Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea

Book Description:

Published: January 26, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Some places seem too beautiful to be touched by horror. Summit Lake, nestled in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, is that kind of place. But two weeks ago, Becca Eckersley, a first-year law student and daughter of a powerful attorney, was brutally murdered there. Now the town is reeling with grief, and the police are baffled.

At first, investigative reporter Kelsey Castle thinks of the assignment as a fluff piece. But the savagery of the crime, and the efforts to keep it quiet, hint at something far more sinister than a random attack by a stranger. As Kelsey digs deeper, despite danger and warnings, she feels a growing connection to the dead girl. And the more she learns about Becca’s friendships, her love life and her secrets the more convinced she becomes that walking in Becca’s footsteps could lead her out of her own dark past.

Review –

Becca Eckersley’s brutal rape and murder brings journalist Kelsey Castle to Summit Lake. Recovering from her own trauma,(attempted rape and beating while jogging)Kelsey’s boss believes this story is the best way for her to come to grips with her past. She gets full cooperation from the police commander, which is more than she expects. But he’s been one-oped by the State Police and helps her behind the scenes. A young staff doctor provides surprising autopsy information and eventually a partner in finding out the real facts of the case. Flashbacks to Becca’s college life shed some light on what might have happened in the present and inside sources provide even more shocking information regarding Becca. A missing journal may hold the key, but  Kelsey gets roadblocks thrown her way that threaten her ability to discover the truth. But she persists and doesn’t know that retracing the steps of a dead girl with ultimately resolve her own demons and help her come into a new life.

This is a fast-paced page turner and it has teasing plot twists. The authored a fantastic job of giving just the right amount of information at just the right time. It’s refreshing to find a book that has such a well-developed plot and excellent writing to back it up.

Loved it, however I would have liked to seen a relationship develop between Kelsey and the young doctor.

Five stars!

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The Drafter (The Peri Reed Chronicles #1) by Kim Harrison

Book Description:

Published: September 1, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The Bourne Identity meets Minority Report in this first highly anticipated installment in number-one New York Times best-selling author Kim Harrison’s sexy new romantic suspense trilogy, featuring a brilliant special task agent at the top of her field and set in a futuristic Detroit.

During a routine but dangerous Opti task, Peri Reed finds out her trusted partner has made her a corrupt agent. Her unique ability to jump back 40 seconds in time to correct a mistake leaves her vulnerable when her partner, who is responsible for replacing her memory of the event, gives her a false one. But Peri lives and dies on her intuition, and she begins to piece her twisted reality together as she flees her one-time secure situation at Opti and tries to find the truth with a sullen but talented psychologist named Silas who works for the very agency trying to bring the Opti corruption to light.

With Howard, tech and med specialist, and Taf, gun-toting daughter of the opposing grass-roots agency, Silas and Peri try to rebuild her memory of the night she killed her partner, knowing it will put her mental stability in danger. Peri remembers, and thoughts of revenge keep her alive and moving forward as she tries to put an end to Opti, working with the very faction that wants to see her dead.

Review –

In 2030, Agent Peri Reed works for Opti, a secret government organization that’s been capitalizing on abilities like hers since the 1960s. Peri is the drafter of the title, someone gifted with the rare ability to rewind time for about 30 seconds; the downside is that she not only forgets the original 30 seconds, but longer periods of time (minutes, weeks, even years). Her partner and lover, Jack, acts as her anchor, working to tie her to the new timeline and helping her recover lost memories. But when the two of them uncover a list of corrupt Opti agents and Peri’s name is on it, she learns that both Jack and what she believes to be her past are suspect.

Unfortunately, the more information she uncovers about Opti and its nemesis, the alliance, the harder Opti works to erase Peri’s memories, leaving her either confused and gullible or confused and angry through much of the book. 

Fans of Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series maybe hoping for another strong woman character who kicks butt, be alas, Peri is more a victim, though she has impressive combat skills. She’s frequently distracted by the lures of sex, good food, and expensive, well-tailored clothing. She’s too focused on the adrenaline rush and privileges associated with being an elite, pampered agent to convince us that she’s capable of selflessly serving a cause. Maybe she is a corrupt agent after all, hhmmm.

Great read and really looking forward to the next installment in The  Peri Reed Chronicles.

Voodoo River (Elvis Cole #5) by Robert Crais

Book Description:

Published: March 2, 2000

Format: Audio

In a search for a young woman’s past PI Elvis Cole discovers far more than he expected . . .

Hired to uncover the past of Jodi Taylor, an actress in a hit TV show, Elvis leaves his native Los Angeles to head for Louisiana in search of Jodi’s biological parents.

But before he can tackle the mystery of the actress’s background, he is up against a whole host of eccentrics, including a crazed Raid-spraying housewife, a Cajun thug who looks like he’s been made out of spare parts, and a menacing hundred-year-old river turtle named Luther.

As Elvis learns about the enigmatic actress’s origins, he also discovers the real reason he’s been sent to Louisiana . . .

Review –

I have read several Elvis Cole books so I know that he was involved with an attorney by the name of Lucy Chenier and the she  has a young son, Ben. I know that it became serious between them to the point that Elvis asked Lucy to marry him.  They eventually broke up, never marrying, because his job put Lucy and Ben in trouble more than once. However, I never knew when or how they met, until reading/listening to this book. She plays a large part in this story and it marks the beginning of their relationship.

Joe Pike, Elvis’s partner in the detective agency, is also in this book and I love his character so much. He is ex-military and always wears sunglasses, day or night and is a man of few words.

This book was very entertaining, taking place mainly in Louisiana and we come across some very interesting characters. There is a secondary storyline to round out the book and make the adventures of Elvis and Joe complete.

I really enjoy this series and will continue to read them whenever I come across one.

 

 

 

 

The Drafter (Peri Reed Chronicles #1) by Kim Harrison

Book Description:

Published: September 1, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The Bourne Identity meets Minority Report in this first highly anticipated installment in number-one New York Times best-selling author Kim Harrison’s sexy new romantic suspense trilogy, featuring a brilliant special task agent at the top of her field and set in a futuristic Detroit.

During a routine but dangerous Opti task, Peri Reed finds out her trusted partner has made her a corrupt agent. Her unique ability to jump back 40 seconds in time to correct a mistake leaves her vulnerable when her partner, who is responsible for replacing her memory of the event, gives her a false one. But Peri lives and dies on her intuition, and she begins to piece her twisted reality together as she flees her one-time secure situation at Opti and tries to find the truth with a sullen but talented psychologist named Silas who works for the very agency trying to bring the Opti corruption to light.

With Howard, tech and med specialist, and Taf, gun-toting daughter of the opposing grass-roots agency, Silas and Peri try to rebuild her memory of the night she killed her partner, knowing it will put her mental stability in danger. Peri remembers, and thoughts of revenge keep her alive and moving forward as she tries to put an end to Opti, working with the very faction that wants to see her dead.

Review –

If  you’re a fan of Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series with Rachel Morgan, you are going to love this new series with Peri Reed, a highly trained  covert government operative, who has the added panache of being able to skip back in time, a minute or two, when a mission goes bad. 

As cool as it is, the ability also has serious consequences. Living through two timelines can ravage the mind, and drafters need the help of an “anchor” to reconcile the events in their minds… and even then, sometimes memories are lost. But as the story begins, Peri believes what she’s doing is worth the sacrifice –and she couldn’t be more in love with her anchor, Jack.

Over the course of the book, Peri has to face some uncomfortable truths about what she does and who she does it for. And it’s made so much more difficult because she is missing her own memories and she doesn’t know who she can trust. The author does so many things right here by making the reader feel Peri’s internal conflict. I believed in this crazy world she lives in and I was shaken right along with her every time Harrison dropped a new bomb in her lap.

There were so many parts where I didn’t know what to think –or who to believe. That could be frustrating at times, and even after reaching the end, I still don’t know what to make of some characters, especially Allen. But then I remind myself that there are still two books to go in the series.

I love the story and would classify it as a suspense/thriller yet futuristic  and sci-fi. It’s not a romance, but there is a romance somewhere in Peri’s memories but she does not get an HEA, at least not in book one!

I Let You Go by Clare MackIntosh

Book Description:

Published: May 3, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . . .

I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.

At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.

Review –

I was about a third of the way into the book and it’s direction took a complete turn around. What I thought I knew wasn’t at all correct. I loved that the author was able to pull the wool over my eyes with subtle misdirection.

I can’t go into much detail because it would give too much away but after the hit and run, Jenna goes into hiding in a secluded Welsh village, though she thinks of it as “starting over”. She’s a very private person and doesn’t trust men, at all, (we find out why later in the book) She’s a very strong person, she has to be in order to survive her past relationship.

There’s more to this storyline than the hit and run killing of a five-year old boy at Christmas time. It’s also the story of Jenna Gray and her hope for survival and of Ean, a maniacal, egotistical sadist.

You will have to read the book to see how these stories all come together and mesh into a cohesive conclusion.

I loved it!!!!

Five stars.

 

At Any Price (Gaming the System #1) by Brenna Aubrey

Book Description:

Published: December 9, 2013

Format: Free Digital Book

When Mia Strong, proud geek-girl and popular gaming blogger, auctions off her virginity online, she knows she’ll make waves. But what she will not be making is a love connection. Her rules are set in stone: One night. No further contact.

It’s a desperate step, but it’s the only way she can go to medical school and pay her mother’s mounting hospital bills.

Difficulty Level: Millionaire CEO

Adam Drake, the enigmatic auction winner, is a software prodigy who made his first million at seventeen. Now, in his mid-twenties, he’s sexy, driven and–as CEO of his own gaming company–he’s used to making the rules. Before Mia knows what’s happening, he’s found the loophole in the rules of her auction. Every stipulation she’s made to protect her heart gets tossed by the wayside.

She can’t tell if he’s playing her…or if he’s playing for keeps.

Review –

I loved the characters and plot of At Any Price. The characters were unique and well-developed. They both have their hangups which causes them to close themselves off, one from the other, at times. I just wanted to shake them back into reality.

The romance is slow burn, and almost teasing. It’s there and then it wasn’t. Adam decided to bid and win the auction because he didn’t want her to “sell” her virginity and even though he is the one to take it, it’s only after the deal has been cancelled. He loves her but doesn’t know how to tell her. Unbeknownst to him, Mia is falling in love with him too but doesn’t know what to do with those feelings.

Mia didn’t  know it but Adam has known about her and a lot of her financial difficulties for over a year because of being a player in one of the video games she plays. When she finds out, she is livid.

I am content with the end to their story in this book, so I might not read on in the series. The next one is told from Adam’s POV, which I am certain I WILL NOT read and the third book is their HEA and since I know that’s how it’s going to end I don’t care the spend money to confirm it.

Pleasant read.

 

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel

Book Description:

Published: April 26, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

An inventive debut in the tradition of World War Z and The Martian, told in interviews, journal entries, transcripts, and news articles, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by a quest for truth—and a fight for control of earthshaking power.

Review –

This book has been on my TBR list ever since it was released but I just never seemed  to find the right frame of mind to read it or listen to it. But Friday afternoon I decided to listen to it and once I started I found it almost impossible to stop.

I’ve always been a fan of Sci-Fi, not the fantasy type but the alien monsters type, so this book hit my mark right away.

The author had a way with describing to the reader exactly how the pieces of the “Giant” looked and felt. I could see it plainly in my mind’s eye and I loved the use of interviews and journals to see into the minds of the characters.

There is a lot of covert actions and hide and seek with the “Giant” and it was fun to wonder what would happen next. At one point the “Giant” ALMOST walked across the border into North Korea (oh yes, it can walk) and started another World War. The author has an amazing imagination.

I was very surprised when one of the main characters was killed off but I figured she/he  had fulfilled their  part of the plot but at the end there is a GIANT cliffhanger and low and behold the character is back missing four years of her life.

Overdrive didn’t offer the second book, Waking Gods, in audio-so I used one of my Audible credits to buy it and will part it as soon as I post this to my blog.   Can’t wait.

Five stars!!!!

 

The Submissive (Submissive #1) by Tara Sue Me

Book Description:

Published: February 7, 2013

Format: Free Digital Book

Abby King has a secret fantasy.

New York knows Nathaniel West as the brilliant and handsome CEO of West Industries, but Abby knows he’s more: a sexy and skilled dominant who is looking for a new submissive. Yearning to experience a world of pleasure beyond her simple life as a librarian, Abby offers herself to Nathaniel, to fulfill her most hidden desires.

After only one weekend with the Master, Abby knows she needs more, and fully submits to Nathaniel’s terms. But despite the pleasure he takes in Abby’s willing spirit, the Nathaniel hidden behind the rules remains cold and distant.

As Abby falls deeper into his tantalizing world of power and passion, she fears that Nathaniel’s heart may be beyond her reach—and that her own might be beyond saving…

Review –

Abby has had a “thing” for Nathaniel West  since he had a hand in helping save her Mother’s house. The problem is that she has no experience being a sub and Nathaniel doesn’t train submissives but he decides to make an exception in her case.

Since the story is told first person, only from Abby’s perspective, I found Nathaniel pretty unlikeable, given that it seemed Abby was the only one feeling anything. But as the story unfolded, and Abby meets others in Nathaniel’s life, and we the reader get to know him, it becomes easier to understand why she would fall for him.

Nathaniel is definitely a wounded soul, and his defense mechanisms make him distant. As we learn more about his history, I found myself softening towards him. And when he and Abby have their big fight, man does he give good grovel. The sex scenes are very spicy, although the BDSM element is pretty tame.

I also read the second in the series, The Dominant, and it is the same story told from Nathaniel’s POV. We learn more about his history and why he is the way he is and if you’re wondering why there is a piano on the cover, well, you’ll just to read the book and find out.

I you like the Dominant/Submissive genre then you HAVE to check out this series. You will not be disappointed .

Love Restored (Gallagher Brothers #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan

Book Description:

Published: September 13, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In the first of a Montgomery Ink spin-off series from NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan, a broken man uncovers the truth of what it means to take a second chance with the most unexpected woman…

Graham Gallagher has seen it all. And when tragedy struck, lost it all. He’s been the backbone of his brothers, the one they all rely on in their lives and business. And when it comes to falling in love and creating a life, he knows what it’s like to have it all and watch it crumble. He’s done with looking for another person to warm his bed, but apparently he didn’t learn his lesson because the new piercer at Montgomery Ink tempts him like no other.

Blake Brennen may have been born a trust fund baby, but she’s created a whole new life for herself in the world of ink, piercings, and freedom. Only the ties she’d thought she’d cut long ago aren’t as severed as she’d believed. When she finds Graham constantly in her path, she knows from first glance that he’s the wrong kind of guy for her. Except that Blake excels at making the wrong choice and Graham might be the ultimate temptation for the bad girl she’d thought long-buried.

Review –

I have read the Montgomery Ink series so I was acquainted with the characters that showed up during this, the first of the Gallagher Brothers  books.

Graham Gallagher and his brothers restore houses that are historical landmarks and other properties and he is a dark, brooding, grumpy man with a long beard, a piercing and ink.

Blake Brennen, who has been estranged from her parents since the birth of her daughter, Rowan, ten years ago, is the executor of her family’s estate so she is the contact person  and she and Graham butt heads from the start.They’re both such strong personalities that they are like magnets bouncing off of each other but you know with just one turn they will connect in such away pulling them apart will be a near impossibility. But Blake has a history that haunts her, a history that changed her world, a history that sent her on the run for years, but now she’s back home and forced to face that history while keeping herself and her secrets close to the heart.

Blake works at Montgomery Ink and pierces as well as tattoos so she comes into contact with the Gallagher brothers almost every day because, Jake Gallagher is engaged to Maya Montgomery.

To make a long story short, Graham and his wife (now ex),Candace, lost a child and their marriage didn’t survive. Blake, got pregnant and the father became a drug addict and died and his parents have always blamed her and said they would have the baby taken away from her, so she moves often and tries to keep Rowan a secret.

Blake, discovers that Chris’s parents have found out where she lives and are taking her to court for full custody.

The Gallagher and the Montgomery’s band together and help Blake keep her daughter. There is drama but it all works out.

For a contemporary romance, this one had minimal sex, but it was well written and the chemistry between Graham and Blake was hot.

A great Summer Time read.

 

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.