Review: Freedom’s Light

Freedom's Light

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble explores the mystery and the romance of the Revolutionary War.

A young lighthouse keeper must navigate the dangerous waters of revolution and one man’s obsession with her to find safe harbor with the sea captain she loves.

Hannah Thomas believes she’s escaped Galen Wright’s evil intentions by marrying an older lighthouse keeper. Seemingly safe in faraway Massachusetts, her world is upended when John is killed in one of the first battles of the Revolutionary War. Hannah is allowed to continue the difficult task of tending the twin lighthouses in John’s place, though she faces daily disapproval from John’s family. She thinks her loneliness will subside when her younger sister arrives, but she finds Lydia’s obsession with Galen only escalates the dangerous tides swirling around her.

A stormy night brings a shipwrecked sea captain to Hannah’s door, and though he is a Tory, her heart is as traitorous as the dark-eyed captain. Even though she discovers Birch Meredith isn’t the enemy he seemed at first, Hannah isn’t sure their love will ever see the light of freedom.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Freedom’s Light by Colleen Coble is an adventurous historical journey. Many risks are involved. Fighting from one danger, leads to another. Before Hannah realizes so is her heart. Physically and emotionally gripping, Freedom’s Light offers a peek into the revolutionary war and the life of women back then.

I was immediately drawn into the plot. A quickly escalating tale, with danger rising from every side. Safety seems to disappear once Hannah’s husband dies in the war. After that, she is busying trying to manage the lighthouses and her life. But with a creep after her, her sister’s crazy obsession, and her dead husband’s family giving her a hard time, it seems impossible. Then an unexpected stranger shows up, and whatever strength was holding up is coming undone. Despite the trouble and her own fears, Hannah still goes strong. It was difficult not to be impressed. Overall, I enjoyed reading this story.

Review: Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake

Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake (A Death by Chocolate Mystery #2)

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The island fishing village of Eastport, Maine, has plenty of salty local character. It also has a sweet side, thanks to Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree, her best friend Ellie, and their waterfront bake shop, The Chocolate Moose. But when island life is disrupted by the occasional killer, Jake and Ellie put their chocolate treats aside to make sure justice is served.

This summer, Eastport’s favorite lovebirds, kindergarten teacher Sharon Sweetwater and Coast Guard Captain Andy Devine, are getting married. The gala reception is sure to be the fête of the season, especially with a wedding-cake-sized whoopie pie courtesy of The Chocolate Moose. For Jake and Ellie, the custom-ordered confection will finally reel in some much-needed profits. But the celebratory air, and sweet smell of success, are ruined by foul murder.

When Sharon’s bitter ex-boyfriend Toby is poisoned with an arsenic-laced milkshake, Andy is jailed as the prime suspect and the wedding is cancelled, whoopie pie and all. Then Sharon makes a shocking confession—one that sounds like a fishy attempt to get Andy off the hook. Now both the bride and groom are behind bars. And with the fate of The Chocolate Moose at stake, it’s up to Jake and Ellie to catch a poisonous predator before someone else sips their last dessert.

Includes a Recipe!

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake is a fun cozy mystery. Two ladies with bakery think a milkshake of theirs was the murder weapon. Yet as it turns out…it really wasn’t. But they won’t know that until much later. A man nobody liked is killed. Leaving the main characters worried and in a much bigger hole…than they started with. Jake feels like giving up on their business, while Ellie is still hopeful. But with a local murder to solve things quickly escalate out of control.

The characters were realistic. There was no emotional attachment where I felt like cheering for them. I did feel bad about their sinking business. The plot had mystery. It was entertaining. Just not the omg, I have to finish this tonight or else. Sarah Graves brought themes of family, friends, and intrigue to her novel. It had enough to spark an interest of whodunit and why.

 

 

Review: A Catered Cat Wedding by Isis Crawford

A Catered Cat Wedding

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Sisters Bernie and Libby Simmons run a catering business in their upstate New York town, and they’re ready and willing to handle any wedding–even one where the bride and groom have tails . . .

Susie Katz is known as the crazy cat lady of Longely, New York, and goes out of her way to earn the title, right down to her cat T-shirts and porcelain Hello Kitties. She’s a fanatic for anything feline. Humans, not so much.

So when she decides to put up a tent on her property and hold an extravagant wedding ceremony for her two Russian blues, she makes sure to include a few two-legged guests–primarily to raise some hackles. All her favorite enemies will be there: her bird-loving neighbor, a rival cat breeder, a local animal rights activist, and the niece and nephew who stand to inherit her considerable fortune . . . if she doesn’t spend it all on cat tchotchkes first. Susie can’t wait for them all to watch as Boris and Natasha slink up the aisle in their very expensive diamond-studded collars, before everyone starts digging in to the poached salmon and caviar provided for the occasion by Bernie and Libby.

But chaos erupts when a wedding gift is unwrapped and a mischief of mice jump out of the box–followed by the disappearance of all the pampered partygoers. Just a few hours later, Susie is stabbed in the back while searching for her missing kitties near the now-empty tent–and it’s up to the Simmons sisters to sniff out the killer . . .

Includes Original Recipes for You to Try!

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

A Catered Cat Wedding by Isis Crawford is a novel filled with humor, cats, and murder. An older woman is obsessed with her cats. She ends up spending a fortune on a cat wedding for two of her most prized cats. Yet just as the weirdest wedding is about to unfold, everything goes wrong. From there, the two sisters catering the wedding are taking care of a mice problem only to find the cat owner stabbed to death. This novel was full of laughs and utter chaos. I found the cat owner strange and her murder interesting. I loved the niece and nephew of the crazy cat lover. And the two main cats made this story even more fun to follow. I did not like Suzie, the cat owner, at all. Her personality and way with spending made me dislike her. The sisters catering the wedding, Bernie and Libby were kind even to Suzie. The plot was crazy but the murder inside caught my full attention. I enjoyed reading this new mystery.

 

 

 

Review: The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs by Janet Peery

The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Janet Peery’s first novel, The River Beyond the World, was a National Book Award finalist in 1996. Acclaimed for her gorgeous writing and clear-eyed gaze into the hearts of people, Peery now returns with her second novel, The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs.

On a summer evening in the blue-collar town of Amicus, Kansas, the Campbell family gathers for a birthday dinner for their ailing patriarch, town judge Abel Campbell, prepared and hosted by their still-hale mother Hattie. But when Billy, the youngest sibling—with a history of addiction, grand ideas, and misdemeanors—passes out in his devil’s food cake, the family takes up the unfinished business of Billy’s sobriety.

Billy’s misadventures have too long consumed their lives, in particular Hattie’s, who has enabled his transgressions while trying to save him from Abel’s disappointment. As the older children—Doro, Jesse, ClairBell, and Gideon—contend with their own failures, they compete for the approval of the elderly parents they adore, but can’t quite forgive.

With knowing humor and sure-handed storytelling, Janet Peery reveals a family at its best and worst, with old wounds and new, its fractures and feuds, and yet its unbreakable bonds.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs by Janet Peery is a story of family. Families are the center of the community. This one displayed how a family struggled yet still supported and loved one another. It was heart felt, emotional, and entertaining. The funny part was that the mother seemed to head the family even though she feared how her husband would react to their son’s behavior. Grief, mischief, and and unconditional love are shown here. It was amazing to follow them all. The characters gave this book a three-dimensional touch. It felt like I knew the family for years. Overall, I recommend this dramatic yet beautiful story to all.

Review: The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard

The Atomic City Girls

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

In the bestselling tradition of Hidden Figures and The Wives of Los Alamos, comes a riveting novel of the everyday women who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II

“What you see here, what you hear here, what you do here, let it stay here.”

In November 1944, eighteen-year-old June Walker boards an unmarked bus, destined for a city that doesn’t officially exist. Oak Ridge, Tennessee has sprung up in a matter of months—a town of trailers and segregated houses, 24-hour cafeterias, and constant security checks. There, June joins hundreds of other young girls operating massive machines whose purpose is never explained. They know they are helping to win the war, but must ask no questions and reveal nothing to outsiders.

The girls spend their evenings socializing and flirting with soldiers, scientists, and workmen at dances and movies, bowling alleys and canteens. June longs to know more about their top-secret assignment and begins an affair with Sam Cantor, the young Jewish physicist from New York who oversees the lab where she works and understands the end goal only too well, while her beautiful roommate Cici is on her own mission: to find a wealthy husband and escape her sharecropper roots. Across town, African-American construction worker Joe Brewer knows nothing of the government’s plans, only that his new job pays enough to make it worth leaving his family behind, at least for now. But a breach in security will intertwine his fate with June’s search for answers.

When the bombing of Hiroshima brings the truth about Oak Ridge into devastating focus, June must confront her ideals about loyalty, patriotism, and war itself.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard gave a realistic yet deep look into women and their roles during war especially, in 1944. The story told how two women who have goals go about obtaining them. But not all ends up well. June wanted to learn more about their missions and is successful. Her friend Cici wanted a husband and she had for a time but then lost even that. One got what she wanted while the other sort of lost out on hers. But even when Cici’s life ended up a disaster she somehow holds herself up and keeps moving forward. I liked that about her. Then, there was the African American mistreatment that was explored. I felt as though I was transported back in time. The poor group suffered greatly at the hands of the white people. It hurt to watch as Joe lived in fear. He worked to protect his family and keep them safe. I felt overjoyed to see how Joe and his family survive through the tough times in their world. It made this book so much more than just a work of fiction. It combined history and strong themes to make an entertaining yet emotional story. All three main characters were brave, bold, and good people. It showed how they moved forward despite what life brought them. They made lemonade out of lemons. Overall, it was a good read.

Review: The Feed by Nick Clark Windo

The Feed

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: 

Set in a post-apocalyptic world as unique and vividly imagined as those of Mad Max and The Girl with All the Gifts, a startling and timely debut that explores what it is to be human and what it truly means to be connected in the digital age.

IT MAKES US. IT DESTROYS US. NOW WE MUST LEARN TO LIVE WITHOUT IT.

The Feed is accessible everywhere, by everyone, at any time. It instantaneously links us to all information and global events as they break. Every interaction, every emotion, every image can be shared through it; it is the essential tool everyone relies on to know and understand the thoughts and feelings of partners, parents, friends, children, colleagues, bosses, employees . . . in fact, of anyone and everyone else in the world.

Tom and Kate use the Feed, but Tom has resisted its addiction, which makes him suspect to his family. After all, his father created it. But that opposition to constant connection serves Tom and Kate well when the Feed collapses after a horrific tragedy shatters the world as they know it.

The Feed’s collapse, taking modern society with it, leaves people scavenging to survive. Finding food is truly a matter of life and death. Minor ailments, previously treatable, now kill. And while the collapse has demolished the trappings of the modern world, it has also eroded trust. In a world where survival of the fittest is a way of life, there is no one to depend upon except yourself . . . and maybe even that is no longer true.

Tom and Kate have managed to protect themselves and their family. But then their six-year-old daughter, Bea, goes missing. Who has taken her? How do you begin to look for someone in a world without technology? And what happens when you can no longer even be certain that the people you love are really who they claim to be?

Rating: 3-stars

Review:

The Feed by Nick Clark Windo is emotional dystopian story. Imagine the world as you know, being connected to the internet. Everything is controlled by what humans do on this internet, aka The Feed. Humans are the source of energy for the feed. Apparently, none of the characters or humans could survive without the Internet. It was needed just a highly as the air required for one’s lungs. Take the internet away and society was doomed. But was it already doomed before it collapsed?

So, this story explores the depth in which society relies and on lives on The Feed. An internet thing that keeps everyone and everything going. It crashes and everyone falls apart. Destruction, chaos, and war among individuals who once loved each other…are depicted on these pages. I couldn’t find a connection to the characters. Their world was confusing and dark. The world really was obsessed with The Feed, if they could not learn to live without it.  This made me wonder if our society would go this extreme one day. Absolutely, scary fact to think about…but it left me wondering. Other than the couple who loss their daughter the story felt flat and repetitive. It did not capture my interest the way I thought it would have. I was expecting for a more realistic doom day relating to technology and society. Some of the fictional twists, just did not make sense. Overall, The Feed was okay but not the best.

Review: The Hunger by Alma Katsu

The Hunger

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere.

Tamsen Donner must be a witch. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the pioneers to the brink of madness. They cannot escape the feeling that someone–or something–is stalking them. Whether it was a curse from the beautiful Tamsen, the choice to follow a disastrous experimental route West, or just plain bad luck–the 90 men, women, and children of the Donner Party are at the brink of one of the deadliest and most disastrous western adventures in American history.

While the ill-fated group struggles to survive in the treacherous mountain conditions–searing heat that turns the sand into bubbling stew; snows that freeze the oxen where they stand–evil begins to grow around them, and within them. As members of the party begin to disappear, they must ask themselves “What if there is something waiting in the mountains? Something disturbing and diseased…and very hungry?”

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Hunger by Alma Katsu is an interesting yet dark journey. A moment in history known as the Donner Party has been relived and retold here. Survival is key. Each member of that doomed party went through hell. Back then, traveling was difficult if not impossible. Timing was not on the Donner Party’s side. Their hardships soon led to chaos, mistrust, and death. Alma Katsu made this historical fiction come alive with a suspenseful voice. A sadness clung to every page. The intensity of the plot grew and it was hard to let go of the book. I felt sorry for the characters and enjoyed following them on this trail. The plot was steady but packed with the right amount of details and action to keep the pages turned. Overall, I would recommend it to those looking for a scary yet entertaining tale.

Review: Blythe of the Gates by Leah Erickson

blythe-cover-hirez.jpg

 

 

 

 

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Blythe of the Gates by Leah Erickson is a deep emotional story that pulled me in from the start. The main characters went through a life of hell before they got to where they were. A young baby boy left in blood at a nunnery, was then working on a farm where he was abused, and then left as an orphan. He soon worked in a carnival where he meet an older man. One that had magic. The magic drew him in unlike anything else. It held promise of a better, happier life. Yet, the things we want in life are not always what we need. The boy becomes the magician. He meets our lady protagonist. From there, she has lived in fear of her husband. A sadness swept over me  like an ice-cube going down my back. It was depressing. She ended up living a rich lifestyle but was abused by the magician. Her happiness sapped out of her. Until, Sean…a man as ordinary as her. He makes her happy but not perfectly happy. Things spiral out of control and our lady find herself in one chaotic mess after another.

Blythe of the Gates featured themes such as marriage, abuse, and moving forward. Luna and her husband were both lost souls looking for happiness. After reading this novel, I am still not sure if Luna will ever find it. Her husband managed to  find a temporary form of happiness but it still never gave him the full satisfaction that he desired. This story was epic. The pages were dark, engaging, and mysterious…I enjoyed reading it. Overall, I recommend this book to fans of Unfortunate Events. It has the same resemblance but better.

 

 

Review: An Enlightening Quiche by Eva Pasco

An Enlightening Quiche

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Two headstrong women in their forties coming from different moral directions clash:

AUGUSTA BERGERON: Dysfunctional. Deceptive. Demure. More than meets the eye at face value, and stuck in a holding pattern, the town siren engages in reckless behavior she attributes to maternal abandonment, until she eggs-humes her mother’s quiche recipe.

LINDSAY METCALFE: Pedigreed. Privileged. Proper. Mourning the recent death of her mother, the historian-in-residence hailing from Boston, sets out to preserve the legacy of an impoverished mill, but gets more than she bargains for when taking a self-centered adolescent under her wing.

Their alternating first-person narratives relate how an heirloom quiche recipe and baking rivalry between two bosom buddies redress erroneous assumptions, misdeeds, unleashed secrets, and malicious intent—all of which wreak havoc, altering the lives of those affected from the fallout of a tragedy.

Rating: 4-stars

Review: 

An Enlightening Quiche by Eva Pasco is a contemporary fiction novel set for women everywhere. The drama of the two ladies inside is enough to keep readers, like myself, interested. A rivalry between bakers is fun to follow. The plot quickly escalates. It grew more intense with every page. There was a lot of depth added to this tale. This made it rich and more realistic. I found it quirky yet emotionally engaging to read. Each woman has something to add and take from this story. I love anything that digs into food, community, and secrets. The writer easily gave me the side of each protagonist. I could figure what each one was thinking. Their perspectives showed me how they might proceed with what was happening. It made it easier to follow their actions, and it made me feel like I was there witnessing it all. People can jump to conclusions all the time, but overcoming the obstacles and differences made this a good book. Overall, I would recommend it to other readers.

Review: Jealousy by Nancy Bush

Jealousy

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

HATRED LEADS TO OBSESSION . . .

It’s taken time for the plan to unfold, years spent waiting, watching, hating. . . . And after the first victim, the killing gets easier and easier . . .

OBSESSION LEADS TO JEALOUSY . . .

The Crissmans, owners of Crissman & Wolfe department store, were once one of Portland’s most powerful families. There’s still enough fortune left to sow mistrust between Lucy, her bohemian sister Layla, their brother Lyle, and his grasping wife Kate. When a charity event at the Crissman Lodge ends in a fatal poisoning, Lucy becomes a prime suspect. But the truth is even more twisted, and Lucy can’t be sure which of her family is being targeted . . . or who to fear.

AND JEALOUSY LEADS TO MURDER . . .

Renowned defense attorney Dallas Denton has been hired to clear Lucy’s name, unaware of the secret that ties them together or of the deep cracks in the Crissman legacy. Someone is ready to eliminate every obstacle to get what they most covet, and prove that envy runs deeper
than blood . . .

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Nancy Bush is the new Mary Higgins and J.D. Robb. Jealousy is a new mystery/thriller that quickly spirals out of control. Secrets are coming out from the grave. A family is tearing apart. Murder, blackmail, and mistrust add to the suspense. I liked the fact that I wouldn’t be able to predict who or what was really going on…but the pacing seemed steady no matter how much drama was added.

Jealousy is about a family that has and still is experiencing a lot of issues. A father who never let wife leave him. Kids who thought their mother left them. A family will that has been hidden and another one was recently found. Secrets make for a lot of trouble. The siblings are struggling to trust each other when they really need to…danger is closing in around them. It’s only a matter of time before more are killed. Death hangs in the air…as the family scatters to catch up.

Overall, it was a good read. I didn’t see the ending coming. The plot was intense and emotional.

Review: Bells, Spells, and Murders

Bells, Spells, and Murders (Witch City Mystery #7)

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Someone’s spreading deadly holiday cheer through Salem, Mass . . . 

Lee Barrett has landed her dream job at Salem’s WICH-TV. As the new field reporter, she’ll be covering events live as they’re unfolding. Next on her holiday checklist is an interview with the beloved chairman of a popular walking tour through Salem’s historic districts. But it may be his ghost walking this snowy Noel season after Lee finds him murdered in his stately offices, bloody Santa hat askew.

With her police detective boyfriend working the case and a witch’s brew of suspects–including some bell-ringing Santas–Lee chases down leads aided and abetted by her wise cat O’Ryan and some unsettling psychic visions of her own. When a revealing clue leads to another dead body, not even a monster blizzard can stop Lee from inching closer to the truth . . . and a scoop that could spell her own demise this killer Christmas.

Praise for the Witch City Mysteries

“Perfectly relaxing and readable.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This rewarding paranormal cozy series debut will have Victoria Laurie fans lining up to follow.”
Library Journal

“An entertaining story that keeps readers guessing until the very twisted and eerie end.” —RT Book Reviews

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Bells, Spells, and Murders by Carol J. Perry is another grand adventure full of mayhem. Murder, secrets, and danger lie here. It’s up to Lee Barrett once more to solve another murder investigation. She has a fiery personality that is fun to follow. Her curiosity and determination to solve a case is crazy sometimes dangerous. She is always finding herself in a difficult position. But in the end there is her boyfriend, Detective Pete, there to come to her rescue. It was funny, sweet, and engaging. I could not stop reading this novel. The mystery was good. So many possible suspects that I was guessing the whole way…I liked the red herrings that the main character dropped for readers like me. It was enjoyable. I am hooked.

Bells, Spells, and Murders is highly recommended for all cozy mystery lovers. For fans of  Angie Fox this is a must read. I loved the main character’s visions and the presence of cats running around…plus, there’s a bit of romance inside, too.

Review: Wonderblood by Julia Whicker

Wonderblood

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

It’s 500 years in the future, and a mad cow-like disease called “Bent Head” has killed off most of the U.S. population. Those remaining turn to magic and sacrifice to cleanse the Earth.

Wonderblood is Julia Whicker’s fascinating literary debut, set in a barren United States, an apocalyptic wasteland where warring factions compete for control of the land in strange and dangerous carnivals. A mad cow-like disease called “Bent Head” has killed off millions. Those who remain worship the ruins of NASA’s space shuttles, and Cape Canaveral is their Mecca. Medicine and science have been rejected in favor of magic, prophecy, and blood sacrifice.

When traveling marauders led by the bloodthirsty Mr. Capulatio invade her camp, a young girl named Aurora is taken captive as his bride and forced to join his band on their journey to Cape Canaveral. As war nears, she must decide if she is willing to become her captor’s queen. But then other queens emerge, some grotesque and others aggrieved, and not all are pleased with the girl’s ascent. Politics and survival are at the centre of this ravishing novel.

Rating: 3-stars

Review:

Wonderblood by Julia Whicker is a frightening, gross, and devastating tale. Loss, grief, and chaos loomed ahead in this read. The world went from how we knew it to one unrecognizable to me. Death. blood, gore, and sacrifice were everywhere. The story was strange. It was worse than any apocalypse novel that I have ever read. I couldn’t tell if they were any heroes, or if they were all just a bunch of lost souls too damaged by the destruction of their world. I would recommend this book if one is into the weird and unforgettable darkness that consumes long time afterwards. Wonderblood was a very dark read.

Review: Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to Storyton Hall, Virginia, where book lovers travel from near and far to enjoy the singular comforts of the Agatha Christie Tea Room, where they can discuss the merits of their favorite authors no matter how deadly the topic . . .

With her twins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway, back in school, Jane Steward can finally focus on her work again—managing Storyton Hall, and breaking ground on the resort’s latest attraction: a luxurious, relaxing spa named in honor of Walt Whitman. But when the earth is dug up to start laying the spa’s foundation, something else comes to the surface—a collection of unusual bones and the ragged remnants of a very old book. The attendees of the Rare Book Conference are eager to assist Jane with this unexpected historical mystery—until a visitor meets an untimely end in the Henry James Library. As the questions—and suspects—start stacking up, Jane will have to uncover a killer before more unhappy endings ensue . . .

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams is an exciting adventure. It is perfect for bookworms of all ages. So many literary references and book talk that I could not stop reading it. I love books. Jane does too. She owns Storyton Hall. Inside it, there is a library with dozens of mysterious books waiting to be read. Jane is planning on building a luxurious spa to attract people. Yet on the day of building, a body is found with a book. A murder mystery that spirals out of control. The who and why kept me intrigued. Everything in this novel is booked theme. Even the spa is named after a famous writer. I can easily relate to Jane. A single mother of two boys, twins. Double trouble and full of mischief…yet the danger and real trouble have just begun…

Ellery Adams is a master of suspense, intrigue, and mystery. Her characters are interesting. Some are quirky and older than Jane. The cat, Muffet Cat, is like a stray cat in a way. He lives in Sotryton Hall but mostly keeps to himself unless he wants someone’s food. I loved how the cat was defended in this book. Even though one mystery is solved another is still a cold case. Jane is tempted to figure it out…and I cannot wait to see what happens next. Adventure, action, and humor can be found here, in Murder in the Locked Library. I enjoyed every moment. So many twists and turns…overall, I recommend this cozy mystery to all.

Review: Confessions of a Red Herring by Dana Dratch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

As a reporter, she’s used to covering the news.
Now she’s the headline.

Alex Vlodnachek has been a reporter for 12 years, a P.R. rep for three months, and a murder suspect for all of 24 hours. When her agency’s double-dealing CEO is stabbed, scheming co-workers cast the new redhead as a compelling red herring. The story is media catnip—especially her salacious nickname: Vlod the Impaler.

Even Alex has to admit she looks guilty.

Out of a job and under suspicion, Alex is running low on cash, when she’s visited by a second disaster: her family. Soon her tiny bungalow is bursting with her nearest and not-so-dearest. To keep herself out of jail—and save what’s left of her sanity—Alex returns to her reporting roots. She goes undercover to reclaim her life, break the story, and unmask a murderer. Pretty much in that order.

What she doesn’t know: The killer also has a to-do list.
And Alex is on it.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Confessions of a Red Herring by Dana Dratch is the first to a new cozy mystery series. Murder, mayhem, and suspense all wrapped in one great plot.  I instantly took a liking to the main character, Alex Vlondnachek. Her vibrant nature called to me. She’s the woman I see myself being best friends with…she has seen,,heard, and witness enough craziness to tell anyone. Her work life is total chaos. The employers have no sens of morals and Alex seems to hold up the fort with professional attitude and decor. The things they expect her to do…well, I can definitely understand her frustration. Alex is framed for a crime she didn’t commit. Her whole life went from handling crazies at work to being put on the spotlight as a murderer. Alex being a former reporter must find out who did commit the murder she’s being framed for and why. That’s where her friend, Trip, came…together they can maybe find the killer before it’s too late.

Dana Dratch combines family drama and humor in a way that was intriguing. I was rolling my eyes and laughing so hard, I cried. Alex’s family isssues is hilarious. Her youngest brother sells his farm and marries a girl without having money, a job, or a place to live in…luckily her other brother is a lawyer and can help her with legal advice. Being convicted of a murder is not something Alex took lightly. The cast of characters were easy to like. They felt real. There was no easy road for Alex or her family which made this book even better. I love a plot that can hold my attention to the end and be realistic, too. Confessions of a Red Herring is engaging, funny, and full, of adventure. I recommend this mystery to all readers.

 

Review: The Flower Girl Murder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Daisy Burns was a likable, devoted wife and mother who spent her spare time volunteering at school events. Everyone loved Daisy. So why would someone shoot her three times and dump her body behind a Planned Parenthood chapter in North Carolina?

With no witnesses and few leads, Raleigh detective Marc Allen turns to the press for help—specifically, veteran news anchor Lancaster Heart. Heart agrees to broadcast the police department’s plea for information in his nightly newscasts.

Elderly viewer and longtime social worker Blanche Avery is positive she recognizes the photograph on the television as an older version of her friend Daisy— the young, heavily pregnant girl she met years before who made the decision to give her child up for adoption.

When Tanner Goochly Jr.—a member of a notorious crime family—becomes the victim of another point-blank shooting, Allen races to discover the connection between the murders. Could it be that Daisy was somehow involved with an illegal enterprise, or was she hiding something else, another secret to be discovered?

The body count is rising, and the suspect pool is widening. As Allen’s investigation reaches a fever pitch, he realizes that a mother’s choice could have killer consequences.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

The Flower Girl Murder by Keith Hirshland is another crime investigation. A murder that goes unsolved until a clue pops up…from there I was hooked. Not everything is what it appeared to be. A young woman who appears to be a decent woman is found dead. No clues as to why or who did it. Then, another body is found and the detective is racing to find out why and how they’re connected. Two murder victims with an apparent opposite lifestyle are now dead. The race to find the killer is exciting. Crime, secrets, and lies keep the detective, Marc Allen busy. But then someone remembers something…and from there all hell breaks loose. There was a lot of action, intrigue, and suspense to keep me entertained. The who done it kept echoing in my mind…guessing happened a lot. Keith Hirshland is a talented writer. He made it impossible to stop reading his book. The detective is a determined fellow who gives his all into solving his investigations. I really liked this character. Overall, this was a great read. I recommend it to all.

Review: Sirens by Joseph Knox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

 

“Razor-sharp urban noir…very special indeed.” — Lee Child 

 

The breathtakingly propulsive and stunningly assured debut thriller, perfect for readers of Tana French, Don Winslow and Dennis Lehane

The mission is suicide.

Infiltrating the inner circle of enigmatic criminal Zain Carver is dangerous enough. Pulling it off while also rescuing Isabelle Rossiter, a runaway politician’s daughter, from Zain’s influence? Impossible. That’s why Aidan Waits is the perfect man for the job. Disgraced, emotionally damaged, and despised by his superiors. In other words, completely expendable.

But Aidan is a born survivor. And as he works his way deep into Zain’s shadowy world, he finds that nothing is as it seems. Zain is a mesmerizing, Gatsby-esque figure who lures young women into his orbit–women who have a bad habit of turning up dead. But is Zain really responsible? And will Isabelle be next?

Before long, Aidan finds himself in over his head, cut loose by his superiors, and dangerously attracted to the wrong woman.

How can he save the girl if he can’t even save himself?

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Sirens by Joseph Knox is a dark web that left my adrenaline spiking. Fast-paced with tons of action, this novel is a must read. Aidan is the main protagonist who is taken into a world he hardly knows and is alone to continuing where he left off…criminals, murder, and not enough clues left Aidan helpless. He kept digging and finding himself in situations that made me hold me breath. I was not sure what Aidan was going to find but only knew that it would get bigger and more intense as the plot flew by. The pages were engaging. Aidan is recruited into helping a young woman from being the next victim. Whether or not he accomplished this, is for me no to tell. But I will say, that is was fun to read.

Review: Club Dead (book 3)

Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse, #3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Sookie’s boyfriend has been very distant–in another state, distant. Now she’s off to Mississippi to mingle with the underworld at Club Dead–a little haunt where the vampire elite go to chill out. But when she finally finds Bill–caught in an act of betrayal–she’s not sure whether to save him…or sharpen some stakes.

Rating: 3-stars

Review:

Deadly…

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris was entertaining but not as engaging as I had hoped. Quirky characters and a messy yet complicated plot. I wasn’t sure what was happening or how it was going to end. Vampires, werewolves, blood, and humans are all included in this wide cast of characters. None of them actually get along well.

Review: Living Dead in Dallas (book 2)

Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse, #2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

When a vampire asks cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse to use her telepathic skills to find another missing vampire, she agrees under one condition: the vampires must promise to behave and let the humans that are involved to go unharmed. Easier said than done. All it takes is one delicious blond and one small mistake for things to turn deadly.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Quirky, deadly, and mysterious…

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris is the second novel in this series. Vampires are usually romantic. Yet in this book, the vampires seems demanding, powerful, and geeky. There really isn’t a sexy hot image of being with the vampires in this series. Humans can end up dead unlike other novels. Charlaine Harris combines the vampire and human world into a murder mystery series. I found it intriguing. The plot is completely different and kept me guessing. There is some romance, sex, and other adult things.

 

Review: Dead Until Dark (book 1)

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out…. Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn’t such a bright idea.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Funny, quirky, and intriguing…

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris is the first novel in the Sookie Stackhouse series. I found it bizarre, quirky, and entertaining. Murder, mayhem, and paranormal characters all in one great read. Sookie is a good looking blonde human being who can read minds and see vampires who glow. She fascinates Bill. Bill is a vampire, who has just moved to Sookie’s town to settle down. Both fascinate each other. Soon, their friendship becomes more. Sookie is appalled by the other vampires and feels distant with Sam. It was interesting to follow these characters as their problems escalated and their relationship developed. The plot was steady. The characters felt real. Overall, it was a good paranormal romance.

 

Review: The Accidential Vampire (book 7)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Ever since an accident turned her into a knockout vamp, Elvi Black’s been catching her z’s in a coffin, staying out of the sun, and giving up garlic. She knows there’s more to being undead than what she saw in Dracula, but she can’t very well ask her mortal friends about proper biting etiquette. But when her neighbors placed a personal ad for her in the local paper, she never imagined she’d meet Victor Argeneau, a vampire who could have his pick of any woman… dead or alive.

Rich, powerful, and drop-dead gorgeous, Victor’s the perfect man for a novice neck-biter like Elvi. He’s willing to teach her everything he knows, but he’ll have to do it fast. Someone’s out to put a stake through her new vamp life, and only Victor can keep her safe and satisfied for all eternity.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Fast, funny, and sexy…

The Accidental Vampire by Lynsay Sands is the seventh amazing adventure in this hot series. I cannot stop reading about these characters. They feel real. Quirky, funny, and they are easy to relate to. I love how they struggle with the same issues the rest of us in the real world do. That just made me love this plot even more. I laughed so hard, I cried. The emotional journey was crazy. The ending was my most favorite. Read the book, and I guarantee you will see why the ending was the best part. I couldn’t stop laughing! Overall, I recommend this paranormal romance to all.

 

Review: Regolith



Synopsis:

Elle is a sales superstar at Aspen-Hayward Inc., a company specializing in consumer products and medical supplies. To her surprise, she is hand-picked by the company’s board to run the Research and Development department with an impossible mandate: deliver an industry-leading adaptive learning program to anticipate consumer needs, or else. Aspen-Hayward—languishing in the shadow of its nearest and largest competitor, Rossigland Inc.—is wagering its future on Elle’s leadership.

Meanwhile, Daniel and Greggory work for a security team responsible for loss prevention along Rossigland’s far-reaching and treacherous supply chain. During a routine delivery run, Daniel and Gregg encounter an unusual threat that leads them through a wild ride of adventure.

Elle hires Noam, a developer-savant who quickly brings her department to the verge of something great: the world’s first artificial consciousness, capable of creating humanity’s most needed solutions— saltwater agriculture, a cure for aging and cancer, and sustainable energy.

What none of them know is how their two worlds will collide with an impact of unprecedented scale.

Characters

Elle

Ellison Cole is a tough young woman: a joy with friends but tenacious at the office. She relies heavily on her underachieving but lovable confidant, Cy. Elle has a complicated past and her present becomes more conflicted after meeting Victoria, a more tenured executive at Aspen.

Daniel Brevier

Daniel is a field manager for Rossigland security. If there is one person you can count on to solve a problem, Daniel is your guy—but don’t expect him to avoid making a mess in the process.

Noam

Noam Cohen is much more than a developer and has effortlessly excelled since a young age. He is nothing short of a prodigy at his job and is “a natural” when the team is off-duty.

George McPherson

George is Rossigland’s low-profile COO and, over the course of the book, emerges as much more important than he first appears.

Major Themes

Chaos vs. Order

Evolution: Does a superintelligence present a risk or a benefit to humanity, or both?

What does it mean to be human? Is our purpose to be purely objective, or is humanity defined by an imperfect but vibrant subjective experience?

Advanced physics: an abundance of Earth-like planets in our galaxy; quantized super-vacuum theory related to the AI’s power once born.

Ellison Cole and Aspen-Hayward

Aspen-Hayward wants to rise to the level of sophistication of Rossigland Inc., a larger and much more successful competitor. Senior leadership promotes Elle to bring a sales-oriented focus to Research and Development. She hires Noam and later directs him to take the program to the limit, even if her methods and motivations are compromised in many ways. Then things become complicated.

Daniel Brevier


Daniel and his crew suffer an attack and soon gain valuable intelligence from the crew of another ship. Greg returns to his family, while Daniel smells danger and wants a piece of the action.

Action he finds in a series of adventures, at a classified armory to a battle at an energy processing facility to the brink of an epic battle for humanity’s survival.

The Two Stories Converge


We later discover the problem Daniel discovered is much larger than anyone had imagined while Elle and Noam struggle to realign their project. The two stories weave together in an intricate and beautiful conclusion that will leave you wanting more.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

H. William Glenbrook has masterfully woven two tales combining them into a super novel. Each story has its own set of characters and consequences. Both of these will soon be emerging together. Suspenseful, intense, and well-written. I haven’t read a novel like this one. There is a lot of action happening. Trouble ahead. Regolith is like having Star Wars collide into our real world.  The danger is a huge threat. No one will just realize the extent until they’re pressured into trying to stop it. The writer has combined business, technology, and fantasy into one interesting story. Like with all businesses choices are made and it can break or make the people involved. The plot is clever and fast-paced. Regolith is full of action and intrigue. It kept me keep reading until I reached the last page. The characters are the most fascinating group, ever. Smart, savvy, and bold. Their personalities make them believable. H. William Glenbrook has taken the impossible and made into something that could be possible. Quite frightening. The reality of the future…will keep readers engaged. Overall, I highly recommend this book, to all. 

Review: The Insides of Banana Skins

Synopsis:

Sukey is 17. It is 1967 and she moves into a crowded North London flat: her bed is cushions on the floor of the kitchen.Kitty, the official tenant of the flat who Sukey knows from when they were both at college, occupies the main bedroom. She works in a pub, steals money and other people’s husbands. Currently Dennis, a creepy older man who is estranged from his wife, shares her bed. 

Also living in the flat is Jaz, Sukey’s best friend. He is studying drama and is a virgin. He shares a room with Beaky, another student, Minnie who works in an alternative food shop, Ted, her boyfriend, and Malc a drug dealer. They drink, use dope and take LSD. When there’s nothing else available, they smoke the insides of banana skins.

The novel starts a few months earlier as Sukey is dumped by her first boyfriend. Jaz comes to find her and helps her move into the flat. Sukey is aimless, drifting, trying out drugs and men. She’s unable and unwilling to give her life direction. 

Sukey makes friend with Bridie, an Irish woman who lives in the ground floor flat with two children. Separated from her husband, she works part time as a prostitute. Their landlord and his family occupy the top floor. He is an Indian man whose wife speaks no English. 

Relationships in the flat change. Malc meets the beautiful Jojo and goes to live with her. Ted leaves Minnie. Tessa, Sukey’s friend from school, comes to stay and after she and Beaky sleep together they find a place of their own and move out. 

Sukey meets Joe, who works in a strip club. Joe introduces Sukey and Jaz to Vic, a pornographer and his wife, Jules, a stunning-looking woman and successful potter. They live in a beautiful house, have two young children and indulge in unusual sexual practices. 

Through Joe, Kitty and Tessa become strippers. Kitty also poses for Vic, who has a market for various types of obscene photos. Minnie and Sukey, who have barely tolerated each other, become friends.

Jojo moves into the flat, and although she’s still seeing Malc, has insisted that they live apart until he stops taking heroin. Malc now shares with Ted. The flat is rent-free but in return both men have to have sex with its elderly woman owner. 

One night Malc, drunk in Piccadilly Circus, is run over and killed. Soon after, Jules commits suicide. Tessa finds a new boyfriend, a fire-eater who up till now has been homosexual. Beaky leaves her. Kitty disappears.

In the absence of Kitty, Sukey takes charge of the flat. Ted and Jojo get together and Jaz tells Sukey that there’s a man he’s kissed and how he thinks he wants to be with him. 

Weeks after she’s disappeared. Kitty’s body is found. She’s been murdered. It is an unsettling time. Sukey begins to tire of her aimless drifting existence, but she can’t imagine how else to live.

Vic is arrested for Kitty’s murder. Although stunned, the group living in the flat carry on. There is however a sense that the old life is over with new ones starting. Jaz begins an affair with Stevie, Tessa’s homosexual boyfriend. Tessa, now pregnant, moves back into the flat and Jaz goes to live with Stevie. Minnie is negotiating a deal with the owner of the shop where she works, she has ambitions to be a businesswoman. 

The landlord decides to sell the house and the group makes plans to leave. Minnie offers Sukey a room in the flat that she is renting above her shop. Sukey accepts and her new life starts.

Each chapter ends with a short piece written from the future. These give the reader a glimpse of what happens to the characters in thier later lives as well as providing additional insight into the events that have just taken place.

Although parts of the story focus on one of the others who occupy the flat and we see a little bit of what that life looks like for Jaz, Minnie, Beaky, Tessa, Ted, Jojo and even Dennis, this is Sukey’s story, told from her point of view. It’s about a young girl in a strange world and how she gradually learns to live in it.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

The Insides of Banana Skins by Jane Seaford reminds me so much of The Great Gatsby novel. The similarities of how people live in poverty and the sins they commit. It was quite interesting following each of the characters as their stories progressed. The events led to their new ways of living as well as to their failures. The raw openness of everything was refreshing to read. Characters like Minnie and Sukey were beyond believable. They did what they thought they had to endure to survive. Strong and determined. I didn’t like Dennis as his character was not one that I would like to know better. He is absolutely disgusting. Not just how he treats himself but in how he treats women as well. Using them for his own wants and needs then turning his back as well as verbally abusing them. He made my skin crawl. Ted is another male character that wasn’t on my top favorites lists. His whatever attitude and the fact that treatment of Minnie wasn’t nice. I can see real men out there acting or stooping to these men’s levels…however, I just don’t want to run into the likes of them. Minni thought she was doing fine. The fact that she let a guy like Dennis play her mad me a bit mad. Was she that oblivious? Minni was a college student then meet a married man and front here her life changed.  It seems that Minnie grows as the story unfolds that others seems to roll with the time. Sex isn’t pretty or beautiful. It’s one of the main themes inside this book. Most books make sex into something wonderful but we forget that there’s an ugliness about it as well. Here, readers see that. Jane Seaford has brought together real people’s lives into these characters. Whether they’re bad or good, their actions show that destruction, death, love, and friendships come and go. Some things never change…The Insides of Banana Skins demonstrates the harsh reality of life and the cost of our consequences. Overall, I recommend this read to all. 

Review: The Friends We Keep

 

Synopsis:

In this insightful and compelling story from book club favorite Susan Mallery, three close friends test the boundaries of how much a woman can give before she has nothing left 

After five years as a stay-at-home mom, Gabby Schaefer can’t wait to return to work. Oh, to use the bathroom in peace! No twins clamoring at the door, no husband barging in, no stepdaughter throwing a tantrum. But when her plans are derailed by some shocking news and her husband’s crushing expectations, Gabby must fight for the right to have a life of her own.

Getting pregnant is easy for Hayley Batchelor. Staying pregnant is the hard part. Her husband is worried about the expensive fertility treatments and frantic about the threat to her health. But to Hayley, a woman who was born to be a mom should risk everything to fulfill her destiny—no matter how high the cost.

Nicole Lord is still shell-shocked by a divorce that wasn’t as painful as it should’ve been. Other than the son they share, her ex-husband left barely a ripple in her life. A great new guy tempts her to believe maybe the second time’s the charm…but how can she trust herself to recognize true love?

As their bonds of friendship deepen against the beautiful backdrop of Mischief Bay, Gabby, Hayley and Nicole will rely on good food, good wine and especially each other to navigate life’s toughest changes.

Rating: 5 stars

Review: 

 

The Friends We Keep by Susan Mallery is heart melting and addictive. Every single novel of hers lures readers in like a moth to a flame. Readers can’t avoid an irresistible story and that’s exactly what The Friends We Keep is. Emotionally readers can easily attach themselves to Susan Mallery’s characters. Especially to Gabby and her step-daughter. Teen pregnancy is hard to deal with and when the young father leaves everything about the young stepdaughter’s life seems to crash. At first, we can feel and understand Gabby’s angry at first and then, later, on it blooms into something else. Family life is the strongest theme, within this novel. Friendships that we keep is another strong theme that readers love. When life comes crumbling downward…our friends are there to pick us back up.

When life comes crumbling downward…our friends are there to pick us back up. I felt my heart tug with sympathy, understanding, and love as the plot moved forward. A steady paced read that reader’s won’t be able to release anything soon.

Susan Mallery is a talented writer by all means. She never disappoints her readers. It’s incredible at how every novel she writes …she takes a piece of us readers with her. The characters will have you crying, laughing, and falling in love. The plot will keep you up all night long reading until the book is finished. The plot is juicy with trouble, drama, and sacrifices that have to be made. The Friends We Keep is just another brilliantly well-written story that all readers must add to their collection. Susan Mallery has done it again in creating another heart-pounding loveable read that readers won’t be forgetting. Overall, I highly recommend this romantic sweet story to readers everywhere.

Susan Mallery is a talented writer by all means. She never disappoints her readers. It’s incredible at how every novel she writes …she takes a piece of us readers with her. The characters will have you crying, laughing, and falling in love. The plot will keep you up all night long reading until the book is finished. The plot is juicy with trouble, drama, and sacrifices that have to be made. The Friends We Keep is just another brilliantly well-written story that all readers must add to their collection. Susan Mallery has done it again in creating another heart-pounding loveable read that readers won’t be forgetting. Overall, I highly recommend this romantic sweet story to readers everywhere.

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