystery
I chose this book for a challenge for all the wrong reasons to choose a book. The cover had a snow scene which I needed for the challenge...but it also had a pair of cute little critters a dog and a cat gracing the cover...Trixie and Twinkletoes. Holly, the human in the story, was excited about the "Christkindl Market" that she knows well, thanks to her grandmother's German heritage. Sounds like fun to me with food, beverages and all types of goodies being for sale in a series of little Swiss chalet like booths. The town even has a cute name, Wagtail. It's now covered with several inches of fresh-fallen snow and all the houses are decorated with cheerful colorful Christmas lights. That is all but Rupert Grimpley's house. In the early hours of the morning, Rupert's Christmas spirit shows it's itself uncheerful self with ear-splitting music and a 45-foot towering, blow-up Grinch. This was funny as it reminded me of a neighbor we had when I was a child that always tried to tell us kids that the venison in his freezer was one of Santa's reindeer. Festivities come to a halt when Trixie's nose goes into action and sniffs out a dead person. Holly and police officer Dave start an investigation. Then we have Holly's old flame, Holmes, who is also back in Wagtail...he points out that it IS his hometown, and with his fashionable "city-girl" fiancee much to Holly's disappointment. The entire Thackleberry family...don't you love these names?... is holding their Christmas at the inn and Holmes's fiancee is part of this family of business owners. The book is so full of small-town America Christmas spirit, complete with parties, enough food to feed a third-world country, decorations and, even fun despite it being a murder mystery. The author did an outstanding job with the characters, continuity, dialogue, and atmosphere.

Abr 18, 7:18 pm

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares – Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

This is a delightful young adult meet-cute rom-com featuring an implausible quest and two extraordinarily bright teenagers, set in the fabulous city of New York during the Christmas season.

Dash is browsing in his favorite bookstore, when he happens upon a red Moleskine notebook, with a cryptic “clue” written inside. As he follows the prompts, he gets inspired to leave an equally intricate clue for the original writer. Lily isn’t sure what to make of this turn of events, but she’s game and so the dance / game begins.

It’s charming and clever and the two main characters are very likeable. And I loved the literary references. I even forgive the writers for that somewhat “cliff-hanger” ending, because I really DO want to read more of their adventures!

Abr 19, 6:43 am

Carry the Ocean - Heidi Cullinan - (Iowa)
The Rosevelt Book #1
Genera: M/M Romance/Autism/Mental Illness
Possible Triggers: Autism/Depression/Disabilities
If you are looking for the usual type of M/M romance, then this one may disappoint you. However, if you are willing to take a remarkably tender, sweet story that shows how love can and sometimes does, come into everyone's life, not just those that are viewed as “normal”, then this story is going to affect you deeply. The author displayed such a sophisticated portrayal of one of the characters, Emmet....when she has him say "when you meet one autistic child, you have really only met... just one". There is no "one size fits all"...each one is different, each one coping in their own way, and presenting with their own quirks and gifts. This story is about how Emmet, a high functioning autistic college student, pursues and meets his neighbor. It's a overwhelmingly beautiful story of love and the fight for independence. Emmett has so many strategies he has developed and learned to use over the years, everything from different shirts to show his different moods, to a foam hammer that allows him to safely vent his anger. His parents are wonderful, well educated, understanding and loving. Jeremy is not so lucky, and your heart will break for him. He is almost crippled under the weight of all his anxieties, and fears, as well as his clinical depression. Jeremey’s parents are unbelievably brutal. They constantly harp at him to just "buck up and be normal”. That is the crux of what author Heidi Cullinan writes about in this story. Not only does she portray the pain and the horrible sense of unworthiness these two young men carry with them each and every day of their lives, but she also speaks about the fact that for them there simply is not and never will be a “normal”. She continually comes back to the idea that each one of us is already normal in our own way...despite that we are all different. We each have our individual strengths and weaknesses, our own emotional and intellectual struggles... “normal” looks different on each and every person. The story does not try to tell the world that “special needs” people are "just like you and me", instead she celebrates their individuality by giving us a window to look into their lives. We see Jeremey’s crippling anxieties; we feel Emmet’s frustration over not being able to express himself when he needs to the most. We feel the fears of these two young men who want and need each other...who are discovering what romance and love is with another person for the first time. This novel is stunning in its realism. We fall in love with Jeremy and Emmett because of how they fight each day to hold onto themselves, find their place in a world that doesn’t necessarily value those who are different and don’t fit into the norm. Carry the Ocean is a story that reminds us that each and every one of us deserves to love and be loved.

Abr 19, 10:31 am

The Fortunate Son - Aimee Nicole Walker - (Colorado)
Redemption Ridge Series Book #2
Narrator: Lance West
Genera: M/M Romance/Mystery
Rory Snyder come to Redemption Ridge with his brother who is an FBI agent and friend of Cash’s, the owner. Rory needs to lay low for a while. He’s an influencer who is being hounded by the press about events of his past that are causing his father issues with a political campaign. He wants to be seen as just another guy, not a wealthy pampered social media guy. He says, "Treat me just like anybody else on the ranch". Ivan, who we met in the first book, is the leader on the ranch. He’s not sure what to make of Rory. They are polar opposites in so many ways, but it’s clear that Rory is interested in him and attracted to him. Ivan isn’t ready to trust anyone and that includes Rory even though their chemistry is off the charts, and it doesn’t take long for them to begin to explore a relationship. They start out as "friends with benefits", but the more time they spend together, the more find they have in common. Ivan is really a softie, and he’s a beekeeper and he loves his cats also. Soon he figures out that he loves Rory also. They both have baggage, and they each had
had difficult relationships in the past that ended badly. Ivan’s issue led directly to his incarceration and a long estrangement with his family. It takes some time for them to be honest with each other about how these things have affected them. The ranch family supported them, and while they have obstacles to overcome, they were working toward something that could be lasting – even if it takes a little convincing. I really enjoyed this story. I will say the pacing was a bit off for me. Like the last book, it took a while to get this story moving...then it was a bit of a rush to the end. Lance West did a fantastic job of presenting the story.

Ontem, 12:09 pm

There's Something About Ari - L.B. Gregg - (Washington)
Bluewater Bay Series Book #2
Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Genera: M/M Romance
The series is centered around the small town in Washington state that has been infiltrated by the cast and crew of the supernatural TV show. Each book is written by a different M/M author, giving the series a fun kind of vibe. Each story highlights a different couple, that at least one is usually connected to the TV show in some way. Each book can stand alone, but familiar characters show up throughout, which is nice. I love when past characters reappear. In this one we meet Buck Ellis. He’s had a rough five years. His best friend, and secret first love, Ari Valentine has run off to LA after stealing money from Buck’s car to buy the bus ticket. Then Buck’s mother dies, and since then, he’s sacrificed pretty much all of his former hopes and dreams to ensure that his younger brother has remained safe, grounded, and in his care. These two events are the defining parts of Buck’s adult life, and they all happened on the same awful, terrible, horrible day. Buck has been living day to day, and struggling to make ends meet and trying to keep his brother on track. His rut is interrupted when one of the actors from the TV show, Wolf’s Landing, moves into the house next door. I don’t think it will surprise anyone that the actor turns out to be Ari Valentine, on a mission to mend the rift with his former friend. Buck is understandably guarded, slightly cynical, and focused on his brother, but Ari’s determined to at least get a chance to explain what happened. This is a sweet little romance. I’m a sucker for a good second chance, especially after the characters have worked as hard to earn it as these two. Most of that hard work happens off the page, which is one reason I gave the story 4 stars. I would have liked to see more. Nevertheless, the pacing was good, and the resolution is satisfying enough. Given the length of the book, we do get to learn quite a bit about the characters, which was good. We also get a fair amount of that lovely humor that L.B. Gregg writes so well. The other reason that it got the rating it did was because it was one of those books that makes you want to step into the pages and argue with the characters when they make stupid choices and decisions. In spite of that I really did enjoy the book. It’s a good second chance, fun story, and who doesn't love the voice of Nick Russo?

Ontem, 1:35 pm

Two Daddies For Henry - T.L. Travis - (Nevada)
Genera: M/M/M Romance/ Daddies and Littles
I found it a bit hard to believe some of things that happened to Henry as a child, but I suppose in the world of fiction anything is possible. The story tells us that Henry was always on his own. He was literally the "forgotten child". His parents owned a bookstore and would forget that they had brought him with them to work when he was young. He would be left in the bookstore, many times overnight. He didn't seem to mind as there was plenty of books and a big soft, cozy chair to curl up in. Henry's role is now reversed and is his father’s caretaker. His father may be nearly at the end of any memories of Henry, but, being the good son, he still goes to see him regularly in the memory care facility where he now lives. His mom is gone, and his dad has dementia so as far as his father is concerned, Henry doesn’t exist. Henry goes on with his life with his beloved cat, Magpie and his favorite and trusted stuffie, Merlin the unicorn by his side to keep him company. His days are filled with running the family bookstore in a strip mall in Las Vegas and Saturday evenings, after he goes and checks on his dad as he feels he should...why I can't figure out after seeing how they treated him...he spends time at the BDSM Club, Cordes, in his "little" side, to regress and unwind. If he gets a moment to play with a "Daddy" that’s a diffident plus. One night when two men, Mitchell and Jensen, that he has had his eye on since a chance meeting at his bookstore, want to play, Henry is thrilled, and his life just might have taken a good turn. He might just be lucky enough to get "Two Daddies for Henry"!! At the start of the story, we get a glimpse of the dynamic developing with Mitchell and his best friend forever, Jensen. We don't have long before the piece of the puzzle that is Henry, makes the three of them fit perfectly. You can't help but like all three men and really hope to learn more of their story. This book does a great job of allowing just that. The back stories of how Jensen secretly loved Mitchell but never shared it with him for almost 20 years, and the neglectful past Henry had endured from his “too into their own selves” parents was heart wrenching. Having the author expand upon that part and the triad’s developing relationship was key to a very rounded story. A huge thumbs up to this story and T.L Travis's efforts in making it happen.

Ontem, 2:56 pm

The Homing Instinct / Bernd Heinrich
3.25 stars

Not just about birds, but butterflies, bees, insects, other critters, humans, even trees… and home. What makes a home and compels critters to create that home and either migrate to/from or just want to “cocoon” and stay there?

I found some of the info more interesting than others. Of course, it started off with birds and other critters that migrate and how they manage to find their way to/from. But the book expands far beyond, even speculating on humans and home. I have to agree with others that I could have done without the hunting chapter. Even though this wasn’t an audio book, I did lose interest at times, though, which is why the rating somewhere between “ok” and “good” for me.

Editado: Ontem, 8:15 pm

Jakub - Joe Satoria - (New York)
Genera: M/M Romance/Daddy-Little/Christmas
A warm, sweet, and happy Daddy/little Christmas/romance story. Lots of Teddy bears and unicorns and a couple of guys wonderful guys that thought they would never find the person to make either of their lives complete. It's the first I have read by this author, but I will be searching for his Club Playhouse series which is supposed to have more Daddy/little interactions.

Ontem, 10:08 pm

Sapphire Blue / Kerstin Gier
3.5 stars

This is the 2nd book in a trilogy, featuring a secret group of time travellers. Gwen discovered that the gene in her family passed to her (though everyone thought it had passed to her cousin, Charlotte), so she is woefully unprepared for the world of time travelling, and must learn from one of the others in the society and from Charlotte. Charlotte is not thrilled with this twist in her life. Meanwhile, Gwen has fallen for Gideon, who also has the gene and is travelling with her (most of the time).

I listened to the audio, so I did lose focus at times. This is also the 2nd book in a trilogy, so the story moves forward but nothing comes to any kind of conclusion at this point. I did enjoy the parts I paid attention to. I do enjoy the relationship between Gwen and Gideon; I also enjoyed the interactions between Gwen and her younger grandfather from years ago.