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.

 

 

 

 

The Lost Girls by Heather Young

Book Description:

Published: July 26, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In the summer of 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family’s vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys her mother, who spends the rest of her life at the lake house, hoping in vain that her favorite daughter will walk out of the woods. Emily’s two older sisters stay, too, each keeping her own private, decades-long vigil for the lost child.

Sixty years later Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before she dies, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person to whom it might matter: her grandniece, Justine.

For Justine, the lake house offers a chance to escape her manipulative boyfriend and give her daughters the stable home she never had. But it’s not the sanctuary she hoped for. The long Minnesota winter has begun. The house is cold and dilapidated, the frozen lake is silent and forbidding, and her only neighbor is a strange old man who seems to know more than he’s telling about the summer of 1935.

Soon Justine’s troubled oldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily’s disappearance, her mother arrives with designs on her inheritance, and the man she left behind launches a dangerous plan to get her back. In a house steeped in the sorrows of the women who came before her, Justine must overcome their tragic legacy if she hopes to save herself and her children.

Review –

The foundation of the story rests with the disappearance in 1935 of Emily, a six-year-old child, and the resulting destruction of a family unit when the child is not found. As the story opens, it is the end of the 20th century and Lucy, the last living member of the family, writes the story of the tragedy, set during the summer of 1935 at a remote area in northern Minnesota that is the gathering spot for summer and weekend vacations. Its residents arrive at the beginning of summer and leave with the onset of autumn. They are all known to one another, and their relationships ebb and flow. 

Knowing that she is dying, Lucy feels compelled to explain the mystery of Emily’s disappearance as it unfolded that summer. She has made arrangements to leave the home and property that she and her older sister, Lilith, have lived in until the last of their family has died out, to a grandniece, Justine, who is Lilith’s granddaughter. Her journal story is written in the first person and immerses us into that long-ago summer.

With each alternating chapter, we follow Justine as she migrates from San Diego to Williamsburg, Minnesota, with her two daughters. The move is fraught with anguish as Justine leaves her live-in boyfriend, packs the few belongings she and the girls have, and sets out to learn about her inheritance. Her story is told in the third person.

Young is skilled at creating tension and conflict both in the journal (Lucy) chapters and in the Justine chapters.

 Her characters are vivid and come to life as the story unfolds.

Justine’s mother, Maurie, is a hippy-style mother who disappears and then reappears every few years when her life falls apart and she needs financial support. When she learns that Justine has inherited the family summer home, she comes sniffing around searching for anything she can sell for profit. She is a woman older than she believes herself to be and her boisterous and flirtatious ways create pain and embarrassment for Justine.

Patrick, Justine’s boyfriend, is a manipulative man, set on controlling Justine’s life and that of her daughters. She left him with no indication where she was going, but she knew he would find her and come for her . . . and he does.

The characters in Lucy’s journal are equally complex in their relationships with one another. The two older daughters just emerging into their teens, Lilith and Lucy, are inseparable, while the younger child, Emily, is held close and pampered by their mother.

The parents are estranged: the father, a pharmacist in town, comes to the summer home on weekends with his religious bellowing; the mother expresses an overpowering attachment to Emily and a distance from her husband.  

Matthew and Abe Miller are the sons of the man who owns the lodge in the vacation area where tourists come and reside for short periods of time. The boys are mixed race, part white, part Indian, and while the lodge is accepted as a gathering point for the summer residents, the fathers watch the boys with a careful eye. These two characters travel back and forth between the journal, as young men, and Justine’s story as old men.

In Lucy’s journal, Young expresses the angst of young boys and girls as they are entering adulthood and the dances they do around one another with varying degrees of results. She is equally good at reflecting the anger of Justine’s two young daughters who have been ripped away from the small amount of stability they had in San Diego, as they are relocated to a cold, northern, unforgiving environment in Minnesota.

Both stories travel a parallel path of pain with the summer of 1935 heading toward a tragic end and the winter of the end of the 20th century heading on a collision course of battered relationships.

Young drops hints throughout Lucy’s chapters as to what really happened to Emily that summer and in two thrilling scenes packed with tension at the end, she pitches several situations only hinted at earlier, but activities that nonetheless prove vital to the final result. She cleverly draws these parallel stories together as Justine resolves issues and takes her place as the strong protagonist she is meant to be.

Five stars!  Fantastic read.

Liberated (Fractured #3) by Elle Charles

Book Description:

Published: August 14, 2015

Format: E-Book

After escaping the life that was determined to never let her go, and leaving behind the man that coaxed her from the darkness, Kara is back to living a solitary life. Hiding away, once again, she is living in isolation, forging an existence from the torn shreds left behind. Desperately wanting everything that has been stolen from her, but too frightened to take the risk, she has convinced herself that her choices are the right ones. Her absolution to stay hidden is robust, until familiar faces resurface, bringing with them heart breaking truths that she cannot ignore. Facing up to the consequence of her choices and the decisions she has made, running is no longer an option.

Facing up to reality will prove to be the hardest thing she ever does.

Ghosts from the past will return, undisclosed secrets will be revealed and lifelong dreams shall finally be fulfilled.

Warning:

Please note, this novel contains serious adult content and descriptive sexual scenes. 

Review –

I don’t know why, but I felt let down by this book, the final installment of the Fractured series. To me, it was too long, dragging out parts that could have been dealt with more succinctly.

The author did a very good job of tying up all the loose ends and getting rid of all of the demons that had plagued Kara and Sloan from the very beginning.

 

I felt like shaking Kara at times for the stupid things she did. Sloan had the patience of Job. 

I did like ending with the epilogue from Sloane’s point of view.  I like Sloan enormously and was very satisfied with tbe way the story ended. I will think of them enjoying their future together free from fear at long last. 

Gone Missing (Kate Burkholder #4)by Linda Castillo

Book Description:

Published: June 19, 2012

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Rumspringa is the time when Amish teens are allowed to experience life without the rules. It’s an exciting time of personal discovery and growth before committing to the church. But when a young teen disappears without a trace, the carefree fun comes to an abrupt and sinister end, and fear spreads through the community like a contagion.

A missing child is a nightmare to all parents, and never more so than in the Amish community, where family ties run deep. When the search for the presumed runaway turns up a dead body, the case quickly becomes a murder investigation. And chief of Police Kate Burkholder knows that in order to solve this case she will have to call upon everything she has to give not only as a cop, but as a woman whose own Amish roots run deep.

Kate and state agent, John Tomasetti, delve into the lives of the missing teen and discover links to cold cases that may go back years. But will Kate piece together all the parts of this sinister puzzle in time to save the missing teen and the Amish community from a devastating fate? Or will she find herself locked in a fight to the death with a merciless killer?

Review –

Another fantastic book in the Kate Burkholder series. 

This book continues the slow evolution of the Kate Burkholder character as she begins to feel a little more confident not just in her job, but as a woman who can have a real and positive relationship with a man.  John Tomasetti seems to have come to terms with his past and is ready to move on and hopes Kate can do the same. But can she?

The bottom line is GONE MISSING is a complex, often very dark and extremely graphic mystery, that pulls no punches and will mess with your mind long after the last page.

 

Loved it!

 

 

Darkness Take My Hand (Kenzie and Gennaro #2) by Dennis Leanne

Book Description:

Published: July 12, 1996

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro’s latest client is a prominent Boston psychiatrist running scared from a vengeful Irish mob. The private investigators know something about cold-blooded retribution. Born and bred on the mean streets of blue-collar Dorchester, they’ve seen the darkness that lives in the hearts of the unfortunate. But an evil for which even they are unprepared is about to strike as secrets long-dormant erupt, setting off a chain of violent murders that will stain everything–including the truth.

Review –

The above blurb does little to prepare the reader or the listener for what lays ahead. Lehane’s latest is an explosive story that is at once gut-wrenchingly violent and achingly melancholy.

Having not read or listened to the first book in this series, I knew nothing about the bond between Patrick and Angie but it doesn’t take long to pick up on the sexual chemistry and tension between them.

Patrick Kenzie and Angie Dimassi have known each other since they were six-year-olds running wild on the playgrounds of South Boston. As grown-ups, they’re partners in a detective agency, and the dangerous spots they’ve encountered together have strengthened the old bonds. Angie is coming out of an unhappy marriage, and Patrick is happily in love, when a series of brutal murders intrude. As Angie and Patrick try to find out what kind of human being could perform such horrifying acts of rape, mutilation, torture, and dismemberment, they soon find that the killer’s motive is disturbingly rooted in their own distant past. The two work frantically with the Boston cops, the FBI, the local Mafia, and folks from the old neighborhood to unearth the killer. The culminating showdown is unpredictable and unforgettable with the greatest horrors being those closest to home. Every character will be forever affected by the outcome of this book. This book is dark, edgy,  and horribly violent so if you are squeamish, don’t read it. Otherwise, I highly recommend it. I’m looking forward to reading the rest in the series including the first one which I have in my quench’s now.

Five stars *****

Tormented (Fractured #2) by Elle Charles

Book Description:

Published: October 7, 2014

Format: E-Book

Kara Petersen has lived through more than most.

The horrors of her past had shaped her, forcing her to walk through this life relatively alone. Untrusting and guarded, seeking solace in the shadows, she thought she could survive anything that life threw at her.

And she did…

Until him…

Sloan Foster.

He brought her out of the darkness and into the light. He gave her a life she could never have imagined. She fell in love with him, but when faced with controversy, just like everyone else, he let her down.

He broke her heart.

She was complacent.

She was foolish.

Except, it wasn’t her love for him that was foolish, it was believing she could escape pain.

In a bid to end her suffering for one night only, she unknowingly walked into the path of evil.

Enduring the devastation of having to remember the night of her abduction, she must decide if she is willing to risk possibly having her heart-broken again in order to find out the truth.

Can she really give all her love to a man who has the ability to obliterate her completely?

Taking a leap of faith, she vows to trust him, regardless of how imprudent it may transpire be.

Falling further into his outwardly perfect world for a second time, Kara is, once again, treading a path she fears will eventually destroy her.

As truths finally unfold and decade old secrets are revealed, it’s clear the past has never been too far behind and binds her to others in ways unimaginable.

Together, she discovers their love is tormented.

Warning:
Please note, this is a dark erotic romance. It contains descriptive sexual scenes, violence and other serious adult content. It is suitable for readers aged 18 and over only. Due to the subject matter of this novel, it is not recommended for those who are easily offended or of a sensitive disposition. Also, there are many triggers.

Review –

This book takes up immediately where the first one left off. 

Kara has been kidnapped and physically tortured for days by Deacon, whom we find out later was the one who raped and beat her repeatedly when she was a teen. She is rescued by her girlfriend, Sam, and stays in the hospital for over a week.

Sloan is besides himself seeing Kara in that condition again. He was the one who rescued her when she was fifteen.

Kara does go back to Sloan and gives him a second chance but since there in a third book in the series, I knew more bad things were going to happen.

There are many twists and turns in this book and the story becomes a bit convoluted. Kara is made privy to some secrets of her past and the role that Sloan and his friends played.

Near the end of the book, Kara is again kidnapped by Deacon and horribly abused and again is rescued, this time by Jeremy (who I wouldn’t trust if my life depended on it). She convinces him that she can’t go back to Sloan looking the way she does(this time Deacon had cut her all over with a knife) and so she goes to another town and assumes a new identity . END.

This book bothered me because there were so many things Kara could have done to protect herself from Deacon and the other bad guys, instead it seems she went where they were. She was just stupid.

I hope the last book Liberated is better.

 

Fractured (Fractured #1) by Elle Charles

Book Description:

Published: May 7, 2014

Format: Free Digital Book

Kara Petersen’s life is virtually non-existent. Haunted by memories of the past, and events she cannot accurately remember, she is living half a life inside a world she has purposely created to shield herself from pain.

She is invisible, until one fateful night changes everything – she meets the handsome, enigmatic and very mysterious, Sloan Foster.

Successful, powerful and knowing exactly what he wants, she is inexplicably drawn to him.

Tired of fighting against the foreign emotions he has invoked inside her, she takes a fortuitous leap of faith. Conceding his temptation is too strong to resist, she falls deeper into his world of seduction, wealth and power.

Against her own better judgement, and recognising something isn’t quite right in this rich playboy’s domain, Kara is learning more about herself than she ever thought possible, from a man who seemingly knows more than he should.

A dark, engaging and provocative read that will stay with you long after you put it down.

WARNING: This novel contains serious adult content and descriptive sexual scenes. Intended for readers aged 18+

Review –

I just finished this book and all I can say is “Good God!”

The story line is not new – Young girl, sexually abused for many years to pay off the drug debts of her father is rescued by a stranger and lives to become a strong woman after being taken in by a kind woman. When the young woman is twenty-three a billionaire takes an interest in her and tries to control her every move. He is damaged too, but we don’t know why, and together they TRY to have a relationship but things get in the way and finally someone tells him lies about Kara that he believes and he throws her out of his home.  She moves in with the kind woman, now her boss, and her old girl friend, who is a prostitute, along with an evil  man named Deacon meet her at the door and he beats her horribly and abducts her. END

I knew that Kara and Sloan were destined to fail because this is Book One in a series and writers gonna write. The author has to give you a reason to go one to the second, third and final books.

It wasn’t said in this book but I have a feeling that Sloan is the man who rescued Kara when she was fifteen and might have even known her before that. We don’t know what exactly he does but some call him “dangerous” so I can hardly wait to start the second book as soon as I post this.

There are several triggers in this book and the top two are ABDUCTION and PHYSICAL ABUSE, so if you have trouble in those areas, stay away from this series.

 

 

 

The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings #1) by J.R. Ward

Book Description:

Published: July 28, 2015

Format: Audio/Audible

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

Review –

It took me longer than usual to listen to this book because I had purchased it through Audible and therefore I own it and could take my time. At the same time I was listening to this book several books became available through OverDrive and I had to listen to them first because you only have them for a limited time. That being said, every time I went back to The Bourbon Kings, I was immediately back in the world of the very rich and privileged and all the problems that goes along.

The family dynamic of the of the Baldwin family(pronounced Baldwine) is dysfunctional to say the least. The Father has embezzled millions from his own company and his wife’s account, the Mother, is on drugs most of the time and stays in her suite of rooms, the oldest son, Edward, is a shell of the man he used to be due to being kidnapped and tortured for ransom, which his father did not pay, Max, another son is MIA, Lane has been in New York for the last two years playing poker and keeping his distance from the rest of the family and finally Gin, the daughter who can not live without the lifestyle she has been accustomed and therefore agrees to marry a sexual sadist and controlling man because he is very very rich.

I have not read a J.R. Ward book before but I know he’s famous for his paranormal books. This one is like a Southern soap opera with a bunch of horrible people making horrible choices.

There is a cliffhanger ending, but I expected that. Too bad there are seven people ahead of me on OverDrive for the net in the series, The Angel’s Share, but while I wait I’ll find other books to read or listen to, I always do.

Five stars *****

Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder #2) by Linda Castillo

Book Description:

Published: June 22, 2010

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The Plank family moved from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to join the small Amish community of Painters Mill less than a year ago and seemed the model of the Plain Life—until on a cold October night, the entire family of seven was found slaughtered on their farm. Police Chief Kate Burkholder and her small force have few clues, no motive, and no suspect. Formerly Amish herself, Kate is no stranger to the secrets the Amish keep from the English—and each other—but this crime is horribly out of the ordinary.

State agent John Tomasetti arrives on the scene to assist. He and Kate worked together on a previous case during which they began a volatile relationship. They soon realize the disturbing details of this case will test their emotional limits and force them to face demons from their own troubled pasts—and for Kate, a personal connection that is particularly hard to bear.

When she discovers a diary that belonged to one of the teenaged daughters, Kate is shocked to learn the girl kept some very dark secrets and may have been living a lurid double life. Who is the charismatic stranger who stole the young Amish girl’s heart? Could the brother—a man with a violent past, rejected and shunned by his family and the Amish community, have come to seek out revenge? As Kate’s outrage grows so does her resolve to find the killer and bring him to justice—even if it means putting herself in the line of fire.

Review –

Another great read/listen in the Kate Burkholder series. In this one, the second in the series, we learn more about Kate’s background and her demons and also the baggage John Tomasetti carries within him. They have a strong chemistry but also act like opposing magnets. Neither wants to “need” another person in their life, when in reality it is exactly what they need.

The murders in this book were very gruesome and some were described in detail so if blood and guts bother you steer clear of this one. If you’re not the squeamish type give this book a try. 

 

Chaos (Kay Scarpetta #24) by Patricia Cornwell

Book Description:

Published: November 15, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning—except the weather is perfectly clear with not a cloud in sight. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental Act of God.

Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta’s conclusions, the threatening messages don’t stop. When the tenth poem arrives exactly twenty-four hours after Elisa’s death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved, and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner Pete Marino and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley.

She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy. But to Scarpetta’s surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can’t explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information. To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy questioning the seasoned forensics chief’s judgment and “a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion.”

Review –

As much as I loved Depraved Heart, Kay Scarpetta #23, that I read in 2015, I disliked this one, and that’s a real shame because I had been really looking forward to it.

Choas was WAY too long. In hardback it was 400 hundred pages and the audio was 12 hours long. This story could have been told in half that length and not have detracted from the basic storyline. That storyline being that evil incarnate, Carrie Grethen, will do anything, hurt or kill anyone to get to Kay Scarpetta and her family.  She is captured (again) at the end of this book so I’m anxious to see what the author will come up with next time. Hopefully it will be a more succinct book.