The Kept by James Scott

Book Description:

Published: January 7, 2014

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Set in rural New York state at the turn of the twentieth century, superb new talent James Scott makes his literary debut with The Kept—a propulsive novel reminiscent of the works of Michael Ondaatje, Cormac McCarthy, and Bonnie Jo Campbell, in which a mother and her young son embark on a quest to avenge a terrible and violent tragedy that has shattered their secluded family.

In the winter of 1897, a trio of killers descends upon an isolated farm in upstate New York. Midwife Elspeth Howell returns home to the carnage: her husband, and four of her children, murdered. Before she can discover her remaining son Caleb, alive and hiding in the kitchen pantry, another shot rings out over the snow-covered valley. Twelve-year-old Caleb must tend to his mother until she recovers enough for them to take to the frozen wilderness in search of the men responsible.

A scorching portrait of a merciless world — of guilt and lost innocence, atonement and retribution, resilience and sacrifice, pregnant obsession and primal adolescence — The Kept introduces an old-beyond-his-years protagonist as indelible and heartbreaking as Mattie Ross of True Grit or Jimmy Blevins of All the Pretty Horses, as well as a shape-shifting mother as enigmatic and mysterious as a character drawn by Russell Banks or Marilynne Robinson.

Review –

I don’t know where to start with this one except to say that is the MOST DEPRESSING book I have ever read or listened to (I listened – which made it worse because the narrator made the characters come alive).

Elspeth is a midwife and stays away from home for months at a time and is returning to her homestead, which is a six-hour walk from the nearest town. Once there she finds her husband and four children all dead from gun shots. She is accidentally shot with a rifle by her twelve-year-old son, Caleb, who survived the massacre by hiding and being quiet.

Caleb does the best he can to doctor her wounds but she almost dies. When she is able to stand it he tells her of the three mens with red scarves around their necks who did the killings. She says they must go and hunt them down and kill them. 

Thus starts the saga.

Once arriving in the town they suspect the murders reside Elspeth dresses like a man and gets a job hauling ice and Caleb, who quickly tires of staying all day cooped up in a hotel room, gets a job as a janitor at the brothel.

The things these two endure is amazing and when facts come out about Caleb’s “brothers and sisters” he is not really shocked because by that time he had a suspicion.

Do they find the killers? You’ll have to read the book, but let me warn you it is depressing, especially the ending.

After listening to this, I had to find a “fluff” piece to read/listen because my mind was not ready for another serious tome.

 

Advertisements

The Pawn (Endgame #1) by Skye Warren

Book Description:

Published: December 6, 2016

Format:Free Digital Book

“Sinfully sexy and darkly beautiful, The Pawn will play games with your heart and leave you craving more!” – Laura Kaye, New York Times bestselling author

The price of survival…

Gabriel Miller swept into my life like a storm. He tore down my father with cold retribution, leaving him penniless in a hospital bed. I quit my private all-girl’s college to take care of the only family I have left.

There’s one way to save our house, one thing I have left of value.

My virginity.

A forbidden auction…

Gabriel appears at every turn. He seems to take pleasure in watching me fall. Other times he’s the only kindness in a brutal underworld.

Except he’s playing a deeper game than I know. Every move brings us together, every secret rips us apart. And when the final piece is played, only one of us can be left standing.

THE PAWN is a full-length contemporary novel from New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren about revenge and seduction in the game of love. It’s the first book in the brand new ENDGAME series.

Review –

Avery’s world is falling apart. Her father is very bad off after getting severely beaten over bad business dealings with a man named Gabriel. Gabriel  sells and buys things – things like guns and drugs. Avery goes to the “King of the Underworld” Damon Scott for hopes of a loan, but when she discovers Damon reports to Gabriel, she knows she is big trouble.

When Gabriel learns eighteen year old Avery is a virgin, he tells her that her virginity is the most valuable thing she owns and if it is sold, she would make enough money to help her father and keep his house. But she would be owned for a month. He will sell her body to the highest bidder at auction. After thinking on it, Avery feels as if she has no choice.

Of course, the night of the auction, Gabriel actually bids and wins Avery – and now she is his for one month in exchange for a million dollars.

Gabriel never forces Avery to have sex – you actually learn he has had a thing for her for quite some time and kind of arranged this entire thing so he could have a chance with her. While Avery is bought by him, she enjoys the pleasure he gives her. He saves her virginity for as long as he can – but does act out in other ways with her. Around the third or fourth day (at least that’s what it seemed like to me) he does take her virginity and none too gently. It seemed it was being cruel on purpose. Afterwards, he left her in the bedroom, alone, bloody and shaken. When she goes to him asking if he was coming back to his room, he tells her NO. He’d gotten what he’d paid for and now he wanted her GONE.

The housekeeper calls a car to take her home and once she there she finds out her father has had a heart attack after learning that the family home has been taken in criminal forfeiture by Gabriel’s company. Avery is livid. She sold her virginity so this wouldn’t happen but Gabriel made it happen anyway. END

Talk about cliffhanger!

I wanted to shake Gabriel by the shoulders for being such a bastard. He was so dark and you get the feeling he likes it just fine that way.

I’m looking for a free copy of the next book, The Knight, because I don’t feel like paying $4.99 for it and the others in there series, but who know, I might cave. 

 

 

Lie To Me by J.T. Ellison

Book Description:

Published: September 5, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

They built a life on lies

Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s idyllic life is not as it appears. They seem made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her.

Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.

Review –

Another creeper of a book and I loved it FIVE STARS worth!

Sutton is gone but leaves a note saying NOT to try and  find her. She didn’t take ANYTHING with her. NOTHING!

Ethan doesn’t report her missing right away so naturally he’s the first person the police look at. They are both writers and at this point in their careers Sutton is the more prolific and successful. She’s not happy and hasn’t been for a long time. A particular mean book critic is trashing her online, Ethan tricked her into having a baby she didn’t want (he changed out her birth control pills for sugar  pills), her mother (not really her mother) is blackmailing her(we find out this much later),she thinks Ethan may have killed their baby, even though the medical examiner called it as SIDS, and there’s more.

Ethan on the other hand was unfaithful (one time) with Sutton’s best friend. He told her about the infidelity but not who he was with, he has writers block and is jealous of Sutton’s success, and when a body is found burned wearing Sutton’s rings, he is arrested for her murder.

Meanwhile, we learn Sutton has fled to Paris to start a new life, but she can’t get Ethan out of her mind, even when having sex with a man she meets in a cafe. the man seems a bit too friendly, but she throws caution to the wind. Lots of things happen and two American exchange students are killed and the knife is found in Sutton’s (now calling herself Justine) possession. She is arrested by the French police and just when it looked like there was no way out for either of them, a discovery was made as to the possible identity of the true culprit.

There is much much more to story but you need to read it for yourself.  It was a real edge of your seat page turner for me but I didn’t like the what happened at the very end. I thought it to be unnecessary, but still gave it FIVE STARS.

 

 

Wicked Favor (The Wicked Horse Vegas #1) by Sawyer Bennett

Book Description:

Published: June 5, 2017

Format: Free Digital Book

New York Times bestselling author, Sawyer Bennett, is happy to introduce a new Wicked Horse club in Las Vegas and you’re cordially invited to attend the grand opening…

As the owner of The Wicked Horse, an elite sex club located along the Vegas Strip, Jerico Jameson never spends the night alone. Gorgeous, ripped, and totally alpha, Jerico doesn’t grant favors and will rarely give you the time of day—unless he wants you in his bed. So when the sister of his sworn enemy shows up asking for help, saying no should be easy. But when Jerico takes one look at her and sees an opportunity to help this beautiful woman while exacting revenge on her brother, he’s not about to pass that up.

Beaten and bruised, Trista Barnes is running out of options, and Jerico is her last chance to get out of the mess she’s in. She doesn’t know why Jerico despises her brother so much, but as long as he can help her, she doesn’t care. Jerico offers her safety while opening her up to a sinful world she never knew existed.

As she succumbs to Jerico’s erotic charm, Trista lets herself fall into the wicked world of guilt free pleasure with no regrets. Under his strong alpha hand, she blooms, and so does Jerico’s possessiveness. But what happens when Trista finds out she was a pawn in Jerico’s game all along, and that the price for his favor was steeper than she ever imagined – her heart.

Review –

I have read the original Wild Horse series so when I saw this book I thought I’d give it a try.

I didn’t like Jerico throughout this entire book, even when he wasn’t acting like he was God’s gift to women. To me he was an asshole, but I’m sure I’m in the minority.

He hated Jayce Barnes for good reasons and plotted to send him sex tapes and pictures of his sister, Trista, for a bit of revenge. Even when his best friend told him it was the wrong thing to do he still went ahead with his plan. He DID change his mind but (now get this) only after Trista baked him is favorite cake, Red Velvet. Sounds like a valid reason, right?

In the end he did do the right thing and got rid of the video and pictures (only where Trista could find them), paid off the real loan shark, bought Trista’s old house and had it fixed up for her Mother and bought a house where he and Trista and Corrine would live. 

The Sex scenes were VERY good, but I thought if Jerico cared for and even loved Trista – he shouldn’t want to SHARE her even if it was one of her fantasies.

All in all, I enjoyed the book, just not Jerico’s character. Will I read the other books in the series. Most likely!

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!!!

 

 

 

Chase by K.R. Dwyer (aka Dean Koontz)

Book Description:

Published: June 10, 2014 (first published in 1972)

Format: Audio

Ben Chase is a war hero, but a reluctant one. He struggles with bitter memories and feels alienated from the culture to which he has returned. When he claims that a psychopath is stalking him, he has by then made such an outsider of himself that no one believes him. He must resurrect the repressed warrior within to save himself and a woman he comes to love. Heroes need monsters to slay, and they can always find them—within if not without.

Review –

I love Dean Koontz but he wrote this one very early in his career and under a different name so the plot was very predictable and it also failed to give me the shiver than I get from many of his works. The pacing of the story was good after the half way point and we see the character of Chase soften around the edges after having met Glenda.

This was far from a favorite but having rad it (listened to it) I can truly see how much Mr. Koontz has grown as a storyteller.

I’d only recommend this for die-hard Dean Koontz fans.

The Snow Garden by Christopher Rice

Book Description:

Published: December 9, 2014

Format: Audio/Audible

A shocking death exposes dangerous forces of seduction, obsession, and vengeance lurking beneath the idyllic surface of a prestigious New England university.

It is more than just the late November weather that has cast a chill over the campus of Atherton University. When the wife of respected professor Eric Eberman is killed in a tragic accident, his secret student lover, Randall Stone, fears the professor tried to avert career suicide by committing homicide. Or do the dead woman’s haunting last words point to an even more damning crime?

Fearing the truth, Randall digs into his lover’s hidden history. But what he finds draws him and everyone he cares for into a dark dance of sexual manipulation, twisted retribution, and murderous rage where nothing is as it seems. And no one will escape from it unscathed…if they escape at all.

In this emotionally gripping tale from New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice, the past may seem buried, but it can come back with a deadly vengeance.

Review –

I’m not really sure how I feel about this book, (I rated it three out of five stars but I think I was too generous).

What started out as a who-dun-it, ended (at least for me) a muddled mess. 

It’s convoluted , at times difficult to follow, and what you think you know turns out to be wrong.

It was okay but unless you really want to become invested in the storyline, which involves college life, the elite rich, sexual  undertones everywhere, murder, revenge and a very weird ending, don’t even start it. Just saying …

The Promise(Elvis Cole #16, Joe Pike #5, Scott James and Maggie #2) by Robert Crais

Book Description:

Published: November 10, 2015

Format: Audio

Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are joined by Suspect heroes LAPD K-9 Officer Scott James and his German shepherd, Maggie, in the new heart-stopping thriller from #1 New York Times-bestselling author Robert Crais.

Loyalty, commitment, and the fight for justice have always driven Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. If they make a promise, they keep it. Even if it could get them killed.

When Elvis Cole is secretly hired to find a grief-stricken mother, he’s led to an ordinary house on a rainy night in Echo Park. Only the house isn’t ordinary, and the people hiding inside are a desperate fugitive and a murderous criminal with his own dangerous secrets.

As helicopters swirl overhead, Scott and Maggie track the fugitive to this same house, coming face-to-face with Mr. Rollins, a killer who leaves behind a brutally murdered body and enough explosives to destroy the neighborhood. Scott is now the only person who can identify him, but Mr. Rollins has a rule: Never leave a witness alive.

For all of them, the night is only beginning.

Sworn to secrecy by his client, Elvis finds himself targeted by the police even as Mr. Rollins targets Maggie and Scott. As Mr. Rollins closes in for the kill, Elvis and Joe join forces with Scott and Maggie to follow a trail of lies where no one is who they claim — and the very woman they promised to save might get them all killed.

Review –

“Los Angeles private investigator Elvis Cole is joined by K-9 cop Scott James and his battle-scarred German shepherd, Maggie, in the search for a woman out to avenge the killing of her son in a suicide bombing in Nigeria.

The woman, Amy Breslyn, is a chemical production engineer working for the government who disappeared with $460,000 in company money and a newly purchased gun. Cole is directed to a bungalow in Echo Park, where James encounters him after a man is beaten to death inside, surrounded by a stash of munitions and explosives. We learn that Amy has infiltrated the arms-dealing culture hoping to get close to people who know the identity of her son’s murderers. Persecuted by the LAPD, Cole and his taciturn partner, Joe Pike, slowly unravel bad information and false identities—helped by James reluctantly at first, since he’s not sure Cole isn’t dirty, and then wholeheartedly after attempts on the lives of both the K-9 officer and his Afghanistan-traumatized dog (introduced in the 2013 stand-alone Suspect). After 20 novels, Crais remains one of crime fiction’s smartest and most effortless plotters. The story unfolds with supreme ease, energized by the enigmatic presence of mercenary Jon Stone. James’ undying love for Maggie can be a bit much, as can Crais’ decision to narrate a nightmare sequence from the dog’s point of view. But the book speeds along at an agreeable clip, lifted by the author’s command of the setting, and those military canines do deserve their plaudits.

Not Crais’ deepest or thorniest mystery but another solid outing with a host of involving characters.”(taken from KirkusReviews) because I couldn’t have said it better.

Fantastic read!!

Caught by Harlan Coben

Book Description:

Published: March 23, 2010

Format: Audio/OverDrive

17 year-old Haley McWaid is a good girl, the pride of her suburban New Jersey family, captain of the lacrosse team, headed off to college next year with all the hopes and dreams her doting parents can pin on her. Which is why, when her mother wakes one morning to find that Haley never came home the night before, and three months quickly pass without word from the girl, the community assumes the worst.

Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission, to identify and bring down sexual predators via elaborate—and nationally televised—sting operations. Working with local police on her news program Caught in the Act, Wendy and her team have publicly shamed dozens of men by the time she encounters her latest target. Dan Mercer is a social worker known as a friend to troubled teens, but his story soon becomes more complicated than Wendy could have imagined.

Review –

This book will grip you tightly around the throat just after the first sentence and won’t let go until the end.

I knew opening that red door would destroy my life.

There are so many things going on in this book, the disappearance of a seventeen year old girl,  and a man being cast as a pedophile, but is he?  He is one of five Princeton roommates who have had their lives destroyed in the last year. Who is behind it?

What really happened to Haley and is it connected to Dan Mercer?

So many questions, but I’ll never tell. If you want to know, you really need to pick up this stand alone novel by Harlan Coben. You will not be disappointed.

Fantastic!!

 

The Dead Will Tell (Kate Burkholder #6) by Linda Castillo

Book Description:

Published: July 8, 2014

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Everyone in Painters Mill knows the abandoned Hochstetler farm is haunted. But only a handful of the residents remember the terrible secrets lost in the muted/hushed whispers of time—and now death is stalking them, seemingly from the grave.

On a late-night shift, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of an apparent suicide—an old man found hanging from the rafters in his dilapidated barn. But evidence quickly points to murder and Kate finds herself chasing a singularly difficult and elusive trail of evidence that somehow points back to the tragedy of that long ago incident. Meanwhile, Kate has moved in with state agent John Tomasetti and for the first time in so long, they’re both happy; a bliss quickly shattered when one of the men responsible for the murders of Tomasetti’s family four years ago is found not guilty, and walks away a free man. Will Tomasetti be pulled back to his own haunted past?

When a second man is found dead—also seemingly by his own hand—Kate discovers a link in the case that sends the investigation in a direction no one could imagine and revealing the horrifying truth of what really happened that terrible night thirty-five years ago, when an Amish father and his four children perished—and his young wife disappeared without a trace.

And, as Kate knows—the past never truly dies .  . .

Review –

The story begins thirty-five years earlier as a young Billy Hochstetler is awakened in the middle of the night by intruders threatening his family. During the burglary, his father is shot and killed, his mother is forced to leave with the three men, and he and the children are forced into the cellar. Billy decides to try to save his mother and after escaping through a window, goes after her, leaving his brothers and sisters by themselves. He chases the get-away car, but is unsuccessful in rescuing his mother. He returns to the house to find it engulfed in flames. In one night he has lost his family.

Fast forward to present day…Painter’s Mill Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of a supposed suicide. After checking the scene and looking into other facets of the dead man’s life, it is determined that he was murdered. Inside the mouth of the murdered man was a small carved Amish doll with the name Hochstetler on it.  Circumstances in subsequent murders also  seemed to bring the Hochstetler incident into the mix. But are there any other connecting threads?

Kate and her officers, including over seventy Pickles, have to work around the clock to solves theses crimes and harm comes to some.

John Tomasetti is dealt a blow when one of the men responsible for the murders of his wife and daughters is let go-free as a bird.  Tomasetti has to do something, but will it be legal or ethical?

Kate and John have been living together now for about six months and she’s afraid that now that she’s given away her heart John will hurt her.

Great read and I can’t wait for the next one to become available on OverDrive.