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!

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Hot Connection, The Complete Set by Lucia Jordan

Book Description:

Published: July 18, 2017

Format: E-Book

Zoe Lang’s life isn’t working out quite as she hoped.

Estranged from her family and sick of her dreary existence, she spends her nights dreaming about her high school sweetheart, Edward. She knows that one day soon, he’ll come back to sweep her off her feet, and together they’ll build the life that he always promised her. She just has to be patient while he builds his career and saves his money until they can be together. Then one night, Zoe’s apartment building catches fire, and her life changes forever when she meets smolderingly handsome firefighter, Cole Mitchell. When Zoe saves his life, their futures become inexorably entangled.

Review –

The first “book” in this short set was free and ended with such an abrupt cliffhanger that I HAD to buy the complete series.

Poor Zoe, if it wasn’t for her bad luck she would have no luck at all.

She wakes up in her small apartment on the third floor and smells smoke. She grabs her purse and her photo album with all the momentous of Edward, her “boyfriend” since High School.

She notices that a neighbor and her two children are not accounted for and tells a fireman who rushes back into the building. Then,three  fireman come out of the building with the missing occupants but the other fireman is missing.Zoe runs into the fiery building and finds him caught under a metal pipe. She grabs the hot pipe and he is able ti get free and then the roof collapses.

She wakes up in the hospital with both hands bandaged and a fireman sitting in the chair next to her bed. She saved his life and now he wants to be there for her.

He sees the album with Edward’s pictures and letters but still asks her to come to his home after she’s released so he can take care of her. She really doesn’t have any other place to go so she gives in even though she thinks it’s a dangerous thing to do given how attracted she is to the fireman.

Days go by and the sexual tension between them gets too strong and Zoe gives in to her feelings but then regrets it and moved out and into her brother’s home, even though there is tension between them.

Fast forward and we find out that Edward is a cheat and a “gold digger”(Zoe will inherit a nice amount eventually) and her brother’s wife turns out to be Edward’s sister and they’ve been working together.

Needless to say, Cole and Zoe get back together and there is a HEA.

Good story all around and made for a very steamy and pleasant read.

RANT: I HATE this cover because it is very misleading and totally off the mark for this series. Total book cover rant coming soon!

 

 

The Back Road ( DCI Tom Douglas #2) by Rachel Abbott

Book Description:

Published: March 18, 2013

Format: Audio/Audible

One girl is fighting for her life. One village is struggling to hold tight to its secrets.

When a young girl is knocked over and left for dead at the side of the road, the small community of Little Melham goes into shock. Why was Abbie out so late at night, and why wasn’t she missed?

For Ellie Saunders, the truth about that night could put her marriage and even the safety of her children in jeopardy. She has to protect her family, no matter what the consequences.

Former DCI Tom Douglas thought that Little Melham would offer a peaceful retreat from the daily trauma of his work for the Met. But as he is drawn into the web of deceit, his every instinct tells him that what happened to Abbie was more than a tragic accident.

Only one person knows the whole story – why Abbie was out that night, and who was driving the car. For that person, the accident spells disaster, and somebody has to pay.

Review –

This book is a sequel to Only the Innocent (which I have not read) finds former Chief Inspector Tom Douglas retired to what should be a quiet life of contemplation in Little Melham. As it turns out, the village proves to be a hive of infidelity and betrayal, of tragic histories and old shames.
One night on a back road, Abbie Campbell, a 14-year-old girl fleeing dark revelations of her own, is struck by a car and left for dead. Tom, a supporting character in this sometimes overwrought tale of modern life, suspects there’s more to the accident than meets the eye. Meanwhile, Tom’s neighbor, Ellie Saunders, discovers that a moment of weakness has left her vulnerable to blackmail. She’s being stalked, and feels threatened even when she’s in her own home. The identity of her stalker is carefully withheld, which makes his constant, watchful presence seem all the more menacing. Abbott builds the tension carefully and cleverly, and releases it at just the right time.
This is  a thoroughly modern novel, in that much of the characters’ cruelty and plotting rely on modern inventions such as mobile phones and the internet. Threatening and misleading texts are sent with remarkable regularity, while other characters are trapped and deceived by online stalkers. 

The mystery of the hit and run is kept secret almost to the end of the novel, and then it come as a complete surprise. There are many complexities in the myriad relationships between the residents of the community that will draw the reader into the story.

There are plenty of twists and turns and red herrings here, enough to keep you guessing right to the end.
I really enjoyed this book and would like to read more in the series but haven’t found any that are free or on audio but I will keep looking.

The Silent Girls (The Silent Girls #1) by Eric Rickstad

Book Description:

Published: November 25, 2014

Format: Audio/Audible

With the dead of a bitter Vermont winter closing in, evil is alive and well …

Frank Rath thought he was done with murder when he turned in his detective’s badge to become a private investigator and raise a daughter alone. Then the police in his remote rural community of Canaan find an ’89 Monte Carlo abandoned by the side of the road, and the beautiful teenage girl who owned the car seems to have disappeared without a trace.

Soon Rath’s investigation brings him face-to-face with the darkest abominations of the human soul.

With the consequences of his violent and painful past plaguing him, and young women with secrets vanishing one by one, he discovers once again that even in the smallest towns on the map, evil lurks everywhere-and no one is safe.

Morally complex, seething with wickedness and mystery, and rich in gritty atmosphere and electrifying plot turns, The Silent Girls marks the return of critically acclaimed author Eric Rickstad. Readers of Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbø, and Greg Iles will love this book and find themselves breathless at the incendiary, ambitious, and unforgettable story.

Review –

It’s Halloween in 1985 and a woman opens her door to a trick or treater expecting to have an ordinary interaction and it’s anything but. I’ll just say there is bloodshed and the hair on the back of my neck was standing up, a truly chilling opening to a really gripping book.

Next it’s 2011 and you’re introduced to Frank Rath a former police officer turned private investigator living in Vermont. He was a really strong protagonist and was developed  extremely well, I totally felt like I had a solid sense of who he is and what motivates him by the end. The secondary characters were also well drawn, they were mostly detectives who were working alongside Rath and you can definitely tell that the author is laying the groundwork for a series.
It’s dark and gritty at times, a great companion to the stark setting in the lead up to a brutal Vermont winter. The plot was well constructed and kept me guessing and the subplot surrounding Rath’s personal life really piqued my interest. And that ending, talk about an explosive cliffhanger, I can’t wait for the sequel will comes out September 12th.

Five stars !!!!!!

Wreckage by Emily Bleeker

Book Description:

Published: March 1, 2015

Format: Audio/Library Book

Lillian Linden is a liar. On the surface, she looks like a brave survivor of a plane crash. But she’s been lying to her family, her friends, and the whole world since rescue helicopters scooped her and her fellow survivor, Dave Hall, off a deserted island in the South Pacific. Missing for almost two years, the castaways are thrust into the spotlight after their rescue, becoming media darlings overnight. But they can’t tell the real story—so they lie.

The public is fascinated by the castaways’ saga, but Lillian and Dave must return to their lives and their spouses. Genevieve Randall—a hard-nosed journalist and host of a news program—isn’t buying it. She suspects Lillian’s and Dave’s explanations about the other crash survivors aren’t true. And now, Genevieve’s determined to get the real story, no matter how many lives it destroys.

In this intriguing tale of survival, secrets, and redemption, two everyday people thrown together by tragedy must finally face the truth…even if it tears them apart.

Review –

Wreckage by Emily Bleeker tells the story of the pain and unexpected consequences of surviving a plane crash and ensuing life on a deserted island with only a stranger to depend on.  Told through the eyes of two survivors, Lillian and Dave, the novel fluidly moves between a present day interview of the event and key periods in the past to fully divulge all of the details of the story.  

Besides offering an interesting character study of two individual’s behavior when convinced that they will live the rest of their lives disconnected from society, both Lillian and Dave have multiple secrets to keep in order to protect themselves and their families at home.

At the end (which answered all questions a little too perfectly) Lillian revealed all her secrets to her husband and Dave’s wife learned of the one that was most important.

A wonderful read.

Disconnect (Iron Bulls MC #2) by Phoenyx Slaughter

Book Description:

Published: August, 2015

Format: E-Book

Karina
Love and hate aren’t that far apart. Once I loved Logan.
Now he’s kidnapped me, and he’s determined to tell me secrets I don’t want to know.

Dante
Once I get my baby girl back, Logan’s going to ground. I just have to find the disloyal bastard first.Then it’s time to admit that what Karina and I have is more than sex.

What secrets is Logan hiding? Why does he risk his life to abduct an old girlfriend from Dante, the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Iron Bulls MC? Who’s telling the truth? Who’s lying?
Who can Karina Trust?

In Disconnect, the second book in the thrilling Iron Bulls Motorcycle Club series, shocking secrets are exposed. Lives are forever changed.

Can the passionate bond of two fucked-up people survive the whirlwind trying to tear them apart?

Review –

We are thrown into the Iron Bulls MC lifestyle and the story pickups with Dante searching for Karina who was kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend, Logan/Hemi. He tells her that her father is the one who made him break up with her and but doesn’t know whether to believe him.  Dante manages to rescue her and Logan gets away.
Dante and Karina’s relationship progresses and stronger feelings are developed. Even with the age difference they work. What began as revenge on her ex-boyfriend changed Karina’s life. Dante is the enforcer for the MC and allowing someone to matter doesn’t factor into his lifestyle, but Karina gets under his skin and all he can think about is his “little girl.” Growing up by herself, Karina depended on her intelligence to survive and graduating high school to attend college is important to her, but so is Dante.
Karina finds out that she has a half-sister due to an affair her Dad had with her mother while on one of his long haul jobs. Her half-sister is part of his “real’ family.

I really enjoyed the secondary characters and learning more about them. They play an important role and you begin to picture the various storylines the author is weaving. Hopefully, we will learn more about Romeo and Luck in books to come.

Sacred (Kenzie and Gennaro #3) by Dennis Leanne

Book Description:

Published: 1998

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Dennis Lehane won a Shamus Award for A Drink Before the War, his first book about working-class Boston detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro. His second in the series, Darkness, Take My Hand, got the kind of high octane reviews that careers are made of. Now Lehane not only survives the dreaded third-book curse, he beats it to death with a stick.

Sacred is a dark and dangerous updating of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, as dying billionaire Trevor Stone hires Kenzie and Gennaro to find his daughter, Desiree. Patrick’s mentor, a wonderfully devious detective named Jay Becker, has already disappeared in St. Petersburg, Florida, while working the case, so the two head there to pick up a trail. Desiree, of course, is nothing like the sweet and simple beauty described by her father, and even Chandler would have been amazed by the plot twists that Lehane manages to keep coming.

Review –

 

The kidnapping really should have tipped them off. You can’t have much of a relationship with a client who grabs you off the street, drugs you, and ties you to a couple of chairs while he makes his pitch. But dying billionaire Trevor Stone, whose wife is dead and whose daughter has disappeared, is obviously a man in pain, and the $50,000 retainer he offers (plus $200,000 for expenses) goes a long way to soften the insult. So Boston shamus Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, his partner, friend, and sometime lover, agree to follow Patrick’s vanished mentor Jay Becker into the darkness surrounding beautiful, depressed Desiree Stone, and soon–with only a brief intermission for a lovely farewell bash for their prison-bound buddy Bubba Rogowski–they’re tangling with fraudulent grief counselors, a clever and vindictive IRS computer geek, and the Church of Truth and Revelation. And that’s only the beginning, since the trail of Desiree’s last known companion leads to Tampa, where the serious corpses will start to pile up, and where they’ll finally get an inkling of the true relationship between their megalomaniac client and his anaconda-like daughter. 

 This case leads Patrick and Angie  into unexpected territory: a place of lies and corruption, where trusting anyone could get them killed, and where nothing is sacred.

Fantastic story line and I love that the author has been slowly developing the personal/physical relationship between Patrick and Angie and in this book they become a full-fledged couple. They are super hot together.

 

 

 

 

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!

 

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.

Her Last Breath (Kate Burkholder #5) by Linda Castillo

Book Description:

Published: June 18, 2013

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A rainy night, an Amish father returning home with his three children, a speeding car hurtling toward them out of nowhere.

What at first seems like a tragic, but routine car accident suddenly takes on a more sinister cast as evidence emerges that nothing about the crash is accidental. But who would want to kill an Amish deacon and two of his children? He leaves behind a grieving widow and a young boy who clings to life in the intensive care wing of a hospital, unable to communicate. He may be the only one who knows what happened that night. Desperate to find out who killed her best friend’s husband and why, Kate begins to suspect she is not looking for a reckless drunk, but instead is on the trail of a cold blooded killer amid the residents of Painter’s Mill. It is a search that takes her on a chilling journey into the darkest reaches of the human heart and makes her question everything she has ever believed about the Amish culture into which she was born.

Review –

The story opens with a horrible accident. An Amish father and his children, returning home in their horse-drawn buggy, are demolished by a speeding car that flees into the night. A scene that is so harrowingly rendered it’s as if the reader is an eyewitness.

But was it an accident? Or was it a murder of horrific proportions? If so, why? What’s the payoff for killing off a father and his children?  Nothing is apparent and as Kate digs deeper into the family and the community, a community that still resents her departure from the fold, she uncovers dark deeds and motives that defy understanding. She was best friends, as children, with the wife of the murdered family, but did she really know her at all?

Kate’s continuing and growing relationship with FBI agent John Tomasetti only complicates her life (John has bought a farmhouse about 20 minutes from Painter’s Mill and has asked Kate to move in with him) and skews her choices. Choices that could end her career. John’s too.

Excellent story.