The Roses of May (The Collector #2) by Dot Hutchison

Book Description:

Published: May 23, 2017

Format: Audio

Four months after the explosion at the Garden, a place where young women known as the Butterflies were kept captive, FBI agents Brandon Eddison, Victor Hanoverian, and Mercedes Ramirez are still entrenched in the aftermath, helping survivors in the process of adjusting to life on the outside. With winter coming to an end, the Butterflies have longer, warmer days of healing ahead. But for the agents, the impending thaw means one gruesome thing: a chilling guarantee that somewhere in the country, another young woman will turn up dead in a church with her throat slit and her body surrounded by flowers.

Priya Sravasti’s sister fell victim to the killer years ago. Now she and her mother move every few months, hoping for a new beginning. But when she ends up in the madman’s crosshairs, the hunt takes on new urgency. Only with Priya’s help can the killer be found—but will her desperate hope for closure compel her to put her very life on the line?

Review –

This is the second in The Collector series and HAS to be read first. 

There are a few characters from the first book, The Butterfly Garden, but also has a whole new serial killer and new female lead.

The book opens and dives right into the story. Taking place a few months where the first novel left off but in an unconventional way.  The Butterflies are awaiting the trial of the Gardener and a few of the girls, unable to handle the trauma of the garden, have completed suicide.   The police officers from the original case are dealing with this and also find themselves being pulled back into a different investigation involving a serial killer who murders girls and adorns them with flowers.  When a sister (Priya) of one of the victims’ finds herself a target, the investigators must use their knowledge of the past and what they learned from the garden to find the perpetrator before he collects another victim.

The Butterfly Garden was the narrative style and told of the creepy events that took place in the garden; I found that this one read more like a police procedural. Instead of being character driven, this one focused more on the police investigation and the officer’s relationships to the victims.

It’s a quick and engaging read. I wanted to know what happened, and I was immediately invested in Priya, who’s both strong and vulnerable, in a way that’s reminiscent of Inara (whom I loved in The Butterfly Garden), but not so similar that it feels like Hutchinson is rehashing the same character again.

Although I loved The Roses of May for what it was, it was completely not what I was expecting. I will definitely read the final book in the series,The Summer Children, due out later this year, but I’m holding back on my expectations.

Advertisements

Devil’s Cut (The Bourbon Kings #3) by J.R. Ward

Book Description:

Published: August 1, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

At first, the death of William Baldwine, the head of the Bradford family, was ruled a suicide. But then his eldest son and sworn enemy, Edward, came forward and confessed to what was, in fact, a murder. Now in police custody, Edward mourns not the disintegration of his family or his loss of freedom . . . but the woman he left behind. His love, Sutton Smythe, is the only person he has ever truly cared about, but as she is the CEO of the Bradford Bourbon Company’s biggest competitor, any relationship between them is impossible. And then there’s the reality of the jail time that Edward is facing.

Lane Baldwine was supposed to remain in his role of playboy, forever in his big brother Edward’s shadow. Instead he has become the new head of the family and the company. Convinced that Edward is covering for someone else, Lane and his true love, Lizzie King, go on the trail of a killer—only to discover a secret that is as devastating as it is game-changing.

As Lane rushes to discover the truth, and Sutton finds herself irresistibly drawn to Edward in spite of his circumstances, the lives of everyone at Easterly will never be the same again. For some, this is good; for others, it could be a tragedy beyond imagining. Only one thing’s for certain: Love survives all things. Even murder.

Review –

This was the last book I finished in 2017 but I wanted to review it so here goes.

In this, the last in The Bourbon Kings series, many things happen. Edward Bradford Baldwine, eldest of the Bradford family, awaits arraignment in Washington County Jail for the murder of his father, William. He’s losing any hope of pairing up with Sutton Smythe, the love of his life. Chantal Baldwine is plotting to leverage her pregnancy—by William—into a heftier settlement in her divorce from William’s son Jonathan Tulane. And the entire Bradford clan is grieving, less over William’s death than the loss of the millions that he embezzled.

Easterly, The Baldwine mansion and compound build high on a hill, could be lost because of the huge debt owed to many creditors and banks because of the greed of William.

We learn the true killer of William, Chantal loses her baby will Lizzie becomes pregnant , Gen tells Samuel T. that he is Amelia’s father and also tells her daughter about her father (this causes one heart moment) Edward is not a true Baldwine and we find out who his father is and he and Sutton have their hea. To sum it all up – the author successfully ties every thread of romance-tinged Kentucky drama into several sparkly bows. 

The Bourbon Kings is a fantastic series that I highly recommend.

The Late Show (Renee Ballard #1) by Michael Connelly

Book Description:

Published: July 18, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

From New York Times best-selling author Michael Connelly, a new thriller introducing a driven young detective trying to prove herself in the LAPD.

Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none, as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she’s been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.

But one night she catches two cases she doesn’t want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her own partner’s wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. As the cases entwine, they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won’t give up her job, no matter what the department throws at her.

Review –

I love Michael Connelly and his character, Harry Bosch, is one of my favorites so I was a bit surprised to see that he is starting  a new series with a female LAPD detective, Renee Ballard, as the headliner.

Ballard has been banished to the police department’s night shift — the Late Show — because of an ugly incident with her boss. Her Lieutenant made a sexual advance toward her and she filed a sexual harassment claim against him, of which he denied and even denies to her face that it ever happened.  She also feels betrayed by her former partner, and her new partner wants to spend as much time as possible with his wife. So Ballard operates as a lone wolf, Southern California-style.

She doesn’t exactly live anywhere. When her shift ends, she greets the morning by pitching her tent at the beach, changing clothes in her van, getting out her paddle board and hitting the waves, washing away the horrors of the night before. Ballard grew up in Maui. Her father, a surfer raised in California, drowned; her Hawaiian mother wants nothing to do with her. Her closest companions are the grandmother she seldom sees and Lola, her beloved dog.

In the book she  begins by answering an elderly woman’s complaint about credit card fraud. Then she learns of a cross-dresser who’s been savagely attacked. As usual, Connelly relies on his inside-baseball knowledge about police attitudes. “Drag queens, cross-dressers and transgenders were all generally referred to as dragons in vice,” he writes. “No distinctions were made. It wasn’t nice but it was accepted. Ballard had spent two years on a decoy team in the unit herself. She knew the turf and she knew the slang. It would never go away, no matter how many hours of sensitivity training cops were subjected to.”

Then, during the same night, there are “four on the floor in a club on Sunset” — four shooting victims in one booth, and a waitress near the back exit who turns out to be a fifth. This club, the Dancers, takes its name from another in Raymond Chandler’s “The Long Goodbye,” and its drinks are named for Los Angeles literary titles. Connelly doesn’t give Ballard Harry Bosch’s taste for jazz, but he laces the book with noir references. There’s a character who favors brass knuckles that say “Good” and “Evil,” à la Robert Mitchum’s “Love” and “Hate” tattoos in the film “The Night of the Hunter.”

By the end of a highly populated book Ballard will get to the bottom of every aspect of several crimes. And she’ll do a lot more. Smart and fierce, she never stops working. She’s also steamy enough to weaponize seduction if it will help her, and absolutely blunt when she speaks her mind. When a colleague who betrayed her tries to apologize, she responds with an unforgiving tongue-lashing.

The pacing of Ballard’s debut story is breathless. Unless she’s in the water, she never has a peaceful moment: There’s always a lead to follow, a house to scope out, a late-night call to make. One thing she loves about the night shift is feeling entitled to assume a combat stance at 3 a.m., scare some miscreant out of bed and shout: “Police! Let me see your hands.”

Mr. Connelly has hit a home run with this one and I can’t wait for the next installment in the Renee Ballard saga.

Fantastic read.

Five stars!!!!!

 

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Book Description:

Published: February 21, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her…

It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her; a grainy photo along with a phone number and a listing for a website called FindTheOne.com.

Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they’ve become the victims of increasingly violent crimes—including murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose…A discovery that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. Zoe is sure that someone close to her has set her up as the next target.

And now that man on the train—the one smiling at Zoe from across the car—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move…

Review –

Fantastic read!  Five stars!

Commuting. It’s a daily chore for so many and something you don’t much think about, you just do what you can to get through it: iPad perhaps, paper, seat by the window – if you’re lucky. What we don’t imagine, in all that sweaty, claustrophobic tedium, is that someone is watching us, making notes.

The author, Clare Mackintosh, has picked exactly this creepy scenario as the context for her second psychological thriller I See You.

Where I live people do their commuting by driving instead of trains, subways or “tubes”. Driving or city bus is what we do here. I no longer work so I don’t commute but I still do plenty of driving and after reading this book it makes me want to totally change-up my routes to the places where I run the most errands.

This is one creepy thriller and it also shows how vulnerable we are due to our social media sites and apps. How would you feel if you saw your picture in an advert (advertisement) for a dating site in the local paper? Zoe was shocked at first and then became more and more concerned. The police got involved and found out men could buy women’s profile which included a complete layout of her daily commute, also her description and what she would be wearing. Some of these men just wanted to”date” these women but others were looking for their next victim to torture, rape or kill.

The book is fast-paced and keeps you on the edge of your seat.  The person behind the web site is found out and dealt with but at the very end there is a GIANT shocker (although I wondered about this myself and sure enough I was right)

Just what it is you will have to read or listen to the book  to find out and it’s not a long book so it won’t take long to devour; because that’s what you’ll do once you start!

Fantastic!!!!!

Rule (Marked Men #1) by Jay Crownover

Book Description:

Published: December 30, 2012

Format: E-Book

Opposites in every way . . . except the one that matters

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight-A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want—and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess-and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw-even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love . . . or each other.

Review –

My daughter mentioned that she had started another book by Jay Crownover and I said that I had never read any of her work and because of her I was going to change that right away.

I checked out all of her books and decided on Rule, the first installment of the Marked Men series.

I’m a sucker for a male protagonist that is a hot, a bad ass and tattooed. Rule seems to fit the bill. I wish the author had included an illustration of a male body with all of Rule’s tats because according to the description, he had them EVERYWHERE.

Rule and Shaw have a very complicated relationship.

Rule Archer had an identical twin brother(minus the ink and piercings), Remy Archer. Remy and Shaw were very close, they were best friends. Everyone assumed their relationship was romantic, but it was strictly platonic. Remy died in a car accident three years ago. Shaw has been a part of the Archer family since she started hanging around with Remy at thirteen. Rules parents and older brother Rome love Shaw. Every Sunday, Shaw picks up Rule(she often finds him in compromising positions) and brings him to his parents house for brunch. Rules parents(especially his mother) are critical of rule and his lifestyle. Lets be honest.. Rule is a bit of a man slut, and with his changing hair color/style, ink and piercings etc, he is not what any conservative family would deem appropriate. Shaw doesn’t care. She loves everything about Rule and it drives her crazy that his parents don’t see all the wonderful in him. Unfortunately, Rule thinks Shaw was his brothers girl so he’s never seen her as anything else. Plus, she seems like too much of a good girl/spoiled princess for him. One drunken night, Shaw will finally make her move on Rule. And it will change everything….

You see this story through the eyes of Rule and Shaw, with the dual povs.
Rule is dealing with guilt from his brother’s death, his mother blames him and people just don’t accept who he is. Remy is one of the few people who did and he is gone. He copes with his issues with alcohol and women. Lots and lots of women. Shaw is a college student, and a virgin (due to the fact that when ever she got close to a guy, it didn’t work. Because they weren’t Rule.) She has parents who expect perfection from her, but they are all about appearances. They don’t really care. She is dealing with a psycho stalker ex boyfriend and is keeping a secret for her best friend Remy, that makes her life more difficult. Rule and Shaw have a lot of obstacles to overcome in their relationship.

Rule and Shaw’s relationship had many ups and downs, but they had some scorching hot moments and some really sweet and swoony moments. Loved their relationship and their chemistry. They were perfect together.

I loved everything about this story but there  were many grammatical issues, but the story was so good, they were easily overlooked. The ending was PERFECT!

 

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 *****

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

Book Description:

Published: October 14, 2014

Format:

offers-headphones-jpgmaxheight138maxwidth207

College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe’s life is ever the same.

Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran–and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.

As Joe writes about Carl’s life, especially Carl’s valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory.

Thread by thread, Joe unravels the tapestry of Carl’s conviction. But as he and Lila dig deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. Will Joe discover the truth before it’s too late to escape the fallout?

Review –

This book is like a tree with many branches – the story is the tree and the sub-story lines are the branches and it makes for a wonderful thoughtful tale of a young man used to taking on burdens beyond his years—none more dangerous than championing a dying  old man convicted of a horrific crime.

What starts out as a college English assignment leads  Joe and his stand-offish neighbor, Lila and his autistic  brother, Jeremy discover that a man in prison for thirty years and recently put in a nursing home because he’s dying of cancer is not guilty of the crime which locked him away. They run into many obstacles but will not be deterred and eventually get the proof they need. Add in a drunk mother, losing his college fund and getting badly beaten by the killer and you have a very thought provoking novel.  I loved it.

I really think you need to add it to your “to be read” list.

 

C758484C9C9106E2B09FB2547B1149C8

20758175