Tuesday, April 24, 2018

First Paragraph/Teaser Tuesday: Beyond the Pale by Clare O'Donohue

Every Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posted the first paragraph of a book she is reading or planning to read. In 2018, Vicki from I'd Rather Be at the Beach is taking over this meme.

Here's mine:
Ireland...

Eamon Byrnes checked his email one more time. There were no messages. He clicked to his bank's website and checked for recent activity. Nothing he didn't recognize. It was supposed to have happened by now.
 
Link up here. It is very easy to play along:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.
Here's mine:
She laughed but she was also keenly aware of how flattered she was. "If you're here to recruit me, I think I'm a little old for the job, even if I was number one in our class."

"Only at interrogation and weaponry. We were both good ar surveillance, and I beat you on the obstacle course."

"Whatever helps you sleep." She smiled. "And it was Brad Thomas who beat me at obstacle. He was the real shining star. Whatever happened to him?"
This week I am reading Beyond the Pale by Clare O'Donohue. I got the eARC from NetGalley. Here is the description from Amazon:
Married college professors agree to help Interpol in Ireland, but a simple errand leads them into a deadly criminal enterprise

It's a simple, twenty-minute job. At least, that's the pitch from Interpol to married college professors Hollis and Finn Larsson. Going undercover to procure a priceless rare book manuscript means an all-expenses paid trip abroad. A little danger thrown into the mix may even spice things up.

Soon after landing in the Emerald Isle, they realize the job is anything but simple. Their contact is a no show and they're left with fifty thousand euros, some serious questions, and a possible death threat. Ducking and dodging their way across Ireland, Hollis and Finn must hunt down the priceless manuscript and a missing agent while trying to stay one step ahead of a dangerous and unknown enemy.

Monday, April 23, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (April 23, 2018)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

I will be combining my YA and adult reading and purchases on this one weekly roundup. YA and middle grade reviews will still be posted on  Ms. Martin Teaches Media - my other blog.

Other Than Reading... 

We began the week by beating the record snowfall for April 16 by getting 13.4 inches of snow but temperatures have warmed up as the week went on and the new snow is gone as is a good part of the snow that was still on the ground. This is Saturday and temperatures near 60 are expected which should melt more. The five day forecast is showing 50s and even 60s for highs which should melt most of the remaining snow. I am quite ready to be finished with snow for the season.

I attended my second yoga class this week and decided this wasn't the right thing for me. For the second week in a row, I left the class with a screaming headache. I talked to the instructor who wasn't concerned, suggesting drinking water and taking a hot shower, but I don't like being in pain. Now that the weather is better, I can go out for walks instead.

I took a break from my review calendar this week by reading the whole Lady Julia Grey mystery series but it is back to reading review books this week. I have finished my May releases and am beginning the June releases on my stack. I have 6 June 5 releases. I will also be able to get a couple of TBR mountain books off my stack because I don't have any adult review books until June 12 releases.

Read Last Week
Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong - Review from Amazon Vine; review will be posted May 18
Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn - Mine; review will be posted May 16
Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn - Mine; review will be posted May 17
Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn - Mine; review will be posted May 23
Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn - Mine; review will be posted May 30
The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn - Mine; review will be posted June 13
A joint review for these novellas will be posted on June 20.
Midsummer Night by Deanna Raybourn
Twelfth Night by Deanna Raybourn
Silent Night by Deanna Raybourn
Bonfire Night by Deanna Raybourn

Currently
Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton - YA review book from NetGalley that has been on my Kindle since Oct. 17, 2017 even though it won't be released until June 5.

Next Week
  • Willnot by James Sallis - Mine; added to the stack March 5, 2018
  • The Memory of Fire by Callie Bates - Review from NetGalley; publication June 5
  • City of Bastards by Andrew Shvarts - Review from NetGalley; publication June 5
  • Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez - Review from Macmillan; publication June 5
  • How We Roll by Natasha Friend - Review from Macmillan; publication June 5
Reviews Posted

On Inside of a Dog:
Save Me by Tiffany Snow
Shattered Mirror by Iris Johansen
What You Want to See by Kristen Lepionka

On Ms. Martin Teaches Media:
White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig
 

Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

Bought:
What was your week like?

Saturday, April 21, 2018

ARC Review: What You Want to See by Kristen Lepionka

What You Want to See
Author: Kristen Lepionka
Series: Roxanne Weary (Book 2)
Publication: Minotaur Books (May 1, 2018)

Description: The thrilling follow up to The Last Place You Look, starring troubled and determined private investigator, Roxane Weary.

Marin Strasser has a secret. Her fiancĂ© thinks her secret is that she’s having an affair, and he hires P.I. Roxane Weary to prove it.Then, just days into the case, Marin is shot to death on a side street in an apparent mugging. But soon enough the police begin to focus on Roxane's client for Marin’s death, so she starts to dig deeper into Marin’s life―discovering that the elegant woman she’s been following has a past and a half, including two previous marriages, an adult son fresh out of prison, and a criminal record of her own. The trail leads to a crew of con artists, an ugly real estate scam that defrauds unsuspecting elderly homeowners out of their property, and the suspicious accident of a wealthy older woman who lives just down the street from where Marin was killed.

With Roxane’s client facing a murder indictment, the scammers hit close to home to force Roxane to drop the case, and it becomes clear that the stakes are as high as the secrets run deep.

My Thoughts: Roxane Weary's next case should be an easy one: follow her client's fiance to see if she is having an affair. Things get more complicated when the fiance is found shot to death on the street after having an argument with Roxane's employer. Worst yet, her employer's gun is missing and it might be the murder weapon.

Roxane has to clear her client. As she begins to dig into Marin Strasser's background more questions than answers are found. She says she's an interior decorator but her business card has only a phone number and an email address and tracking down previous clients seems to show that she was stealing from them. And it looks like she has scammed her fiance Arthur Ungless out of $75,000 for "wedding plans." Digging deeper leads to a previous marriage where she also tried some scams and left angry heirs behind.

Roxane also uncovers some illegal activity going on at Arthur's printing business. Apparently an employee had decided to branch out by making illegal IDs, driver's licenses, and passports. This brought the business to the attention of a local criminal which resulted in the death of the criminal's daughter and which brings Roxane to the criminal's attention.

Throw in Marin's son who is just out of prison and eager to find another scam and you have plots and twists all over the place. Roxane has scaled back her alcohol use in this one but she is also really lonely. Her relationship with Tom, one of her father's proteges, has changed since he's found a new girlfriend and her relationship with a former girlfriend is also in a precarious situation. The girlfriend is trying to contact Roxane but Roxane isn't sure if she wants to get involved with her again.

I enjoyed the twists and turns in this mystery. Fans of the first book won't want to miss this one.

Favorite Quote:
I wouldn't have described myself as a workaholic, not exactly. Just a person with an obsessive need to resolve the things that I got paid to resolve. "I'm pretty boring," I said. "When I have a case, all I do is work. When I don't have a case, I mostly just sleep."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday Memes: What You Want to See by Kristen Lepionka

Happy Friday everybody!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City ReaderThe Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
Urban renewal was in the air on Bryden Road. The dilapidated house across the street from my apartment had been condemned, foreclosed, and eventually purchased by a fighty grad-student couple who appeared to be using the renovation process as experimental marriage counseling.
Friday 56:
I stopped in my bedroom to swap out my shirt for a tank top. As I got closer to the kitchen, I smelled freshly baked bread and rosemary. I said hey and stood in the doorway, taking in Shelby's expression of absolute horror as she brandished a small canister of garlic powder. "This expired nine years ago."
This week I am spotlighting What You Want to See by Kristen Lepionka. This is the second Roxanne Weary mystery. Here is the description from Amazon:
The thrilling follow up to The Last Place You Look, starring troubled and determined private investigator, Roxane Weary

Marin Strasser has a secret. Her fiancĂ© thinks her secret is that she’s having an affair, and he hires P.I. Roxane Weary to prove it. Then, just days into the case, Marin is shot to death on a side street in an apparent mugging. But soon enough the police begin to focus on Roxane's client for Marin’s death, so she starts to dig deeper into Marin’s life―discovering that the elegant woman she’s been following has a past and a half, including two previous marriages, an adult son fresh out of prison, and a criminal record of her own. The trail leads to a crew of con artists, an ugly real estate scam that defrauds unsuspecting elderly homeowners out of their property, and the suspicious accident of a wealthy older woman who lives just down the street from where Marin was killed.

With Roxane’s client facing a murder indictment, the scammers hit close to home to force Roxane to drop the case, and it becomes clear that the stakes are as high as the secrets run deep.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

ARC Review: Shattered Mirror by Iris Johansen

Shattered Mirror
Author: Iris Johansen
Series: Eve Duncan (Book 23)
Publication: St. Martin's Press (April 24, 2018)

Description: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes Shattered Mirror, a new explosive thriller featuring forensic sculptor Eve Duncan.

Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan is once again thrown into a deadly game of intrigue when she receives a cryptic package containing a skull and a two sided mirror. Eve is determined to reconstruct the skull and uncover the mystery of the person’s identity, and when she does, the face of a beautiful woman begins to emerge. But who is she?

As Eve gets closer and closer to finding the answer, she becomes swept up in a lethal chase that spans continents and threatens to destroy the family that she has worked so hard to bring together. Eve and her team must work quickly to discover who is behind the murder – and maybe even prevent more loss of life. But how do you fight a killer who is willing to destroy anyone as a means to an end?

No one is safe in #1 New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen’s next explosive, high-stakes thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seat through every heart-pounding chapter.

My Thoughts: This story begins with a burnt skull with a bullet hole wrapped in a nice package with and including a two-sided mirror being left on Eve Duncan's front porch. Because her fey and precocious six-year-old Michael encourages her to restore the skull so that the victim can find her way home, Eve begins something that will lead to incredible danger.

Then the story switches to Cara at school with her new roommate former child star Darcy Nichols. Cara is wishing to visit Eve, Joe and Michael and angsting over her relationship with Jock Gavin who has been out of touch for some months. Cara is also planning her usual month with her Russian mafia grandfather Sergei Kaskov which makes Jock and her family uneasy. When her rooms are broken into in New York, she takes Darcy and goes back to stay with Eve for a while leaving Jock to investigate.

Cara's relationship with Jock is changing. She's eighteen now and not the traumatized eleven-year-old that Jock rescued. They've had years of being best friends but now she is starting to feel grown-up feeling around him. Jock is a former assassin who feels that Cara can do better and he's been waiting for years to find some more appropriate for her to love.

When they get to Eve's, they are all surprised and upset to find that the skull belongs to Darcy's secret twin sister. She was brain-damaged at birth and Darcy's mother blackmailed Darcy to work in show business to earn the money to provide her sister with the kind of care she needed while forbidding her to visit her. However, they do have a twin mental communication which they could use to get around their mother's rules. Only, the twin Sylvie dropped off Darcy's mental radar a couple of months before and now Darcy knows why.

The villain has set up a complex plot to get revenge on Eve, Cara, and Cara's grandfather leaving Darcy as collateral damage. It will be up to Eve, Joe, Jock, and Kaskov with Cara, Michael and Darcy's help to defeat the villain before he can complete his plot.

This was well-written. I enjoyed the fast pace of the story and the relationships between the characters. I like that Cara is part of a family formed by love rather than blood relationships. I liked her growing and changing relationship with Jock.

Favorite Quote:
Eve's glance shifted to the skull in front of her. Talking to Cara had brought home to her that life was difficult and filled with problems, but with effort they had a chance of being solved. the ugliness that had been done to this young woman and teh silent threat of her being deposited on Eve's doorstep might not be as easy to resolve.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

ARC Review: A Town Called Vengeance by Kevin Wolf

A Town Called Vengeance
Author: Kevin Wolf
Series: Brokeheart
Publication: North Star Editions (May 1, 2018)

Description: Faded words on yellowed newsprint tell stories of an Apache war party led by a she-wolf. For the frontier newspaperman, Kepler, the accounts beckon him to finish the battles he fought in the Colorado mountains. Kepler’s quest brings stagecoach attacks, waterless days in the Arizona desert and an unholy alliance with a creature of darkness. In a barroom in a town called Vengeance Kepler faces down the gunman that even Doc Holiday feared. Renegades and gunrunners stand in his way. And his sacrifice may cost the woman he loves. Will his crusade for justice turn to a fight for revenge? In a battle fought with silver bullets and fire, will Kepler’s courage be enough?

My Thoughts: This is the second book in a series that began with BROKEHEART. In this story, Kepler has come with June to Vengeance, Arizona Territory, following rumors of a pack of werewolves. He wants revenge on Landry, the female leader of the pack, because of events that happened in BROKEHEART. Kepler is a gifted newspaperman. He finds that, in addition to the werewolf threat, the town is also being threatened by roving Apache warbands.

When he humiliates an outlaw named Little Jed, Little Jed retaliates by firing a shotgun through Kepler's bedroom window almost killing him and June but Little Jed is in turn killed by a wolf who just happens to be Landry, the wolf Kepler is after. Little Jed's death puts his father Jedidiah Bethea on Kepler's path bent on revenge.

Kepler decides to take June and head for Tombstone with a Pinkerton agent named Orville Powers who is taking a number of women with him. What he doesn't expect is for all of his enemies to band together and set Kepler up for a chase across the Arizona desert to rescue June.

I enjoyed this blending of the tradition Western with werewolves. What confused me a little was Landry's relationship with Kepler. He clearly wanted her dead but she helps him over and over again through the course of this book. I enjoyed Kepler but wished I knew a little more about his backstory. I guess BROKEHEART will have to go on my reading list.

Favorite Quote:
Night and dark fell away, and I saw her plainly. Landry gathered her skirts, knelt, and grazed the bloodstained dirt with her fingers. Her purple-tinged eyes found me, and she touched a fingertip to her tongue.

"Kepler." My name floated on the moonlight, and like the wisp of smoke that carried Little Jed's killer away, she was gone.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

ARC Review: Save Me by Tiffany Snow

Save Me
Author: Tiffany Snow
Series: Corrupted Hearts (Book 4)
Publication: Montlake Romance (April 17, 2018)

Description: In this fast-paced romantic suspense, China Mack will make one final choice.

Computer genius China Mack may be the former head of Vigilance, the government’s clandestine spy program, but she can still be knocked off balance. And two back-to-back personal blows have thrown her into a tailspin.

While her relationship with tech billionaire Jackson Cooper is on the rocks, China is testing the boundaries of what she feels for man-of-mystery Clark Slattery. But when China learns that her mother’s death sixteen years ago wasn’t an accident, she can’t rest until she knows the truth. And China’s own father, an elusive ex–CIA agent, might have been the killer. To avenge her mother’s death, she needs help, and both Jackson and Clark step up to the plate. But when her investigation is linked to a decades-old international plot to hack the New York Stock Exchange, putting both of the men she loves in danger, China must make an impossible decision to keep them safe.

As the three of them are plunged into a far-reaching conspiracy, China’s notions of love and trust are turned upside down. For China, this final case couldn’t be more personal—or more dangerous.

My Thoughts: This is the fourth China Mack adventure. This time China has broken up with her billionaire tech boyfriend Jackson Cooper and is trying out a relationship with the mysterious Clark Slattery. This causes borderline Asperger's China all sorts of stress because she has real conflicts about falling in love and loves both of those very different men.

When China learns that her mother's death when China was eight was not an accident and that her mother's lover Mark Danvers who also happens to be her father might have been the one to murder her, China is determined to find out if the information is true and if so to find her missing father. When she discovers her ex-CIA agent mother's journal and a video, she learns that despite being married, her mother falls completely in love with fellow agent Danvers and conducts an affair with him that results in China's birth. The idea that Danvers then killed her mother convinces China that love can only lead to the ultimate betrayal.

When following her mother's trail leads to the discovery of a computer program that was put in place to protect the New York Stock Exchange from the Y2K virus but had a suspicious backdoor, she and Jackson find themselves the target of murderers who don't want that mysterious backdoor to come to the public's attention. They barely escape with their lives.

China decides to leave both of her men behind and go off the grid to find her missing father and find out what really happened when her mother died. There she spends time using her computer programming skills to track down her father and set up a trap for him. But, while she is doing her thing, both Jackson and Clark are doing theirs. Clark calls on his CIA contacts to track down Danvers and Jackson uses his tech genius to follow the money. The final confrontation happens in New Orleans where China finally decides which of the men she is in love with and learns things about her father that change her viewpoint about him.

I really like China. She is not good with social clues, collects all sorts of fandom memorabilia, has a pretty inflexible routine for her life, is a way-off-the-charts genius, and has a flawed self-image. I'm glad that her story ends up with a happy ending.

Favorite Quote:
"Yeah. Chances are she'll take the bus. It's the most anonymous way, and she's been reading those Jack Reacher books lately."

Great. Only he would have a genius girlfriend who thought she could be Jack Reacher when she broke out in hives if the clock on her microwave didn't match the clock on the DVR.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.