Crash and Burn

Book 46 in 2017.

“Crash and Burn” by, Lisa Gardner

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This was such a page turner, I feel like I can’t write too much about what happens without it being a spoiler alert.  It was suggested to me by a good friend, who did a really good job not giving anything away.  It is the first book of Lisa Gardner’s that I read.  It is book #3 in the Tessa Leoni series, which is against all my rules not to read a series out of order!  From what I can gather, this series must be a spin off of Lisa Gardner’s, Detective D.D. Warren Series.  So it could stand alone, but you could tell there was some back story with the characters that were missing.

Kristy Frank is in a serious car accident, when discovered by the police she is frantically calling out for her missing child Vero.  Sergeant Wyatt Foster is put on the case, and pieces are not adding up.  He is thrown into a spirally world of lies and deception trying to figure out what really happen on the night of the accident.

Lots of twists and turns,  and suspense.  Set some time a side, because you will just want to know what happens next.  There is a some strong language throughout.  The story line went a lot darker than I usually read.  I was a bit disturbed by where it took you.  Overall afterthought,  very dark and mysterious.

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The Paris Spy

Book 45 in 2017.

“The Paris Spy : A Maggie Hope Mystery”, by Susan Elia MacNeal

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This is book number seven in the Maggie Hope Mysteries.  It is one of my series that I absolutely love.  She is not a lighthearted character, but she has spirit and smarts.  The books take place around Europe during World War II.  Maggie has worked her way through the channels and has become  a spy for the British SOE (Special Operations Executive).  She has volunteered to enter Nazis occupied Paris in search of a missing operative and her half sister.

These books are very clean, but some are hard to read, they deal with tough subjects from World War II.  There was a little bit more language in this book than I remember from the other ones.  Maggie is a haunted character who has struggled with the decisions she has had to make to survive.  She is tough, dedicated and is making a name for herself.   She is the character I always wanted to be when I would play spy growing up.  Overall afterthought, loved it.

 

 

The Fortune Hunter

Book 44 in 2017.

“The Fortune Hunter”, by Daisy Goodwin.

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I read this book a couple weeks ago.  I have been crazy busy with work, children, yada, yada, yada.   I was not even sure what I thought about it.  I kind of put it on the back burner, and then forgot.

It is a historical fiction with a love triangle between heiress Charlotte Baird, the Empress of Austria Sisi, and the ladies man Captain Bay Middleton.   To be honest I was rooting for Charlotte to go her own way and forget all about the repugnant Captain, who could not keep his stinking hands to himself.  See ya playa.  (If you didn’t know, I have a PhD, Player hater Degree )

When I finished the book I researched the characters and discovered they were loosely based on real people,  it all kind of made sense.  There was a ton of historical detail and references to certain things, and events.  Too much, if you ask me.  Then, I could not for the life of me figure out why this Captain Middleton was so coveted.  Overall afterthought,  run Charlotte run.

Girl Before a Mirror

Book 43 in 2017. 

“Girl Before a Mirror” by, Liza Palmer.


Anna Wyatt is a just turned 40 year old advertising agent trying to make her way in a man’s world.  In attempt to land a new account with a huge client, she ends up having to go to Arizona to the Romance Novel Convention.  Going to he conference is the beginning of an emotional journey on becoming the confident and successful woman she has always wanted to be.

When I started this book, I was super into it. It moved well, I liked Anna, she had spunk and drive. As the story went on, I felt like it started to drag. There were a lot of details that I didn’t need to know.  It lost steam for me about halfway through.   It was fairly clean, which I appreciate.  I did like the ending, just not the whole way getting there. Overall afterthought, just ok.

A Most Novel Revenge

Book 42 in 2017.

“A Most Novel Revenge”, by Ashley Weaver


Ok. This is book three of the Amory Ames Mystery Series.  I was not too sure about Milo, her husband in the first two books. I will not lie, he is growing on me.  This wife and husband duo are keeping me interested.

The year is 1933, Amory has been invited to a private house party by her dear cousin Laurel.  She suspects something is amiss surrounding the circumstances of the other guests who have been invited.  Amory is up for the challenge but nervous due to the fact that her last couple holidays have involved solving mysterious murders.  

I really did go back and forth trying to solve     the who done it. At one point everyone was a suspect so I could claim, “aha, totally called that”.  That is pretty much cheating though.  I believe there is one more book this far in this series, and I am sure I will read it soon.  Overall afterthought, good mystery. 

This Pen for Hire

Book 41 in 2017.

“This Pen for Hire” by,  Laura Levine.

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Well, I am in a little bit of a reading funk.  Eh.  This was literally the fifth book I started in the last week and a half.  I would get about 50-100 pages in, and think, “nope, don’t care”.  I will not mention the names of the other books, they are irrelevant.  There have been many slumps before, and I will persevere! I thought this might be cute.

Jaine Austen is a pen for hire, who writes up various things for her customers; programs, flyers, personal ads.  She is hired by a man who wanted a love letter written, who ends up getting accused of murder.  Jaine felt so bad, she decided to find out the truth and clear his name.

She is a witty character, who I found kind of crass.  I solved the crime fairly quick, which I am not always able to do so.  I enjoy the thrill of the chase.  I just did not find it here.  I will not be reading anymore of the Jaine Austen Mysteries. Overall afterthought, not my cup of tea.  The search for my next good book continues!

Love in a Nutshell

Book 40 in 2017.

“Love in a Nutshell”, by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly


Oh chick lit, sometimes you just make me smile.  I loved “The Husband List”, by Evanovich and Kelly, so much that I just wanted a little bit more. Apparently these two books are classified in the same series because they both deal with the Culhane Family, but they can be read completely separate. 

This is just a cute fluff read with a little love and a little mystery.  Super clean and a happy ending.  After my last book being so heavy, it was just what I was looking for. The main character Kate Appleton just oozes cuteness and you wanted to cheer her on.  Matt Culhane was the perfect love interest, such a gentleman. Overall afterthought, simple and sweet. 

Tattoos on the Heart

Book 39 in 2017.

“Tattoos on the Heart, The Power of Boundless Compassion” by Gregory Boyle.

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Holy mercy and all that is good in this world.  I have had a lump in my throat since I started this book yesterday.  I listened to a lot of it today, as I did my day to day hum drum of busyness.  There was something about hearing Gregory Boyle himself read, that opened the flood gates of tears.  Such devoted, real, awe inspiring compassion for people.  If this was not a library book, I would of highlighted something from almost every page.

Gregory Boyle is a Jesuit priest who lives and works in the heart of the largest Latino gang area in the projects of Los Angeles.  He started his ministry in the 80’s and continues his work in the community.  He is the founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries, which helps give gang members jobs and a way out.  Check him out, it’s amazing, http://www.homeboyindustries.org.

I really enjoyed this book.  It was hard to hear some of the stories, they were just so tragic and sad.  There was a lot of language scattered throughout, but it kept it raw.   In the preface of the book, Gregory says, “If there is a fundamental challenge within these stories, it is simply to change our lurking suspicion that some lives matter less than other lives.  William Blake wrote, We are put on earth for a little space that we might learn to bear the beams of love.  Turns out this is what we all have in common, gang member and nongang member alike: we’re just trying to learn how to bear the beams of love.”  Overall afterthought, loved it.

 

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On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service

Book 38 in 2017.

“On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Sevice”, by Rhys Bowen

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I am just a huge fan of Rhys Bowen.  She is super clean, no language, no gore, no unnecessary drawn out sex scenes. She has great characters, a little humor, some wit, and a little mystery.   The Royal Spyness Series is just cute and fun.  This is the 11th book. If you wanted to read any of the series, I would highly recommend starting at the first book, “Her Royal Spyness”.  The stories make more sense when you go in order.

Lady Georgiana is 35th in line for the throne in the royal family.  It is the 1930’s, and Georgie is trying to make her way on very limited funds. She is asked by her second cousin Queen Mary to travel various places and check up on things for her.  Pretty much everywhere she goes there is a great mystery or murder to be solved.   She finds friends and love along the way!

“On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service”, takes Georgie to Italy.   She is spying on her cousin the Queen’s son, The Prince of Wales and his mistress Wallis Simpson, to see if they are trying to have a secret wedding against the family’s wishes.  While keeping an eye on her cousin at a house party she stumbles across Nazi and Mussolini supporters trying to convince him to join Hitler’s cause.  What will Lady Georgie do next? Overall afterthought, can’t wait for the next book!

The Husband List

Book 37 in 2017.

“The Husband List” by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly


This had a little bit of everything in it. A little mystery. A little history. A little drama. A little love.  Super cute story.   Same ole turn of the century story of the rich family, with an overbearing mother, trying to push a British title on her America heiress daughter, who would much rather marry for love.

There was some twists and turns to make this story unique.  It was relatively clean, I would describe some scenes as “steamy”, but nothing to make me skip over it. I loved the main character, Caroline Maxwell and her spunky attitude.  If you are looking for an easy, fluffy beach read, here it is.  Overall afterthought, adorbs.