What Rose Forgot – Nevada Barr

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I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

As a big fan of The Anna Pigeon series, I was excited to receive a copy of this new novel for review, but fearful that I would not care for the book as I do her others. I needn’t have worried. While very different, this new character Rose Dennis, had me giggling, if not laughing out loud through her escapades and sheer will – she is the kind of Gram I hope to be one day!!

Rose Dennis greets us in this novel as she comes to consciousness while crawling through the autumn woods. She takes stock of the world around her, the track marks on her arms and the hospital gown she’s clothed in, and comes to realize that wherever she is, she has not been here before. She approaches a couple of boys playing, and they offer her water, and call for help. Rose is then returned to the Memory Care Center from which she escaped but has regained enough of her senses to overhear snippets of conversation that lead her to believe she is being drugged against her will. She begins pocketing her pills and saves enough to add them to the night nurse’s soda – and then escapes again.

Once again free she makes her way to her granddaughter’s home and hides in her fort. Eccentric on a good day, Rose is slowly regaining her strength and is determined to hide from family and the authorities until she, with the aid of her granddaughter ‘Grasshopper’, and her ‘not a hacker’ computer whiz sister, can discover how she came to be locked up and sedated in a nursing home. She returns to the home she once shared with her late husband, and soon, someone breaks in with the intent to kill her. Now on the run once more, she is moved to a friend’s home with a giant teepee in the back yard.

As Rose and Grasshopper investigate and follow each lead, they find themselves in perilous (and hilarious) situations and hiding from the law as they attempt to gain answers as to who is behind Rose’s captivity. Rose also takes the opportunity to attempt the rescue of another elderly gentleman whom she fears has undergone the same fate, breaking several more laws in the process. She makes one last stop to revise her will before she turns herself into the police with the information she’s found – and tips off a greedy killer in the process…

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting! Ms. Barr has created a unique and quirky character in Rose, and I really hope to see her and Grasshopper again in an encore novel, and I await the return of Anna Pigeon as well!

His Secret Family – Ali Mercer

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Jenny is a single Mom, divorced from an alcoholic husband, who struggles to raise her two girls, Ava & Ellie. Living in a second floor flat in the suburbs of London, Jenny barely scrapes by working as a hairdresser. Like most alcoholics, her ex, Sean, is largely absent and very unreliable, so it seems like a dream come true when Mark, a brief romance from the past, re-enters her life, with eyes only for her.

Mark, recently divorced after a lengthy marriage to Paula, has re-connected with Jenny, whom he had had a very brief relationship with many years ago. Wealthy, and now single, Mark brings Jenny and the girls on a whirlwind courtship, taking them to places they’ve never been, and he and Jenny quickly decide to marry. But sometimes things that seem too good to be true ARE too good to be true…

Told from the perspectives of Jenny, Paula, Ava & Ellie, we learn of Mark’s first marriage, its struggles, and of his daughter Daisy – a daughter his new family knows nothing about. Ava, Jenny’s oldest, a teen studying for exams before college, learns some stunning news that she struggles to accept. Ellie, meanwhile, is learning to cope with clairsentient ability as she discovers she can sense things about people, and Jenny revels in her newfound happiness and all that comes with it.

This story has all the feels, happiness and heartbreak, growth and renewal, betrayal and forgiveness – and hope…

I loved it!!

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

Total Control – Laura Griffin

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Several months ago, Navy SEAL Jake Heath & FBI Special Agent Alexa Mays chanced to meet when their respective agencies worked together on a counterterrorism mission. Jake, entranced by Alexa, left her some messages hoping to see her again, but they were never returned. As members of his SEAL team gather to celebrate a training victory, Alexa appears – and she’s hoping for Jake’s help on a case she’s currently running. Fearful of an attraction to a soldier who will be away on missions, Alexa tried to keep it all business.

Jake, surprised by Alexa’s sudden appearance after months of no contact, initially says no, and sends Alexa on her way. But he cannot deny the attraction that still sizzles between them, so he changes his mind, arrives at her apartment, only to scare off an apparent intruder. Alexa also has noticed a possible tail in the past several days – a black truck.

As they join forces to stop a would-be terrorist who’s running free in California, they try and fail to fight the growing attraction between them…but can they find and stop the terrorist in time?? And what will happen to Alexa’s heart when the mission is over?

This was a suspenseful, action-packed read that sucked me in immediately, and I read it easily in one sitting. Filled with the fast-paced drama and colorful characters that we’ve come to expect from Laura Griffin, this book will not disappoint!! Even better, it is the 4th in a series, but silt read as a stand-alone too! Happy reading!!

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

The Cold Way Home – Julia Keller

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It’s another night in Ackers Gap, WV, and Deputy Brinksneader is ready to call his shift done, and head home to his wife’s cooking, when a call comes in to assist with an incident at the Burger Boss. Upon entering, it becomes apparent that paramedics are treating yet another drug overdose in the grimy bathroom stall. Until they find a just birthed infant in the toilet…

Meanwhile Bell, a former prosecutor, Nick, the former Sheriff & Jake, a deputy who is wheelchair bound after line of duty injury, are settling into their investigative office to review their ongoing cases. Most pressing is the disappearance of a young teenager. Following a lead, Bell walks deep in the woods to the grounds of an old psychiatric hospital in search of the missing Dixie Sue, and stumbles across a prone body that bears the evidence of a homicide.

As local police arrive and turn the victim over, Bell realizes it’s not the missing teen at all – its Darla Gilley, the sister of a local, Joe Gilley. But why in the world would she be up at the old Wellwood Hospital site? And who would want to kill her? Why?

Nick & Bell visit the family in hopes of finding some clues, and what they learn is perplexing. As they work to find the missing teen, they also work to solve Darla’s murder, As Bell digs deep, she finds and old diary, and learns some very unpleasant things about the old psychiatric hospital in the woods…and in doing so, she inadvertently crosses paths with a killer. A killer determined to keep the past where it belongs…

This is my first novel by Julia Keller and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it! The main characters are all likeable and I enjoy the insights into their pasts as well as who they are today, particularly the dilemma that Jake and girlfriend Molly have to contend with. I do not know if this is a standalone or not, but I sincerely hope that these characters appear in future works – I’d love to learn more of Nick & Bell’s past, which she alludes to a bit in this story. So, here’s hoping!! Ms. Keller gets an A+ from this reader! I look forward to reading more of her works!

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

Addendum:: I just posted reviews on some of the retail sites, and was elated to learn that this is actually BOOK 8 in a series!! That made my day!! 🙂

Desperate Creed – Alex Kava

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This is book five of the Creed series and I am enormously grateful to the author for her ‘authors note’ at the end that assures her readers that there are many more Creed stories to come! Thank goodness! Ms. Kava is definitely in my top 5 of MUST READ authors!!

In early AM Chicago, Frankie Russo wakes to her phone ringing at 5AM to find her marketing co-worker Tyler calling her via Facetime. Having worked on a large account recently, he has discovered that the company’s products, breakfast cereal and bars, contain a dangerous amount of glyphosate, an herbicide, considered a carcinogen. He also reveals that he and a friend hacked into the company CEO’s emails and learned that they know of the problem. Moments later, Tyler is accosted by two men and drops the phone. The man who picks up the phone is big, with a noticeable scar, before the call disconnects. Realizing she is in trouble, Frankie reaches out to her friend Hannah, in hopes of talking to Hannah’s friend, FBI Agent Maggie O’Dell.

Meanwhile, in Florida, Ryder Creed is working with a new dog with a prosthetic leg. Watching closely is Brodie, his sister, recently rescued after 16 years with a kidnapper. Brodi is still trying to find her place in the household after her experience. Ryder’s business partner and friend Hannah is working hard on building a home for her, and looking out for her when Ryder and his dogs are on rescue missions. Both have their eyes to the sky as an ominous line of thunderstorms start to form. As the storms spawn tornadoes in nearby southern Alabama, Ryder and Grace, his search and rescue dog, head out to assist.

Frankie arrives at the airport, only to discover she’s being followed, and that somehow the man with the scar has found her at the airport terminal. She quickly flees the terminal, rents a vehicle, and decides she’ll drive to Florida instead. When she calls Hannah, Hannah arranges for her to meet with Maggie in Alabama.

As Maggie and Frankie meet at the Southern Blessings Diner, unbeknownst to them, a large tornado is bearing down on them…and on Ryder too…

Awesome read!! I will never get enough of these characters, these dogs, or Alex Kava’s writing! Fabulous characters, scary situations, and the best search and rescue dogs ever make for a fabulous, un-put-downable read! If you do nothing else, acquaint yourself with this series! I promise, you won’t be disappointed!!

Her Silent Cry – Lisa Regan

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Detective Josie Quinn is at the park with her young charge, Harris, when a child disappears after a ride on the carousel. Lucy was there on a horse beside her mother Amy, and in the few seconds it took Amy to remove her harness, the child was gone. As the parents’ panic, Josie calls for back up and begins to seal the park. Searchers scour all areas of the park and there is no sign of 7-year-old Lucy to be found, and Josie begins to fear the worst.

As the police department builds a task force and pulls surveillance footage, along with researching Lucy’s parents for enemies that may have taken the child, Josie’s reporter twin, Trinity, helps in her own way with background research on the child’s parents, and the FBI is mobilized to assist. Then the first call comes in – from the babysitter’s phone – and she is found dead. Now the search into the parent’s past begins in earnest, as the kidnapper asks Lucy’s Mom, “how does it feel??”

Josie and her team are quick to learn that Lucy and her family had been stalked for a while before the child was grabbed. As the search for the kidnapper zeroes in on a young man masquerading as an entomologist, and Amy’s identity comes into question, Josie and her team fight to discover what Amy is trying so desperately to hide, and to rescue her daughter before it’s too late…
This book was an edge-of-your-seat nail-biter, and my most favorite Josie novel to date!! A great read!! I love Josie’s character and am enjoying watching her grow, along with her relationship with Noah. I already can’t wait for the next installment of the series!! Love, LOVE, LOVE this series!!

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

What You Did – Claire McGowan

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Ali Morris is anxiously putting the finishing touches on her home as she and her husband, Mike prepare for weekend guests – the small group of friends they had from their days at the university in Oxford. It’s been years since they’ve seen one another, and Ali wants things to be just right.

The first guest to arrive is her best friend Karen, and her son Jake. Karen is a single parent, and before Mike & Ali moved away, they had been inseparable, and Jake was like a son to her. Next to arrive is Jodi & Callum, both high powered attorneys now, with Jodi due to deliver her first child in a month, and finally Bill, who comes alone having recently split from his girlfriend after a disagreement about children.

As the group re-connects and the alcohol starts flowing, old pictures come out, and the discussion turns to a young female classmate, Martha, who died in the university garden all those years ago. While the men revel in their youthful memories and ply themselves with alcohol late into the evening, Jodi & Ali head for bed.

It’s early AM when Ali awakens to screaming – she rushes downstairs along with Jodi to see Karen stagger into the house, bruised and bloody screaming that she’d been raped…and she accuses Mike of the attack, leaving Ali torn between believing her husband or her best friend. As the police investigate, Karen tells a compelling story, and Mike is arrested, while Ali’s perfectly organized life begins to quickly unravel.

Told from the current perspectives and college memories of the six friends, the reader quickly learns of hidden secrets, longings, betrayals, cover-ups, and ‘what-might-have-been’, leaving the reader wondering just who is telling the truth – if anyone. And what really happened to Martha all those years ago??
This was a great read, and it definitely kept me guessing up until the very end, although in retrospect, I should have figured it out… This one kept me up turning pages well into the night, and had me wondering…how well do we really know our friends??

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.