Category Archives: Book Reviews

Her Darkest Nightmare…

Her Darkest Nightmare (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles, #1)Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I know my friend, Lynn, just reviewed a mystery set in Alaska, but this happens to be one I just read and it also happens to be set there, too.  I wouldn’t say it focuses on the scenery much, though!
This new series by Brenda Novak began with last fall’s prequel novella entitled Hanover House and you can find my review here Her Darkest Nightmare is the first full length book in a series that promises to be a creepy and disconcerting psychological study of psychopathic murderers.  In fact, each chapter begins with a chilling quote from real life serial murderers such as Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz or Ray Ramirez.
You don’t have to read the prequel as this novel can stand alone, but Hanover House provides a more in depth look at what happened to make psychologist Evelyn Talbot decide to push for funding a maximum security prison in the wilds of Alaska to house psychopathic mass murderers so she and other doctors can study them and hopefully find some idea of what makes them do what they do.
Evelyn was held prisoner for days, tortured physically and mentally by her seemingly normal high school boyfriend after he killed and posed the bodies of three of her friends — in the room with her where she was being held.  She managed to escape, his family helped the boyfriend escape, and she’s been looking over her shoulder ever since, unable to stop trying to find out how she could have been taken in by someone who seemed so “normal” and turned out to be a vicious murderer with no conscience.
In this second installment, Evelyn and her staff have been conducting interviews and therapy sessions when one inmate insists that she and others are in danger, but he will only give her more information if she talks with him without a guard present.  She takes a chance on speaking with him and he tries to convince her that something evil is going on within the prison — but he’s a psychopath, right?  So how reliable is he?  Then severed body parts are found, one in Evelyn’s bed, and it’s obvious something evil is going on…and Evelyn is sure it has something to do with her old boyfriend who is still on the loose.
If you like books with the thrill of scary, don’t read it in an empty house without the lights on, this is definitely one for you!  There’s also a touch of romance with the seven years younger, only Alaska State Trooper in the area, whose Inuit nickname Amarok means wolf.  The next installment coming soon is tentatively entitled Hello Again.

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Slow Curve, A Book Review…

I’m delighted to introduce the first book review by a librarian friend of mine who will be guest posting on my blog.  I think I promised you early this year that Lynn would be doing this, but apparently she was too busy travelling and swimming and just plain relaxing after she and her husband both retired to get any work done for the blog!  She’s on board now, so watch for her reviews to pop up on a regular basis…

Upcoming reviews will probably be mysteries, but I’ve told her I’m open to anything she’d like to post and that as a former librarian, we look forward to reading her opinions on whatever books she chooses!

Slow Curve on the Coquihalla (A Hunter Rayne Highway Mystery, #1)Slow Curve on the Coquihalla by R.E. Donald

Lynn’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

If I hadn’t discovered the Hunter Rayne mysteries I would never have known about the mosquitoes in Alaska, 35 varieties of them. That turned out to be useful information for my trip to Alaska this past summer.

Hunter Rayne is a former officer of the RCMP. A serious case of burnout causes him to retire from the force and take to the road as a long-haul trucker. Despite his change of careers, Hunter can’t seem to help tripping over dead bodies and other mysteries on his routes through western Canada and Alaska. His detective skills won’t allow him to stay out of an investigation.

Equipment breakdowns and personal baggage (an ex-wife and emotionally distant daughters), complicate things but Hunter, like the Mountie he was, always gets his man.

Slow Curve on the Coquihalla is the first title in this series, followed by Ice on the Grapevine. I believe there are four in the series so far. It’s not necessary to read them in order, but if you don’t you will miss a bit of the character development and the slow revelation of what contributed to Hunter Rayne’s departure from the police force. The setting will make you want to plan a trip to Canada or Alaska, but don’t forget to pack your mosquito repellent.

Hold your Breath…

Hold Your Breath (Search and Rescue, #1)Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Today’s new release is an action-packed and suspense-filled mystery and romance that finds Lou Sparks as the newest diver in a remote Rocky Mountain town’s search and rescue operation. Lou moved across the country, far from her controlling family and an annoying ex and is planning to immerse herself in her new job. While she’s training hard and trying to fit in with the team, it seems that every time she slips up, it’s in front of her handsome but stoic boss, Callum Cook, who hardly ever smiles and certainly not at her.  We first met Lou and Callum in the introductory novella to this series, On His Watch.  You can find my review here.

But then Lou discovers a corpse during a diving exercise and is anxious to help local authorities solve the riddle of his identity. Staid Callum, with his cautious personality and OCD tendencies, reluctantly agrees to help, if only to keep Lou out of trouble. When it soon becomes apparent that Lou is being stalked and the stalking incidents escalate, Callum is forced to admit his attraction to his new recruit and his need to be the one to see that she is safe.

The cat and mouse game continues and Lou, Callum and local authorities try to figure out who would want to harm her and how it’s connected to the murder she uncovered. It’s a fast-paced, suspenseful read with some twists and turns along the way.

I received this book as an advanced copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Truly, Madly, Sweetly…

Truly, Madly, Sweetly (Sweet Love, #1)Truly, Madly, Sweetly by Kira Archer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This new release is a quick, cute read about a young woman who owns and operates a cupcake business out of a food truck and is saving to buy her own bakery. She’s crushing over a gorgeous guy who buys gelato from the truck next to her everyday and finally literally “falls for him,” getting chocolate all over his expensive shirt.

Their lives are suddenly intertwined when it turns out that Natalie’s neighbor was Eric’s grandmother and left him her building and Natalie the garage where she can park her truck. And rather than sell the building, Eric decides to give up his job and not work with his wealthy family and open a bakery in the building, even though he has no baking experience whatsoever. So Nat and gorgeous guy Eric work out a deal where he lets her use his kitchen to do her baking and she will teach him to bake and start a bakery business in the building she really wanted to buy.

But just when things are well between the two of them, Eric’s family interferes and misunderstandings ensue, but it’s a romance, people, so you know things will work out, right?

I received a copy of this from the publisher through NetGalley to review.

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Silent Sentry…

Silent SentrySilent Sentry by Theresa Rizzo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This new suspenseful crime novel by Theresa Rizzo was just released and I found it a definite winner! The theme of “family takes care of family” is prevalent throughout this story that focuses on a developing relationship between Dr. Joe Scarfili and Gianna Donnatelli, whose large and wealthy Italian families have been best friends for years. But Joe is seven years older than Gianna and had been married while Gianna had a huge crush on him when she was still an awkward student.

They meet up again under less than ideal circumstances, after Gianna, a nurse and computer whiz who is housesitting at her father’s home in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, surprises an intruder who attacks and injures her before leaving without a trace. Joe hasn’t seen Gianna in years and doesn’t even recognize her as she’s being wheeled through the ER, until he hears her name and stops in to check on her. In order to be released from the hospital, she needs to be checked on during the night and has no one who could stay with her so Joe offers his guest room.

As they get to know one another again, Joe finds out that Gianna has developed cutting edge medical computer programming that her company will be taking public soon and, if used in hospitals worldwide, could be worth billions of dollars.  And Gianna learns that Joe’s former wife was gunned down in front of their home in an apparent gang-related shooting, an event that makes him leery of giving his heart again and of Gianna’s home and charitable work in the poorest of Detroit’s neighborhoods.

There are lots of twists and turns and intriguing questions involving attacks and a car bomb that seem to be directed at Gianna, but could be meant for Joe or even Gianna’s father, who has been in Italy on business and visiting her brother, Paul. And as Joe and Gianna become closer, they try to figure out who might be involved in this complex mystery of possible corporate espionage, including the Italian Mafia, the Russian Mob or even some of their own family members. And trust me, I don’t think you’ll guess the ending, which opens up another slew of ethical questions…

This is the third book of Ms. Rizzo’s that I’ve read and it’s as intriguing and well done as her others. I received an advance copy from Theresa Rizzo in exchange for an honest review.

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