After The Storm (Kate Burkholder #7) by Linda Castillo

Book Description:

Published: July 14, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

When a tornado tears through Painters Mill and unearths human remains, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder finds herself tasked with the responsibility of identifying the bones–and notifying the family. Evidence quickly emerges that the death was no accident and Kate finds herself plunged into a thirty year old case that takes her deep into the Amish community to which she once belonged.

Meanwhile, turmoil of an emotional and personal nature strikes at the very heart of Kate’s budding relationship with state agent John Tomasetti. A reality that strains their fragile new love to the breaking point and threatens the refuge they’ve built for themselves–and their future.

Under siege from an unknown assailant–and her own personal demons–Kate digs deep into the case only to discover proof of an unimaginable atrocity, a plethora of family secrets and the lengths to which people will go to protect their own.

Review –

This was, by far, the best of the Kate Burkholder novels to date.

Besides hunting for the identity of the bones found in the crawl space of an old barn, Kate discovers that she’s pregnant. She’s on the pill but sometimes is lax about routinely taking them so she feels guilty.  Add to this that Tomasetti isn’t thrilled about it and admits that he doesn’t even think he wants kids again. Of course, later, when heads are clearer he comes to want the child and even buys Kate an Amish made cradle.

The tension between Kate and John was so strong you could feel it. Linda Castillo is a great creator of angst.

I had my fingers crossed that the author would let it work out but because of all the falls and rough blows she took subduing the murderer, Kate loses the baby. I cried and cried and cried. I guess it just wasn’t the right time for them but I have my fingers crossed that soon their happily ever after will happen.

Five stars !!!!!

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The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

Book Description:

Published: August 25, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

“The Dollhouse. . . . That’s what we boys like to call it. . . . The Barbizon Hotel for Women, packed to the rafters with pretty little dolls. Just like you.”

Fiona Davis’s stunning debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City’s glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side-by-side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success in the 1950s, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon’s glitzy past.

When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren’t: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn’t belong—a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Esme, a Barbizon maid, she’s introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that’s used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.”

Over half a century later, the Barbizon’s gone condo and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby’s involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman’s rent-controlled apartment. It’s a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby’s upstairs neighbor, to resist—not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose’s obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed.

Review –

In The Dollhouse, debut novelist Fiona Davis begins with a simple premise. But as the book advances, through alternating looks at Rose’s world in 2016 and Darby’s in 1952, the story becomes increasingly complex. Davis layers on relationships and intrigue, while building tension through her story structure. Each glimpse at Darby’s world leaves both Rose and the reader yearning for more, and eager to understand exactly what shaped the ladies at this women’s residence. The pace quickens as the story hurtles to its surprising—but satisfying—end. 

Fantastic book full of twists and turns and sub-plots and makes for a great Summer read!

Five stars.

Possessed By You (Torn #1) by J. M. Walker

Book Description:

Published: May 2014

Format: Free Digital Book

Releasing control is relief…

I was warned about men like Brett Maclean.

He was dark and thrilling, intense and controlling. And he captivated me from the very start. He unleashed something inside of me like no other. His bad rep and troubled past drew me to him like gasoline feeding a flame.

With just one taste, I felt the danger in him, the uncontrollable power that left me breathless. The passion consumed me. Fast and hard.

Temptation couldn’t guard my heart. I should have known a man of such raw and wild desires came with competition.

Review –

In this story we have a tall, very handsome alpha bar/club owner that doesn’t do relationships.. and then we have our heroine who is crushing on this alpha…he makes a proposition one night is all… 

What I didn’t like is, he was too cocky and  I know these alpha’s mostly are but he was just too friggin much.  Going on and on about how she will forget any other man she’s ever been with if she just gives him this one night…blah, blah, blah. She went from this strong woman to this half nag, half bore, total doormat.

You know the story from here – one night turns into many and they can’t get enough of each other. sex is like their oxygen. They have to have it!  Brett has secrets and dark demons. Painful secrets that are the cause of his behavior.He doesn’t know what love is, never felt it for a woman, until Evvie.
Brett is an alpha male to the core. He domineering, rough in the bedroom and completely sexy, everything you want in your alpha.

Then, surprise, his ex-girlfriends tries and succeeds getting him back only to have him dump her again and go back to Evvie but she has trust issues, especially with a man like Brett who’s had a string of women all his life.

They love each other, but with so many things coming between them, is that love enough? 
 I won’t tell you how the book ends but I WON’T  be reading the other books in the series because it was just okay and not one that I HAVE to follow up on.

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Book Description:

Published: November 1, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Review –

Just finished listening to this book and had to get my thoughts down before they become mingled with the next book I plan to listen to/read.

This book basically covers A DAY in the lives of two seventeen years olds, a boy, Daniel, a Korean-American and a girl, Natasha, who came to America  from Jamaica when she was eight.

Everything about day had to fall just right for them to meet. If a second of difference in an occurrence had happened they would have passed by each other without a single glance. But they did meet and for Daniel is was love at first sight. Natasha was a harder sell and Daniel spent the day making her fall in love with him.

Daniel was on his way to a college entrance interview for Yale with plans to become a doctor. He didn’t want to be a doctor or really go to Yale but it was what his parents wanted.

Natasha was trying to stop her family from being deported that night back to Jamaica .

There are many twists and turns but suffice it to say that Daniel is crushed when he learns that she is going to disappear from his life that night and the attorney who had promised to help her dropped the ball by missing an important meeting  with a judge by spending the afternoon in a hotel room with his paralegal. Circumstances have to be just right for things to go right or wrong.

Natasha and her family go back to Jamaica and  she and Daniel keep in touch for a while but then life takes over and they each get on with their lives.  

Do they get back together? I’m not going to tell you but just know that for the last twenty minutes of this audiobook I had tears falling down my face and had trouble breathing.

I give this book  4 1/2 stars because there were a few parts that bogged down with too much information.

This is the second book by author, Nicola Yoon, and now I’m going to go find her first one, Everything Everything and grab more Kleenex.

Lost Light (Harry Bosch #9) by Michael Connelly

Book Description:

Published: March 1, 2004

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The vision has haunted him for four years–a young woman lying crumpled in death, her hand outstretched in silent supplication. Harry Bosch was taken off the Angella Benton murder case when the production assistant’s death was linked with the violent theft of two million dollars from a movie set. Both files were never closed. Now retired from the L.A.P.D., Bosch is determined to find justice for Angella. Without a badge to open doors and strike fear into the guilty, he’s on his own. And even in the face of an opponent more powerful and ruthless than any he’s ever encountered, Bosch is not backing down.

Review –

I’ve read or listened to most of the Harry Bosch series but every once in a while I will come across one that’s I’ve missed. This was one and when I found it available on OverDrive I checked it out.

Writing in the first person for the first time, Connelly finally gets us inside Bosch’s head and it really gives us an insight to how his mind works. Great job on the author’s part.

Recalling the opening of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, Bosch shows up at a rich movie executive’s home in his best suit. He has gone to ask about a woman who was murdered when Bosch was still on the police force. You see, when Bosch retired, he took his unsolved case files with him, and some of the untouched cases still haunt him.

The woman Bosch is asking about was killed at the movie exec’s studio and the case was eventually overlooked, when an armored truck delivering two million dollars as a movie prop was hijacked. But Bosch never forgets, and after asking around, he gets warnings from some of his old co-workers, namely Kiz Rider, who asks him to stay out of the case.

As Bosch begins to sift through the murder, the FBI, a paraplegic ex-cop, productions studios, his former wife, and Hollywood clubs become involved. When one of the marked dollar bills from the robbery turns up with a suspected terrorist, Bosch becomes entangled with the newly created Homeland Security division of the FBI. This is where Connelly begins to shine. He ratchets up the suspense as Bosch becomes more and more involved with the Feds, who are trying to keep him off the case. But in true private investigator tradition, Bosch only becomes more stubbornly determined to solve the case.

Particularly enjoyable are those scenes when we follow Harry as he tries to interview suspects and find clues, and the difficulty he has making the transition from an insider to an outsider. The interactions with characters, the paraplegic especially, have a very dark and moody feel.

The ending of the story is a surprise and a tear-jerker (at least for me), but works with Connelly’s theme of balancing the light and darkness of his mission, and the last third of the book is absolutely riveting.

I’m going to re-check my list to see if I have missed any other Harry Bosch gems and find them if I can.

 

The Dead Will Tell (Kate Burkholder #6) by Linda Castillo

Book Description:

Published: July 8, 2014

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Everyone in Painters Mill knows the abandoned Hochstetler farm is haunted. But only a handful of the residents remember the terrible secrets lost in the muted/hushed whispers of time—and now death is stalking them, seemingly from the grave.

On a late-night shift, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of an apparent suicide—an old man found hanging from the rafters in his dilapidated barn. But evidence quickly points to murder and Kate finds herself chasing a singularly difficult and elusive trail of evidence that somehow points back to the tragedy of that long ago incident. Meanwhile, Kate has moved in with state agent John Tomasetti and for the first time in so long, they’re both happy; a bliss quickly shattered when one of the men responsible for the murders of Tomasetti’s family four years ago is found not guilty, and walks away a free man. Will Tomasetti be pulled back to his own haunted past?

When a second man is found dead—also seemingly by his own hand—Kate discovers a link in the case that sends the investigation in a direction no one could imagine and revealing the horrifying truth of what really happened that terrible night thirty-five years ago, when an Amish father and his four children perished—and his young wife disappeared without a trace.

And, as Kate knows—the past never truly dies .  . .

Review –

The story begins thirty-five years earlier as a young Billy Hochstetler is awakened in the middle of the night by intruders threatening his family. During the burglary, his father is shot and killed, his mother is forced to leave with the three men, and he and the children are forced into the cellar. Billy decides to try to save his mother and after escaping through a window, goes after her, leaving his brothers and sisters by themselves. He chases the get-away car, but is unsuccessful in rescuing his mother. He returns to the house to find it engulfed in flames. In one night he has lost his family.

Fast forward to present day…Painter’s Mill Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of a supposed suicide. After checking the scene and looking into other facets of the dead man’s life, it is determined that he was murdered. Inside the mouth of the murdered man was a small carved Amish doll with the name Hochstetler on it.  Circumstances in subsequent murders also  seemed to bring the Hochstetler incident into the mix. But are there any other connecting threads?

Kate and her officers, including over seventy Pickles, have to work around the clock to solves theses crimes and harm comes to some.

John Tomasetti is dealt a blow when one of the men responsible for the murders of his wife and daughters is let go-free as a bird.  Tomasetti has to do something, but will it be legal or ethical?

Kate and John have been living together now for about six months and she’s afraid that now that she’s given away her heart John will hurt her.

Great read and I can’t wait for the next one to become available on OverDrive.

 

Crazy Beautiful by Lucia Jordan

Book Description:

Published: April 18, 2017

Format: Free Digital Book

Valeri Huntington has her dream—a publicist for one of the top firms on the east coast. Nevertheless, she can’t help but feel like something is missing. A long list of men has been left in her wake because they just can’t seem to measure up or she finds a way to rationalize her way out of anything before it gets too serious. The one relationship she did have ended roughly and left her picking up the pieces up of her heart for months. After that breakup, she vowed to throw herself into her work and that’s where she’s been ever since. The night she ran into Dallas McCormick she was left feeling like she’d been hit with a ton of bricks. The reclusive man that lived in the mountains was somewhat of a legend. He’d outright insulted her and pissed her off like no one ever has, and yet, her body burned from a desire that she had no idea even existed.

Like a magnet, she was pulled to him and she had no idea why. Dallas McCormick was not the man everyone created rumors about. However, there is no denying that there is a dark shadow that looms over him, and it’s one that could very well put Valerie in harm’s way.

Review –

This is the first book in the Crazy Beautiful series and although it was good, I don’t plan to read the others. There was a bit of chemistry between Valeri and Dallas but it wasn’t the combustible type and it’s too predictable. Dallas is ex-military and suffers from PTSD and that’s what puts Valeri in harm’s way at the end of the book. The reader knows that everything is going to work out fine in the end so why spend money just to confirm that?

It was a short pleasant read. Great cover though!

 

 

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

Book Description:

Published: June 14, 2011

Format: Audio/OverDrive

As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child, thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me…

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love–all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine’s life.

Review –

Loved the premise of this book and how the more you got into it the creepier it became.

Imagine waking up every morning and not knowing anything – not your name, who’s in bed with you, NOTHING. During the day you learn the basics and then you fall asleep at night and lose everything. You wake up the next morning and start from scratch again.

I won’t give anything away but things are not as they seem. I learned that there is a movie by the same name made in 2013, I think, so I added it to my Netflix que to see how close they stick to the story line.

If you like creepy, this one is for you.

 

 

 

The Fireman by Joe Hill

Book Description:

Published: January 3, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.

In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.

Review –

The Fireman, follows a nurse named Harper as a deadly pandemic called Dragonscale spreads across the world. Hosts of the spore break out in elaborate black and gold rashes before bursting into flames, burning to death and taking down anything near them. When Harper develops Dragonscale marks after becoming pregnant, she finds a group of the infected that have learned to control the flames, including a man known as The Fireman, who can manipulate the fire within him as a weapon.

After being taken Camp Wyndham, where she discovers a whole group of the infected are hiding out from roving cremation crews and vigilantes (which later includes her deranged husband). There, she learns something startling: they’ve learned how to prevent the infection from burning them up. Not only that, Dragonscale seems to allow them to connect on a deep, communal level. The Fireman can even control the flames on his body. Their hideaway has become a refuge where they have formed a safe, small ocean of calm in the midst of a burning New England.

When Harper comes to the camp, it seems like the safest place for her and her unborn child. She learns how to control the infection on her body, and has access to shelter and food. As the months drag on, the tension only increases for the group. When the camp’s de facto leader, Father Storey, is mysteriously attacked, the residents place his daughter Carol in charge.

Under Carol, the camp turns into a dark place, and this is where the novel really gets its feet under it. Eager to help ensure everyone’s safety, paranoid and unwilling to relinquish power, the camp becomes a place where there’s only one voice: hers, and Harper is forced to navigate a tenuous existence in her new home.

Complicating matters is Dragonscale itself: it allows the infected to connect with others – it’s not quite telepathy, but a sort of group mind. In perfect situations, it could form the basis for the utopian society that everyone at Camp Wyndham envisions. With the wrong personalities in charge, that utopia becomes a dystopia quickly.

I won’t tell you the outcome but there are tear-jerker parts and a semi cliffhanger at the end.

Five stars.  Loved it even with all the Mary Poppins references!

 

Ashes (Project Eden #4) by Brett Battles

Book Description:

Published: December 1, 2012

Format: Audio

The hammer has fallen. The deadly Sage Flu has been unleashed. The scramble for survival is in full force.

Martina Gable and her family escaped to a secluded mountain cabin in hopes of avoiding the death sweeping the desert valley below, but have they gone far enough?

Dominic Ray, manager of a tropical, private island resort, has a dream job. The weather, the food, the drinks, the people—life couldn’t be better. What he didn’t expect—what no one could have expected—was that his good life was about to disappear.

In a sea of the sick and dying, Sanjay and Kusum desperately search for a place beyond Mumbai where they and the group they are leading can be safe, and where they can prepare for what the future may bring.

Brandon Ash wants nothing more than to be with his father and sister, but there is something waiting for him on a deserted, snow-covered highway. Something that may mean the reunion will never happen.

 

As Daniel Ash, Brandon’s father, lies unconscious from the serious wounds he suffered while hunting for his son, his daughter Josie realizes it’s up to her to find her brother and bring him home. But the search will be a dangerous one, that will take her far from home.

And then there is Project Eden, watching the plague kill as they had planned, even as they prepare to activate the next phase.

What will you do to survive?

Review –

Ashes is the 4th book in this exciting  series and slightly slower paced than the others  but no less captivating and its nice to have a very slight slow down to find out more about the fantastic characters. 
The subplots have become stronger and more developed and I’m enjoying the introduction of  another group.

I missed Captian Ash as he is recovering from book 3, Pale Horse, and taken a back seat in this book. Brandon, his son, however has taken over in this book and is growing up as tough and intuitive as his Dad a clever move from the author.
What I love about this series is the fact that even one of the sick often doesn’t realize how dangerous they are by doing something so simple they risk thousands of lives.
This is definitely a gripping and engaging read through every chapter. Brett has created yet another brilliant cliffhanger and this one is genius; it will throw the resistance into mayhem trying to sort this one. I’m looking forward to finding a free copy  of the next book, Eden Rising.