Friday, July 21, 2017

"Girl in Snow" by Danya Kukafka






For the first time in three and a half years, Cameron started to cry. The tears were hot on his cheeks. They dripped onto the portrait, creating lakes where there had been only paper. Because Cameron could only do such realistic portraits of things he had seen. Lucinda dead on the carousel was one of them."....


This mystery thriller starts with the death of fifteen year old Lucinda. Found lying on the play ground, covered by a layer of snow. This small Colorado town is about to become hot with gossip. Lucinda was a shining star, why would someone want her dead?

The narrowed suspect range from stalker, Cameron Whitley, to Jade Dixon-Burns, a jealous girl. Is one of them guilty, or are they looking in the wrong direction? 

Investigating officer, Russ Fletcher, is the ex partner of the father of one of the suspects. Why is Cameron a suspect? What will Russ uncover, and will he tells what he knows, or protect Cameron as a favor to Cameron's father? 

Told from each characters perspective. As the story goes, you learn of their secrets and ultimately what happened to Lucinda. A definite page turner. I loved these well written characters. I couldn't wait to find out what they were hiding. Let's say each of them held big secrets. 

Thank you Danya Kukafka, Netgalley, and Simon & Schuster Publishing.



"Not So Sweet Maria" (Sisters by Marriage Book 1) by Jessica Spencer

                                                                                                 



"She had only one dream. She would go to America, buy back the plantation, and try to run it. If she failed, she would go to France and make bonnets. She wanted to earn her own money. She was six months short of being twenty-one and in her fourth season. If the "ton" did not know about the proposals she received, they would have pitied her, or mocked her for not snagging a husband. 


After the death of her parents, Mary is sent back to England. Only 6 years old, she is now in the care of her grandmother, a duchess. Now, she will be renamed Lady Maria. What will life have in store for this child? The year is 1793. 

As Lady Maria grew, she became known as "Sweet Maria." Her suitors were many, both rich and in pursuit of marriage. Although her background was slightly riddled with gossip. Her father had married an American woman of all things. Scandalous to those around her. Still she was sought after by many men, continually turning them away. 

A independent and unique woman of her time. The story is flowing with descriptive words and places. Her man, if there will be one, will be her choosing, not one who has been chosen for her. 

Maria has plans for her life. One that includes going back to America to regain ownership of her late parents property. Will she make it? Will she find a suitable husband? Will she be the center of yet more scandal? I don't think she cares if she is. I enjoyed the suspense caused by Maria's desire to protect herself. 

This is so far out of my typical crime, detective genre. Every once in awhile I make friends with authors, (G.R. is an example, though I prefer not to mention them all outright), that intrigue me. It's a wonderful change of pace for me. This story is proof of that foray into the unknown for me. I don't believe I've ever read what is considered a "Regency Romance." 

Life is meant to learn new things, both small and big. I've found a way to do that through reading. Being open to different genres broadens your view of the world. Reading this story is a wonderful example of that view. A world you know nothing about. Open the door, or in this case, the book, and take a peak inside another world. 

Thank you Jessica Spencer.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

"The Redemption of Charlie McCoy" by C.D. Wilsher

                                                                                                                                          


"As he mounts the stairs, he thinks about what Amy said. I'll never forgive you. He's not surprised. Any closeness he felt was a figment of his imagination brought on by being in proximity to her for two days. They were strangers. Any shot he he had for a relationship with Amy disappeared when he was sent to the joint all those years ago. You don't get second chances in life. Hell, you get damned few first chances.".......


Charlie finds himself in a rather sticky situation. Set up as a fall guy for a burglary, he finds a way out with a little insurance for good measure. He's got some information on some corrupt locals, who'd probably like to see him dead. Charlie owes some people, who want their money yesterday, making it easier to lure him in. 

Charlie McCoy also has a daughter, Amy, and an ex wife. Unexpectedly he finds he's going to have to be more of a full time parent. Amy is young, and in the dark about her fathers past. She asks a lot of questions, much to Charlie's annoyance. If anyone is going to change Charlie's life of recklessness it could only be Amy. 


Lots of action, decisions to be made. A new relationship builds between father and daughter. Overall a great story. Can Charlie turn this mess around? The bad guys aren't just going to go away. Some of the bad guys are hiding behind a badge. Who ever wanted him dead is hot on his trail. What will he do with the incriminating evidence? Can he protect Amy? 

I enjoyed reading the changes these characters brought out in each other as the story progresses. There were times I did not like Charlie at all. Poor Amy, not a chance to understand her father before she was dumped on him. It's not just a tale of a criminal and his exploits, but of family, and the lengths he'd go to protect his child. Can he keep them both alive?

Thank you Chris Wilsher



Monday, July 3, 2017

"Retaking Pervaiske" The Army of Orphans Book Two by F. B. Veneziano


                                                                                             




"We all had our stories, Anton and I, along with our older sister, Irina, were given to the state by our father, an abusive drunk, and declared social orphans. Irina ran away with her boyfriend, Paul Orlik, while Anton and I were sent to a skolainternat, a boarding school for orphans. Dmitry and Liza came home from school one day and found an empty house. They had been abandoned. Misha'a parents were killed in a bus crash. Natalia's mother left at the hospital when she was born. And little Anna went shopping with her mother one day. She was told to wait next to the bread while her mother picked up a few things. Her mother never came back."


It's the year 2048, 3 years since Anton, Irina, and Alex were first left in the orphanage. Picking up where the first book "Army of Orphans" left off, we find the kids living on their own. They've left the orphanage and are in hiding. 

They are helping people escape the oppressive state in which they live, Pervaiske, Ekrunia in Eastern Europe. Now they are known as the "Army of Orphans." With other children and the help of resistance fighters, they are trying to help others escape. It's been 30 years since the rebellion first began. Can Pervaiske ever be returned to its once peaceful state? 

I was glad to revisit Alex and his siblings. I wanted to know if they'd found a home or peace for that matter. Right off in the first chapter there is a life altering event for the three. 

Working with adults in a resistance group, it's a way of someone looking out for them, and at the same time using them for dangerous missions. It's getting more dangerous when the next mission involves weapons being held by the government. With family involved, the orphans take on some scary missions. 

The story is fast paced and engrossing. Plenty of action. You can't help but root for these children, and at the same time want some one to swoop in and save them all. 

There are real orphans in European countries who live like this, or something similar to the survivalist existence. I can't imagine any country ignoring the plight of these children. How does one overlook such a thing? The casualties of war torn countries. 

While this could be read as a stand alone, you really would benefit to read the the first book in this series, "The Army of Orphans: The Beginning." It is a trilogy, so there will be another book to follow. Looking forward to another story by this author. The ending will leave you wanting more!


Thank you F. B. Veneziano 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

"Mine" by A. N. Senerella

                                                                             


                                  Expected publication is June 21, 2017

Foster is new at school. Anika seems to be his immediate interest. Anika would rather lie and say she's dating someone she despises, Brady, then give Foster the time of day. 

Not only is Brady willing to be her pretend boyfriend, but she got her two friends, Sierra and Mitchell, watching her back. Foster is watching everything else. 

Foster is a little cryptic, and a little bit on the stalker side. Will he win Anika over? Maybe Anika will find herself interested in someone she hadn't considered before.

The story was told from Anika's side and then Fosters. His side was way more serious. There became a creepy undertone as it went. Brady gave his version, along with Anika's friends. It was interesting to see their take on the situation as well. 

This young adult story was a fun and entertaining read. The authors sense of humor had me right from the start. It's was a nice change of pace from my regular crime and detective books. 

Thank you A.N. Senerella and Inkitt Publishing. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

"Forbidden Beginnings" Jacqueline's Tragedy by William Rubin


             Buy "Forbidden Beginnings" now on Amazon: click here!                          
 "Dad in a lifeless voice replies, "We don't know much right now, son, just that your mother was found badly beaten, lying on the street by the botanical gardens. She's in surgery at Jacobi Medical Center. We're heading there right now.".....

Dr. Chris Ravello is back, with the author giving the back story to what led Chris from surgeon, to a medical detective for the N.Y.P.D. His current story was told in the first book, "Forbidden Birth."

After Chris's mom is savagely beaten, his best friend, Kennedy, a police detective, helps Chris pursue the criminals. Kennedy is also the reason Chris is led to the job. Chris suffers from a medical condition that threatens his own health. Support of his wife, children, parents, and his best friend, give Chris a life surrounded by those who love and support him.

There is a missing family member that caught my attention. I was hoping that it would play into the story.

Will Chris and Kennedy find the men who beat his mother into a coma? There's a reason they're targeting a certain group of people. Chris and Kennedy have no intention of giving up until it's resolved.

I enjoy these well written, close knit, family of characters. You feel like you've stepped into their circle. Will Jackie recover? It will change Chris's future either way. It was hard to put down. Between the state of Jackie's condition, and Chris trying to find ways to save her, and Kennedy's pursuit of the guilty, it's an engrossing read. Start to finish.

Thank you William Rubin.

Monday, May 29, 2017

"Bad Mommy" by Tarryn Fisher

                                                                                   



"This was my future, this man. I loved him. He was everything I'd wanted when I was young and stupid, but instead settled for George..dull, monotone, silent.. George. He'd been waiting for me, only he didn't know it yet. The two of us carved out of the same block of wood. But, he was coming around. I could see it in his eyes. He used to glow when Jolene walked into the room, now he looked skeptical...bored. I'd be bored with her too."....

Darius and Jolene have a nice life. A nice house. Good jobs, and a beautiful daughter named Mercy. Fig Coxbury has a husband, and a lost child. Fig also has an obsession. Mercy should be hers. Darius should be hers as well. Now to get rid of the "Bad Mommy," and Fig can finally be happy.

We're talking crazy on a whole new level. Believable crazy is what makes this book so wild. I loved it from start to finish. The lengths Fig will go to be Jolene's friend, only to be planning to replace her. Is there anything Fig won't do? I kept expecting that some of this was made up in Fig's mind, only to have the story flip and be told from Darius's side, and then Jolene's. Not everyone is as nice as they seem.

Everyone has secrets and Jolene, Darius and Fig are no exceptions. I wish George would have been more of a character. I almost started to think he wasn't real. Was he or wasn't he? You'll have to read to find out for sure.

The last line of the book just got me. Absolutely loved it. Know any narcissists? You'll recognize them in Fig. The thing with crazy plans, they never really work out the way you think it will. Do they Fig?

"Resurrection America" by Jeff Gunhus

                                                                                            


"Things could have gone in a different direction for him, and Rick knew that. Bertie had taken a chance on him when he'd come back from the war a broken man, and not just because of the arm he was missing. Rumors followed him back into town, hushed conversations of a mission gone wrong in Istanbul. No one knew the details for sure, and no one was about to ask.".....


Sheriff Rick Johnson presides over the small town of "Resurrection, Colorado." First, the local mine has been surrounded and electric fenced. Suspicious that no one has notified the town of the mine being put back in use. Then on a day the town is celebrating a festival, armored vehicles, and men in hazmat suits arrive to quarantine his town. Fear of a deadly virus, has brought them to his door. 

Something suspicious keeps Rick, and his ex Cassie, from buying the official version of what's happening, in town and in the mine. As they discover holes in the "official story," something more sinister is at play. Everyone has been promised a vaccine. In 24 hours everything is supposed to be alright for everyone. Is it all a lie? What really lies beneath this takeover? 

Can Rick save his town? Can Cassie's scientific knowledge lead them out of this? How many lives will be lost? What is really happening in Resurrection? You'll find out that the one person running the show has his own secrets and plans. 

It was an exciting story line, right from the start. It will certainly make you think about the possibilities we could all face. Scary at times, action filled. A few surprises I didn't see coming. 

I enjoyed Rick's character. A former marine, having served in Afghanistan. His toughness, his no nonsense clear thoughts, the kind of guy you want watching over you, if something is threatening your life, and or safety. 

The future is coming. Things we can't even imagine. Overall a thrilling read! 

Thank you Jeff Gunhus







Monday, May 15, 2017

"Dangerous Ends" A Pete Fernandez Mystery by Alex Segura

                                                                                                
                                                         



"Part of being a private detective was accepting that you didn't have all the answers. You might not even after a case is closed. With that knowledge came the acceptance that you had to trust your instinct to guide you down the right path. Pete had felt a shiver of unease as he left the restaurant and Emily. It let him here. The idea of Rick being murdered wasn't the kind of information that would, under normal circumstances, make him rush into action. But something about the news report had stuck in Pete's head, buzzing around like a dream forgotten too soon after waking up."....


This is the third book in this hard boiled detective series. It's also a stand alone, with an interesting, and lots of action, story line. 

Pete Fernandez, P.I., is about to turn his little boring corner of paradise upside down. His partner, Kathy, talks him into taking on a case that nobody else wants to touch. An ex Miami police officer, serving prison time, for the murder of his wife. A murder, his daughter is sure he didn't commit. 

Off shoots of this story, include history of a man who dared to say no to Fidel Castro, causing him to flee to Miami. As you get further into the book, you realize how it relates to Pete. Eventually it relates even further to what he's trying to find out about the ex cop, Varela. 

Is the cop guilty, or was he really innocent all along? Can everyone accept the truth? Lives are in danger, unless Pete and Kathy can move fast enough to protect themselves. How does a drug gang, with ties to Cuba come into play?

Fast paced, and a few well placed surprises. Well written characters. This is always one of my favorite genres. Great story line that pulls you in, takes you for a spin, and tosses you out the other side with all the answers. It also leads you to what could possibly be the next in the series!

Thank you Alex Segura



Saturday, April 22, 2017

"Jeopardy in July" A Jamie Quinn Mystery by Barbara Venkataraman

                                                                                              
                      Buy "Jeopardy in July" now on Amazon: click here!



"After we said our good-byes, I sat in front of the dark computer screen lost in thought. How had my dad managed to make me feel so loved and so rejected all in a span of fifteen minutes? I was on an emotional roller coaster that I didn't remember buying tickets for. Here he had the chance to meet his only child, the one he didn't even know he had, and he blew it. The men in my life were stressing me out and I wished I knew what to do about it."........


Attorney Jamie Quinn is back in this fifth book in the "Jamie Quinn Cozy Mystery." This story finds her investigating deaths at a local nursing home.

With colorful characters and even more colorful friends, like Duke, can Jamie solve the mystery of what is happening at "La Vida Boca?" She may put herself, and her friends in jeopardy, as she gets closer to the answers. 

New friend, Jessie, is there to give her a hand. I love Duke. He's a one of a kind friend. Jessie is special in her own right. She is providing animal therapy to the nursing home residents, while Jamie is supposed to be providing a legal service to the residents. All is not what it seems. From mysterious deaths to a forged painting, there's a few mysteries to be solved. 

The author has a great sense of humor. Jamie is a great character. It's a nice comfortable kind of book. I really enjoyed it. Some nice surprises. Some endings to some story lines that have been a common thread in the other books. Overall, an entertaining and fun, "who done it" book.


Thank you Barbara Venkataraman