Thrilled to Death (Detective Jackson Mystery #3) by L.J. Sellers

Book Description:

Published: March 23, 2012

Monday morning, a young mother disappears after a doctor’s appointment. Monday evening, a young socialite leaves a risqué lounge and never makes it home. Detective Jackson lands both cases, but at first he can’t find signs of foul play. When the socialite turns up dead, his investigation uncovers her dirty secrets, which complicates everything. The case runs into even bigger trouble with a suspect who hasn’t left his house in a year. Jackson must push all the boundaries to find the connection and answer the question: Where is the other missing woman?

Review –

Another new author for me, L.J. Sellers, and another great mystery. This one has mistaken identity, kidnapping, jealousy, murder, human trafficking, a hint of romance, postpartum depression and brotherhood of policemen. Truly a great story to take your mind off of everyday humdrum.

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Filthy Beautiful Lies (Filthy Beautiful Lies #1) by Kendall Ryan

Book Description:

Published: March 2016

**Warning: this book contains an addictively filthy alpha male who will dampen your panties and own your days and nights. Proceed at your own risk.** 

Meet Colton Drake..

I have no idea why she auctioned off her virginity for a cool mill. Regardless, I’m now the proud new owner of a perfectly intact hymen. A lot of good that will do me. I have certain tastes, certain sexual proclivities. My cock is a bit more discriminatory than most. And training a virgin takes finesse and patience – both of which I lack.

Sophie Evans has been backed into a corner. With her sister’s life hanging in the balance, the only choice is to claw her way out, even if that means selling her virginity to the highest bidder at an exclusive erotic club. When Colton Drake takes her home, she quickly learns nothing is as it seems with this beautifully troubled man. Being with him poses challenges she never expected, and pushes her to want things she never anticipated.

A sinfully seductive erotic romance where everything has a price and the cost of love is the highest of all from New York Times & USA Today bestselling author, Kendall Ryan.

Review –

“Sophie Evans is auctioning off her most prized possession to help her sister Becca receive her treatments for Cancer. She is kind, innocent but totally lives for her sister not for herself.

Colton Drake is hot, dominant and mysterious. He doesn’t want an inexperienced woman but can’t help being drawn to Sophie; wanting to teach her and make her his. He doesn’t push her as he wants her to want him, to want her trust. Above all, he wants her companionship. As a reader experiencing his thoughts, you can see that he is a good guy underneath but is afraid of giving too much of himself to anyone.

As these two characters live together, there are bound to be changes in feelings. I enjoyed that this wasn’t instalove or that there wasn’t any rush to having sex. This was a slow build up to something that could potentially be more, the way that Sophie became less scared of any kind of physical with Colton and the conversely the way that Colton reacted to Sophie as a woman and something more than what she was bought for – to be a sex slave.

Without a doubt, Kendall Ryan knows how to write foreplay and really anything physically sexy between a man and a woman and Filthy Beautiful Lies was no exception. Hot, hot, HOT!!!

As secrets are revealed towards the end and I am left feeling crazy to know more about Colton’s past, I am left wanting for more. I can’t wait to see how their situation plays out in Filthy Beautiful Love scheduled for release in September.

My only small complaint was that I wish it was longer – I think that this story could have been resolved in one book.  I don’t mind cliffhangers or continuations if there is enough story for a second book or because the first book is lengthy but I am more of a fan of longer complete reads in all honesty. Overall this was an enjoyable read and I look forward to book 2.”

This review is from Shh, Mom’s Reading blog and I agree with  every word!

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You Belong to Me (Romantic Suspense #12) by Karen Rose

Book Description:

Published: January 2011

A killer is branding his victims with numbers. How many will he kill before he’s stopped? YOU BELONG TO ME is a fantastic thriller from bestselling author Karen Rose, and the first novel in her Baltimore series.

When forensic pathologist Lucy Trask stumbles across a mutilated body by the chess tables in her local Baltimore park, its face so badly damaged it is unrecognisable, her sole concern is that it might be her old school teacher Mr Pugh.

When the corpse is identified, Lucy is shocked to discover that the victim is actually another man from her past. Who killed him and why his skin is burnt with the number ‘1’ is unclear but it’s evident that someone is demanding Lucy’s attention.

The discovery of a second branded body raises worrying questions: how many more lives may be at risk before the killer’s final message is revealed? And can Lucy solve the killer’s gruesome puzzle before their thirst for revenge is complete?

Review –

This is the first book that I’ve read by this author, Karen Rose, and the  first book where the character of a forensic pathologist has a secret life outside of work that she is hiding. 

It’s a haunting story because it shows how things from childhood can come back and terrorize us when we are adults. A maniac is going around killing people from Lucy’s past and she has to find out who and why before he eliminates all of them,  

Very good story and very very hard to put down.

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Vertigo 42 (Richard Jury #23) by Martha Grimes

Book Description:

Published: June 3, 2014

In her latest Richard Jury mystery, Martha Grimes delivers the newest addition to the bestselling series The Washington Postcalls “literate, lyrical, funny, funky, discursive, bizarre.” The inimitable Scotland Yard Superintendent returns, now with a tip of the derby to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

Richard Jury is meeting Tom Williamson at Vertigo 42, a bar on the forty-second floor of an office building in London’s financial district. Despite inconclusive evidence, Tom is convinced his wife, Tess, was murdered seventeen years ago. The inspector in charge of the case was sure Tess’s death was accidental—a direct result of vertigo—but the official police inquiry is still an open verdict and Jury agrees to re-examine the case.

Jury learns that a nine-year-old girl fell to her death five years before Tess at the same country house in Devon where Tess died. The girl had been a guest at a party Tess was giving for six children. Jury seeks out the five surviving party guests, who are now adults, hoping they can shed light on this bizarre coincidence.

Meanwhile, an elegantly dressed woman falls to her death from the tower of a cottage near the pub where Jury and his cronies are dining one night. Then the dead woman’s estranged husband is killed as well. Four deaths—two in the past, two that occur on the pages of this intricate, compelling novel—keep Richard Jury and his sidekick Sergeant Wiggins running from their homes in Islington to the countryside in Devon and to London as they try to figure out if the deaths were accidental or not. And, if they are connected.

Witty, well-written, with literary references from Thomas Hardy to Yeats, Vertigo 42 is a pitch perfect, page-turning novel from a mystery writer at the top of her game.

Review –

This author was another first for me and I found the book mesmerizing and hard to put down. The characters were very believable and easy to relate to and the plot  was full of mystery and intrigue. 

If you enjoy Alfred Hitchcock, then this is the novel for you. Fantastic read from beginning to end.

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A Pale Horse (Inspector Ian Rutledge #10) by Charles Todd

Book Description:

Published: December 26, 2007

In the ruins of Yorkshire’s Fountains Abbey lies the body of a man wrapped in a cloak, the face covered by a gas mask. Next to him is a book on alchemy, which belongs to the schoolmaster, a conscientious objector in the Great War. Who is this man, and is the investigation into his death being manipulated by a thirst for revenge?

Meanwhile, the British War Office is searching for a missing man of their own, someone whose war work was so secret that even Rutledge isn’t told his real name or what he did.

The search takes Rutledge to Berkshire, where cottages once built to house lepers stand in the shadow of a great white horse cut into the chalk hillside. The current inhabitants of the cottages are outcasts, too, hiding from their own pasts. Who among them is telling the truth about their neighbors and who is twisting it?

Here is a puzzle requiring all of Rutledge’s daring and skill, for there are layers of lies and deception, while a ruthless killer is determined to hold on to freedom at any cost. And the pale horse looming overhead serves as a reminder that death is never finished with anyone, least of all the men who fought in the trenches of France.

Review –

This is my first time reading/listening to a book in the  Ian Rutledge series by Charles Todd and I’m sorry that it had to be number ten because I know that I’ve missed a lot of character developement that has occurred in the earlier books. Since this author was new to me I didn’t want to spend money on a book so I found number ten on OverDrive and gave it a try.

The characters are all believable and the story line held my interest all the way to the end and I particularly like that the ending is not predictable.  A great mystery for a horribly windy Oklahoma afternoon.

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You (You #1) by Caroline Kepnes

Book Description:

Published: September 30, 2014

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.
Review –
Joe is the quintessential stalker who manipulates all things to ensure that he gets the girl of his current obsession and if he has to murder a few people along the way, so be it.  He is so cool, calm and collected about the whole thing and I think that makes him even more evil. He lies, manipulates,stalks email and text messages, and keeps a collection of Beck’s underwear and other “things” in a hole in the  wall of his apartment, which he covers with a tapestry. All is well until Beck discovers his hidey hole and Joe loses it and we know this is not the first time he has done this , nor will it be his last.
This is a great book, creepy and a bit too real, but you need to add it to your “to be read” list.  I had the audio version and the narrator did a magnificent job of bringing psycho Joe to life!
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Dark Domination (Bought by the Billionaire #1)by Lili Valenti

Book Description:

Published: June 9, 2015

Marine turned billionaire arms dealer Jackson Hawke has one goal—to have the woman who ruined his life at his mercy. He’ll see her on her knees, even if he has to pay for the privilege.

Six years ago, Hannah buried her twin sister. Now, with her family in jeopardy, Hannah must sell herself to a wealthy stranger in order to save their home.

She expects to be scarred by the experience. She doesn’t expect to pay penance for her sister’s sins or to meet a man who brings her body savagely to life.

Now Hannah must choose—confess to Jackson that she’s not the twin he’s looking for and forfeit the money she needs to survive, or submit to a man whose dark domination may be the end of them both.

Review –

A little more detail into the story:

Hannah is a twin and her twin, Harley, isn’t the nicest person.

One night while she sister is out, a sexy man comes in through a window and makes mad crazy love to her thinking she’s Harley and then leaves.

Soon after, she learns that her sister has been killed in an automobile accident and she goes to stay with her Aunt on a Tahitian island, where she owns a broken down B & B. desperately needing money for repairs Hannah agrees to sell herself to a billionaire for a month as an escort(or so she thinks)

Jackson, the billionaire and the “window man” thinks he has bought Harley and has been planning this revenge for six years. Harley pretended to love him and then ruined his military career and caused him to be imprisoned. He’s out now and plans to make her pay. All these years he thought she was dead but his PI found her on a small Tahitian island.

On entering the plane, Hannah is gagged and blindfolded and he takes advantage of her again and again, each time a little rougher. Although he wants to hurt her he can’t forget the love he felt for her.

Finally arriving at their destination and settling into the house, he removes her gag and blindfold and expects her to be afraid, shocked and outraged but he is mistaken. Hannah can’t believe her eyes-it’s her “window-man”. whom she thought she would never see again.

As he waits for her shocked reaction, none comes. Instead she just smiles. End.

Man, I couldn’t believe the end came when it did.  So, of course, I had to buy the next installment, which I will report on later.

A great read with lots of steamy,sexy dialogue and action.

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The Prodigal Son by Danielle Steel

Book Description:

Published: February 24, 2015

In a matter of days, Peter McDowell loses everything he has worked so hard for—his wealth, his property, his livelihood as a star investment banker. And then it gets worse. The stock market crash not only plunges Peter into joblessness, it causes a rift in his marriage that he cannot repair. Stripped of everything, he has only one place to retreat: a lakeside cottage he inherited from his parents, who left most of their modest estate to Peter’s twin. With no other choice, the prodigal son goes home.

A beloved small-town doctor, a devoted family man, and a pillar of his community, Michael McDowell serves others without regard to personal gain. Only Peter knows how Michael manipulated their parents when the boys were young, ultimately driving Peter away. At first, he dreads seeing Michael again. But, to his surprise, their reunion is tender and real. Only later, as Peter mulls over his late mother’s journals, does the truth begin to emerge, as realization and panic begin to set in. Who is his twin? Is the façade real, or does something terrifying lie beneath? Imagination or a reality too terrifying to believe?

In a race for time, Peter throws caution to the winds to find the truth. What he discovers will change their lives forever, the lives of their children, and an entire town.

Powerful, poignant, and filled with complex and layered characters, Prodigal Son is a riveting novel of secrets, salvation, and redemption from master storyteller Danielle Steel.

Review –

Not my favorite because of it’s predictability,  but it was a pleasant book to listen to while driving the highways and byways of Oklahoma.

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The Tale of the Body Thief (The Vampire Chronicles #4) by Anne Rice

Book Description:

Published: October 4, 1992

At the beginning of the story, Lestat grows depressed and becomes remorseful because of his vampiric nature. Although he tries to limit his victims to murderers, serial killers and other criminals, he nonetheless caves into temptation once in a while and kills an “innocent” or someone who he feels does not necessarily deserve to die. Lestat also suffers from constant nightmares concerning his late “daughter,” Claudia, for whose death he blames himself.

The “coven” of vampires formed at the end of The Queen of the Damned has long since broken up, and Lestat has become extremely lonely. Among his only remaining friends is the mortal head of the Talamasca Caste, David Talbot, who is seventy-four years old. Although Lestat has repeatedly offered David the Dark Gift, David has always refused to become a vampire and keep Lestat company through eternity. Lonely and depressed, Lestat goes to the Gobi desert at dawn in a half-hearted suicide attempt. When he does not die, he goes to David’s home in England to heal.

A mysterious figure, Raglan James—the eponymous “Body Thief” of the story—approaches Lestat with what seems to be a cure for his ennui and depression. James sends Lestat several messages hinting that he has the ability to switch bodies. Eventually, he proposes to Lestat that the two of them trade bodies for a day. Against the advice of other vampires and David Talbot, Lestat jumps at the opportunity. Unfortunately, James has no intention of ever switching back, and Lestat is forced to scheme to regain his body.

Lestat nearly dies after becoming human again—his new body is wracked by pneumonia, which he ignores during a tour ofWashington D.C. in the middle of winter. He is saved by the care of a nun named Gretchen. He enjoys a short love affair with Gretchen before she returns to South America, where she works in a convent, and Lestat sets out in search of his body.

Lestat seeks help from other vampires but is completely ostracized by them. Marius is extremely angry at him for leaving such a powerful body to a thief and refuses to help him. Likewise Louis turns him away when he asks Louis to make his new body into a vampire, arguing that Lestat ought to be happy to be human again and also calls him out on his previous writings, accusing him of altering his actual past in favor of one that portrays him heroically. Lestat’s only ally is David Talbot.

Drawing from the Talamasca’s resources on the supernatural, Talbot reveals that James was a gifted psychic who once joined the order, but was kicked out for constant theft. He is a kleptomaniac who enjoys stealing for the thrill of it — it is revealed that every single thing he owns, from his house to his body, was stolen or schemed for. However, he also has major psychological problems, and his life is a series of cycles — he gets rich by theft, then often ends up in prison. Dying of cancer several years before, James tricked the inmate of a mental institution into switching bodies with him, allowing him a type of immortality.

It is James’ lack of imagination and petty thievery that allow Talbot and Lestat to track him down. Despite his newfound wealth and powerful new body, James continues to steal jewelry from people. He also makes a conspicuous show of his wealth, boarding the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, and draining victims of their blood along the ship’s path. The pattern allows his pursuers to easily find him.

On the cruise ship, Lestat manages to regain his body with David’s help, but the sun is rising as he performs the switch and he must immediately flee to a safe place in which to spend the day. When he awakes in the evening he finds that both James and Talbot have disappeared.

Lestat finds David in Florida and is surprised to find that his friend, despite his earlier protestations, now wants to become a vampire. However, while taking his blood, Lestat discovers a final trick — when forced out of Lestat’s body, James took over Talbot’s body instead of returning to his own. Lestat angrily attacks James, crushing his skull. The blow proves fatal—the injury damages James’ brain and prevents him from leaving the dying body or trying to switch bodies before his current one dies.

At this point, Tale of the Body Thief reaches a false ending. Raglan James is dead. David has begun to enjoy life in his new, young body. Lestat returns to New Orleans, reunites with Louis, and begins to renovate his old house in the French Quarter. Above all, Lestat claims that he has finally come to accept his vampiric nature. However, Lestat then warns readers not to continue if they are happy with this ending.

Lestat then resumes the narrative, claiming that he has regained his “evil” nature. A few weeks later after reuniting with Louis, Lestat decides to make Talbot into a vampire against his wishes, and despite the role Talbot played in saving his life when everyone else abandoned him. Before engaging in the transformation, Lestat asks David if he’s ever had any luck with having physical affairs. David admits that he’s had a few, but not with much luck. Lestat then tells David what he’s about to do to him and tells him that he’s going to bring him over to him. Thus, indicating that Lestat is not playing around this time and that he really is going to do it. Lestat tells David that he won’t let him die and that he’s the only real friend that David has in this world. During the first part of David’s transformation, he at first he strongly resists Lestat’s domineering, assaultive and verbal advances despite Lestat’s warning not to fight him, but after a while he succumbs. Secretly though, Lestat really loves David fighting him. As this is happening, Lestat lets the readers in on his real emotions for David by thinking of David as having this scrumptious body with a very beautiful mind for ‘his’ beautiful friend and as ‘his’ beloved David. Also during the first part Lestat asks David if he loves him. Soon after David admits his love for Lestat and Lestat says that he feels the same way for David. After having immortality forced upon him, David disappears again. Lestat looks for him for a while, but upon having no luck he gives up and returns to New Orleans where to his surprise he finds that David has already contacted Louis.

David explains to Lestat that, in secret, this is what he always truly wanted. He tells Lestat that he is no longer angry with him, although he does usurp Lestat’s position of leadership, despite the latters’ protests. Having gotten rid of his old age, and now being immortal, David plans to visit Rio de Janeiro with Louis, and asks Lestat to join him. At the end, Lestat also realizes that, despite all that happened, he is still alone, has failed to regain his “humanity,” and has thrown away his only chance to make amends for his past misdeeds. (from Wikipedia)

Review –

Loved it but at times it seems to bog down in details, but I think that’s pretty common for the author. Very lengthy but if you like the vampire genre I recommend you add this to your “to be read” list.

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Strangers on a Train (Nancy Drew Diaries #2) by Carolyn Keene

Book Description:

Published: February 5, 2013

The new Nancy Drew series from Simon & Schuster, Nancy Drew Diaries, debuted February 2013 with volumes 1 and 2 and then two more to follow the rest of the year and around 3 more each year thereafter. This series harkens back to the Nancy Drew books of the past where Nancy and her friends will rely more on their wits and their brains (much like classic Nancy Drew) to solve mysteries instead of relying so much on technology like they did in the Girl Detective series. There is also an illustrator for the series, Emily McGuire. There are also going to be hardcover versions with dust jackets in addition to the regular paperback versions. And the stories will be a bit longer as well. This series targets the 8 to 12 age group.

Nancy and her friends take their detective skills on an Alaskan adventure in this second book of the Nancy Drew Diaries, a fresh approach to a classic series.Nancy’s Alaskan adventure continues as she, Bess, and George disembark the mystery-plagued Arctic Star cruise ship and explore the grand sites of the forty-ninth state: Skagway; the Yukon territory, and Denali National Park. It’s spectacular scenery, but things start to go wrong almost immediately, leading Nancy to believe that whoever was behind the unsolved mayhem aboard the ship has followed them onto dry land. The girl detectives had better watch their steps—they’re on uncharted and unknown territory!

Review –

OMG, isn’t anything sacred?  

They (and I really don’t know who is to blame) updated the Nancy Drew stories to fit in with modern-day language and technology and seemed to have removed Nancy’s brain at the same time.  Countless times in this book she says “Huh?” in answer to a question. In the original series Nancy was smart and articulate and a real role model for young girls and now she’s incapable of forming sentences when asked a simple question.  

The story was a continuation from the first in the series, The Arctic Star, (which  I did not read) and it was slow, boring and the dialogue trite. I had the audio version and couldn’t wait until it was over.  I gave it two stars and that was a stretch!

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