Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Killer Heat by Linda Fairstein

New York District Attorney Alex "Coop" Cooper and homicide detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace investigate a string of murders in which young women are dumped in remote locations and the killer hasn't left a shred of genetic profile despite the sexual nature of the attacks.

The killer has the cops hunting former military bases where the dead are found and uses the same MO for each attack: the women's bodies are stripped of their uniforms and wrapped in old military blankets. Coop and Mike pursue a lead that puts local bartender Keirnan Dylan, son of the infamous Jimmy Dylan who had a connection to two of the murdered women, as their prime suspect. But, when a key informant comes forward about another potential suspect, the case is turned into a new direction.

As the investigation continues, bodies keep piling up with a fourth girl reported missing. Alex, Mike, and Mercer need to use what they know about the suspect's previous crimes to get to the missing woman before the killer does.

Killer Heat is the 10th book in the Alexandra Cooper series and is the perfect mix of suspense, mystery, and law. Law & Order fans like me are sure to find this series to their liking. Be on the lookout for the next installment, Lethal Legacy, which is set for release in February.

Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

Agnes has finally gotten the home of her dreams, has a successful column in the paper called Cranky Agnes, where she dishes about food, is having the wedding of the year at her house for her goddaughter and has a wonderful fiance. What could go wrong? Everything! A man breaks into her house, points a gun at her and demands her dog. Agnes grabs the frying pan and knocks him in the head. He unfortunately falls through the secret door that is in the wall and falls into a basement where he breaks his neck.

Shane was in the middle of a job when his Uncle Joey called telling him to come home and look after his little Agnes. When Shane gets there he finds Agnes is not so little and that she has good aim with a frying pan.

The former owner is trying to sabotage the wedding to get her house back, people keep showing up to kidnap her dog, her fiance isn't who she thought he was, and there might be 5 million dollars somewhere in the house. All Agnes wanted was to cook and live in her dream house. But instead she gets the mob, a hitman, a bigamist and two flamingos!

Agnes and the Hitman was a hilarious book. It was one disaster after another for Agnes. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cross Country by James Patterson

After several killings in which entire families with young children are ruthlessly murdered and decapitated, Washington, D.C. detective Alex Cross chases a gang leader and diamond smuggler known as "Tiger" to Africa. This time, the case is personal since one of the murdered families belongs to Ellie Cox, Alex's first love when he was a student at Georgetown.

Seeing the potential danger that lies ahead, Brianna and Nana do not want him to go, but Cross feels compelled to avenge Eli's death. In Nigeria, Alex walks into a kind of hell he has never experienced before. He becomes a witness to the camp were Tiger recruits and trains young boys to become savage killers. In a country on the brink of civil war where the government is full of corruption, Alex soon learns that the laws of justice don't apply here.

When it seems that there is no one he can trust including his CIA contact, Alex must go on his instincts and what he has learned from the Ledger reporter who befriended him in Africa to catch the killer.

I never thought I would say this about a Patterson novel, but I was somewhat bored with Cross Country. Alex Cross is a character readers will love, but I had a hard time getting into all the oil trading issues that are at the root of the war. However, I am interested to see where Patterson will take Alex on the next installment.

Take No Prisoners by Cindy Gerard

Abbie Hughes is finally where she wants to be. She works the blackjack table in Vegas, is going to school, and just received the final settlement in her divorce. Life is going good except she can't stop worrying about her younger brother, Cory. He hasn't had an easy life and when she hasn't heard from him for a couple of days she gets worried.

Sam Lang used to part of an organization called Black Ops, INC. But when his sister is murdered because of him, he resigns. Now he is back home working the ranch he grew up on outside of Vegas. When he gets information that can take down his sister's killer, Sam joins back with his friends.

The trail leads to Cory and Sam convinces Abbie to date him. Of course Abbie doesn't realize that Sam is just using her for information and starts to fall in love with him. Sam feels bad about using Abbie because he too starts having real feelings. When Abbie finds out the truth, needless to say she is furious and heartbroken. But she pushes those feelings aside because she needs Sam and his team to save her brother. And maybe along the way Sam and Abbie can trust each other.

This is the second book in the Black Ops series by Gerard. Take No Prisoners is an action packed romance. I couldn't put it down!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Edge of Evil by J.A. Jance

Shortly after being fired from her job as a Los Angeles anchorwoman, Ali Reynolds learns that her closest friend from high school has died by driving off a cliff. Without a job tying her down, Ali takes a trip to her hometown of Sedona, Arizona to see if she can help Reenie's family.

During her time in Sedona, Ali discovers that Reenie had recently been diagnosed with ALS, a disease which significantly shortened her life. This revelation has authorities believing suicide, but Ali suspects foul play. Although everyone advises her to let it go, Ali feels compelled to get to the bottom of her friend's shocking death, especially when Ali finds that Reenie's husband has been having an affair and that Reenie wanted to undergo trial treatment in Mexico.

While investigating her friend's death, with her son's help, Ali sets up a blog called "cutlooseblog.com," where she chats with individuals who have also been diagnosed with ALS in hopes of learning more about what Reenie was going through. When an estranged husband of one of her readers threatens her life, we wonder if she may be in too deep. Can she solve Reenie's death without putting her own life in danger?

I typically don't read many mysteries, so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed The Edge of Evil. Jance does a superb job of pulling the plot in different directions that will have readers questioning the killer until the very end.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Night Secrets by Cherry Adair

Sydney McBride is trying to get her professional life back. She wrote a book and it turned into a disaster, so she is writing a book about people who get plastic surgery. Her only problem is she has to get plastic surgery so she opted for a boob job. That is how she ended up in Brazil at an exclusive treatment center. She is in her room minding her own business when a naked man comes out of nowhere and tells her to pretend he is her boyfriend. Just as he tells her that, there is a knock on the door.

Lucas Fox is having a bad day. He is a counter-terrorist operative for an organization called T-Flac and he also happens to be a wizard. Unfortunately, his powers are on the fritz. As he teleports after a suspect, he has a rough landing and gets shot in the shoulder. He makes into a room and uses the woman there as cover.

Sydney can't believe her luck. This is the story of a lifetime. She thought she hit the jackpot finding out Lucas is a spy but to find out he is a wizard? Unbelievable. Lucas isn't worried. His main power is wiping memories. As the two work together, they realize there is more going on at this spa then plastic surgery. There is black market organ transplants taking place and a bio chemical weapon being sold to the highest bidder. With all this action going on, will Sydney and Lucas find time to fall in love?

This is the second book in Cherry Adair's Night series. It is a enjoyable series. If you like wizards and spies, check out her Edge series also.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Voice of the Night by Dean Koontz

Fourteen-year old Colin is being raised by a single mother and is new to Santa Leona, California. He has never been one to easily make friends, as he has always been perceived as the nerdy kid who is more interested in science fiction books than girls. Therefore, he is surprised that one of the most popular boys in school, Roy, befriends him. In fact, not only has Roy gone out of his way to make him welcomed in town, but has also secured him a job as assistant manager of the football team for the fall season.

During the course of the summer, the boys spend their time fishing or hanging out at the local burger joint. At one point, Roy asks Colin if he has ever killed anyone before and admits that he has killed not only cats, but also humans. Roy suggests that he pushed one kid off a bridge and light another one fire. He even tries to convince Colin to help him rape and murder his neighbor while her husband is away. Of course, Colin doesn't take this admission seriously and assumes that this is a game Roy is playing to gain Colin's trust. That is, until, Roy takes it too far...

Roy takes Colin up to the old hermit's junkyard in attempt to get Colin to help him move a truck on the train tracks. Finally realizing the extent of Roy's lunacy and fearful for his own life, Colin tries to report Roy, but no one believes him, not even his own mother. With the help of a new friend, Heather, Colin must put a stop to Roy's madness before it's too late.

The Voice in the Night is another page-turner from the prolific Koontz and makes me think that kids can be just as murderous as adults. Yikes! This book also reminded me of the Macaulay Culkin movie, The Good Son. I highly recommend both the book and the movie!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid by Denis Leary

Denis Leary’s first foray into the publishing world is not only laugh-out-loud funny, but 100% true! His book is a mix of biography, parenting guide, and self-help book all rolled up into one tide volume. He offers some of the most hilarious examples of stupid things kids have done I have ever heard.

I couldn’t help but reminisce about my own childhood growing up in 1970 when he makes references to the “Roger Daltrey” look so popular in his youth that today would just be, well, sad. Wow, was it cool then! His no-holds-barred stories of bullies, big brothers and neighborhood gangs made this book one of the best I have read in 2008. He makes it perfectly clear that he feels kids are too coddled today. Spoiled with their PS3s, iPods and cell phones they lack imagination and discipline. His disapproval of today’s parenting styles is clear and he provides some outrageous examples to back up his theory that kids have it too easy nowadays.

While I don’t disagree with many of his assertions, he does get a little bogged down trying to justify some of his positions, that in fact do not need to be defended. He is not offering an alternative to today’s parenting models, only offering his irreverent take on life in the 21st century.

It is perfectly clear he is proud and humbled by his modest Irish upbringing and is even prouder of raising his own two children with his wife Anne, to whom he has been married for 25 years. Ann Leary is a writer as well who has written 2 books including An Innocent, A Broad, a memoir about their time overseas.

I must admit, I’ve been a fan of Denis Leary since the first time I saw the movie The Ref, even before that, so I was very eager to read his book. I am glad I did. It is a very enjoyable read.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Fish out of Water by MaryJanice Davidson

Fredika Bimm is a hybrid. She is half human and half mermaid. Fred is kind of a outcast in the ocean. Her father, who she never knew, tried to overthrow the king thirty years ago. But the prince of mermaids, Artur, wants to marry Fred. But Fred is torn between a fellow marine biologist, Thomas, and Artur.

Fred's best friend, Jonas, is getting married. If that's not enough pressure, out of the blue her dad shows up. It has been thirty years since he tried to overthrow the king and he wants to make amends. If not with the king then with Fred. But before she can get to really know her dad, she must help the king solve the mystery of the disappearing mermaids. Oh and let's not forget straightening out her love life!

Fish Out of Water is the third and last book of MaryJanice's Fred the mermaid series. It is a funny, delightful trilogy. Also, if you like MaryJanice's books, be sure to read the Undead series. It is really fun!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Dark Tide by Andrew Gross

Karen Friedman will never forget the day of the New York City's Grand Central Station explosion that shattered the idyllic life of her and her two children. Charles Friedman, who owns an investment firm and would ordinarily drive into the city, took the train that fateful day because his car was in the shop. Although his body was never recovered, it was determined that he died that day in the explosion. The only remains were his tattered briefcase and a piece of paper from his desk.

On the same day Charlie is killed, a young man is henioiusly murdered in a hit and run accident in Karen's small town of Greenwhich, Connecticut. Inside the young man's wallet is the phone number of Charlie Friedman. On the case is detective Ty Hauck, who questions Karen as to Charlie's connection to the murdered young man. Since she has never seen or heard of this kid, Karen cannot assist the detective, and without enough evidence or clues, the case goes cold.

A year passes and Karen and her family, who are still grappling with Charlie's death, are trying to get on with their lives. On the one-year anniversary, a documentary about the explosion is featured on television. From the television footage of that day Karen sees none other than, Charlie, alive! Completely dumbfounded and at a loss, Karen turns to detective Hauck for help. As the two search for answers, they are drawn into a shady world of murder and deceit from the man Karen thought she knew.

If you are looking for a thrilling ride, The Dark Tide delivers just that. The suspense starts up early and keeps going until the end. I can't wait for Gross's next book!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn

Thomas Cavendish, the Duke of Wyndham, has been betrothed since he was seven years old to Lady Amelia Willoughby. They don't know each other very well until one night at a dance Amelia refuses to dance with him. Thomas realizes there is more to Amelia then he knew and decides maybe it is time he married her. But before that can happen a disruption takes place in his life. He might not be the real Duke of Wyndham. And if he is not the Duke then who is he? And does that mean he is no longer engaged to Amelia? Thomas has always done the right thing. But is the right thing letting Amelia go or fighting for her? Because now that he might lose her, he realizes he cannot live without her!

Mr. Cavendish, I Presume is the same story as The Lost Duke of Wyndham except it is now from Thomas and Amelia's point of view instead of Jack and Grace's. This is a great series. I love how it is the same story in both books but totally different when you read it from the other points of view.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pemberley by the Sea by Abigail Reynolds

In this modern take on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Reynolds brings us the love story of Cassie Boulton, a marine biologist with a questionable past, and Calder Westling, the rich son of a famous politician.

Just as in P&P, the plot builds on a series of errors, mistakes and misunderstandings between the two main characters. When they finally find one another, his influential and controlling father is bound and determined to destroy the relationship. With the beautiful setting of Cape Cod as a backdrop, plus the academic environs of Cassie’s library arts college and her research labs, this update has lots of 21st century appeal. I particularly enjoyed reading about a heroine who is a smart scientist, with real career ambitions, tenure concerns and a sex life.

Even those not familiar with P&P, but who like a good romance, will enjoy this book. Reynolds originally published this title through a small press, but like a number of other authors of Austeniana, her book was picked up and republished by Sourcebooks, Inc. This publisher has done a nice job in this niche area of publishing. You can check out other Jane-related offerings, including the entire catalog of the late Georgette Heyer’s republished Regency romances at their website: http://www.sourcebooks.com/.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin

Until We Reach Home is the story of three young women who emigrate from Sweden to America in 1897. Teenage sisters, Elin, Kirsten and Sofia are orphans. Following their mother's illness and death, their grieving father has commited suicide. Relatives take over the farm, but their older brother leaves home without letting them know where he is going. Kirsten is in love with a local boy, but he says he can never marry her because of her father's sin. Elin carries a terrible secret and to protect her sisters, she plans for all of them to travel to America to stay with relatives who have provided their passage. Young Sofia would rather stay in Sweden.

The journey to America is long and difficult and at Ellis Island, the girls are detained due to illness. When they finally reach Chicago, they discover their aunt and uncle do not have space for them and their passage was actually paid by a group of young Swedish men in Wisconsin who are looking for wives. None of the girls are interested in marrying strangers and decide to find work in Chicago. They become live-in maidservants for a wealthy (and grumpy) woman. Elin must deal with her secret, Kirsten discovers she is pregnant, and shy quiet Sofia is waiting for a man she fell in love with while at Ellis Island to find her. Life in America is not as easy as they expected, and each of the girls must find their own way to a new home and happiness.

I really enjoyed this book. I have immigrant ancestors who made this same journey from small European villages to Chicago, and I honestly never imagined it could have been so long and difficult. Family stories tend to focus on how proud they were to be Americans rather than how hard they worked to learn the language and make ends meet. Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this book.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Pre-Nup by Beth Kendrick

Ellie, Jen, and Mara are long-time college friends who are all have martial problems due to a little legal document known as the "pre-nup."

Ellie has just realized that her perfect marriage is nothing but a sham when she discovers that her devoted husband has been having an affair with the Angelina Jolie of the medical community. Through some shady financial maneuvering, Michael claims that, despite the pre-nup, he cannot give anything to Ellie since they have been living in debt the last ten years. In addition, he wants to take full legal custody of their daughter, Hannah.

Meanwhile, attorney and soon-to-be married Mara is requiring Josh to sign a pre-nup in order to protect both of their legal assests. However, the pre-nup seems to be just a way to mask the guilt Mara feels for the affair she had earlier in their relationship and is causing strife in their impending marriage.

In addition, workaholic Jen married her best friend, and thus, her marriage is lacking the intense passion that she has had in her previous relationship with Patrick. Eric understands that Jen loves him but isn't in love with him, and he wants out. Jen had Eric sign a pre-nup 5 years ago in order to protect the capital he invested in their business. Although Eric is giving her everything, Jen is miserable because she wants her marriage to work, but it may be too late.

The Pre-nup is a fun, frothy tale that takes a look at that pesky legal document from many angles, and readers will be rooting for these women to prevail despite the legal odds stacked against them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Listen to Your Heart by Fern Michaels

Josie Dupre and her twin sister Kitty own a catering business in Louisiana. Having inherited the business three years ago from their parents when they died, Kitty and Josie are finally in the black. In fact, they are so busy they are turning away customers. Being so busy Josie wonders why she has been thinking about her mom a lot lately. It could be the fact she is about to turn thirty or that Kitty is getting married. She is feeling sorry for herself when Paul Brouillette and his boxer, Zip come into her life. It was not love at first sight between the humans but it was between the dogs. Rosie, a Maltese and Zip couldn't stand to be apart. Paul and Josie get together for the dogs and the next thing they know they are in love too.

It is not smooth sailing at first. Paul runs his family business but his first love is architecture. He also doesn't have a great relationship with his mom. After his sisters died, his mom shut him out. So he runs the business to earn his mom's love. Needless to say, he has commitment issues. When he is in New York on business, Paul is mugged. While he is recovering in the hospital, Paul comes to some conclusions. Number one is that he wants to be with Josie. He straightens out his business life and then goes and gets the girl.

This was a sweet book by Fern Michaels. It is only a little over 200 pages. If you are in the mood for a quick, light read, this is a great choice.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fleece Navidad by Maggie Sefton


Fleece Navidad is the sixth book in Maggie Sefton’s Knitting Mysteries series. As the holidays approach, Kelly Flynn is busy knitting hats for charity, staffing the holiday bazaar booth, baking cookies, and coaching teens to perform the Nativity at a local church. After her life was threatened, she has taken a long break from amateur sleuthing. Her daily routine always includes coffee from Pete’s CafĂ© and knitting with her friends at Lambspun, the knitting shop across the way from her house. A newcomer to the knitting group is Claudia Miller, a flirty socialite set on finding husband #4…her previous husbands all seem to have died tragic accidental deaths. Her sights are set on retired professor Jeremy Cunningham although he had been involved with librarian Juliet Renfrow.

Sheila Miller, Claudia’s stepdaughter from her third marriage, suddenly shows up in Fort Conner, and makes accusations that Claudia killed her father. She also accuses Claudia of stealing a car and credit card from an elderly woman in Florida. Claudia claims Sheila’s father’s death was accidental and that she borrowed the car and credit card and intended to pay everything back once she was settled. Lambspun regulars take sides creating tension in the usually relaxed atmosphere of the knitting shop.

Ultimately Jeremy rejects Claudia for Juliet, but later that night Juliet is the victim of a hit and run accident. Claudia claims she was in her motel all night, but all evidence seems to point to her. Kelly starts asking questions and puts her sleuthing skills back to work again. Is Claudia a murderer or was she set up to look like one?

I have enjoyed all of Maggie Sefton’s Knitting Mysteries, however I felt this story was a bit too predictable. The book seemed to be lacking the usual fun characters and interesting plot twists, but I enjoyed reading the knitting patterns and recipes included in the back of the book.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Reaching for the Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

This gem of a story, written in free-verse, follows four seasons of the narrator, Josie's, life as she comes of age on a family farm with her grandmother, single mom, and new friend, Jordan.

Each faces challenges Josie has cerebral palsy but they come through them together, strengthened by familial love, friendship, and the rejuvenating power of nature.

This is a heartfelt story for all ages.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz

Ryan Perry really doesn't have a worry in the world, least of all money, having made a fortune in software development by the age of 34. All that is about to change when severe heart pain and a visit to his internist reveal that he suffers from a congenital heart condition. Although his doctors have placed him on the wait list for a heart, if he doesn't receive the transplant, he will die within a year.

Still unable to grasp how someone like him who is otherwise a perfect specimen of health could have been given such a terminal prognosis, Ryan becomes paranoid about the origins of his condition and considers the minute possibility that his disease could have been caused by poisoning. Soon, all those around him become suspect, most of all his girlfriend Sam, who lost her twin sister in a car accident and is estranged from her mother who decided to take her sister off life support. Miraculously and despite the odds, a schoolteacher who was killed in a car accident happens to be a compatible match for Ryan and thus he receives the transplant that is required for his survival.

A year after the transplant, Ryan seems to be getting back into the swing of his regular lifestyle, that is, until, the tormenting starts. It begins with a bag of candy valentine hearts on his pillow that all say "be mine" and then a heart gold pendant inscribed with "be mine." There is a woman on the loose who claims to be the owner of his heart and is the spitting image of donor. She wants it back and will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

Although all his storylines vary, there is a certain amount of predictability in Dean Koontz's books, which is what I find to be so enjoyable. I know that the suspense will build at just the right pace to keep the pages turning and will end in a satisfying conclusion, and Your Heart Belongs to Me does just that.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home by Michele Bardsley

Welcome back to Broken Heart, Oklahoma. Home of paranormal. There are vampires, werewolves, fairies, zombies, and even dragons! In the latest book about Broken Heart we are introduced to Libby Monroe. She is part of a group called Paranormal Research and Investigation Services(PRIS) formed by her parents. They investigate paranormal occurrences. They heard Broken Heart was the place to be. PRIS just didn't realize they hit the jackpot!

While hanging out at a cemetery, Libby comes across Ralph Genessa. Ralph is visiting his wife's grave. Ralph also happens to be a vampire. A zombie chases them and then up in the night sky there are two dragons fighting. Then out of nowhere a tainted vampire starts after them too. The zombie saves Libby from the vampire and then one of the dragons falls out of the sky and flattens the vampire and zombie. If it couldn't get any weirder, the dragon turns to human form and kisses Libby transferring her dragon power into her.

Now Libby has gone to believing in paranormal occurrences to becoming one. She is tested on, fought over, and threatened. She just wants her mom and dad and maybe Ralph. Because what is more naturally than a vampire and dragon falling in love?!

The Broken Heart series by Michele Bardsley is fantastic. There are always fun and interesting characters. If you like your romance with a paranormal twist, this is the series for you!

Monday, December 8, 2008

1,000 recordings to hear before you die: a listener's life list by Tom

If you are looking for a good gift for the music lover in your life, let me recommend this book. There is something for everyone to discover here.

If you are the kind of music lover ala Nick Hornby’s list-making Rob Fleming from High Fidelity, you will not be able to resist this title. Sure there is plenty to argue with, but there is also plenty to love and learn. I was pleased to find personal faves ranging from Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique to Led Zeppelin’s How the West Was Won.

This book offers reviews and insights into a huge variety of musical genres beyond classical and rock, including: jazz, pop, blues, country, folk, musicals, hip-hop, world, R&B, opera, soundtracks, and more. The alphabetical by author arrangement makes for strange unions, but helps to broaden listening horizons and will perhaps alert you to some delightful new aural treat. There are a number of indexes, including one to help you find works by genre.

Still more fun are the playlists for different occasions or moods. Another plus is the suggestion of where to go next that comes at the end of every entry. Following these tips to make your way through the book leads to further fascinating discoveries. Highly recommended.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider's Guide by J. R. Ward

For fans of J. R. Ward's The Black Dagger Brotherhood series, the bad news is that the next book in the series does not come out until May 2009. The good news is that Ward has released an insider's guide to the series that is chock full of goodies for her fans. While this book will probably not interest anyone who hasn't read the series, it has some interesting stuff in it for those who have.

The Insider's Guide has deleted scenes, and ultra short stories featuring the brothers and their mates that Ward calls "Slices of Life." These will be familiar to anyone who has perused Ward's web site, as well as material that she pulled directly from the boards on her site. She also includes "interviews" with, and a dossier on each of the brothers, advice for anyone hoping to write a novel, a Question and Answer session, and an intriguing excerpt of the next book, Lover Avenged.

However, the part that I found most intriguing, and the main reason I enjoyed the book was because of the novella featuring Zsadist, Bella and their daughter. Of all the books in the series, my favorite was Lover Awakened, and I was most engaged by Zsadist's and Bella's story. Furthermore, as satisfying as Lover Awakened was, the end of the book leaves Zsadist at the beginning of his journey to healing, and one can imagine that the birth of his daughter, while joyful, could also bring up demons from his past that he has to deal with.

Consequently, I was thrilled to find out that Ward had included a 78 page story called Father Mine that deals with the aftermath of Nalla's birth, and next step in Zsadist's and Bella's journey. Father Mine was powerful, realistic in terms of the characters' emotional journeys, and satisfying.

Although this book is not the next in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, it is a good book to tide fans over until May. Definitely worth checking out if you're a fan.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dashing Through the Snow by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark

The little town of Branscombe, New Hampshire is getting ready for the first Festival of Joy that is being catered by Conklin's Market. A few days before the festival, four of Conklin's employees, who jointly purchase a lotto ticket every week, win millions in the jackpot by using Duncan's winning number. Unfortunately, Duncan did not go in on the lotto ticket this week, as he was advised not to by "financial advisors" Edmund and Woodrow Winthrop.

Little does Duncan know that the Winthrop cousins are two con artists in town to scam local residents. In fact, catching wind of Duncan's lucky numbers, the Winthrop brothers have purchased a second winning ticket. Duncan's disappearance the night of the win has the town questioning if he is the holder of the second ticket.

Meanwhile, Flower, Duncan's Internet girlfriend who comes to Branscombe to surprise him, ends up missing. While returning characters Alvriah Meehan and Regan Riley are in town for a visit, they get involved in the case to find Flower and catch the perpetrators of this heinous crime. Along the way, they encounter the two owners of the Hideaway Inn with a shady past, Betty and Jed, as well as a whole cast of oddball residents.

What an enjoyable little read with plenty of suspense and humor! As expected, Mary and Carol create villains out of the Betty, Jed, and the Winthrop cousins that will have readers routing for Duncan and his cohorts. As a reader, I am all about the characters, and there were just so many quirky, fun ones in this light-hearted tale. I am definitely recommending Dashing Through the Snow to everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

One of the most delightful books I have read in a long time is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer.

Set both in England and Guernsey Island at the beginning of 1946, this novel is totally comprised of notes, letters and telegrams. Author Juliet Ashton (nom de plume Izzy Bickerstaff) is tired of covering what she calls the sunny side of the war and its aftermath. By a strange fluke involving a used book with her name in it, she begins communicating with many of the residents of Guernsey, starting with farmer Dawsey Adams and moving on to his neighbors. Her pen pals share their lives with Juliet, particularly about their book group, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and how it was formed.

The inhabitants are charming, Juliet even more so, and their correspondence ultimately gives her inspiration for her new work and changes her life! Booklovers in particularly will cherish this book but so will anyone with a sense of humor and enjoyment of the quirks of their fellowman. And the ending is great!

As an aside, for those who listen to audiobooks, this is done as Readers Theater with a number of voices and is really excellent!