Saturday, December 10, 2016

ARC Review: Time of Death by Lucy Kerr

Time of Death
Author: Lucy Kerr
Series: A Stillwater General Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (December 13, 2016)

Description: It’s been twelve years since ER nurse Frankie Stapleton fled the quiet banks of Stillwater, but with her sister’s pregnancy taking a dangerous turn and a string of failed relationships in Chicago hanging over her, Frankie is back–and hoping to put the past behind her. Within minutes of arriving at Stillwater General Hospital however, she ends up saving a man’s life, only to have him turn up dead hours later – and the hospital blames Frankie.

Her instincts say Clem Jensen didn’t die of natural causes, but the more she digs, the more she discovers too many suspects, a few surprising allies, and some hard truths about the first man she ever loved–and left. Now the boy she once knew is a skeptical sheriff’s deputy, her family's hardware store is in jeopardy, and the rift between Frankie and her loved ones is deeper than ever.

With her career–and future–on life support, Frankie must catch a killer, clear her name, and heal the wounds of the past in Lucy Kerr’s enthralling mystery debut, Time of Death.

My Thoughts: Frankie Stapleton has come back to her hometown after twelve years as an ER nurse in Chicago. She wouldn't be back at all except that her sister Charlie needs her because of her high risk pregnancy. When Frankie first arrives at the hospital to see her sister, she spots a man sitting on a bench outside the ER in some distress. The ER is already preoccupied with a school bus crash which leaves Frankie to treat the man until she can attract someone's attention in the ER.

Once she gets help for Clem Jensen, she goes on to see her sister but is surprised to learn that Clem died during the night. Frankie is sure that it wasn't natural causes despite what the hospital wants her to believe. In fact, the hospital is facing a lawsuit from Clem's estranged son-in-law and is determined to pass the blame onto Frankie. She's in danger of losing her nursing license.

Frankie begins to investigate, first to save her license, but also because Clem shouldn't have died. Her investigation leads her to all sorts of things the hospital would rather have covered up. The administrator doesn't want any sort of scandal to interfere with his attempt to sell the hospital. They are running a clinical trial of a new drug and neither the doctor spearheading the trial nor the drug companies rep want Frankie looking too closely at what they are doing.

Then there is the estranged son-in-law who hated Clem because he saw him as the person who destroyed his marriage. Frankie gets to know Clem's daughter Laura and his grandson CJ who is on an expensive medicine to deal with his epilepsy.

Also investigating is Sheriff's Deputy Noah MacLean who was the boy she left behind when she fled to the bright lights of Chicago. She has never dealt with that relationship breakup and neither has Noah. They have a lot to do to rebuild the trust that was shattered.

This was a fast-paced, engaging mystery with a sympathetic main character who has to decide what she wants out of life and who has to confront some of the choices she made.

Favorite Quote:
"Maybe we could start fresh? For as long as you're here, anyway."

"I'd like that." I wondered if it was really possible to start over after so much time. I wondered if I wanted to turn my back on all that history, if it meant erasing all the good memories along with the bad. I wondered if there was a difference between a fresh start and a second chance and if I'd be around long enough to discover the difference.
I got this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Friday Memes: Time of Death by Lucy Kerr

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:
Clem Jensen never considered himself a betting man.
Friday 56:
"Are we friends now, Frankie?"

I ran my thumb along the veins of the leaf. "I guess so? If you want to be."
This week I'm reading Time of Death by Lucy Kerr. I get this eARC from NetGalley. Here is the description from Amazon:
It’s been twelve years since ER nurse Frankie Stapleton fled the quiet banks of Stillwater, but with her sister’s pregnancy taking a dangerous turn and a string of failed relationships in Chicago hanging over her, Frankie is back–and hoping to put the past behind her. Within minutes of arriving at Stillwater General Hospital however, she ends up saving a man’s life, only to have him turn up dead hours later – and the hospital blames Frankie.

Her instincts say Clem Jensen didn’t die of natural causes, but the more she digs, the more she discovers too many suspects, a few surprising allies, and some hard truths about the first man she ever loved–and left. Now the boy she once knew is a skeptical sheriff’s deputy, her family's hardware store is in jeopardy, and the rift between Frankie and her loved ones is deeper than ever.

With her career–and future–on life support, Frankie must catch a killer, clear her name, and heal the wounds of the past in Lucy Kerr’s enthralling mystery debut, Time of Death.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

ARC Review: At What Cost by James L'Etoile

At What Cost
Author: James L'Etoile
Series: A Detective Penley Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: A Detective Penley Mystery (Book 1)

Description: What would you do to save your child?

Detective John Penley and his new partner, Detective Paula Newberry, of the Sacramento Police Department are tasked with leading the investigation into a local serial killer who has dumped three bodies in the past six weeks--and all of them are missing their internal organs. But while pursuing a lead, the detectives stumble upon a personal message the killer left behind for Penley. And it's attached to a human kidney.

How could the killer know Penley's son is on the kidney transplant waiting list? Now Penley's baited into an impossible trap that could jeopardize his entire career. Will the detective take down the killer and place his faith in the medical establishment to heal his son? Or, will he make a deal with the devil for the transplant organ his son needs to live?

At What Cost, James L'Etoile's engrossing new mystery, is a heart-stopping thrill ride that will keep readers guessing at every turn. Fans of Michael Connelly and Thomas Perry won't be able to put this down.

My Thoughts: The story begins when Detective John Penley is called to the riverside when a torso of a man is found. This is the third such discovery. But this time Penley recognizes a tattoo on the man's chest. Turns out he was a local gang member who has distanced himself from the gang and found a new way to make money since his daughter was diagnosed with cancer.

Penly and his partner Detective Paula Newberry, formerly from Internal Affairs, are soon following a trail the leads to black market organ sales. Not so coincidentally, Penley's nine-year-old son Tommy is on the waiting list for a kidney transplant which makes this case even more important for him to solve.

The action was fast-paced and furious in this story as Penley and Newberry follow the clues left by a criminal who seems to always be at least two steps ahead of them. Things get even more tense when the criminal kidnaps Penley's son.

This was a real page turner. I read it in one day because I just couldn't put it down until I knew how everything worked out. Block out some time for this one, you won't be able to put it down either.

Favorite Quote:
"How can you work like that?" John said, indicating her desk.

"What are you, my mother? I have a system that works for me -- that's what matters."

"Your desk looks like an episode of Hoarders. It --"

"Rubs your OCD the wrong way? Get over it." She flicked her had dismissively.
I got this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Book Review: Stealing Jason Wilde by Dee Ernst

Stealing Jason Wilde
Author: Dee Ernst
Publication: Lake Union Publishing (May 17, 2016)

Description: After her divorce, librarian Annie Reynolds thought she’d closed the book on love for good—it just wasn’t part of her safe, comfortable routine. But if there’s anyplace she can relax and have a little fun, it’s Dune Road, where she and her closest girlfriends return for their annual getaway in the Hamptons. She knows it’s just what she needs to escape her empty nest (and empty bed).

A chance encounter with a ruggedly handsome local promises Annie just that. But when one of her friends turns a simple flirtation with B-list movie star Jason Wilde into seduction—and Jason accidentally mixes a few drinks and his back-pain medicine—the ladies end up with a very high-profile houseguest. The media calls it a kidnapping, and before long, the FBI is on the hunt.

Soon the ladies’ tame little trip has turned into the adventure of a lifetime. But will this case of mistaken misdoing sabotage Annie’s second chance at love, or will she have the confidence to take matters into her own hands to find her happily ever after?

My Thoughts: This was a really cute romance about a group of 50-somethings who get together each year for a weekend in the Hamptons. This tradition began when the women were all stay-at-home mothers with young children. It has continued through divorces and other drama. This year four women make the trip. Annie is a divorced children's librarian who is set in her routine and likes it. She's the narrator. Deb is an African American Emergency Room nurse who tends to be the voice of reason. Kelly is an attractive, newly-divorced realtor. Tina is the odd one out. She is neurotic, medicated, and has a major crush on actor Jason Wilde that has led to a restraining order on her.

Tina is determined to see Jason Wilde while they women are in the Hamptons. They do meet him when he overindulges in alcohol. Since his rental is near theirs on Dune road, they offer to drive him home. He passes out before he can give his address. So they bring him to their place to wait until he wakes up. Since he combined alcohol with a medication, he doesn't wake up for more than 24 hours.

Since Jason is supposed to be shooting a television show, he is missed. In fact, his agent schemes to get Jason some job-saving publicity out of his disappearance and spreads the word that he has been kidnapped. Jason always does what his agent says. So he won't leave the women's house.

Getting Jason back where he belongs without being arrested by the FBI who are looking for him leads to all sorts of zany adventures. It really doesn't help that Annie has met and fallen in love with the head FBI agent on the case.

This book was fast-paced and funny.

Favorite Quote:
I had a sudden urge to spray perfume between my breasts and slip into a filmy black negligee. Sadly, I didn't own a black negligee, and if I had, I wouldn't have packed it for the Hamptons. So I settle for my nightshirt with the little owls, because nothing says blooming romance like tiny red birds. 
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: At What Cost by James L'Etoile

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • 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 and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser:
"What are your doing? It's against policy to transport medical cases," Paula said.

"It shouldn't be. You know that whole 'protect and serve' thing. You've seen what she's up against -- no money, no husband, and a sick kid. She needs our help."
This week I am reading At What Cost by James L'Etoile. This is an eARC from NetGalley. Here is the description from Amazon:
What would you do to save your child?

Detective John Penley and his new partner, Detective Paula Newberry, of the Sacramento Police Department are tasked with leading the investigation into a local serial killer who has dumped three bodies in the past six weeks--and all of them are missing their internal organs. But while pursuing a lead, the detectives stumble upon a personal message the killer left behind for Penley. And it's attached to a human kidney.

How could the killer know Penley's son is on the kidney transplant waiting list? Now Penley's baited into an impossible trap that could jeopardize his entire career. Will the detective take down the killer and place his faith in the medical establishment to heal his son? Or, will he make a deal with the devil for the transplant organ his son needs to live?

At What Cost, James L'Etoile's engrossing new mystery, is a heart-stopping thrill ride that will keep readers guessing at every turn. Fans of Michael Connelly and Thomas Perry won't be able to put this down.

Monday, December 5, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Dec. 5, 2016)

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.

Other Than Reading...

After last week's excitement, this was a quiet week. Nothing to report. The weather is still warmer than normal and we are still snow-free. I had lots of reading time.

Read Last Week
Coffin Road by Peter May was a mystery set in Scotland. I thought the pace was a little slow but the descriptions were excellent. My review will be posted on Dec. 22.

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen is the first in a historical mystery series. I enjoyed it and liked the time period and setting. My review will be posted on Dec. 28.
Midnight Obsession by Melinda Leigh is the latest in the Midnight series of romantic suspense titles by this author. I thought the emphasis in this one was on the suspense since the main characters met and fell in love in the previous book. My review will be posted on Dec. 29.

The Golden Gate by Robert Buettner is a near future science fiction thriller. I liked the characters and thought the plot was mostly plausible. My review will be posted on Dec. 31.

Currently
The Ripper's Shadow by Laura Joh Rowland is a historical history from my review stack.

Next Week
Two more mysteries from my review stack are on the calendar to be read next week.
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
I added A Merciful Death by Kendra Elliot to my review stack. It's Jan. 17 release date means it's on the reading list for next week.

To see what Young Adult books I have been reading and plan to read, check out Ms. Martin Teaches Media - my other blog.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Book Review: Enemy Games by Marcella Burnard

Enemy Games
Author: Marcella Burnard
Series: Enemy Series (Book 2)
Publication: Berkley; 1 edition (May 3, 2011)

Description: Kidnapped while combating a plague, Jayleia Durante fights to resist the attractive Major Damen Sindrivik, an officer from a rival government's spy corps. But with her father missing, and mercenaries on her trail, Jayleia must join forces with the magnetic major-for the good of the empire.

My Thoughts: This science fiction romance has a hearty dose in intrigue and interstellar war. Jayleia Durante is an scientist working to find the cause and cure for a disease that is devastating a planet when she is kidnapped. Her father who is a spymaster has gone missing and her kidnapper, Damen Sindrivik, is sure that she knows where he is.

Jayleia's people and Damen's are very reluctant allies in a war with the insectoid Chekydran. They are currently losing the war because some of their people have allied with the Chekydran, Jayleia's father may have the clue to who the traitors are.

Jayleia and Damen are busy fighting traitors and their own attraction to each other. Both are keeping major secrets and finding trusting to be almost impossible. I liked the way their attraction grew as they battled so many who wanted to either kill them or capture them.

I liked the portrayal of the characters. The aliens were really alien in thought and behavior. I liked Jayleia who had a difficult childhood torn between her warring parents and used as a pawn by both of them. She developed into a strong person who took the best from both her parents to forge her own character.

This was an entertaining science fiction romance.

Favorite Quote:
"I love you," he said. "I prefer you not die for me. Live, instead."

"That complicates things."

"It usually does."
I bought this one in 2013. You can buy your copy here.