Saturday, June 23, 2018

BLOG TOUR - MURDER OF A LOVER


Today it is my stop on the Blog Tour and I am sharing with you some background about the series and my review of the book.

Available at Amazon

(REVIEW BELOW)

Looking for a brilliant best-selling murder mystery with a feisty female detective?

DETECTIVE HILLARY GREENE IS SOLVING THE COLD CASES NO ONE ELSE COULD CRACK.

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “A NARROW MARGIN OF ERROR.”

Ten years ago, Rowan Thompson was found stabbed to death with a pair of scissors in his student house. It turns out that Rowan was quite a lover, with many disgruntled partners left in his wake. But did any of them have a strong enough motive to murder him?

Meanwhile. Hillary’s stalker is getting more aggressive with his messages and flowers. And it looks like he may be much, much worse than she thought.
Has Hillary finally bitten off more than she can chew?

Hillary Greene has returned to Thames Valley Police HQ, acting as a consultant for the Crime Review Team, looking into murders which the police have never been able to solve.

She wasn’t sure she wanted to go back. But solving crimes is irresistible for Hillary Greene. And it doesn’t hurt that her new boss is devastatingly handsome.

This is a crime mystery full of well-observed characters, which will have you gripped from start to the absolutely thrilling conclusion.

MURDER OF A LOVER is the thirteenth a series of page-turning crime thrillers set in Oxfordshire.


THE LOCATION

Number 8 Kebler Road is a three-story house in a typical leafy road in Oxford, near South Park. Victorian terraces face each other across the narrow street, whose pavements are interspersed with strategically placed lime trees. Keble College, an unmistakable building of red and white brick is the dominant feature. Quiet, pleasant, it’s in one of the city’s many attractive areas, and dedicated mainly to student digs and private residential properties.


THE DETECTIVE

DI Hillary Greene

An attractive, single woman nearing the landmark age of fifty, Hillary Greene was a police officer of many years’ experience (earning the rank of DI) and came up through the ranks. Consequently, she knew how the system worked, and was always fiercely loyal to the force without being blinkered to its faults. Forced to retire early through no fault of her own, she has now returned to the force as a civilian consultant on cold cases. She still enjoys a rather enigmatic relationship with the wily Commander Marcus Donleavy, but it is her new boss, the very attractive Steven Crayle, who is likely to cause her the most problems now!

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “A NARROW MARGIN OF ERROR.”


DI HILLARY GREENE SERIES

BOOK 1: MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL
BOOK 2: MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY
BOOK 3: MURDER OF THE BRIDE
BOOK 4: MURDER IN THE VILLAGE
BOOK 5: MURDER IN THE FAMILY
BOOK 6: MURDER AT HOME
BOOK 7: MURDER IN THE MEADOW
BOOK 8: MURDER IN THE MANSION
BOOK 9: MURDER IN THE GARDEN
BOOK 10: MURDER BY FIRE
BOOK 11: MURDER AT WORK
BOOK 12: MURDER NEVER RETIRES
BOOK 13: MURDER OF A LOVER

Books 14-17 coming soon!


AUTHOR BIO

Faith Martin has been writing for over 25 years, in four genres and under four different pen names. She was born in Oxford and sets most of her crime novels within sight of the city of dreaming spires. A real nature lover and afficionado of the countryside, descriptions of wildlife and native flora often find their way into her manuscripts. Right now, JOFFE BOOKS are re-issuing the DI Hillary Greene novels in new updated editions! The first 13 books in the series are available now.

Her romance novels, written under the name of Maxine Barry, are now available from Corazon Books. IMPOSTERS In PARADISE, and HEART OF FIRE are both out, and others will very quickly become available in the future.

Her first foray into writing 'spooky' crime, (and written under the pen name of Jessie Daniels) comes out in November 2017. THE LAVENDER LADY CASEFILE is published by Robert Hale, an imprint of Crowood Press.

As Joyce Cato, she writes more classically-inspired 'proper' whodunits. So, if you like an amateur sleuth, plenty of clues and red herrings, plus a baffling murder mystery to solve, these are the books for you.


MY REVIEW



My rating: 4.5 Stars


Hillary Green may no longer be a busy DI, but she is quite busy nonetheless. She is now a member of the Case Review Team, and is investigating cold cases. Having successfully solved the case in her new job as a civilian consultant, she is now investigating the murder of Rowan Thompson, a twenty-year-old killed ten years ago. Rowan had a reputation of being quite the Lothario. Could one of his previous partners been disgruntled enough to have found cause to brutally kill him?

Also, Hillary's stalker is still looming, and he is becoming far more aggressive with his messages and flowers. Her new boss, the ultra yummy Steven Crayle, has devised a plan to pretend that they are a couple to see if a bit of jealousy will draw the stalker out. This proves to be more of a challenge for Hillary because she is quite drawn to Steven. The feeling proves to be mutual. It is at this point that I realized that I should have read at least book twelve in this series.

Murder of a Lover, previously released as A Narrow Margin of Error, is book number thirteen in this series by Faith Martin. I am a voracious reader who especially likes to devour entire series. Although I jumped into the middle of this one with this book, it read perfectly well as a standalone. There was just enough said about Hillary's past to understand her motives and her approach to the situations faced before her.

However, Faith Martin has left us with a cliffhanger. I really NEED book 14, and cannot wait to read it to see what happens next. Thankfully, we do not have long to wait. A side note: the author has begun a new series, with a young new policewoman. This author is a definite autobuy for me now. I missed this series first time around, and it is really great to get a chance to read this now, and I will also try and read the previous titles.

Many thanks to Joffe Books and to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The First One to Die

The First One to Die by Victoria Jenkins

My rating: 5 Stars

In Book 2 of the Detectives King and Lane series, college student Keira North has fallen to her death during a party. As Alex King's investigation ensues, she quickly surmises that it was not an accident. So, it quickly becomes a murder investigation. Keira was part of a tight-knit group of four, and, apparently, they all had secrets. If that was why Keira was killed, what then, does that bode for the others?

Meanwhile, Chloe is making strides with overcoming personal tragedy that we read of in her past, including recently. Alex is dealing with her own issues, putting both women in difficult positions when it comes to this current case at hand, especially when another murder occurs.

As mentioned, this is the second in the series, and it does function well enough as a standalone. However, to understand Alex and Chloe a bit more, reading the first book, The Girls in the Water, might be of help. I am one who loves series, and I love the fact that I read that one first. In any case, Victoria Jenkins has a powerful writing style and that appeals to me. She captures the voice of the characters quite well. I was caught up with the twists and turns in this story and this was a book I could just not put down.

When I chose Nobody's Child to review, it was a no-brainer that I had to read the first two books in this series, including this book. Boy am I glad I did! I absolutely loved book one, but this one, well, it just floored me. I was like, WOW! more than once! Then I had other reactions, like sadness when it came to what Alex was experiencing with her mother. Despite the book being over 300 pages, it felt like a quick read. It was a compelling page-turner. I look forward to following this series closely, including reading the third title, Nobody's Child, just as soon as possible.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Review: The Photograph

The Photograph by Debby Rix

My rating: 5 Stars

The Photograph is a gentle story equally divided among Sophie and Rachael. In Italy, 1958, Rachael is a young widow with a small child. She's currently in a small village of Italy while accompanying her father while is runs an archaeological dig. Just widowed, Rachael has borne a young daughter. She fell in love that following summer for young Tommaso. This beautiful love only brought her heartache, however.

In England, 2017, Sophie is a successful anthropologist, with a loving husband and a beautiful home. She has it all, except for the one desire she has thus been unable to fulfill, that of having a child. This drive has begun to drive a wedge between Sophie and her husband Hamish. Sophie's desire to mother has become crucial to her happiness, even at the expense of her once happy marriage. Finding a picture of her grandmother Rachael as a young woman might just prove to be just the distraction that Sophie needs. Never would she have imagined that also throwing herself into her work might expose an amazing link to her grandmother.

Oh how my heart broke for Rachael, especially when her father told her, "Sometimes, Rachael, sometimes...love, is just not enough." Then later he tells her, "Love does not hurt forever. I know." Oh, poor Rachael. Oh I cried. I had just as many tears for Sophie, for her tries, for her losses and for her ultimate happiness.

I am drawn to titles from this publisher. I have been since joining NetGalley. I mention that here because, truthfully, without such, this magnificent title would have most definitely slipped through my fingers. I completely connected not only to Rachael and Sophie and to their tender stories, but also to the other characters, such as George, Tommaso, among others. So, I said magnificent. Why so? The telling of both stories was done quite excellently. Going from past to present to back again was always presented with such ease. I was truly enthralled with this captivating story.

Many thanks to Debby Rix, Bookouture and NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Date of publication:  June 27, 2018

Review: The Girls in the Water

The Girls in the Water by Victoria Jenkins

4.5 Stars

The Girls in the Water is Book #1 in the Detectives Alex King and Chloe Lane series. Early one cold winter morning, Alex is called to a gruesome murder scene where the body of a woman is found in a river. Before long, another woman goes missing, and her body, too, is eventually found. What do these two women have in common? We the reader are quickly introduced to a support group they both belonged to and there the beginning of our answer lies.

Meanwhile, Alex's partner, Chloe, is more than a bit distracted. She has a secret, one she knows she must share with Alex. She has been receiving enigmatic email messages, ones that have to do with the death of her brother, who tragically died sometime after he was accused of murdering his girlfriend, something to which Chloe stoically refuses to accept. Alex is very willing to help Chloe, but wants full attention to the case at hand first.

I love reading series, and because I am coming in late, I already have books two and three, The First One to Die and Nobody's Child, both of which I am quite eager to read. This book was a great mix of suspense, the solving of the crimes at hand, and the sensitive nature of Chloe's situation.

Will both Alex and Chloe get the results so desperately needed? Will the young Chloe manage to hold onto her job with her inability to focus on her work? Both questions are clearly examined in this book by Victoria Jenkins. I enjoy the fact that I will be able to see these characters develop in the series that is now available, as well as what no doubt is to come. This is an excellent debut novel, with a terrific plot and subplot, great characterization, shocking twists and turns, while offering great promise for future novels.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

TEASER TUESDAY

TEASER TUESDAY - JUNE 19, 2018

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker.


It is very easy to play along:

  • Grab your current read and open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TB Lists if they like your teasers!
Here are my "teasers":

I'm having sex lessons in school. (Says 5yo Elliott). … Oh, thank god. Saxophone lessons? Yes, sax lessons, that's what I said.

From the novel: 



From the book blurb:

The stunning new summer story from the bestselling author of Summer at Buttercup Beach. Step into the delightful seaside village of Sandcastle Bay, where you’ll discover golden sand, welcoming smiles and an unforgettable romance…

Melody Rosewood loves her new home in idyllic Sandcastle Bay. The beautiful little cottage on the edge of Sunshine Beach, with its bright yellow door and view of the sea has captured her heart. And she loves being close by to her family and best friend Tori Graham.

Life by the sea is pretty much perfect, there’s just one thing missing…

Gorgeous Jamie Jackson, with his cheeky grin and adorable puppy, works as a sculptor opposite Melody’s jewellery shop. From the moment he and Melody meet sparks fly. But despite their instant attraction, a past heartache is holding Jamie back.

As Melody starts to make a life for herself in the close-knit, quirky seaside community, she realises Jamie could be the one for her. But as the two of them take a chance on romance, it’s one dating disaster after another. Are they destined to always be just good friends?

Or will Melody finally find her happily-ever-after in Sandcastle Bay?

A perfect, feel-good summer read that will make you want to escape to the beach for a romantic day in the sun. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond this book is for you. 

My thoughts:

I am now 68% into the book and am quite pleased! It is equally tender and funny. It is nice to read a romance that truly brightens my day.

Monday, June 18, 2018

MUSING MONDAY


(Meme found at The Purple Booker)

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I'm currently reading...
  • Up next I think I'll read...
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week...
  • I'm super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)...
  • I'm really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)...
  • I can't wait to get a copy of...
  • I wish I could read _____, but...
  • I blogged about____this pat week...

I bought the following books in the past week...

The People vs. Alex Cross by James Patterson, The President is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, Heidi by Johanna Spyri, The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, by Mary Higgins Clark: All by Myself, Alone, Daddy's Gone a Hunting and Just Take my Heart, Several titles each by Mary Grimes, Elizabeth Ogilvie and Carolyn Hart. I have also ordered several others via Amazon and Book Outlet that have not yet arrived.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Review: Truth or Dare

Truth or Dare by Fern Michaels

My rating: 5 Stars

From Goodreads:  The Sisterhood: a group of women bound by friendship and a quest for justice. Now their male allies, the Men of the Sisterhood, have formed a top-secret organization of their own, with the same goal of helping the helpless and righting the wrongs of the world . . .

When the call comes, the Men of the Sisterhood drop everything to help their friends. This time it’s Cyrus, their four-legged hound dog and unofficial mascot. While member Joe Espinosa is driving along an isolated country road with Cyrus in tow, he catches a glimpse of movement in the woods bordering the road and notes Cyrus pawing desperately at the car window. As soon as he pulls over to investigate, Cyrus bolts out the door and leads Joe to three children clustered together--bedraggled, silent, and scared out of their wits. As soon as he has brought the children to safety, Espinosa arranges an urgent meeting.

My review:  From a shocking beginning to an amazing, tear-filled conclusion, Truth or Dare proved to be a fast-paced, often chilling, read. After drying my eyes, all I could do was to say Wow! The subjects of child kidnapping and trafficking are never easy to read about, even in the works of fiction. But, they are done delicately, albeit realistically, here in this book. As the kidnapped children are hoped to be reunited with their mother, Allison, who has gone rogue from the CIA, the question as to whether or not she will ever be able reunite with them, exonerate herself and have a normal, everyday life with her children. Meanwhile, will these traffickers be stopped?

This is Fern Michaels fourth book in The Men of the Sisterhood Series. As I hadn't read any of the books in this series, I purchased all of the previous books, including the novellas. I read Upside Down in order to familiarize myself with the characters in the BOLO team. I loved Joe, Abner, Jack, Charles, Harry and the rest of the team. I especially loved Maggie and Lizzie. I am eager to read all of the previous titles, and am truly excited for the fifth book. One thing I look forward to learning is how the women began working along with the BOLO team. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the stunning dogs Cyrus and Cooper. The story wouldn't have been the same without them.

Many thanks to Kensington Books and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinions.

Date of publication: June 26, 2018

Friday, June 15, 2018

Review: Notice Me

Notice Me by Emem Uko

My rating: 4 Stars 

From Goodreads:  Music DJ? Sure. Being the frontman of a popular band in a foreign country? Never in his wildest dreams. Anders finds himself living a cool life but at a price of projecting an effeminate image to the public. His fans love it. They’ve only known him since his makeover after his debut as a singer. They don’t know the manly Anders. But the girl he wants to notice him thinks he’s not her type. Now he has to choose between his public image and his private life. Millions of fans versus one? Their happiness or his happiness?

"Emem Uko takes you on a suspense-filled journey on the behind-the-scenes struggles of the lead vocalist of a boy band. A journey of growth, loss and finding a long-needed love. It is music to your ears. You will want it on repeat."

My review:  This is the story of How Anders finds himself thrust amongst three young men and their experience as a boy band from its inception. They experience the difficulty of unity and also personal tragedies. This is also the story of how Anders endeavors to meet his soul mate.

I was drawn into the story because of how the way Anders connects with an author willing to tell his story. Anders wants the story of how the love of his life is someone that he cannot contact told, due to his celebrity status. Their is a sharp point of view change as the story quickly turns to what is apparently the past because it tells of the formation of the band.

The story flows remarkably well for the most part. As the story began to draw to a close, I kept hoping things would come full circle. You will have to read Notice Me to see if Anders does indeed meet his love interest and where things end up with his story, including his contact with the author introduced at the outset.

As mentioned, there is a sharp twist of points of view at a couple of critical times in the book, and this seemed a bit out of place. This could have been due to the fast-paced nature of the book. There is also the suspense leading up to what would happen to Anders and his love interest, and that did keep me turning pages. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Review: Empty Seats

Empty Seats by Wanda Adams Fischer

My rating: 4.5 Stars

Book blurb:  They were all stars in their hometowns. Then they were drafted to play minor league ball, thinking it would be an easy ride to playing in the big time. Little did they know that they'd be vying for a spot with every other talented kid who aspired to play professional baseball. Young, inexperienced, immature, and without the support of their families and friends, they're often faced with split-second decisions. Not always on the baseball diamond.

My review: This is the story of three young men, Jimmy, Bud and Bobby, playing minor league baseball, and their ups and downs during that time. One thing I enjoyed about the book is the feature of short chapters, a la James Patterson. This resulted in a quicker read, making it easier to pick it right back up when I found it necessary to put it down. That being said, Empty Seats was indeed a page-turner. The stories were well told, and intersected nicely. There was a lot of back story to Jimmy, but it was Bobby who really got to me. He grew on me, just in time to break my heart.

Another factor that I have to appreciate about the book is that it is sports fiction, something that I would not have ordinarily chosen to read. This is something that I enjoy about reviewing, the ability to step out of the proverbial box. But, I had forgotten how much I love baseball! How exciting it was to read this book! Sometimes it made me feel like I was right there. If you are now or ever have been, a baseball fan, then this book will no doubt resonate with you. If you like a good story with characters that you will be drawn to, then this book will be for you too. Wanda Adams Fischer writes a terrific debut novel, one that I was completely invested in.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

TEASER TUESDAY

Teaser Tuesday - June 12, 2018

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker.  


It is very easy to play along:

  • Grab your current read and open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TB Lists if they like your teasers!
Here are my "teasers":

I met with my lawyer this morning. He says we don't have too many options.


From the novel: 
Empty Seats by Wanda Adams Fischer

From the book blurb:  

They were all stars in their hometowns. Then they were drafted to play minor league ball, thinking it would be an easy ride to playing in the big time. Little did they know that they'd be vying for a spot with every other talented kid who aspired to play professional baseball. Young, inexperienced, immature, and without the support of their families and friends, they're often faced with split-second decisions. Not always on the baseball diamond.

My thoughts:

I am about 30 percent into the book and I am in love! For one thing, it has reinvigorated my love of baseball. Terrific story!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Review: Shot Down

Shot Down by Steve Snyder

My rating: 5 Stars

A PORTION OF THE BLURB FROM GOODREADS: 

For the first time, the full and complete story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth is shared in unbelievable detail. Author Steve Snyder’s story of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the Susan Ruth crew, provides in-depth details about many aspects of World War II few understand or know about including the:

• separation for young families as men went off to war;
• training before heading to foreign soil;
• military combat operations;
• underground and resistance and what Lt. Snyder did when he joined it;
• German atrocities toward captured crew and civilians;
• behind-the-scenes stories of the Belgium civilians who risked all to save American flyers who were in the air one moment, spiraling down in flames the next;
• creation and dedication of the monument to the Susan Ruth and its crew located in Macquenoise, Belgium in 1989


Shot Down was created from the vast number of letters and journals of Howard Snyder; diaries of men and women on the ground who rescued, sheltered and hid the crew; and interviews conducted by historians. Centered around the 306th Bomb Group in Thurleigh, England, it is informative, insightful and captivating.

Quote from the book itself: This book is a nonfiction, hstorical documentary. Every incident about the crew members has been taken from personal letters, interviews, declassified military records, and verbal and written by the people who were involved 70 years ago.

Shot Down is a compelling read. It is full of interesting facts and tidbits as to how the pilot and crew man the planes during this difficult time in history. The author began his research with the diaries and letters of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, the pilot of the Susan Ruth, a B17 bomber, and other reference materials, including previous books and even films made about that time. Indeed, a well-researched book.

This is the first book of this type for me. I am very glad that I had the opportunity to read it. There were many, many things about the war that I was not aware of. The diaries, photographs and letters that Howard and other crew members wrote to their families were just so tender and sad. This helped to show the humanity that existed behind the war. Kudos for Steve Snyder for presenting things in this manner. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Review: The Invitation

The Invitation by Keris Stainton

My rating: 5 Stars

Second chances can be marvelous. That is exactly what Piper James experiences when she gets a message from her teenage crush Rob Kingsford. She was crazy about him in school, but has not seen him in eight years. Rob has invited Piper to accompany him to their high school reunion. Could she really have another chance with the gorgeous hunk of a man? That said, this is not simply a romance, though. It is a story about body positivity, friendships and family.

The Invitation is sweet, funny and tender. I so wanted Piper and Rob to get together. They both really liked one another. Piper's war with confidence and self-esteem is quite realistic. She has been judged by others due to her weight - including her family - and feels as if Rob could not ever really be attracted to her. This book had some great connecting characters, and they added to the humor in this story, including little Buster. This was a delightful, one-sitting read. If this book is indicative of the genuine writing style of Keris Stainton, I definitely look forward to reading more of her work in the future, maybe even stories about Matt and Holly.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for an honest review.

Date of publication: June 25, 2018

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Review: Murder on the Green

Murder on the Green by H.V. Coombs

My rating: 4 Stars

Extortion, murder, humor and good eats - all are a part of this story by H.V. Coombs. This book is about Ben Hunter and how he gets what he thinks of the opportunity of a lifetime. He runs a restaurant and is burning the candle at both ends due to being overworked. He is invited to join a temporary kitchen at an opera that is in town. There will be several hundred people there each night and he will be working for one of his culinary idols Justin McCleish.

Ben is rather disappointed to discover that his culinary skills is not what got him offered the job. It is his reputation as a bruiser. He is being hired to find the blackmailer threatening Justin. Ben is asked to hurt the blackmailer enough to end the action. The blackmailer in question must be one of Justin's team. If Ben succeeds, he is hoping to make enough money to hire another chef, thus greatly reducing his workload. More than one murder takes place, thus making Ben's job not as simple as he would have imagined.

Murder on the Green was an engaging read, with a couple of surprising twists and turns. There are several interesting character which make the story more intriguing. I would have likely given this book three stars due to a slow start, but the unexpected ending ramped it up to four.

Many thanks to Avon Books UK and to NetGalley for this ARC to review for an honest opinion.

Date of publication: June 25, 2018

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

READING HABITS BOOK TAG

I found it over on firstbooklove and thought this was an interesting tag!


Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

I mainly read in bed.


Bookmark or random piece of paper?

A Bookmark! Books are special to me and need to be shown a proper amount of respect with a proper bookmark.


Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/a certain amount of pages?

Not really. I'd prefer to stop at the end of the chapter, but I will stop anywhere depending on what else I have going on.


Do you eat or drink while reading?

Water always, and my ever-present snack from time-to-time, Cheez-its.


Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

It depends. Early morning when I am my sharpest and read a book in just a few hours, nothing at all to distract me. As the day wears on I may catch a show on  my DVR or my absolute favorite, YouTube with coloring chat channels.


One book at a time, or several?

Usually a digital or print book and one or two audio books at a times. To me, books are like TV shows. You can follow any number of TV shows and easily remember the characters and situations. To me, the same exists with books. Easy to follow no matter what I have on tap.


Reading at home or everywhere?

Everywhere! I always have my Kindle or a book with me.


Read out loud or silently in your head?

In my head, for sure, I have never read a book aloud.


Do you read ahead or skip pages?

I generally read every word in a book, but I have been guilty of skipping ahead when a story is dragging.


Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

Like new! I prefer hardcovers for this reason, you can keep them in pristine conditions. Paperbacks are far more delicate, but I strive to keep them in perfect shape as well.


Do you write in your books?

Never! I often take notes for review purposes, but that is with an ever-running word processor program.


I hope that you enjoyed my answers and that you will participate in this tag. I would love to hear your answers.

Review: The Date

The Date by Louise Jensen

My rating: 5 Stars

Recently separated, Alison Taylor, at the insistence of her friends, reluctantly goes out on a date. Something dreadful has happened, and, at the bare minimum, she has developed a serious injury and has bleeding on the brain, in an area that controls the ability to recognize face, with the diagnosis prosopagnosia. You actually can't recognise yourself? You honestly wouldn't know me if I came back in five minutes? Has she fallen or has something more nefarious happened to her?

I was drawn in immediately to The Date. I must be asleep. Can't tear my eyes away from the image in the mirror watching tears pour down cheeks that are not mine. The Ben I do not recognise speaks again...Blackness hurtles towards me and I welcome it with open arms....the man who sounded like my brother, who acted like my brother, and yet somehow, with the exception of his glasses, didn't look like him at all. 

More than no longer having a memory of faces, Alison cannot remember what happened the night she went on the date. Upon her arrival home from the hospital, where she went the morning after the incident, she finds a bouquet of roses with a note attached that says, Enjoy the date, bitch? Her nightmare has just begun. She is being stalked in a terrifying game of cat and mouse.

I have been seeing the phrase unputdownable in book descriptions for some time now, and thought I'd never use it myself. Well, it certainly applies here. Wow! What incredible twists and turns! Then there is the shocking conclusion! I would never have guessed who it was that was stalking Alison. Yes, from an incredible beginning, with such an interesting concept, this book is indeed fabulous. Louise Jensen is now an automatic autobuy for me and I have put her backlist in my TBR pile.
 
Many thanks for Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Date of publication: June 21, 2018

Review: Winter Beginnings

Winter Beginnings by Elise K. Ackers

My rating: 4 Stars

Dean Foster meets Alice Jaye again when he hires her to work at his garage. It is due for expansion and they needed someone in administration. They knew each other in the past from school, and when he meets her again, he pretty much decides to hire her on the spot. Since Dean is stretched to the limit with work, having someone new at the garage might just give him more of the precious commodity of time that he needs. As a widower with two children, he desperately needs to spend more time with them.

Alice is a single mother to young Ben who is struggling to make ends meet. As much as this second job is critical to her, it takes much time away from her son. It also takes time away from something as important as rest, causing Alice undo exhaustion. But, she keeps that all under wraps as much as possible, as she doesn't want to be given the chance to lose yet another job, as her previous employer did not appreciate her moonlighting.

Dean and Alice's children have a run in, but then become friends, so it would be just wonderful if Dean and Alice could do the same. They are both rather reserved people, for albeit different reasons. They do bond eventually, and that is very sweet. While there certainly was no heat at all between Dean and Alice, it still was a very enjoyable story. Sometimes I rather enjoy a sweet romance and so I look forward to reading more from this author. Winter Beginnings is the third book in the Return to Me series.

Many thanks to Escape Publishing and to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Date of publication: June 20, 2018

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

RAPID FIRE BOOK TAG

WELCOME!

This is my Rapid Fire book tag where I have to answer questions with the first answer that pops into my head. But obviously, knowing me, I just have to expound just a bit on a few of them.

This Rapid Fire book tag was so much fun and I tag anyone who wants to do it. I found this book tag on firstbooklove so I really wanted to try it out now.


Ebook or Physical Book?

Physical Books! Much more preferred, but due to a lack of space I was just buying ebooks (I have 1700 Kindle books!). But circumstances have changed and now I am buying a lot of physical books. However, I mostly read ARCs for review, and they are primarily ebooks.


Paperback or Hardback?

I actually prefer hardbacks! They just seem much more dignified and I love how they feel in my hand.


Online Or In-Store Book Shopping?

I would have to go with online book shopping! I love shopping in stores, but I am disabled, so shopping is rather difficult for me.


Trilogies or Series?

Series! I absolutely love the continuity of connected characters.


Heroes Or Villains?

Heroes!  I am a romantic at heart, and heroes are my cup of tea.


A Book You Want Everyone to Read?

This is really hard to answer, so I guess I will say Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.


Recommended An Underrated Author?

Hmm. No answer is coming to mind.


The Last Book You Finished?

The Taster by V.S. Alexander.


Weirdest Thing You've Ever Used as a Bookmark?

A prescription receipt.


Used Books: Yes or No?

Absolutely Yes! You can get great deals on hardbacks by buying used books.


Top Three Favorite Genres?

Mystery/Thrillers, Romance, Historical Fiction! 90% of what I read are Mystery/Thrillers. I throw in the occasional Romance or Historical Fiction (and I do really enjoy both of those genres) to break up the intensity.


Borrow or Buy?

Both really! I buy Kindle books more than anything. I am also crazy about storing up my Audible library with my favorite authors. However, I recently renewed my library card, so I have been borrowing lots of physical, ebooks and audio books.


Character or Plot?

Plot! I have to be drawn into a book by a terrific plot before I can connect to the character.


Long or Short Books?

Long!  350 pages or so is great! I will also read shorter books, but sometimes I want more!


Name the First Three Books You Can Think Of

I just can't. I often read two books a day, so I have current titles on my mind.


Books That Make You Laugh or Cry?

Cry! A book that makes me cry generally gets a 5 Star rating from me.


Our World or Fictional?

Fictional! This world is a mess, so give me a fictional plot any day.


Audiobooks: Yes or No?

Yes! I own over 400 audio books and borrow countless more from my library. However, since my brain moves at rather a fast clip, I have to listen at least 2.5 speed in order to enjoy the book.


Do You Ever Judge a Book By Its Cover?

Yes! A stunning cover can really catch my attention!


Book to Movie or Book to TV?

Book to TV! TV is great because characters are more fully explored.


A Movie or TV Show that You Preferred to the Book?

The Phantom of the Opera.


Series or Standalones?

Series! As already stated, I love connected characters and stories.


I hope you enjoy my answers for this Rapid Fire book tag! If you would like to join in, feel free to tag yourselves and let me know in the comments down below how your answers differ from mine.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Review: The Taster

The Taster by V. S. Alexander

My rating: 5 Stars

In 1943, Magda Ritter's parents sent her to live with her aunt and uncle in Bavaria, with the attempt to keep her safe during the Allied bombing of Berlin. But now, in a job she is rather forced to take, her life is even more at risk than ever before. She is assigned to the Berghof, which is Hitler's mountain retreat, as one of several young women tasting his food. This puts Magda in a position to sacrifice her life for the F├╝hrer if it should come to that.

During this difficult time in history and in her occupation, she developed a love for someone at the time, an SS Captain. More importantly, she is faced with many challenges and gains incredible strength of character. I often read with my heart in my throat as Magda was being trained to taste food, knowing that at any time a single bite could be her last.

Reading about the Holocaust is nowhere in my area of interest, but this book came so highly recommended by several friends, and sat in my TBR for months. I am really glad that I finally took the time to listen to this book via Audible. It was very well-written and excellently narrated. The Taster is a sharp combination of history and fiction. It was not graphic when it came to the horrors of that time. Instead the author's portrayal of Magda is more of an emotional story of her experiences.

Meanwhile, there was such an intensity in the story when reading of the bombing attacks. I admit to ordinarily treating my Audible listens in a rather casual manner, listening to them between review books. Therefore, I can take much time to complete a read. However, The Taster grabbed me from the very beginning, in effect forcing me to listen to it all the way through in a matter of hours. This is V.S. Alexander's second book, and it was quite a good job. I will most certainly be reading more of his works in the future.

Review: Perfect Dead

Perfect Dead by Jackie Baldwin

My rating: 4 Stars

DI Frank Farrell is an ex-priest. He is pretty much a hermit but works quite hard at his job, especially in this new case, that of trying to stop a vicious killer in a town in Scotland. Is there a such thing as a perfect death? Obviously, the killer has that very intent in mind. Well, the first murder in this case is that of an apparent suicide. However, there is a powerful clue that shows otherwise. Farrell and his team are led to the mysterious Ivy House, a commune of artists holding onto warped secrets. Another murder takes case, thus ramping up their investigation.

This is my first book by Jackie Baldwin, but this is the second in the DI Frank Farrell series. This was an engaging read. Even though Farrell is damaged, he definitely grew on me. So did members of his team. I found myself invested in their stories. Although I haven't read the first book in this terrific series, I felt that I understood Farrell, his angst and what drives him. I am a romantic at heart, and kept hoping for him to find a love interest. Maybe as the series progresses? Since I will definitely be reading Book 3 in this series, at some point before then I will most certainly take time to read the first book. Ms. Baldwin is relatively new on the scene, but she has excellent talent that I look forward to reading in the future.

Many thanks to Harper Impulse and Killer Reads and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Date of publication: June 15, 2018

Review: Gracie's Secret

Gracie's Secret by Jill Childs

My rating: 5 Stars

Jennifer's daughter Gracie was in an accident that left her in a brief coma. Jennifer is furious because her ex-husband's girlfriend Ella was driving and her ex wasn't even with them. Jennifer is a caring, very protective mother and prays vigorously for Gracie's recovery. They are blessed, because Gracie does get better. Jennifer is very happy, but notices that Gracie now seems different. This articulate, nearly four-year-old tries to convince her that she saw things when she was going "to sleep".

Why did this accident happen? What is really going on with Ella that there had to be such a terrible accident? Watch out for Ella as there are startling things about her that you will read about. But not just Ella, though. Because there is Matt. He and Jennifer become very close. Does Jennifer finally have the chance at happiness that she and Gracie needs? Also, Gracie is a child that needs listening to.

From an emotional standpoint, I was completely hooked. I felt the angst that Jennifer had with Gracie's comments and behavior. Jennifer's point of view was quite powerful to read. For some reason, I was very cautious about Matt. This book was utterly impossible to put down! Wow! I read it from cover to cover in one sitting. I was quite enthralled with this very intriguing story. It is truly an intense psychological thriller. While reading Gracie's Secret, my interest was piqued from the very start to the shocking conclusion! Jill Childs writes a stunning debut novel. She is an author that I certainly will watch for in the future.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review, which was in exchange for an honest review.

Date of publication: June 15, 2018

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Review: One Man's Meat

One Man's Meat by Colin Watson

My rating: 4 Stars

What does the death of a young man on a fair ride have to do with an impending divorce of an unhappy couple? I was scratching my head for just a minute or two wondering that very thing. Basically, the story begins with what would seem to most an exciting space ride at a fair. The story makes what appears a sharp right turn to the unhappy marriage of David and Julia Harton. Divorce is on the horizon, but perhaps there is a better way out for Julia?

When Julia is approached by a Mortimer Rothermere of the Happy Endings Agency with a plan as to how she can come about a divorce, with a sizable settlement. Despite how unorthodox Mortimer's plan is, she begins to see that it just may work. The problem is, Mortimer is a con artist of the highest ilk.

Having recently become a fan to Colin Watson's work, it was quite pleasurable to see Inspector Purbright hard at work to expose the actual cause of death of the young man. Purbright is quite intelligent, and brings things together quite nicely. As always when reading one of these novels in this series, there is quite a bit of humor and intrigue. What a delight it is to have Miss Lucilla Teatime as part of this story as well. There are twelve books in this series.

Many thanks to Farrago and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Date of publication: June 14, 2018; Originally published in 1977.

Review: Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express 
by Agatha Christie

My rating: 5 Stars

From the book blurb: What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant detective in Hercule Poirot, and the most ingenious crime ever conceived? 

With only thirteen suspects, it is rather easy to guess the killer. Nonetheless, the story was a fast-paced and exciting. What a great revisit to this Agatha Christie classic. I haven't read this book since I was a pre-teen! Hercule Poirot is my favorite Christie sleuth, so this was definitely worth a re-read. Now, I am looking forward to re-reading And Then There Were None.

Originally published in 1926.

Review: A Fatal Obsession

A Fatal Obsession by Faith Martin

My rating: 4 Stars

How many purse-snatchings and flashing cases must WPC Trudy Loveday attend before her worth is noted? She is an eager, young constable who knows that she has a lot more to offer. She may be a probationary female officer in 1960 in the British police at a time when a women's worth is highly underrated, but the intuitive Trudy feels she has much to prove to her male counterparts.

She is quite surprised when she is assigned to work alongside the local coroner, Dr. Clement Ryder, on an ongoing murder case. Talk about luck! Trudy sets off to prove herself well. As other murders happen, Dr. Ryder tends to believe that they are connected, and it doesn't take long for Trudy to believe that he is correct. Will the unlikely pair be able to unravel clues fast enough before another murder is committed?

A Fatal Obsession is book one in a new series by Faith Martin. How fun to read a police procedural story when today's modern method for crime-solving were nonexistent. What a terrific little read, with a few twists and turns. I rather enjoyed the partnership between Trudy and the curmudgeonly Dr. Ryder. The author has written the successful Hillary Greene series, so it was exciting to be in on the ground floor of something new.

Many thanks to HQ Digital and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Date of publication: June 11, 2018

Review: Accused

Accused by Lisa Scottoline

My rating: 5 stars

Thirteen-year-old beekeeper and genius extraordinaire Allegra Gardner hires Mary DiNunzio, new partner in the law firm, Rosato & Associates, to represent her regarding the murder of her sister six years ago. Allegra is convinced that the man imprisoned for murder is innocent. Allegra wants an investigation into the case, proving the innocent of the accused, and aiding in the discovery of the true murderer.

On a personal level, Mary's boyfriend Anthony asks her to marry him. Although she is not quite sure she is ready for that type of commitment, she accepts. After all, she just became partner, which, along with her caseload, is about all the change she needs for now.

Accused by Lisa Scottoline is fast-moving, with surprising twists. Also, I laughed out loud more than once while reading this book. I absolutely loved Mary's rather rambunctious Italian family. I am definitely looking forward to the next in the Rosato & DiNunzio series. As I requested the ARC of  Book 7, Feared, for review, I decided to begin this series from the start with this book. I am quite happy that I did so. Not only have I already purchased the rest of this series, I purchased the first in the prior series, Rosato & Associates.

Part of my rating is due to the fact that I listened to the audio version of this book and that the narrator, January LaVoy, is one of my favorites.

Review: The Bakery at Seashell Cove

The Bakery at Seashell Cove
by Karen Clarke

My rating: 3 Stars

Meg Larson has the job of her dreams, working in the local bakery, and making and selling her amazing cakes. She's about to marry her high-school sweetheart, Sam, and lives in a beautiful home.. However, she finds the balance of her life completely thrown off when her boss suddenly dies, and the bakery goes up for sale. Meanwhile, all is not so wonderful with her relationship with Sam - whose focus is primarily on his cycling. Seeing cozy pictures of Sam with a female cyclist completely throws her.

Meanwhile, real estate Nathan Walsh wants to see her dream of continuing on in the bakery fulfilled. However, the previous owner's brother plans on selling the building, no matter what the future plans the new owners may have. It is patently obvious that, while the business side of Nathan should take precedence, that there is something deeper going on with him with regard to Meg.

This is an enjoyable, light-hearted romance. Family is very important to Meg, so her being so drawn to Nathan comes completely unexpected. Despite her goals, and her troubles, she can't help how she feels about him. So the growth of her relationship with Nathan barely takes off in this book. It is more of a friendship, with a pleasant ending, making this simply a sweet story. This is the second book in the Seashell Cove series by Karen Clarke.

Many thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Date of publication: June 8, 2018