Dishing The Dirt (Agatha Raisin Mysteries #26) by M.C. Beaton

Book Description:

Published: September 15, 2015

A therapist had moved into the village of Carsely and Agatha Raisin hates her. Not only was this therapist, Jill Davent, romancing Agatha’s ex-husband, but she had dug up details of Agatha’s slum background.

Added to that, Jill was counselling a woman called Gwen Simple from Winter Parva and Agatha firmly believed Gwen to have assisted her son in some grisly murders, although has no proof she had done so.

A resentment is different from a dislike and needs to be shared, so as the friendship between James and Jill grows stronger, the more Agatha does to try to find out all she can about her. When Jill is found strangled to death in her office two days’ later, Agatha finds herself under suspicion – and must fight to clear her name.

Review –

I usually love an Agatha Raisin Mystery  but this one was disappointing.

The writing seemed rushed, there were too many deaths, SEVEN(even for a murder mystery) and while the killer did have a motive it just seemed a bit too easy. I do realize that the end leaves it wide open to be continued in the next installment, which I’m guessing will come out next year.

I did like that Mrs. Bloxby, the vicar’s wife, gets her own plot development and it’s about time. Her husband takes her for granted and is a rude man.

Agatha is still looking for Mr. Right and I do wish the author would find one for her. It would serve James, her ex-husband, and Charles, and old friend and sometimes bed mate, right.

While I did enjoy the book it just didn’t live up to the standard of the others, but I will be sure to read the next one because that’s what avid readers do-READ.

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The Stranger I Married by Sylvia Day

Book Description:

Published: August 28, 2012

EVERY MARRIAGE HAS ITS SURPRISES…

Gray was beautiful before, four years ago when he asked Isabel to wed him in a marriage of convenience. Now there are no words to describe him. He is no longer a boyish rogue, not by any stretch of the imagination, but a tormented man, driven by secrets, silent about what he’s done since he disappeared.

Isabel knew how to handle the reckless youth he’d been, but this new husband of hers… this darkly passionate man is not tamable. Does she dare explore the places inside herself that Gray demands to possess? Does she trust him enough to bare herself completely to a lover who is an irresistible stranger?

Review –

I’m finding out I’m not a fan of historical fiction or at least I haven’t found one that I really like.

This one takes place in England during the 1800’s.

The story line  for this book was okay but very predictable but made bearable because of the hot sexual chemistry between Isabel and Gray. The sex scenes were well done and very explicit. If it’s true that few women allowed themselves the freedom to genuinely feel the passion that comes along with sex in this time period, I don’t know how they stood it.

Communication is key in all things sexual and both characters had to learn that and be able to be honest with one another about their feelings and what they wanted out of sex. Once they had, they were much much happier and very well satisfied.

Good read but the narrator got on my nerves.

Adult

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Don’t Go by Lisa Scottoline

Book Description:

Published: April 9, 2013

Lisa Scottoline’s Don’t Go introduces us to Dr. Mike Scanlon, an army doctor called to serve in Afghanistan, who is acutely aware of the dangers he’ll face and the hardships it will bring his wife Chloe and newborn baby. And deep inside, he doesn’t think of himself as a hero, but a healer.

However, in an ironic turn of events, as Mike operates on a wounded soldier in a war-torn country, Chloe dies at home in the suburbs, in an apparently freak household accident. Devastated, he returns home to bury her, only to discover that the life he left behind has fallen apart. He’s a stranger to his baby girl, and his medical practice has downsized in his absence. Worse, he learns a shocking secret that sends him into a downward spiral.

Grief-stricken, Mike makes decisions upon returning to Afghanistan which will change his life forever. It’s not until he comes home for good that he grasps the gravity of his actions, and realizes he must fight the most important battle of his life, to reclaim his life and his daughter. Along the way, he discovers that everything is not as it seems, and he learns ugly truths about those he loves the most, as well as the true meaning of heroism.

Review –

Although I rated this book four out of five stars, the narrator wasn’t the best and that irks me. A narrator is so important to the way an audio book is perceived and it’s like nails on a chalkboard if the narration isn’t done correctly, at least to me.

I enjoyed the storyline but thought that some of the characters seemed wishy-washy and flat.  I also thought that the story was predictable in parts and  so I would skip ahead a minute or two to get passed them.

I like Lisa Scottoline and her writing style but I think she needs to stick to the Rosato & Di Nunzio  series because that’s where she’s excels.

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Theirs to Keep (Tangled Hearts Trilogy #1) by Maya Banks

Book Description:

Published: October 22, 2013

When Cade Winslow and Merrick Sullivan find Elle hiding in the cabinet of a gun store, they know they can’t just walk away from the fragile woman with no memory of who she is or who tried to kill her. Merrick is training for the title shot in the heavyweight division as a mixed martial artist and can’t afford distractions, but neither can he turn his back on the woman who tugs at his heartstrings.

Elle feels safe with her two protectors, and the longer she spends with them, the more she realizes that she has no desire to remember her past. Not when it could compromise her future with Cade and Merrick.

Cade has his own set of concerns when it comes to Elle, and it quickly becomes clear to the two men that for the first time in their friendship, a woman is coming between them. But what if they just kept her there? Between them. Where she belongs.

Review –

This is a MMF Menage Erotic Romance involving a mixed martial arts fighter and his best friend who jointly owns a security firm and a woman, badly beaten with amnesia, who they take into their home, hearts and beds.

Over the course of the story Elle remembers bits and pieces and thinks the man who beat her and tried to kill her might be a cop. After Merrick wins the title she remembers the name of a town where she might have been when she was beaten, so the trio decides to soon make a trip and see what else Elle can remember so that her past can be dealt with and their future can proceed.

I thought it was good and the sex scenes were tastefully done but very explicit.

This is the first of three books in the Tangled Hearts Trilogy.

Adult

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The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman

Book Description:

Published: June 18, 2013

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways.  Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.

His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

I’m probably one of the few readers who are not crazy about author, Neil Gaiman, but I’ve always thought his books were just okay, nothing special. That it, until this one!

This is a beautifully  told and read story (the author was the narrator) about a short period of time where in a young boy of seven became friends with a young girl of eleven and her mother and grandmother. The women owed and ran a farm at the end of a lane in England and had paranormal powers which were never really questioned by the boy. Wouldn’t it be great to be that age again and take everything and everyone at face value?

Though he didn’t mean to, the boy brought a previously bound entity into his world and the story deals with how and what it took to banish it back to where it came from.

I won’t go into detail but the girl ends up sacrificing her life for the boy and has to be put under the water of the pond on the farm. Her mother said it would take some time for “the ocean” to heal her. It’s been forty years when the story starts and she is still unhealed  and nowhere to be seen.

It’s a remarkable story of youth, believing, friendships, family, and sacrifice. It made me cry and I loved it!!!

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Crash by Drew Jordan

Book Description:

Published: October 31, 2015

This is a dark, erotic thriller intended for mature audiences. Not a traditional romance, but a love story with a twist, this is book one in a three part series.

The greatest love stories begin with blood…

There is blood. There is pain. And there is him. These are the first things I register when I wake up, the lone survivor in an Alaskan plane crash. He carries me to safety over rough terrain and brings me to his cabin in the woods. He has no name. Or none he will tell me.

As snow creeps across the harsh and isolated landscape, he is my only company. My protector, my caretaker. A fascinating enigma, with mysterious eyes, gentle hands, and a rough voice that demands more from me than I ever expected to give. I make up different stories, different names for him depending on his mood, because I know nothing about him except that he is my only connection to the real world I want to return to. So I work to please him, plotting my escape, yet all the while I start to crave him and every touch of his dominating body.

He has saved me from the cold. From death. But in taking me and my body, will he destroy me?

Review –

Part one of this book was offered free but the ending left me hanging so I HAD to buy the full book to find out what happened and it was money well spent.

There is a plane crash in remote Alaska and Laney is the sole survivor and saved by a rugged mountain man, whose name we never learn. I’m still uncertain if the pilot was too injured to save or the “no name” just left him there to die and saved the pretty girl.  I think he let him die.

He takes Laney to his cabin, which is just a bare bones building, nothing fancy. At first he appears to be a good guy that was in the right place at the right time to save her but as the days go by we discover that maybe that’s not the case and he wants only one thing from her-sexual gratification. Laney ponders this too and is afraid of him but realizes he DID save her so why would he want to hurt her now. He won’t tell her his name or how long he’s been there or why he’s there. Once when he’s out hunting she discovered a newspaper clipping about a dead girl and we later surmise that “no more” might have drown her, but that’s not made clear.

He tells Laney that she must obey him in every regard and if she doesn’t she will be punished and he keeps his word-once by making her stay outside in the freezing cold to fend for herself because she tried to leave.  But on the flip side, he can be gentle and makes love to her and other times he likes to tie her wrists to the headboard with rough rope, somethings ties her wrists behind her back or over a ceiling beam. He likes rope! He uses gentle threats to make her obey and she does. “No name” tells her that he loves her and will take care of her and never wants her to leave.

After building trust between them he lets her go into town with him for supplies and who should they run into but an old friend, Michael, that she had been planning to meet up with. Michael is shocked to see her because everything thought she had wandered away from the plane and died and been eaten by carrion.  He wants to take her back to Seattle with him so a doctor can check her out, but “no name” suggests Michael come back to the cabin with them and get an early start the next day.  At that point bells are going off in my head and I’m saying, DON’T GO-CAN’T YOU SEE IT’S A TRAP!, but Michael goes back with them and he and “no name” have a frank discussion about Laney, in which he tells him that she’s has a very disturbing past. Her step-father sexually abused her to the point of getting her pregnant at the age of sixteen. He’s in prison now but she still loves him(no one knows this)She doe not have custody of her daughter now and her mother, Victoria, is a mess and on top of everything else, Michael says Laney gets easily attached to any man who is kind to her. “No name” asks Michael what his plans are for Laney and he says he plans to marry her.

Laney overhears their conversation and wants to go back with Michael and at the same time doesn’t. She wants “no name” to ask her to stay but know that he won’t because he wants her to stay on her own.

The time comes for them to leave and Michael sees the cuts and bruises on her body and says he is going to call the police and tell them all about the way her “rescuer” has treated her. Laney knows cell phones don’t work in the remote woods where the cabin is located but know that it will once they reach town. What she does next left me with my mouth hanging open. I won’t say what it was but I can’t wait for book two to find out what happens next.  Great twist and totally unexpected.

Adult.

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There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bell! by Lucille Colandro

Book Description:

Published: January 1, 2008

It all started when the old lady swallowed a bell, one that jingled and jangled and tickled as well. Soon she’s swallowing velvety bows, gifts to go with the bows, sacks to hold the gifts and so on, right up until she swallows Santa’s sleigh and reindeer! Then she hears a jolly “Ho! Ho! Ho!” — Santa Claus is waiting for a ride! How will she get everything back to Santa in time for Christmas?

Kids will be calling out with excitement, guessing what’s coming next — and, as with the original, the rollicking, repeating rhymes ensure that they will read along! The rhyming text and funny illustrations are sure to appeal to young readers.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

I enjoyed this book even more than There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bat, partly, because this  is a Christmas book and also because I love the rhyming in this story. Kids of all ages will enjoy this book but especially the younger ones that enjoy being read to and love to look at the quirky illustrations by Jared Lee.

I will be mailing a couple of these to my niece and her cousin the first week in December and I know they are going to love them. I know this because I loved it too.

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Sideswiped (Peri Reed Chronicles #0.5) by Kim Harrison

Book Description:

Published: August 10, 2015

Don’t miss this thrilling first look into the elite world of Peri Reed, government agency operative extraordinaire, and catch more of her character in The Drafter, the first book in the all-new suspense trilogy from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison, out September 1.

Every hero, even the accidental ones, have a beginning.

Silas’s radical theory that drafters are not replaying time as much as they are temporarily sliding into an alternate universe has never been well-received, but frankly, the darling of Opti’s research has enough clout not to care, until a professor with a grudge tries to put a permanent end to it. Love can’t alter time, and sometimes, even being able to rub out a single mistake isn’t enough…

Review –

I’m a long time fan of author, Kim Harrison, and her character, Rachel Morgan, from the Hollows series so I knew I had to give this a try, but to tell you exactly what this book is about is a very hard thing to do.

I found the subject matter, altering time-like going back thirty seconds, confusing, at least in the way it was described. It seems you don’t go forward or backward in time but sideways. I ask you, what does that mean?  A person who can do the time altering is called a Drafter, thus the name of the next book in the series. I hope it is clearer on details or else I again will be completely lost.

I had great expectation for this series but only time will tell.

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Think Twice (Rosato and Associates #11) by Lisa Scottoline

Book Description:

Published: March 16, 2010

From the blockbuster New York Times bestselling author of Look Again comes a novel that makes you question the nature of evil: is it born in us or is it bred? Bennie Rosato looks exactly like her identical twin, Alice Connolly, but the darkness in Alice’s soul makes them two very different women. Or at least that’s what Bennie believes, until she finds herself buried alive at the hands of her twin. Meanwhile, Alice takes over Bennie’s life, impersonating her at work and even seducing her boyfriend in order to escape the deadly mess she has made of her own life. But Alice underestimates Bennie and the evil she has unleashed in her twin’s psyche, as well as Bennie’s determination to stay alive long enough to exact revenge.Bennie must face the twisted truth that she is more like her sister Alice than she could have ever imagined, and by the novel’s shocking conclusion, Bennie finds herself engaged in a war she cannot win;with herself.

Review –

Alice, is one twisted twin sister! She buries her sister alive miles from anywhere while taking over her life, bank accounts, AND boyfriend. She seems to be the much smarter twin because who would keep a written record all of your passwords within reach and sight of anyone. Bennie, maybe be the attorney but obviously not very computer savvy.

The story line was predictable and it was just too easy to fool all of Bennie’s friends and co-workers. Even her boyfriend didn’t know he was in bed with an impersonator.

I’m glad I listened to the book but I hope it’s a long time before the author writes another installment involving  Alice. And yes, she is so smart she escaped capture yet again!

 

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Betrayed (Rosato & Di Nunzio #2) by Lisa Scottoline

Book Description:

Published: November 25, 2014

The women of Rosato & Associates return, after the relaunch of the series that started with Accused. This second entry, Betrayed, stars Judy Carrier, who has had the starring role in only one previous Rosato book. WhenBetrayed opens, Judy Carrier finds herself at a crossroads in her life. Her best friend, Mary DiNunzio, has just become partner and is about to become a bride, leaving Judy vaguely out of sorts. She’s not jealous, but she’s not happy either and she’s wondering where her own career and love life are going. To make matters worse, she is rocked to her emotional foundations when she learns that her beloved Aunt Barb has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She races to her aunt’s side, and so does Judy’s mother, only to find that her aunt is dealing with the sudden death of a friend who had been helping her through chemo. The friend, Iris Juarez, was an undocumented worker at a local farm, but her death doesn’t look natural at all, to Judy. Judy begins to investigate, following a path that leads her into an underground world far more dangerous than she ever imagined. Judy has to dig to uncover what happened to Iris, and at the same time unearth the secrets in her own family.

Review –

I wasn’t  a real fan of the  Rosato & Di Nunzio  series when I started it because of the narrator of the first book I listened to, Accused. Since then I have listened to more and have come to overlook the narrators that bug me and appreciate the ones that do a good job but mostly just appreciate the story lines.

Judy Carrier is front and center in this installment of the series and the book is a stand alone. She is an associate at the all woman law firm run by Bennie Rosato with her best friend, Mary Di Nunzio being Bennie’s partner.

Judy feels left out and a bit jealous of Mary. Mary has a great boyfriend, whom she will be marrying soon, while Judy’s boyfriend is annoying, rough, takes her for granted and dull. Also Mary is a partner and that makes her Judy’s boss and she’s not sure how to feel about that.

The events of her Aunt’s cancer and then the death of her Aunt’s best friend, takes her mind off of herself for awhile but then her life comes crashing down when she decides to dump her boyfriend of many years and finds out the Aunt Barb is really her biological mother.

I love the chemistry between the major characters and the witty dialogue.

It’s a great book  with strong female characters and I highly recommend it.

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