Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Book Description:

Published: September 27, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

Review –

I truly find it hard to relate everything I feel about this book. The conclusion to this epic duology delivered in EVERY way possible. Crooked Kingdom enthralled and delighted, even while some of the content reduced me to tears. Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper, and Wylan will forever be marked as one of my most beloved fictional crew.

 Crooked Kingdom is filled with character bonding, as well as interaction and development within the numerous friendships within the main group.

Even while the crew work seamlessly together, they remain distinct and unique individuals, driven forward by their own goals and personal backstory. The amount of character development in this book is phenomenal. By halfway through the book, I was fully invested in every single story – even for characters we previously did not see much of like Wylan.

Besides the characters bonding more as a unit and also as romantics pairs there is an arresting storyline, filled with cunning tricks and plot twists. Leigh Bardugo absolutely shines during her fight scenes, with the action becoming almost cinematic. The constantly turning wheels of Kaz Brekker’s mind is also equally formidable. We all love a story about an underdog, and watching Kaz scheme his way numerous setbacks had me on the edge of my seat, but the payoff is always so immensely satisfying.

Not all couples end up together-there is a death of a major player- I won’t say who but it was worthy of several Kleenex and I still can’t believe he’s gone.

I wish the author had Kaz pronounce his real feelings for Inej, instead he just holds her hand, without gloves. This may not sound like much to those who have not read Six of Crows, but it’s a major deal for Kaz Brekker!

The catch phrase of this series is NO MOUNERS, NO FUNERALS and we learn more about it in this book. This is what the author has to say about the quote:

“No mourners, no funerals. Another way of saying good luck. But it was something more. A dark wink to the fact that there would be no expensive burials for people like them, no marble markers to remember their names, no wreaths of myrtle and rose.”

Leigh Bardugo, Crooked Kingdom

Fantastic book, fantastic series!!!

 

 

 

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No One Left to Tell (Baltimore #2) by Karen Rose

Book Description:

Published: June 2012

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A car crashes in front of rookie PI Paige Holden’s home. And suddenly, she finds one of her pro bono clients dying in her arms—from a gunshot wound. With her last breath, the woman whispers cryptic words into her ear and hands her a blood-smeared flash drive.

Five years ago, State’s Attorney Grayson Smith put a murderer behind bars. But when Paige Holden shares the flash drive with him, its contents cast doubts on the conviction—and lead him and Paige into a world of blackmail, dark secrets, and a decades-long string of murders. An investigation they’ll survive only by trusting each other—and the truth.

Review –

Bestselling author Karen Rose returns to Baltimore for this steamy follow-up to 2011’s You Belong to Me. Fledgling PI Paige Holden and Assistant State’s Attorney Grayson Smith start on opposite sides before becoming a formidable team delving into the deadly secrets behind a murder conviction. Holden hears the last words of a dying Elena Muñoz, who tells Holden cops were chasing her as she presses a flash drive into the PI’s hands. Elena’s husband, Ramon, a gardener, was framed for the murder of Crystal Jones during a party given by Rex McCloud at the estate of his grandfather, retired state senator James McCloud. Elena’s evidence and an attempt on Holden’s life prevented by Smith launch the pair on a mission for justice. Both Holden and Smith have carefully guarded secrets that keep their passions smoldering before bursting into flames. Rose’s deft combination of hot heroine and cool hero should please her many fans.
Lots of action and many unbelievable  near death attempts on Paige and Grayson but all in all it made for a great read.
 

The Operator (There Peri Reed Chronicles #2) by Kim Harrison

Book Description:

Published: November 22, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

On-the-run ex-agent Peri Reed returns bigger and bolder than ever in this second highly-anticipated installment in #1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison’s new suspense trilogy, The Peri Reed Chronicles.

Peri Reed’s job eats her mind, but for a special task agent in hiding, forgetting the past can be a blessing.

Betrayed by the man she thought she loved and the agency who turned her into the very thing she fought against, Peri abandoned the wealth and privilege of Opti for anonymity riddled with memory gaps and self-doubt. But when a highly addictive drug promises to end her dependency on those who’d use her as a tool for their own success, she must choose to remain broken and vulnerable, or return to the above-the-law power and prestige she once left: strong but without will—for whoever holds her next fix, will hold her loyalty.

Yet even now as then, a love based on lies of omission might still save her life.

Review –

Poor Peri finds herself in hiding after leaving Opti fearing her handlers will erase her memories. Both Opti and the CIA want her on their team, but both have their own agendas making Peri very much a pawn. Peri may be the ultimate weapon, but she isn’t going down without a fight.

The beginning started a little slow ,but it was neat seeing what our girl Peri has been doing without Opti. The story began to take off at the thirty percent mark when Bill and his newest Drafter, Michael, try to bring Peri back into Opti. Bill tries to lure her in with the promise of not being dependent on an Anchor. After a near escape, she reaches out to Silas, and the two soon find themselves unwillingly assisting the CIA. Peri wants out but both sides are determined to have her. Neither would be beneficial and both spell an end to her freedom. The tale that unfolds has twists, turns and hold your breath moments. Peri must use her wits against both opponents and time is running out.

The storylines of the Operator are more intense than those of The Drafter. We have intrigue, treachery and action-packed scenes that will leave you breathless.  Peri interacts with friends and co-workers from the past, and we meet new acquaintances as she tries to determine who is her ally and who has their own agenda. Allen, Bill, Helen and Michael are pretty obvious but then there is Jack. Jack the hallucination and Jack the man, her former Anchor, betrayer, and lover. Secondary characters are developed enough that readers will become emotionally involved. I found myself fearing, caring or utterly loathing them.  Harrison provides some of their points of view which help validate Peri’s concerns.

Peri is tested when Opti dangles a big carrot in front of her offering something she desires. We get a taste of Peri’s strengths and her brilliant mind. The obstacles she faces only prove how truly badass she is. The last three-fourths of the book had me holding my breath as we faced trials, deceit, and danger.

The Operator wrapped up nicely but has me eager to return for more.

Guilty Minds (Nick Heller #3( by Joseph Finder

Book Description:

Published: June 7, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The chief justice of the Supreme Court is about to be defamed by a powerful gossip website called Slander Sheet, which specializes in dirt on celebs and politicians. Their top reporter has written an exposé claiming that he had liaisons with an escort, a young woman willing to appear on video and tell the world her salacious yet convincing tale. But the chief justice is not without formidable allies, and his greatest supporter is determined to stop the story in its tracks.
     
Nick Heller is a private spy—a private intelligence operative based in Boston, hired by lawyers, politicians, and even foreign governments. Known as both a maverick and a dedicated, high-powered investigator, he’s called to Washington, DC, to help out in this delicate, potentially explosive situation.
  
Nick has just forty-eight hours to prove the story about the chief justice is baseless. But when the call girl is found murdered, the case takes an unexpected and dangerous turn, and Nick resolves to find the true mastermind behind the Slander Sheet story before anyone else falls victim to the maelstrom of political scandal and ruined reputations predicated upon one carefully concealed secret.   

Review –

In his third time out, Heller is tasked with his biggest challenge yet–discrediting a news report that claims Chief Justice Jeremiah Claflin has been sleeping with an expensive, upscale prostitute.

The website running the “hit piece” article is called Slander Sheet, which is a step below Gawker (who knew that was even possible!) and TMZ. You know, the kind of site that everyone checks out on a near-daily basis but will never admit to.

Heller is called in to meet with a Washington legend who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr., and has golfed with every president since Lyndon B. Johnson–and who also happens to be close friends with Chief Justice Jeremiah Claflin. He’s told about the article that Slander Sheet is set to run, then hired to discredit the call girl’s testimony. 

Short on time, Heller gets right to work but soon discovers that the story itself may just be the tip of the iceberg. An even bigger conspiracy is hidden deep within Slander Sheet‘s report, one that nobody–not even Nick Heller–could have possibly seen coming. From there Finder takes the reader speeding down a path of twists and turns, with nonstop action and suspense along the way.

Guilty Minds is a blistering tale of deceit, corruption, and power–and Finder dazzles by delivering a story that seems all too possible in today’s world. To say the pacing is fast would be like saying Brad Pitt is just a “good looking” guy. The book starts off like a drag race and doesn’t slow down for even a second. If you love thrillers, then clear your schedule and strap in… you’re in for one hell of a ride! 

Fantastic read!

 

 

Daddy’s Girl by Lisa Scottoline

Book Description:

Published: March 13, 2007

The unlikely heroine of this Lisa Scottoline thriller (which follows 2006’s Dirty Blonde), mousy University of Pennsylvania assistant law professor Natalie “Nat” Greco, finds herself in way over her head when an unintended visit to a minimum-security prison in nearby Chester County puts her in the middle of a deadly uprising — and places her at the center of an elaborate plot that involves an incarcerated crime boss and more than a few improbable conspirators.

Greco’s classes at Penn Law — the History of Justice, for example — aren’t nearly as well attended as those taught by charismatic and handsome prof Angus Holt. Greco herself is far from immune to Holt’s charm, so when he asks her to accompany him to Chester County Correctional Institution to lecture to inmates involved in an externship program, she quickly agrees. But the professors’ visit soon turns deadly; a riot erupts, and amid the chaos Greco finds herself alone with a dying correctional officer who has been stabbed through the heart with a metal shank. His last words are a cryptic  message to his wife: “It’s under the floor.” Soon thereafter, Greco is inexplicably set up for the murder of a state trooper and is forced to become a fugitive from justice while she tries to unravel the mystery of the dying man’s words.

While not as sexually supercharged or frenetically paced as Dirty Blonde, Daddy’s Girl derives its power from the subtle and compelling coming-of-age of protagonist Greco, a sheltered and socially naive woman who, when faced with the ultimate adversity, discovers herself.

Review –

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I have mixed feelings about this book, though overall positive I did find it a bit daunting to keep up with all of the action., if you can believe that. I mean, it had a prison riot and break out, road blocks , a vice dean on her case, plus family and boyfriend trouble. It wore me out. It’s really just an adult Nancy Drew mystery.

The end had a surprise twist and even though it was a bit cliché, it was still perfect.

Not the best but not the worst.

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The Quickie by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Book Description:

Published: July 2, 2007

Lauren Stillwell is not your average damsel in distress. When the NYPD cop discovers her husband leaving a hotel with another woman, she decides to beat him at his own game. But her revenge goes dangerously awry, and she finds her world spiraling into a hell that becomes more terrifying by the hour.
In a further twist of fate, Lauren must take on a job that threatens everything she stands for. Now, she’s paralyzed by a deadly secret that could tear her life apart. With her job and marriage on the line, Lauren’s desire for retribution becomes a lethal inferno as she fights to save her livelihood–and her life.
Patterson takes us on a twisting roller-coaster ride of thrills in his most gripping novel yet. This story of love, lust and dangerous secrets will have readers’ hearts pounding to the very last page.
 

Review –

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Those last two sentences are not just blurb but FACT and you are on a roller coaster ride for the entire book. Here are the basic things you need to know:

Lauren thinks her husband cheated on her so she cheats with one of her co-workers, who is also a cop.

While Lauren is still in his apartment, she witnesses her husband killing Scott and putting the body in the back seat of his car.

She is made the detective in charge of his murder and she compromises evidence to prevent the husband being found out.

She and her partner frame another guy for the crime.

She discovered that her husband committed another crime(robbery) five years before and has been leading a double life.

He tells her he killed Scott because he was blackmailing him (about the other wife).

He tries to escape capture and crashes in a river and dies.

Lauren retires to Puerto Rico and becomes a PI.

Fantastic story. Once the action starts, it doesn’t stop until the end.

You really need to read this one. It will not disappoint.

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Second Honeymoon(Honeymoon #2) by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

Book Description:

Published: June 24, 2013

A walk down the aisle, a resort hotel, a drink on the beach…for these unlucky couples, the honeymoon’s over.
A newlywed couple steps into the sauna in their deluxe honeymoon suite–and never steps out again. When another couple is killed while boarding their honeymoon flight to Rome, it becomes clear that someone is targeting honeymooners, and it’s anyone’s guess which happy couple is next on the list.

FBI Agent John O’Hara is deep into solving the case, while Special Agent Sarah Brubaker is hunting another ingenious serial killer, whose victims all have one chilling thing in common.

As wedding hysteria rises to a frightening new level, John and Sarah work ever more closely together in a frantic attempt to decipher the logic behind two rampages. SECOND HONEYMOON is James Patterson’s most mesmerizing, most exciting, and most surprising thriller ever.

Review –

This story dealt with two murder cases, one psycho was killing newly wed couples and the other was killed men all names John O’Hara.

Of course, one of the protagonists in the story is named John O’Hara and we do find out that HE is the one the killer is after but he’s killing others working his way to him. 

The honeymoon killer turns out to be someone not suspected in the least which made for a good twist.

This is a very enjoyable read with lots of action, angst and drama, oh yes, and a bit of romance too.

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Beneath a Buried House (Detective Elloit Mystery #2) by Bob Avey

Book Description:

Published: June 15, 2010

Things aren’t always what they seem. Tulsa Police Detective, Kenny Elliot’s quest to uncover the truth behind the death of a transient makes him a target – from whom or what he isn’t sure. When he brushes the dirt from the surface of an apparent John Doe overdose case, he finds a labyrinth of misdirection and deception beneath, and a trail, which leads him to an encounter with an aberration in human nature, the likes of which he’s not prepared to deal with.

Drawing on his strength of character, and sense of right and wrong, he wrestles with deep personal feelings to solve the case.

Review –

I found this to be a very good detective novel. It had multiple plots, well-defined characters and plenty of action to keep you turning the page. I will definitely read more from this series.

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Cell by Stephen King

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Book Description

Publication Date:January 24, 2006
THERE’S A REASON CELL RHYMES WITH HELL.
On October 1, God is in His heaven, the stock market stands at 10,140, most of the planes are on time, and Clayton Riddell, an artist from Maine, is almost bouncing up Boylston Street in Boston. He’s just landed a comic book deal that might finally enable him to support his family by making art instead of teaching it. He’s already picked up a small (but expensive!) gift for his long-suffering wife, and he knows just what he’ll get for his boy Johnny. Why not a little treat for himself? Clay’s feeling good about the future.
That changes in a hurry. The cause of the devastation is a phenomenon that will come to be known as The Pulse, and the delivery method is a cell phone. Everyone’s cell phone. Clay and the few desperate survivors who join him suddenly find themselves in the pitch-black night of civilization’s darkest age, surrounded by chaos, carnage, and a human horde that has been reduced to its basest nature…and then begins to evolve.
There’s really no escaping this nightmare. But for Clay, an arrow points home to Maine, and as he and his fellow refugees make their harrowing journey north they begin to see crude signs confirming their direction: KASHWAK=NO-FO. A promise, perhaps. Or a threat…
There are one hundred and ninety-three million cell phones in the United States alone. Who doesn’t have one? Stephen King’s utterly gripping, gory, and fascinating novel doesn’t just ask the question “Can you hear me now?” It answers it with a vengeance.
Review –
This was my second reading of this book and I chose an audio version this time and I enjoyed the story even more. Campbell Scott, the narrator did a remarkable job with the voices of  the different characters and all of their emotions throughout the story. (a narrator can make or break an audiobook-I know because I have had to return more than one because of a monotone, lack luster narrator)
The hard cover was published in 2006 and the importance and multitude of cell phones, smart phones,etc. have only increased.  The premise seems very doable to me but thank our stars it’s not because our life on this planet would never be the same.
I didn’t know when I started my re-read that the book was being made into a movie to be released early next year starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson and others.  I can’t wait.
Whether or not you’re a fan of Stephen King this is a superb read that is fast-paced, action packed and thought provoking.
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The 9th Girl (Kovac and Liska Series) by Tami Hoag

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Book Description

Publication Date:June 18, 2013
#1 New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag brings back her fan-favorite Minneapolis investigators Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska in the haunting new thriller The 9th Girl.
“Kovac had seen more dead bodies than he could count: Men, women, children; victims of shootings, stabbings, strangulations, beatings; fresh corpses and bodies that had been left for days in the trunks of cars in the dead of summer. But he had never seen anything quite like this . . . “
On a frigid New Year’s Eve in Minneapolis a young woman’s brutalized body falls from the trunk of a car into the path of oncoming traffic. Questions as to whether she was alive or dead when she hit the icy pavement result in her macabre nickname, Zombie Doe. Unidentified and unidentifiable, she is the ninth nameless female victim of the year, and homicide detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska are charged with the task of not only finding out who Zombie Doe is, but who in her life hated her enough to destroy her. Was it personal, or could it just have been a crime of opportunity? Their greatest fear is that not only is she their ninth Jane Doe of the year, but that she may be the ninth victim of a vicious transient serial killer they have come to call Doc Holiday.
Crisscrossing America’s heartland, Doc Holiday chooses his victims at random, snatching them in one city and leaving them in another, always on a holiday. If Zombie Doe is one of his, he has brought his gruesome game to a new and more terrifying level. But as Kovac and Liska begin to uncover the truth, they will find that the monsters in their ninth girl’s life may have lived closer to home. And even as another young woman disappears, they have to ask the question: which is the greater evil–the devil you know or the devil you don’t?
Review –
This was my first reading my Tami Hoag and I loved it. The plot was action packed from the very first page and only got better.  The  maim characters are very well-developed and have a good chemistry between them without any romance. Refreshing!  It’s about a serial killer but he takes a back seat to the other story going on and ends with a surprise you don’t see coming.  I will definitely be reading more from this author.
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