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