Thursday, April 30, 2015

Throwback Thursday: A Taste for Murder by Claudia Bishop

Author: Claudia Bishop
First published in 1994 by Berkley

A delightful new series featuring two sleuthing sisters who run the Hemlock Falls Inn. While Sarah takes care of business, her sister Meg runs the inn's kitchen. During the annual History Days festival, a mock witch stoning takes a grisly turn when a guest at the inn is substituted for the fake witch.

A Taste for Murder was a random pick from my  library.  I have never read a book by this author or any other in this series.  It looked like it would be an amusing cozy mystery,  so I gave it a try.  The basic premise is 2 sisters who leave their careers to open a bed and breakfast in Hemlock Falls.  They get entangled in a murder investigation and Sarah, who everyone calls Quill, is determined to solve the crime.

I thought this one was  just OK.  I had a few issues with the story that will probably keep me from reading any of the other books in the series.  I didn't really care for any of the characters or their actions in the book.  I found nothing amusing about Meg putting ipecac in a customer's food when she disagrees with them.  That was extremely unrealistic and very childish.  Sarah annoyed me because the woman just could never say "no" to anyone in her town.  Finally, I was annoyed because while Sarah is the one who does all of the investigation, it's Meg who out of the blue solves the crime.   It was a huge WTF moment for me.    

It's an OK read if you have nothing better to spend your time on.  I won't continue with the series.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Spotlight: Elle by Emma Mars

Author: Emma Mars
Publisher: Harper Perrenial
Date of publication: April 2015

Emma Mars delivers the sexy, enticing sequel to her first novel Hotelles and follows the adventures of a young French woman as she continues her carnal education in a mysterious Parisian hotel.

In a hotel room in Paris, a young woman named Elle experiences the most exquisite freedom and sensual pleasure she has ever known, thanks to Louie, the man who has conquered her completely.

So many things in life have changed since they first met. Her engagement to Louie’s deceptive brother, David, has been broken. Her mother has died. Yet Elle is wholly fulfilled with Louie, the master who heightens her senses and unleashes her deep, seductive power.

In the alluring Hôtel des Charmes, Louie takes Elle beyond her wildest fantasies. Exploring the boudoirs devoted to other courtesans—Mademoiselle Josephine, Deschamps, Kitty Fisher, Cora Pearl, and Valtesse de La Bigne—Elle willingly opens herself further. In sublime self-abandonment she discovers absolute ecstasy, absolute sweetness, absolute desire.

Then David unexpectedly returns, stirring up painful memories and threatening their bliss. Elle fears her education may soon be over. . . .
She does not understand that it has only just begun.

Purchase Links

And don't miss the first book Hotelles!

Paris, a hotel room, the middle of the afternoon . . .

So begins the story of Annabelle, a young escort in Paris who has accepted her final proposition before marrying the powerful and generous man of her dreams, media mogul David Barlet. But the mysterious handwritten notes she has been receiving—notes that detail personal fantasies no one could possibly know—don't prepare her for the fact that her new client is her fiancé's brother, Louie. Through visits to the Hotel des Charmes, where each chamber is dedicated to one of French history's great seductresses, Louie awakens Annabelle's body and her psyche, delivering her to heights of ecstasy and fits of passion.He pushes her beyond her limitations to tap into her deep seductive power—and she discovers that true freedom comes only when you fully surrender to desire.

Funny, sensual, candid, and revealing, Hotelles is a titillating novel of mysteries and surprises by a radiant new voice.

About Emma Mars
Emma Mars is the pseudonym of an author who lives in France.
Check out Hotelles on Facebook.

Emma’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, April 7th: Bell, Book and Candle
Wednesday, April 8th: Book Loving Hippo
Thursday, April 9th: fangirl confessions
Friday, April 10th: Kissin Blue Karen
Monday, April 13th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Tuesday, April 14th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Thursday, April 16th: Raven Haired Girl
Monday, April 20th: Love Between the Sheets
Wednesday, April 22nd: Button Tapper
Monday, April 27th: Romance Novels for the Beach
Tuesday, April 28th: Hot Guys in Books
Wednesday, April 29th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, April 30th: Giraffe Days
Friday, May 1st: Books and Bindings

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Sister's Grave by Robert Dugoni

Author: Robert Dugoni
Publisher: Thomas Mercer
Date of publication: November 2014

Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House — a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder — is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers.

When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking. As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past — and open the door to deadly danger.

My Sister's Grave was a random pick from my library.  I had never heard of the book, but it looked like an intriguing story.  I ended up really liking it.  Tracy Crosswhite is a chemistry teacher turned homicide detective who had never been satisfied with the way the disappearance of her sister was "solved".  She knows that the man who was put away is an evil rapist, but she was convinced his conviction was fishy.  When her sister's body if found 20 years later, she decides to try to get to the bottom of the case and find out what really happened.

I thought this was a good solid mystery.  I was definitely surprised in the end so that was a bonus. I don't want to talk about the plot too much because I don't want to spoil the story for anyone. The story waffles between the present and 20 years earlier revealing details of what happened to Sarah at just the right moments.  I liked Tracy and couldn't blame her for not giving up on trying to find to what happened to her sister. We do also get a little bit of romance in the story so that was an unexpected bonus as well.

One of the things that I struggled with was the question of letting such a despicable man like Edmond House go free.  If he didn't do that particular crime, he shouldn't be in prison.  And will letting him out put other women at risk all these years later?  It left me with something to think about.  

I read in a Q&A with the author that this is the first in a series.  I look forward to reading the next book. This is the first book I have tried by this author.  I know I'll be seeking out some of his earlier works while I wait!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hero by Samantha Young

Author: Samantha Young
Publisher: NAL
Date of publication: February 2015

Alexa Holland’s father was her hero—until her shocking discovery that she and her mother weren't his only family. Ever since, Alexa has worked to turn her life in a different direction and forge her own identity outside of his terrible secrets. But when she meets a man who’s as damaged by her father’s mistakes as she is, Alexa must help him.

Caine Carraway wants nothing to do with Alexa’s efforts at redemption, but it’s not so easy to push her away. Determined to make her hate him, he brings her to the edge of her patience and waits for her to walk away. But his actions only draw them together and, despite the odds, they begin an intense and explosive affair.

Only Caine knows he can never be the white knight that Alexa has always longed for. And when they're on the precipice of danger, he finds he’ll do anything to protect either one of them from being hurt again…

I had to sit on this book for a bit to decide if I liked it or not.  Hero is definitely a frustrating book. Basically, a long time ago, Alexa's rich and spoiled father gave Caine's mother drugs and left her to OD in a hotel room.  It was all covered up and people were paid off.  Alexa's father was disowned by his rich family. It's kind of a convoluted story, but Alexa's parents were never married because her father was already married with a family. When Caine finds out who Alexa is, he decides he hates her even though she had nothing to do with is mother dying. He gives her a job as his assistant and basically treats her lower than the dirt under his shoe. There is more to the story, but that is the basic outline of it.

In the end, I can't say I ultimately enjoyed the book.  I found the relationship between Alexa and Caine frustrating.  First, I don't understand women who fall for men who treat them like crap.  Lust is one thing, but how can you fall in love with someone who is basically an asshole to you.  At one point Alexa asks her self why she liked this jerk.  I had the same question all the way through.  Is the way Caine treats Alexa in the beginning the equivalent of a little boy pulling the hair of the little girl he secretly likes?  The sex was definitely hot between them, but for me that is as far as it went.  

The other thing that bothered me was the relationship Alexa had with her grandfather.  He is another guy she allows to treat her like crap.She has secret meetings with him because he wants to know her, but won't acknowledge her as an heir in public or to the rest of the family.  Every time he dissed her in public, I wanted to yell at him to grow a pair and yell at her for allowing it to happen.  

They do get their HEA, but it just took too long for them to get there.  I swear I was exhausted by the end of the book.  I will say that I am glad this was a stand alone book.  I have to give the author props for not dragging this dysfunctional relationship out over three books! 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Books We Didn't Finish - April Edition

The Bookseller - I found this book extremely boring. I didn't like the main character as I found her very depressing. I didn't like the back and forth between the two realities.  In the end I just didn't care to find out which one was real.

The Taking - I know Autumn finished this one.  She will be sharing her thoughts later in May.  I just couldn't get into it.  I had a hard time with her suddenly being attracted to her boyfriend's younger brother. She is 21 and he is 17, that was creepy to me.I thought her anger toward everyone for the changes in relationships was irrational.  I mean she had been gone for 5 years.  Cut them some slack!

Forgers - I found this one dull with no likable characters.  I have a hard time reading a book when I don't even like the main character.

The Wicked Girls - I think this was the month for the boring books.  I had a hard time getting through the first 10% of this book.  It was depressing and boring.  I didn't like any of the characters enough to push through to the end.

Autumn:  Ok, so my class work has slowed down and I had spring break so I was going to READ.  I did actually finish some, but I'm clearing out a whole bunch of DNFs right now!

Ritual-When I'm in school I like audiobooks of series because I don't have to think too terribly much.  I already know the characters and such.  I just finished Mo Hayder's The Treatment and loved it, so I moved on to Ritual.  However, I couldn't get into it.  I couldn't even figure out what was going on an hour into the audiobook.

Signature Kill-It was too much like every other murder mystery.  The whole time I kept flipping back and forth checking to make sure I hadn't already read it, because it seemed so familiar.  It felt like mashup of several movies I've seen.
Blood of My Blood-I liked the first two books in this series, but I guess I hit the
third in the wrong mood maybe.  I felt like it was violence overload.  Especially for a YA series.  I understand it's no worse than anything kids would probably see on TV, but jeez it was pretty brutal.  I wasn't really interested in subjecting myself to that.

The Geography of You and Me-Every now and then I like to break up my dark and scary reading with some light and cutesy YA.  For the most part it usually makes me happy.  This book just didn't do it for me.  Maybe I was just in a cynical mood, but I had a hard time believing that in this day in age that the upstairs girl would give the time of day to the basement boy, and that the sullen teen boy would even take off his headphones to talk to her.  Therefore, this story would have never taken place.

Descent-It started off well.  I was really interested in where this story was going.  Then when part 2 started, the whole thing went off the rails and I got so confused about what was going on.  I couldn't figure who was who and what story line was going where.

The Burning Air-Too many characters!!  I felt like I needed a pen and paper for just the first couple of chapters to keep everyone straight.  It was so confusing.  It was too time consuming to keep flipping back and forth to figure how everyone was related.

H20-I had this book on my Amazon wish list FOREVER.  I was so excited to finally read it.  Oh I was so disappointed.  I didn't care for the author's style of writing.  The main character was terribly unlikable.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood

by:  Alex Marwood
publisher:  Sphere
publish date:  June 19, 2014

Everyone who lives at 23 Beulah Grove has a secret. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be renting rooms in a dodgy old building for cash—no credit check, no lease. It’s the kind of place you end up when you you’ve run out of other options. The six residents mostly keep to themselves, but one unbearably hot summer night, a terrible accident pushes them into an uneasy alliance. What they don’t know is that one of them is a killer. He’s already chosen his next victim, and he’ll do anything to protect his secret. 

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up liking this book.  The beginning was really confusing and I almost gave up on it, but I stuck with it.  The story was worth it!

It tells the story of 6 residents that live in a house with a disgusting landlord.  They all have their reasons for living in this sketchy building with this landlord that does pretty much whatever he wants.  All the residents are hiding from something.  It might be the outside world, it might be their past, it might be their parents or their home country.  What they don't realize is that there is a serial killer among them.  However, the sweltering heat of the summer and a series of crazy incidents will force his hand.

This book ended up being quite enjoyable.  The characters became likable and fun to read about.  The ending was exciting and I was really happy how it tied everything up.  That was the first Alex Marwood book I've read, but I'll definitely be looking for more in the future.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Blog Tour: Orient by Christopher Bollen

Author: Christopher Bollen
Publisher: Harper Collins
Date of publication: May 5, 2015

Orient is an isolated hamlet on the North Fork of Long Island—a quiet, historic village that swells each summer with vacationers, Manhattan escapees, and wealthy young artists from the city with designs on local real estate. On the last day of summer, a teenage drifter named Mills Chevern arrives in town. Soon after, the village is rocked by a series of unsettling events: the local caretaker is found floating lifeless in the ocean; an elderly neighbor dies under mysterious circumstances; and a monstrous animal corpse is discovered on the beach not far from a research lab often suspected of harboring biological experiments. Before long, other more horrific events plunge the community into a spiral of paranoia.

As the village struggles to make sense of the wave of violence, anxious eyes settle on the mysterious Mills, a troubled orphan with no family, a hazy history, and unknown intentions. But he finds one friend in Beth, an Orient native in retreat from Manhattan, who is determined to unravel the mystery before the small town devours itself.

Suffused with tension, rich with character and a haunting sense of lives suspended against an uncertain future, Orient is both a galvanic thriller and a provocative portrait of the dark side of the American dream: an idyllic community where no one is safe. It marks the emergence of a novelist of enormous talent.

Orient is definitely not a book that you will be able to read in an afternoon.  Coming is at over 650 pages, it does seem like an intimidating book.  From the synopsis, I was hoping for an intriguing, not able to put down read.  I really wanted to love this book.  Unfortunately, I struggled to finish it.  I did finish it though and it ended up just being OK for me.  Basically, people in the town of Orient are dying in what seem to be accidents until an entire family is wiped out in a deliberately set house fire.  Newcomer Mills and town native Beth are convinced that someone is committing murder.

I wasn't quite sure what this book was trying to be.  Was it a mystery or was it a neighborhood saga? 
There were long winded passages in the story that probably could have been left out.  Leaving them in kind of made me forget I was reading a mystery,  I just felt like I was reading about unlikable neighbors who were fighting over land and ended up skimming in places.  For me, the book didn't pick up until the last 25% and ended in a very unsatisfying way.  There were a couple of twists, but no clear justice in the end.  I don't like open ended endings.  I said that I struggled with this, because it was kind of boring and there was no thriller feeling.  I know that this book has gotten stellar reviews, so you'll have to judge for yourself.

About Christopher Bollen

Christopher Bollen is an editor at large forInterview magazine. He is the author of the novel Lightning People, and his work has appeared in GQ, the New York Times, theBeliever, and Artforum, among other publications. He lives in New York.

Find out more about Christopher at his website.

Purchase Links

Christopher’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, April 7th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, April 10th: As I turn the pages
Tuesday, April 14th: Bibliotica
Wednesday, April 15th: A Bookworm’s World
Monday, April 20th: The Discerning Reader
Tuesday, April 21st: Books and Things
Wednesday, April 22nd: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, April 23rd: A Dream Within a Dream
Monday, April 27th: Open Book Society
Tuesday, April 28th: Kissin Blue Karen
Friday, May 1st: Wordsmithonia
Monday, May 4th: Ace and Hoser Blook
Wednesday, May 6th: My Bookish Ways

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Burial Ground by Alan Shuman

by:  Alan Shuman
published by:  Avon Books
publish date:  1998 originally, republished July 14, 2014 Open Road Press

Hired to find an ancient Tunica Indian burial site on a recently purchased Louisiana plantation, Alan Graham and his associate, P. E. Courtney, realize that a killer is on the loose when their client is murdered and the tenant is nowhere to be found.

I was surprised I had never heard of Alan Shuman before.  He's a local author and he writes about archaeology.    I'm glad that I have come across his books, because they're quite good.  He does a good joy portraying the local culture and customs.  His story is also clear and well written.

Burial Ground tells the story of Alan Graham, a contract archaeologist being hired to check out some private land.  The owner believes that there is an Indian burial site on his land that could be very valuable.  However, the owner very quickly ends up dead.  Alan is dogged every step of the way by a new archaeologist in town trying to horn in on his business.  They can either fight over the job or join forces.  

I would definitely recommend this series to mystery readers, people with an interest in historical artifacts, and people with an interest in Louisiana.  I was excited to find this new to me writer.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Treatment by Mo Hayder

by:  Mo Hayder
published by:  Doubleday
publish date:  2002

Midsummer, and in an unassuming house on a quiet residential street on the edge of Brockwell Park in south London, a husband and wife are discovered. Badly dehydrated, they've been bound and beaten, the husband is close to death. But worse is to come: their young son is missing.

When DI Jack Caffery of the Met's AMIT squad is called in to investigate, the similarities to events in his own past make it impossible for him to view this new crime with the necessary detachment. And as Jack digs deeper, as he attempts to hold his own life together in the face of ever more disturbing revelations about both the past and the present, the real nightmare begins...

This is the 2nd book in the DI Jack Caffery series.  It was a really good 2nd book.  Usually they're just kinda eh, but this one was mindblowing.  

Basically, a wife and husband are found beaten and dehydrated.  They tell the police that a man has held them captive for days and he has kidnapped their son.  Their son is found dead in the park, but more disturbingly, he was alive just hours before police found him.  While the police are focusing their resources on figuring out that crime, another family has been taken captive.  The book tells of their fight to stay alive despite time running out.  

A parallel story in this book is the story of DI Caffery's younger brother and Jack's undending search for him.  New evidence comes to light and that story line takes an unbelievable and heartbreaking turn. 

Both story lines had me on the edge of my seat.  They were tense and well timed.  Reading the first book might help with a little bit of the back story with Jack's younger brother, but it's not necessary.  It had been like 3 years since I read the first book and this book had enough information that I was able to follow along easily enough.  I would highly recommend this book for the mystery/thriller lovers out there.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Release Day: Review & Excerpt for ASA by Jay Crownover

Author: Jay Crownover
Publisher: HarperCollins
Date of publication: April 2015

Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one luscious arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best.

Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.

A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.

My thoughts:

We are so excited to be a part of the Release Day Blitz for the final book in the Marked Men Series.  For me it is a bittersweet ending.  While I was eagerly awaiting Asa, I am sad to see the series end.  It's been a wonderful experience reading these 6 books.  If the author had to pick a great way to end a series, then Asa was the best!

I loved this book.  Asa has always been a favorite character.  He is one of  the most damaged of the 6 men in the series, but I always knew he had a heart of gold deep down.  I was so rooting for him to finally put the past behind him and realize he had worked hard to make a better life.  That he deserved to be happy.  Of course, Royal is battling her own demons and Asa is the perfect man to help her overcome them.  They were great together.  Don't get me wrong, it's not a painless, hearts and flowers road to HEA, but it's worth taking the journey.

There are a few hints at the beginnings of other romances.  I was a bit nervous that they wouldn't be explored., especially Sayer and Zeb.  I am happy to see that they will be explored in her new series, The Saints of Denver.  I can't wait!

I pulled the Nova to a stop in front of a duplex that had clearly seen better days. It wasn’t a rusted-out trailer in Kentucky, but it might as well have been. I turned off the ignition and sat back in the seat so I could turn to look at Ayden. She was watching me carefully and I could see how frustrated she was with the entire conversation in the way her shoulders were tensed up and the way her hands had curled into tight balls on her lap. It was the way she used to look whenever I got into trouble and she had to do something desperate and drastic to get me out of it. I reached out a hand and put it on top of her fists.
“I died in that hospital, Ayd. There were no angels playing harps. There was no redemption and repentance. I died and it was very clear that I was going to get exactly the kind of fate I had been courting with all the messed-up shit I had been doing to other people. All I could see was every wrong I had ever committed and every bad decision I had ever made exploding all around me. For once I could see how all of that affected you. I was dying, and I knew what was waiting for me on the other side, yet I couldn’t go knowing that was all you were going to have to remember me by. I had to come back and give you something else to hold on to, some kind of good memory to go with the endless miles of bad I laid at your feet. I wanted to have the chance to show you I could be the kind of brother you deserved all along, so no, I didn’t save myself—you saved me. Just like you’ve always done for my entire life.”
I saw her bottom lip tremble until she snapped her teeth around it to keep it still. Her fists unclenched below my palm and she curled her shaking fingers around my hand and her already husky voice rasped with even more emotion when she told me what I think I had needed to hear from her all along.
“I have always been proud that you’re my brother, Asa. Yes, there have been times in the past I would have gladly fed you to the wolves, and it’s no secret that I had to leave home because I didn’t know what to do to help you anymore, but we both made it out alive and are better people for it. I know you’re sorry for the way things went down when we were younger, but I need you to open your eyes and take some credit for the way you have turned it around to make things the way they are now. I’ve long since come to terms with the Asa from my childhood. What I want to do is love the Asa that’s here with me now. You need to let go of those boulders weighted with all the bad things from past that are dragging you down before you get crushed under them.”
It was eerily similar to what Royal had been telling me the deeper and deeper I sank in with her. I don’t think I was ready to let any part of those stones go just yet, but a sexy redhead was slowly and surely eroding bits and pieces of the rock the more and more time I spent with her. By the time she was done, maybe she would be able to carve out something that was worthwhile, something that didn’t eviscerate me to look at.
I leaned over enough that I could kiss Ayden right on the center of her forehead between her midnight eyebrows and I felt her let out a shuddering sigh.
“I’m never going to let you down again, Ayd. That is the one and only thing in the entire world that I can promise and know it’s a promise I will keep.”
We stared at each other for a long and silent moment. The seriousness of the words I had said to her and the fact that I could see that she understood that I really, truly meant them finally worked to absolve me of some of the guilt that seemed to suffocate me whenever I thought about the things she had done to keep me safe.

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About the author:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She also introduced the dark and sexy world of The Point that started with BETTER WHEN HE's BAD and is currently working on her newest series The Saint of Denver. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

 Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iBooks ** Kobo ** IndieBound ** Other

And don’t miss the previous books in The Marked Men Series!

Blog Tour: Medium Dead by Paula Paul

Author: Paula Paul
Publisher: Alibi Random House
Date of publication: April 2015

Under Victoria’s reign, women are barred from calling themselves physicians, but that hasn’t stopped Alexandra Gladstone. As the first female doctor in Newton-upon-Sea, she spends her days tending sick villagers in the practice she inherited from her father, with her loyal and sometimes overprotective dog, Zack, by her side.

After the corpse of village spiritualist Alvina Elwold is discovered aboveground at a church boneyard, wild rumors circulate through the charming seaside village, including one implicating a certain regal guest lodging nearby. Tales of the dead Alvina hobnobbing with spirits and hexing her enemies are even more outlandish—but as a woman of science and reason, Alexandra has no doubt that a murderer made of flesh and blood is on the loose.

Finding out the truth means sorting through a deluge of ghostly visitors, royal sightings, and shifty suspects. At least her attentive and handsome friend Nicholas Forsyth, Lord Dunsford, has come to her aid. Alexandra will need all the help she can get, because she’s stumbled upon dangerous secrets—while provoking a deadly adversary who wants to keep them buried.

Medium Dead is a very quick historical mystery.  For me it was an entertaining and OK read.  It is the fourth book in the series that features Dr. Alexandra Gladstone.  I know that this was supposed to be a stand alone book, but I did get the feeling at times that I was missing background with the characters.  I think that happens when you come in at the fourth book.  The mystery was solid, but predictable.  I was able to figure out the killer pretty early on. 

I liked the characters in the book, especially Alexandra.  I always like a strong female lead.  Her determination to be a doctor in a time when it wasn't popular for a female to do so was admirable.   What I found perplexing was her reluctance to admit her feeling for her friend Nicholas.  I know their social classes were different, but in light of her feeling on how women should advance, I would think she would not see that as an obstacle when it comes to love.  He clearly doesn't.  I just hope  in continuing with the series that the unrequited love doesn't drag on.  I'm not a fan of that.

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About the author:

Award-winning novelist Paula Paul was born on her grandparents’ cotton farm near Shallowater, Texas, and graduated from a country high school near Maple, Texas. She earned a BA in journalism and has worked as a reporter for newspapers in both Texas and New Mexico. She’s been the recipient of state and national awards for her work as a journalist as well as a novelist. Her previous novels featuring Dr. Alexandra Gladstone, including Symptoms of Death,have appeared on bookstore and online bestseller lists. She is also the author of the Mystery by Design series, which she wrote as Paula Carter. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

To learn more about Paula, visit her WEBSITE.

Purchase Links

Paula Paul’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, April 13th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, April 13th: Melina’s Book Blog
Tuesday, April 14th: 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, April 14th: FictionZeal
Wednesday, April 15th: Fictionophile
Thursday, April 16th: Psychotic State Reviews
Friday, April 17th: It’s a Mad Mad World
Monday, April 20th: Buried Under Books
Monday, April 20th: A Book Geek
Tuesday, April 21st: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, April 22nd: Reading Reality
Thursday, April 23rd: The Reader’s Hollow
Friday, April 24th: Snowdrop Dreams of Books
Monday, April 27th: Bibliophilia, Please
Monday, April 27th: Under a Gray Sky
Tuesday, April 28th: Bell, Book & Candle
Wednesday, April 29th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, April 30th: 2 Kids and Tired

Monday, April 20, 2015

We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist

by:  Josh Sundquist
published by:  Little Brown Books for Young Readers
publish date:  December 23, 2014

Josh Sundquist only ever had one girlfriend.
For twenty-three hours.
In eighth grade.

Why was Josh still single? To find out, he tracked down the girls he had tried to date and asked them straight up: What went wrong?

I never read non-fiction, but this book caught my eye.  I'm glad I made an exception.  This was one of the funniest books I've read in a long time.

Josh is 25 and he's never had a girlfriend.  He decides to conduct a scientific exploration as to why this has happened.  The book tells the story of all the girls he almost had an relationship with and his side of what went wrong.  Then he seeks out the girl in question and finds out from her many years later what went wrong from her point of view.  Every story is hilarious and heartbreaking.  I wanted to get all teenage girls to read this book so they might have an idea of what the average teenage boy is going through.  

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. It was so funny.  Josh tells his story in a way to which anyone could relate.  This book was a surprise favorite of the year so far!!  Go read it and check out the Par 3 golf story, I about died laughing.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ask Gina Spotlight + Giveaway with Gina Conkle, author of The Lady Meets Her Match

Author: Gina Conkle
Series: Midnight Meetings
Pubdate: April 7th, 2015
ISBN: 9781402294303

Finding her is only half the battle
Cyrus Ryland didn’t become England’s wealthiest bachelor by being a pushover, but the mysterious beauty he discovers sneaking around his study during a grand ball enflames his curiosity. They share one dance, but when the clock chimes midnight, she’s nowhere to be found. So Cyrus vows to scour all of London to uncover who she is.

Claire Mayhew is risking it all by forging Ryland’s signature. But the maddening man won’t lease properties to an unmarried woman. He stands in the way of Claire’s dream: running her own business. The midtown property fits her plans perfectly—a place to live as an independent woman of commerce. When she sneaks into his study and forges his signature, she never expects to be attracted to the stodgy bachelor. But if he finds out who she is, all of her dreams could go up in smoke…


Today we’re sitting down with historical romance author Gina Conkle! Gina’s latest book, The Lady Meets Her Match, comes out this April. To celebrate we’re participating in the “Ask Gina Spotlight Tour”, take it away Gina!

Q. Do you have a favorite category of romance? (aka. Historical, Paranormal, Contemporary) is so, what is it and why?

A. My favorite reads are historical. I've been a history nerd for years, but the first fascination with romance and history came when I was 5 years old. My mom read 'The Highwayman' to me, and I was hooked.

An Excerpt:
Cyrus removed his fine blue coat, the slide of cloth on cloth an inviting sound to her benumbed senses.
“You’re not warming up sufficiently.” He leaned in and wrapped his coat over her shoulders, his deep voice like an intimate connection. “Someone needs to take care of you.”
She shuddered when his breath tickled her ear. His warmth and nearness was just as heavenly as what he draped around her. She could tell he found her refusal more amusing than deterring. Cyrus closed the coat in front of her, his body heat palpable inside. The collar’s woven broadcloth brushed her rain-misted cheeks, his pleasant scent on the cloth. The coat was part of an expensive, well-tailored ditto suit: identical blue fabric with spare gold trim on the coat, waistcoat, and breeches.
“I’ll ruin part of a perfectly good suit.” But she pulled the coat tighter, greedy for the snug feel.
He added more coal to the blaze. The inferno’s orange light danced across white cotton stretched over his shoulders. Muscles moved under the fabric, mesmerizing her while he built a hotter fire. And then there was his offer to waive her rent and give her a loan, an offer apparently free of unique requirements. His act of generosity pinched her conscience.
How dare he be so…nice.
“About the rent, the loan, I cannot accept your kind offer.” She cleared her throat, trying to sound competent. “I’ll find a way.”
Ryland glanced at her but said nothing to counter her refusal. Instead, he dropped to the floor, kneeling before her. Without asking her leave, he removed one shoe and then the other, and set the soaked footwear against the hearth’s ash pan.
“What are you doing?” Her words, like her body, went slack, all of her too worn down.
His head bent close to her knee. One hand, large and warm, curled around her ankle, rubbing life back into her foot. A big, masculine palm moved under the arch, creating delightful friction. She pressed her lips together, holding back a moan of pleasure.
“I would think a land steward’s daughter would know wet clothes are hazardous for one’s health.” He flashed a devilish grin. “You ought to remove your wet clothes, cover yourself with something warm and dry.”
Such as covering myself with you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:

Gina Conkle, a history nerd to the core, loves castles and museums. Her motto is “the older and moldier, the better.” When not enjoying relics, she lives in the present, dabbling in organic gardening at her home in San Diego, California. She lives with Brian, her husband and favorite alpha male, and their two boys. Visit her at
Buy Links:

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Joint Review: The First Wife by Erica Spindler

Author: Eric Spindler
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Dte of publication: February 2015

An idealistic young woman marries a man she barely knows only to discover his first wife disappeared under mysterious circumstances. As a child, Bailey Browne dreamed of a knight in shining armor swooping in to rescue her and her mother. As she grew older, those dreams transformed, becoming ones of a mysterious stranger who swept her off her feet and whisked her away from her ordinary existence; then, suddenly, there he was. Despite the ten-year difference in their ages and her working class upbringing and his of privilege, Logan Abbott and Bailey fall deeply in love. Marriage quickly follows.

But when Logan brings her home to his horse farm in Louisiana, a magnificent estate on ninety wooded acres, her dreams of happily-ever-after begin to unravel. A tragic family history Bailey knew nothing about surfaces, along with whisperings about the disappearance of his first wife and rumors about women from the area who have gone missing, and when another woman disappears, all signs point to her husband's involvement.

I actually enjoyed The First Wife.  The book definitely has a soap opera feel to it.  I have seen others describe the book as something you would see in a Lifetime movie. You know, a guy and girl meet on vacation and instantly fall in love and marry.  The girl has no family and must uncover all of her new husbands secrets.  Can she really trust him?  This book would make a good movie.
The story has a few twists that I didn't see coming.  You don't know who is telling the truth. I totally didn't call the ending! I liked the memory loss scenario. The reader discovers what happens right long with Bailey. I definitely recommend this book.  

So I liked that this book took place in Louisiana and the audiobook reader didn't give people ridiculous accents.  I also liked that it took place in a sort of "non-traditional" part of the state.

However, I don't watch soap operas because I can't stand all the melodrama.  I felt like all the characters in this book were hysterical half the time.  They were always crying or shouting or screaming.  I just wanted to tell everyone to chill out.

While this book wasn't really my cup of tea, it wasn't badly written.  The story was interesting.  The twists and turns were pretty good.  The drama overload just got to me after awhile and made this book less than pleasing to read.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Blog Tour: Officer Elvis by Gary Gusick

Author: Gary Gusick
Publisher: Alibi
Date of publication:

After performing at a local old-folks home, off-duty police officer and part-time Elvis impersonator Tommy Reylander smoothes out his pompadour, climbs into his pink Caddy, and gets all shook up—fatally so, when a bomb explodes. Whether he was killed for his police work or bad singing is a mystery that detective Darla Cavannah is determined to solve.

Though it’s been several years since Darla (reluctantly) partnered up with Tommy, she convinces her boss to let her lead the murder investigation. As the new regional director of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, Shelby Mitchell can think of better uses for his star detective’s time, but not even the most hardened good ole boy can resist Darla’s smart, savvy persuasions. She soon embarks on a roller coaster ride through the world of Elvis tribute artists while tracking down one of the most bizarre serial killers in the history of the Magnolia State. Aiding her pursuit of the killer is recently reprimanded officer Rita Gibbons, fresh from the trailer park and described by Shelby as “half a licorice stick short in the manners department.” But Rita’s plenty smart, even when this case takes their suspicious minds in an entirely unexpected direction.

Ever since I started reading the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, I have been on a quest to find good mysteries with colorful and amusing characters.  After finishing Officer Elvis, I think I have found just such a series.  This is the second book featuring Darla Cavannnah.  I haven't read the first one, but I will be seeking it out.

This time around, Darla is trying to solve the murder of her old partner, Tommy "Officer Elvis" Ryelander.  She ends up with a new partner and a case that ends up being more convoluted than she bargained for.  I really liked Darla.She is a smart no-nonsense cop and an all around likable character.  I also liked that she was tall.  Sometimes I get tired of reading about small, under 5 feet women.    I loved how she kept correcting people's English.  

The story is rounded out nicely with great peripheral characters for Darla to interact with. Even though this is supposed to be a stand alone, I do wish I had read the first one before this to get a better feel for the relationship between Darla and her boss as well as her husband.  This will definitely be on my recommend list!

About Gary M. Gusick

Gary Gusick is the author of The Last Clinic. A former advertising executive with more than thirty years experience as a copywriter and creative director, Gusick has won numerous national and international awards for creative excellence in advertising.

 Purchase Links

Gary M. Gusick’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, April 14th: Mystery Playground – author Q&A
Wednesday, April 15th: Vic’s Media Room
Friday, April 17th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, April 20th: Brooke Blogs
Tuesday, April 21st: Omnimystery News – author guest post
Wednesday, April 22nd: Lilac Reviews
Thursday, April 23rd: Rhodes Review
Friday, April 24th: Reading Reality
Tuesday, April 28th: Open Book Society
Tuesday, April 28th: Bell, Book & Candle 
Wednesday, April 29th: Lovely Reads - spotlight
Thursday, April 30th: I’d Rather Be at the Beach
Monday, May 4th: FictionZeal
Tuesday, May 5th: Queen of All She Reads
Thursday, May 7th: Joyfully Retired
Monday, May 11th: It’s a Mad Mad World
Tuesday, May 12th: Mom in Love with Fiction