Thursday, January 30, 2020

21. Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron

listened to Audio/borrowed from Bosler Library
narrated by Joshua Manning in a thick Scottish brogue
Unabridged audio (8:19)
2019 Macmillan Children's Books
288 pgs.
YA Fantasy
Finished 1/30/2020
Goodreads rating: 3.93 - 437 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Setting: Contemporary Scotland

First line/s:  "This never would have happened if I hadn't named the bloody cat Tinker Bell."

My comments:  This was a quiet, lovely story:  loads of reality gently sprinkled with some wonderful fantasy.  The protagonist, Brody, is a quiet, gay 16-year old with a genius brother, an overworked mother, and a dad who has agoraphobia and hasn't left the house in years.  Brody is constantly teased and ridiculed by a pair of girls in his apartment complex and at school, he's afraid he's going to fail all his exams, and he never gets a chance to play the beloved drums that he only get to access at school.  Then he meets Nico and is introduced to Everland, a land of fantasy and happiness.....Narrated in a thick Scottish brogue, I found the story absolutely delightful.

Goodreads synopsis:  Brody Fair feels like nobody gets him: not his overworked parents, not his genius older brother, and definitely not the girls in the projects set on making his life miserable. Then he meets Nico, an art student who takes Brody to Everland, a “knock-off Narnia" that opens its door at 11:21pm each Thursday for Nico and his band of present-day misfits and miscreants.

          Here Brody finds his tribe and a weekly respite from a world where he feels out of place. But when the doors to Everland begin to disappear, Brody is forced to make a decision: He can say goodbye to Everland and to Nico, or stay there and risk never seeing his family again.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

20. Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza

#1 Kate Marshall
read on my iPhone (Kindle)
2019 Thomas & Mercer
392 pgs.
Adult murder mystery series
Finished 1/28/2020
Goodreads rating: 4.15 - 5701 ratings
My rating:  3.5
Setting: Contemporary England

First line/s:  "Detective Constable Kate Marshall was on the train home when her phone rang."

My comments:  This was an intricately told from two points of view - that of the good guy and that of the bad guy.  And this was a VERY bad guy, with clever accomplices and a particularly weird relationship with his mother.  Kate had been a cop when she first met Peter, another copy, and had even had a one-night stand with him before she disovered he was a notorious serial killer.  Now incarcerated in a hospital for the mentally and possibly insane, he, his mother, and a new wannabe create a plot to not only spring him from this high-security prison, but get revenge upon Kate.  The back-and-forth is interesting, but because I was reading it in spits and spurts, it did seem to drag a little.  If I'd read it in one long swoop or listened to it, it would've probably not seemed so draggy.  It was a really good story, twisted, dark, and particularly grizzly.  It was also the first in the series.  I do think that I will read the second.

Goodreads synopsis:  From the breakthrough international bestselling author of The Girl in the Ice, a breathtaking, page-turning novel about a disgraced female detective’s fight for redemption. And survival…
          Kate Marshall was a promising young police detective when she caught the notorious Nine Elms serial killer. But her greatest victory suddenly turned into a nightmare. Traumatized, betrayed, and publicly vilified for the shocking circumstances surrounding the cannibal murder case, Kate could only watch as her career ended in scandal.
          Fifteen years after those catastrophic events, Kate is still haunted by the unquiet ghosts of her troubled past. Now a lecturer at a small coastal English university, she finally has a chance to face them. A copycat killer has taken up the Nine Elms mantle, continuing the ghastly work of his idol.
          Enlisting her brilliant research assistant, Tristan Harper, Kate draws on her prodigious and long-neglected skills as an investigator to catch a new monster. Success promises redemption, but there’s much more on the line: Kate was the original killer’s intended fifth victim…and his successor means to finish the job.

Monday, January 27, 2020

19. Dark Pattern by Andrew Mayne

#4 Dr. Theo Cray/The Naturalist
listened to Audible
narrated by Will Damron
2019 Thomas & Mercer
316 pgs.
Adult Mystery/Serial Killer
Finished 1/27/2020
Goodreads rating: 4.21 - 2317 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Setting: Contemporay Texas, St. Lucia, and other points on the map....

First line/s: "Nora watched the doorway.  This was when the Night Lady usually stopped at her room and stared inside."

My comments:  Serial killer hunter extraordinaire!  Whenever I go into one of the Theo Cray books now, I know I have to suspend reality checks.  I'm sure most of - or at least many -  of Cray's technological "inventions" are still science-fiction, but they are what makes these mysteries so different.  You know that he's going to get himself into some stupid cray situations and you roll your eyes at most of his antics, but that's also what makes these books so much fun, as well as his definite Asperger's/Autistic tendencies and his cognition of them.  It also cracks me up how much he irritates people.  A huge part of the plot comes off as comic relief for me, I wonder if it affects others in the same way?  To write this combination of grizzly deaths and this extraordinary character is quite genius.  A real breakdown should be coming for this man!  Or has he had it?  ti's hard to tell from the ending of this book, which did seem a little rushed compared to the rest of it.

Goodreads synopsis:  Dr. Theo Cray is on the hunt for a killer nurse, and redemption, in a mind-bending psychological thriller by the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Naturalist.
          Dr. Theo Cray has a legendary mathematical knack for catching serial killers. Until his exposure to a mind-altering pathogen knocks him off his game. It has upended an investigation, destroyed his reputation, and left him to question his own sanity. One person still trusts him to finish the job. His former professor Amanda Paulson is helping point Cray down a logical path to his prey: a nomadic health-care worker whose murder spree stretches back decades and whose victims number in the hundreds.
          Never more desperate to save innocent lives, and to save himself, Cray follows each new lead around the world. But with his own grip on reality slipping away, Cray knows that to follow the pattern of an elusive killer, he must also confront his own dark side. In those dangerous shadows, he can find what he’s hunting. For Cray, venturing into a world without reason is going to be the most frightening journey of his life.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

18. The Night Fire by Michael Connelly

#3 Renee Ballard & Harry Bosch
Listened to Audible
narrated by Titus Welliver and Christine Lakin
Unabridged audio (10:04)
2019 Little Brown & Co.
405 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery/Police Procedural
Finished 1/26/2020
Goodreads rating: 4.35 - 18,962 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting: Contemporary LA

First line/s:  "Bosch arrived late and had to park on a cemetery lane far from the grave site."

My comments:  This was an intricately woven series of mysteries stemming from a cold case that Harry Bosch had received from his deceased mentor, and an arson case that Renee Ballard covered on her night shift, as well as some investigative work that Harry completed for his half-brother, Mickey Haller.  Complex but easy to follow, the working relationship and almost affection they have for each other is palpable.  I hate that Harry is pushing 70, but I adore him just as much as I always have.  I love the back-and-forth chapters hearing the voices of both of them.

Goodreads synopsis:  Harry Bosch and LAPD Detective Renee Ballard come together again on the murder case that obsessed Bosch's mentor, the man who trained him -- new from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly
          Back when Harry Bosch was just a rookie homicide detective, he had an inspiring mentor who taught him to take the work personally and light the fire of relentlessness for every case. Now that mentor, John Jack Thompson, is dead, but after his funeral his widow hands Bosch a murder book that Thompson took with him when he left the LAPD 20 years before -- the unsolved killing of a troubled young man in an alley used for drug deals.
          Bosch brings the murder book to Renée Ballard and asks her to help him find what about the case lit Thompson's fire all those years ago. That will be their starting point.
          The bond between Bosch and Ballard tightens as they become a formidable investigation team. And they soon arrive at a worrying question: Did Thompson steal the murder book to work the case in retirement, or to make sure it never got solved?

Saturday, January 25, 2020

17. Freefall by Jessica Barry

listened to on Audible
narrated by Hilary Huber, Karissa Vacker, and MacLeod Andrews
Unabridged audio (12:03)
2019, Harper
368 pgs.
Adult CRF/Survival/Mystery
Finished 1/25/2020
Goodreads rating: 3.77 - 6212 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting: Contemporary Colorado rockies and midcoast Maine

First line/s: "Breathe.  Breathe.  My eyes open.  A flock of birds stare down before taking flight.  I survived."

My comments:  I love the way this story went back and forth between mother and daughter dealing with the same horrendous situation.  Even though I guessed from early on most of the mysteries of the story - once you've read a few of these kind of thrillers you can guess that sort of thing - it was put together really well and was exciting.  I could easily put myself in the place of the two major characters, mother and daughter, and all the things that brought them to this point in their lives.  I particularly related to the mother, who lost her husband to cancer two years previously and misses him horribly.

Goodreads synopsis:  A propulsive debut novel with the intensity of Luckiest Girl Alive and Before the Fall, about a young woman determined to survive and a mother determined to find her.
          When your life is a lie, the truth can kill you   
          When her fiancé’s private plane crashes in the Colorado Rockies, Allison Carpenter miraculously survives. But the fight for her life is just beginning. For years, Allison has been living with a terrible secret, a shocking truth that powerful men will kill to keep buried. If they know she’s alive, they will come for her. She must make it home.
          In the small community of Owl Creek, Maine, Maggie Carpenter learns that her only child is presumed dead. But authorities have not recovered her body—giving Maggie a shred of hope. She, too, harbors a shameful secret: she hasn’t communicated with her daughter in two years, since a family tragedy drove Allison away. Maggie doesn’t know anything about her daughter’s life now—not even that she was engaged to wealthy pharmaceutical CEO Ben Gardner, or why she was on a private plane.
          As Allison struggles across the treacherous mountain wilderness, Maggie embarks on a desperate search for answers. Immersing herself in Allison’s life, she discovers a sleek socialite hiding dark secrets. What was Allison running from—and can Maggie uncover the truth in time to save her?
          Told from the perspectives of a mother and daughter separated by distance but united by an unbreakable bond, Freefall is a riveting debut novel about two tenacious women overcoming unimaginable obstacles to protect themselves and those they love.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

16. Murder Board by Brian Christopher Shea

#1 Michael Kelly, Boston/Dorchester detective
read on my iPhone - Kindle
2019 Severn River Publishing
321 pgs.
Adult Mystery/Police Procedural
Finished 1/23/2020
Goodreads rating: 4.22 - 292 ratings
My rating: 3
Setting: Contemporary Boston/Dorchester, MA

First line/s: "Twelve minutes didn't seem like a long time.  It's the time a morning commuter waits for the next T to arrive.  Or somebody idles in line at their local Dunkin' Donuts in anticipation of their morning jolt.  To those people twelve minutes is an inconvenience, but to Michael Kelly it was an eternity."

My comments:  This is about a Boston homicide cop written by a former Boston cop.  This one was about a Polish family that abducted very young girls - 13/14 - and forced them into the sex trade underground of Dorchester.  The protagonist cop is divorced with an eight year old daughter, born and bred in Dorchester in a family of Irish Americans.  He teams up with an old female friend in the sex crimes unit to solve the murder of a 13 year-old girls and dig into the business surrounding her demise.  For some reason the book seemed to drag, but that may be my fault because I've spent so much time listening to books lately instead of reading the, and read this one in bits and pieces over a two-week period.

Goodreads synopsis:  A Boston homicide detective sets out to find a young girl’s killer—and confronts the dark world of city politics and organized crime. THE FIRST NOVEL OF THE NEW BOSTON CRIME THRILLER SERIES BY FORMER DETECTIVE BRIAN SHEA.
          The young girl was from a good family in an affluent suburb. Her body was found in a shallow grave in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, not far from where Detective Michael Kelly grew up.
          Solving a murder is never a simple undertaking, but Kelly is driven. Obsessed with finding justice for the victim. Willing to do whatever it takes. Destroy politicians. Stand up to the mob.
          Kelly is a fighter, and he needs to be. Because his investigation uncovers a wide conspiracy—and many more innocent lives are at stake.   
          As the lines between right and wrong begin to blur, Kelly turns to his old connections on the streets of Boston. The search for answers becomes a clash of policing and politics. Of redemption and betrayal. Of greed and violence. To find true justice, Kelly will do whatever it takes...or die trying.                    BRIAN SHEA has served as both a military officer and law enforcement Detective, and his authentic crime fiction novels have been enjoyed by thousands. His books are recommended for readers who enjoy Michael Connolly’s Harry Bosch, David Baldacci’s John Puller, or James Patterson’s Alex Cross.

15. The Wish by Patricia Davids

#1 Amish of Cedar Grove
Listened to the Audio/Chirp
narrated  by Christina Traister
Unabridged audio (8:57)
2019 HQN Books
384 pgs.
Adult Christian CRF
Finished 1/23/2020
Goodreads rating: 4.49 - 122 ratings
My rating:  4
Setting: Contemporary small Amish community in - I think - Kansas

First line/s:  "This was so much harder than she expected it to be."

My comments:  I enjoyed this clean Amish romance.  The bishop was a kind, good man, unlike many of the bishops that I've read about in previous Amish literature.  The narrator read the voice of Joshua in a very flat, unemotional way, which was disconcerting.  I'm sure she was trying to keep her voice as "male" as possible, but there were some places that the lack of emotion was not what would have been actually happening.  Just made it so that I had to keep reminding myself that what I heard and what was actually meant to be heard were two different things.  So much forgiveness and looking past wrongs in this Amish community!  Some of the values in this book were quite different from those I've read about in others.  There seems to be a vast difference between different communities.  This one was in Kansas.  I enjoyed it.

Goodreads synopsis:  Widow Laura Beth Yoder longs for a family of her own. So much so that she’s preparing to leave the sleepy Amish town she calls home to find love. But a terrible storm washes out the creek, forcing her to wade in and save the life of an Englisch man and his adorable infant son. As they recover at the farm, the baby brings sunshine and joy, while the handsome outsider is filled with shadows…and secrets.
          Joshua King owes his life and his son’s to Laura Beth. Still, lingering at her farm is out of the question. He must fulfill a promise he made to his estranged wife on her deathbed: to deliver their son to his Amish in-laws. With his dark past, Joshua has no other choice. But his plans never took this sweet and surprising Amish widow into account. She just might be his second chance at happiness…and love.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Picture Books Themed: Friendship


Cyril and Pat by Emily Gravett
Boom Snot Twitty by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Renata Liwska
One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, ullustrated by David Small
Virgil & Owen by Paulette Bogan
Friends by Eric Carle

Two activities:
        Make a "Friendship Wreath" using tempera-coated palm prints
        String pony beads onto stretchy cord to make a bracelet for a friend and a matching one for yourself.

     Make New Friends
          Make new friends, but keep the old
          One is silver and the other's gold.
     Will You Be a Friend of Mine (to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb)
          Will you be a friend of mine,
          Friend of mine,
          Friend of mine,
          Will you be a friend of mine
          Please meet my friend, _______________________

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

14. Throttle Me by Chelle Bliss

#1 Men of Inked
Listened to audio / Chirp
narrated by Lance Greenfield and Kirsten Leigh
Unabridged audio (8:19)
2014 Bliss Ink
278 pgs.
Adult Romance/Steamy
Finished 1/21/20
Goodreads rating:  4.03 - 15,408 ratings
My rating:  2.5
Setting: Contemporary Florida

First line/s: "The moonlight filtered through the pine trees lining the fields, leaving shadows on the pavement."

My comments:  The first in a series of books called "Men of Inked", which I'm guessing is about a family of siblings since this first one is about a tattooer and his siblings.  Not great writing, and I hate how City (what a stupid name)/Joey calls Suzy "Sugar" all the time.  It's cheezy.  And the required best friend and her boyfriend make me roll my eyes, they're just thrown in to add pages, unneeded pages.  Yeah, I still read this, right? Yuck.

Goodreads synopsis:  Suzy’s a control freak with her life mapped out—work hard, find the right man, and live happily ever after. Her plan comes to a screeching halt when her car breaks down and a tattooed bad boy rescues her from the side of the road.
          The chance encounter leads to a night of passion and turns her world upside down. Can their one-night stand ever turn into the real thing?

Picture Book - Around the Passover Table by Tracy Newman

Illustrated by Adriana Santos
2019 Albert Whitman & Co.
HC $16.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.67 - 21 ratings
My rating:  4
Endpapers:  Dark baby blue

1st line/s:  "Here is our table for this seder night."

My comments: Modern-day illustrations, multi-ethnic representations, simplicity and not too much text highlight this book as a great read aloud for preschoolers, just what I was looking for!  I love that the family's cat and dog are in every illustrations, no matter what's going on, just part of the family!

Goodreads:  The candles are lit, the seder plate filled, and the matzo stacked high. Join in to read, sing, eat, and observe the holiday. The many steps of a Passover seder are portrayed in this rhyming story.

Monday, January 20, 2020

13. To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

read the BOOK!!! (first one this year)
2019 Dial Books
295 pgs.
YA Contemporary Epistolary
Finished 1/20/2019
Goodreads rating:  4.09 - 4115 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting: Contemporary NYC, California coast, Minnesota woods....

First line/s: "From:  Brett Devlin
To:  Avery Bloom
Subject:  you don't know me"

My comments:  Note, the above cover is the only one I've seen on a book, but I found this illustrated cover that may be the Kindle edition cover?
     I read a book, an actual book, not on my phone/Kindle or audio!295 pages, all delightful.  I giggled and laughed out loud all the way throught.  Written entirely in correspondence between two 12-year old  protagonists, they begin as adversaries committed to breaking up their dating fathers, and of course their relationship grows into so much ore.  Clever and completely delicious with a wonderful cast of really well-fleshed-out characters and many wonderful settings.  An almost perfect book for every 12-year-old girl on the planet!

Goodreads synopsis:  From two extraordinary authors comes a moving, exuberant, laugh-out-loud novel about friendship and family, told entirely in emails and letters.
          Avery Bloom, who's bookish, intense, and afraid of many things, particularly deep water, lives in New York City. Bett Devlin, who's fearless, outgoing, and loves all animals as well as the ocean, lives in California. What they have in common is that they are both twelve years old, and are both being raised by single, gay dads.
          When their dads fall in love, Bett and Avery are sent, against their will, to the same sleepaway camp. Their dads hope that they will find common ground and become friends--and possibly, one day, even sisters.
          But things soon go off the rails for the girls (and for their dads too), and they find themselves on a summer adventure that neither of them could have predicted. Now that they can't imagine life without each other, will the two girls (who sometimes call themselves Night Owl and Dogfish) figure out a way to be a family?

Picture Book - If I Built a School by Chris VanDusen

Illustrated by the author
2019 Dial Book for Young Readers
HC $17.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating: 4.24 - 413 ratings 
My rating:  5
Endpapers:grenn with white outline drawing of OTHER crazy school ideas - lots of fun to look at!

1st line/s:  "Jack, on the playground, said to Miss Jane,
This school is OK, but it's pitifully plain.
The builders who built this I think should be banned.
It's nothing at all like the school I have planned."

My comments: I love Chris VanDusen!  I love his illustrations, his ideas, and his very clever rhyming.

GoodreadsIn this exuberant companion to If I Built a Car, a boy fantasizes about his dream school--from classroom to cafeteria to library to playground.
     My school will amaze you. My school will astound.
     By far the most fabulous school to be found!
     Perfectly planned and impeccably clean.
     On a scale, 1 to 10, it's more like 15!
     And learning is fun in a place that's fun, too.
                 If Jack built a school, there would be hover desks and pop-up textbooks, skydiving wind tunnels and a trampoline basketball court in the gym, a robo-chef to serve lunch in the cafeteria, field trips to Mars, and a whole lot more. The inventive boy who described his ideal car and house in previous books is dreaming even bigger this time.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

12. There's Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

Listened on Audible/Chirp
narrated  by Vikas Adam & Soneela Nankani
Unabridged audio (11:36)
2019 Simon Pulse
378 pgs.
Contemporary YA Romance
Finished 1/19/2020
Goodreads rating:
My rating: 2.5
Setting: Contemporary California, near SF/San Jose?

First line/s:   "Ashish Patel wasn't sure why people ever fell in love."

My comments:  This was just too sweet and sappy, repetitive and cute.  Yes, I can definitely say it was cute.  I suppose there are YAs that would enjoy this, but as someone who totally enjoys YA books, that person wasn't me.

Goodreads synopsis:  Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After he’s dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.
          The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?
          Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.
          Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.
          Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

Friday, January 17, 2020

11. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

listened to Audio - borrowed from Bosler Library
narrated  by Katie Schorr
Unabridged audio (9:26)
2019 Sourcebooks Landmark
308 pgs.
Adult Historical Fiction
Finished 1/17/2020
Goodreads rating:  4.25 - 18,615 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting: 1936 Kentucky

First line/s:  "The librarian and her mule spotted it at the same time."

My comments:  Based on numerous historical facts and beautifully written.  Cussy - nicknamed Bluett because of her blue skin - riders her ornery mule, Junia, through treacherous eastern Kentucky mountains to deliver precious books and magazines to her poor, starving "patrons."  Ostracized with other people of color, she and her father - a coal miner dying of lung sickness - struggle to make a living and survive in the harshest of bad times.  There are lots of characters, all so well written that they quickly become unforgettable.  But no matter how difficult circumstances or situations become, Cussy's strong will and compassion carry her through.  I'm so glad I read this book, I almost didn't.  Will I remember it, will the story and its circumstances resonate?  Absolutely.

Goodreads synopsis:  In 1936, tucked deep into the woods of Troublesome Creek, KY, lives blue-skinned 19-year-old Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. The lonely young Appalachian woman joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian, riding across slippery creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her faithful mule to deliver books and other reading material to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky.
          Along her dangerous route, Cussy, known to the mountain folk as Bluet, confronts those suspicious of her damselfly-blue skin and the government's new book program. She befriends hardscrabble and complex fellow Kentuckians, and is fiercely determined to bring comfort and joy, instill literacy, and give to those who have nothing, a bookly respite, a fleeting retreat to faraway lands.
          The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a powerful message about how the written word affects people--a story of hope and heartbreak, raw courage and strength splintered with poverty and oppression, and one woman's chances beyond the darkly hollows. Inspired by the true and historical blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek showcases a bold and unique tale of the Packhorse Librarians in literary novels — a story of fierce strength and one woman's belief that books can carry us anywhere — even back home.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

10. Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Listened to audio, borrowed from library
Narrated  by January LaVoy (super easy to listen to, good with voices)
Unabridged audio (10:23)
2018 Minotaur Books
311 pgs.
Adult Mystery Thriller
Finished 1/16/2020
Goodreads rating: 4.06 - 11,241 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Setting: Contemporary Seattle, Washington, with flashbacks 15 and 20 years.

First line/s:  "The trial has barely made a dent in the national news."

My comments:  A hugely mesmerizing story, told in snippets back-and-forth fifteen years apart, the story solwly peels back the layers of what happened one fateful night.  This examines all sorts of love - loe of friends, love of lovers, and love of parents and their children.  Once I started reading/listening I couldn't stop.  Giving clues along the way - some of the pretty blatant, actually - I totally enjoyed this piece of storytelling, no matter how upsetting it became.  I don't think I should have enjoyed it as much as I did!

Goodreads synopsis:  This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who's been searching for the truth all these years . . .
          When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.
          But fourteen years later, Angela Wong's remains are discovered in the woods near Geo's childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.
          To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he's something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo's first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.
          For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela's death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.
          While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.
          How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

9. Angels Burning by Tawni O'Dell

Listened to Audio Book on Chirp
narrated  by Susan Bennett
Unabridged audio (10:25)
2016 Gallery Books
288 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery/Police Procedural
Finished 1/14/2020
Goodreads rating:  3.94 - 1536 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting: contemporary rural west-central PA

First line/s:  "The last time I was this close to Rudy Mayfield he was leaning across the seat of his dad's truck trying to grope my recently ripened breasts."

My comments: This is the story of two families in a west-central Pennsylvania town.  One we get to know because she's the chief of police. 50 year old Dove Carnahan  is investigating the murder of a 17-year-old girl, Cameo Truly.  These are the two families, and although they intertwine, the two stories run parallel to each other and are both very fascinating and full of mystery.  I love that the protagonist is 50 years old, still appealing, very very smart, and witty to boot.  I totally enjoyed the story, which was well read in a voice that might've been just a little too young for the protagonist...but totally worked for me.

Goodreads synopsis:  “Compelling, fast-paced.” —Library Journal, starred review
          “Stellar.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
          “A page-turner.” —Kirkus Reviews

          From the New York Times bestselling author of the Oprah Book Club pick Back Roads comes this fast-paced literary thriller about a small town police chief who’s forced to dig into her own shadowy past as she investigates the murder of a teenage girl.
          On the surface, Chief Dove Carnahan is a true trailblazer who would do anything to protect the rural Pennsylvanian countryside where she has lived all fifty of her years. Traditional and proud of her blue-collar sensibilities, Dove is loved by her community. But beneath her badge lies a dark and self-destructive streak, fed by a secret she has kept since she was sixteen.
          When a girl is beaten to death, her body tossed down a fiery sinkhole in an abandoned coal town, Dove is faced with solving the worst crime of her law enforcement career. She identifies the girl as a daughter of the Truly family, a notoriously irascible dynasty of rednecks and petty criminals.
          During her investigation, the man convicted of killing Dove’s mother years earlier is released from prison. Still proclaiming his innocence, he approaches Dove with a startling accusation and a chilling threat that forces her to face the parallels between her own family’s trauma and that of the Trulys.
          With countless accolades to her credit, author Tawni O’Dell writes with the “fearless insights” (The New York Times Book Review) she brought to the page in Back Roads and One of Us. In this new, masterfully told psychological thriller, the past and present collide to reveal the extent some will go to escape their fate, and in turn, the crimes committed to push them back to where they began.

Monday, January 13, 2020

8. House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths

listened to the Audio Book (bought Audible)
narrated by Jane McDowell
Unabridged audio (10:45)
2011 Quercus Publishing
352 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery
Finished 1/13/2020
Goodreads rating: 3.93 - 14,424
My rating: 4
Setting: Norwich area, England

First line/s:  "Two people, a man and a woman, are walking along a hospital corridor."

My comments:  I like Ruth Galloway a lot.  I like that she's not gorgeous, a tiny bit overweight and out of shape, and very, very smart.  I like that she is an atheist but goes along wither her Druid friend and her Catholic friends,  rolling her eyes at her "born again" parents constantly.  And I like that we follow, step-by-step, what happens with people's realization of who Kate's father a might be, nd and what happens between Ruth and Nelson, who is happily married to Michelle.  I do believe that you can love two people at the same time, and that's what's happening to Nelson.  Ruth's learning to live with it quite well, and I really respect her living in her cottage and isolation with her cat and baby, teaching at the local university and being pulled into local police activities when her expertise as a forensic archaeologist/anthropologist is needed.  Interesting series, quirky , well developed characters, and fascinating setting.

Goodreads synopsis:  Ruth Galloway has just returned from maternity leave and is struggling to juggle work and motherhood. When a team from the University of North Norfolk, investigating coastal erosion, finds six bodies at the foot of the cliff, she is immediately put on the case.

From Amazon:  A team of archaeologists, investigating coastal erosion on the north Norfolk coast, unearth six bodies buried at the foot of a cliff. How long have they been there? What could have happened to them? Forensics expert Ruth Galloway and DCI Nelson are drawn together again to unravel the past. Tests reveal that the bodies have lain, preserved in the sand, for sixty years. The mystery of their deaths stretches back to the Second World War, a time when Great Britain was threatened by invasion. But someone wants the truth of the past to stay buried, and will go to any lengths to keep it that way... even murder.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

7. Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

Listened to Audio Book//Chirp
narrated  by Karissa Vacker and Jesse Bernstein (whose voice didn't quite match the character, methinks)
Unabridged audio (10:10)
2016 Delacorte Press
373 pgs.
YA Contemporary Magical Realistic Fiction
Finished 1/12/2020
Goodreads rating: 3.75 - 2728 ratings
My rating: 3.5
Setting: Contemporary America

First line/s:  "There's something awful about the sun."

My comments:The story captivated me right from the beginning, a brand of magical realism that had only just a touch of the magical, but unfortunately there was one drawback.  Of the two protagonists, I could not understand one of them at all.  I tried, but every time I thought I'd figured her out, I was wrong.  Perhaps I've never know anyone like her.  I "got" Marshall, and I'm glad that (of course) they got together in the end (don't they always?), but I'm not sure she deserved him!  Perhaps it was just a little too deep for me?  Or perhaps I was trying too hard to figure her out?

Goodreads synopsis:  For fans of Lauren Oliver and E. Lockhart, here is a dreamy love story set in the dark halls of contemporary high school, from New York Times bestselling author Brenna Yovanoff.
           Waverly Camdenmar spends her nights running until she can’t even think. Then the sun comes up, life goes on, and Waverly goes back to her perfectly hateful best friend, her perfectly dull classes, and the tiny, nagging suspicion that there’s more to life than student council and GPAs.
          Marshall Holt is a loser. He drinks on school nights and gets stoned in the park. He is at risk of not graduating, he does not care, he is no one. He is not even close to being in Waverly’s world.
          But then one night Waverly falls asleep and dreams herself into Marshall’s bedroom—and when the sun comes up, nothing in her life can ever be the same. In Waverly’s dreams, the rules have changed. But in her days, she’ll have to decide if it’s worth losing everything for a boy who barely exists.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

6. Truth and Lies by Caroline Mitchell

listened to eAudio on Audible
narrated  by Elizabeth Knowelden
Unabridged audio (10:22)
2018 Thomas & Mercer
344 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery/Serial Killer
Finished 1/11/2020
Goodreads rating: 4.27 - 7121 ratings
My rating: 3.5/4
Setting: contemporary Great Britain

First line/s:  "1986:  It was the scratching noise that brought Poppy down to the place where she wasn't allowed to go."

My comments:  Throughout the reading of this entire book I had a jittery, nervous, uncomfortable feeling.  I guess I was just incredibly pput off the the loathsomeness of Lillian Grimes.  And it looks like her presence will be front and center in future books in the series, so I'm reluctant to continue.  Creep, disconcerting feeling.  I can't say that the protagonist is one of my favorites, either.  The story twists and turns as it twines a current day kidnapping with the scandalous serial murders of the Grimes family years previously.  The kicker is that the smart, dedicated copy, Amy Winters, is the youngest daughter of these killers, a fact that she doesn't remember and hasn't been told...until the beginning of this book, when she receives a letter from her birth mother from prison.  A wild ride.

Goodreads synopsis:  Meet Amy Winter: Detective Inspector, daughter of a serial killer.
          DI Amy Winter is hoping to follow in the footsteps of her highly respected police officer father. But when a letter arrives from the prison cell of Lillian Grimes, one half of a notorious husband-and-wife serial-killer team, it contains a revelation that will tear her life apart.
          Responsible for a string of heinous killings decades ago, Lillian is pure evil. A psychopathic murderer. And Amy’s biological mother. Now, she is ready to reveal the location of three of her victims—but only if Amy plays along with her twisted game.
           While her fellow detectives frantically search for a young girl taken from her mother’s doorstep, Amy must confront her own dark past. Haunted by blurred memories of a sister who sacrificed herself to save her, Amy faces a race against time to uncover the missing bodies.
          But what if, from behind bars, Grimes has been pulling the strings even tighter than Amy thought? And can she overcome her demons to prevent another murder?

Friday, January 10, 2020

5. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Listened to eAudio/Chirp
narrated  by Lucy Price-Lewis
Unabridged audio (9:13)
2016, William Morrow/Harper Collins
384 pgs.
Adult CRF
Finished 1/10/2020
Goodreads rating:  3.85 - 41,335 ratings
My rating:  4
Setting:   Birmingham, England, and rural Scotland

First line/s:  "The problem with good things that happen is that very often they disguise themselves as awful things."

My comments:  Set first in Birmingham, England, then moving shortly to the Scottish Highlands (and read beautifully with both British and Scottish accents) Nina purchases a HUGE van that she turns into a bookshop on wheels.  She's never driven anything like this, never mind a stick shift, but she has otherworldly luck in purchasing books everyone want for next to nothing, creating s huge  clientele, and actually making her new business a success.  Throw in a weird relationship with a midnight train, a Latvian immigrant, a gruff sheep farmer, and a cast of well-meaning characters and you have one entertaining - though somewhat unbelievable - story.  A simple, clean love story for book lovers.

Goodreads synopsis:  Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.
          Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.
          From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

4. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Listened to the eAudio which I borrowed from the library
narrated  by Emily Rankin
Unabridged audio (9:03)
2019 Berkley
352 pgs.
Adult RomCom
Finished 1/9/2020
Goodreads rating: 3.87 - 22,921 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting: Contemporary LA

First line/s:  "In which we meet our heroine and witness a crime of thoughtlessness. Imagine you're a bird.  You can be any kind of bird, but hose of you who've chosen ostrich or chicken are going to struggle to keep up."

My comments: Read (or listened to....) in one day.  Oh darn, it ended.  I didn't want it to end.  What a deliciously written (and narrated) book!  Ms. Waxman loves words and putting them together.  She's created a wonderful family, clever conversation, and the absolutely most perfect setting int eh word:  a cozy, busy, viable bookstore.  Then  she's loaded the story with people to care about, situations that are over-the-top funny ... and trivia, lots of trivia.  Long live Nina, her planner, her cat, Phil, (Tom, of course), and beautifully crafted bookshelves loaded with books.

Goodreads synopsis:  The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.
          When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They're all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She'll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It's a disaster! And as if that wasn't enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn't he realize what a terrible idea that is?
          Nina considers her options.
                    1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
                    2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
                    3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)
          It's time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn't convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It's going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

3. Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Listened to the audio borrowed from Bosler Library
narrated  by  Brittany Pressley, she's a great narrator
Unabridged audio (9:45)
2019, Berkley
336 pgs.
Adult Romance (with just a bit of explicit sex, but it's there)
Finished  1/7/2020
Goodreads rating:  3.91 - 12,593 ratings
My rating:  4, though a little fluffy...
Setting:  Summertime in contemporary Willow Creek, Maryland
Steam:  1/4

First line/s: "I didn't choose the wench life.  The wench life chose me."

My comments:  There's got to be room in everyone's life to once-in-awhile read a sweet, feel good book, which is exactly what this one was.  Set around a summer Renaissance Fair in contemporary Maryland, Emily and Simon meet warring as Emily and Simon, but incredibly attracted as their alter ego Renaissance characters Emma and the swarthy pirate captain who wears leather pants and grows his hair long.  There are the usual requisite ups and downs including breaking up, of course, but there are a lot of cute scenes and interesting characters.  I wouldn't want to read too many of this type of book in a row, but this one ha enough differences - including learning about Renaissance Fairs and discussions of Shakespeare's plays - that I very much enjoyed it.

Goodreads synopsis:  All's faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.
          Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?
          The faire is Simon's family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn't have time for Emily's lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she's in her revealing wench's costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they're portraying?
          This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can't seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

Monday, January 6, 2020

2. Once Gone by by Blake Pierce

#1 Riley Paige, FBI
listened on Audible (Chirp)
narrated  by Elaine Wise (lovely BRITISH accent....)
Unabridged audio (7:34)
304 pgs.
Adult murder mystery/police procedural
Finished 1/6/2020
Goodreads rating:  3.93 - 18,599 ratings
My rating: 2
Setting: contemporary Virginia and surrounding states

First line/s:  from Prologue:  "A new spasm of pain jolted Reba's head upright."
from Chapter 1:  "At least the stench hadn't kicked in, Special Agent Bill Jeffries thought."

My comments:  This book is about Riley Paige, a female FBI agent working out of Langley in Virginia and read by a woman with a beautifully lilting British accent.  Talk about disconcerting!  I cannot imagine what the audio company was thinking.  I had to keep adjusting to the setting, every so often thinking that it was all based in Great Britain.  And then there was Riley herself.  A mom.  A brilliant problem solver.  An extremely smart agent.  She is suffering from PTSD, which is perfectly and totally understandable.  The depression, the drinking, the debilitating thoughts she had.  What I didn't understand was her recklessness and carelessness, and the made me dislike her, and eye-rolling dislike.  Her partner, Bill, seems pretty much like a dolt, a yes-man to her decisions and a constant "don't go alone" to her unheeding ear seem to be pretty much the sum of his abilities.  Will I read more?  There are a lot more in the series.  Perhaps.....
     Plus, what a crappy cover!

Goodreads synopsis:  Women are turning up dead in the rural outskirts of Virginia, killed in grotesque ways, and when the FBI is called in, they are stumped. A serial killer is out there, his frequency increasing, and they know there is only one agent good enough to crack this case: Special Agent Riley Paige.
          Riley is on paid leave herself, recovering from her encounter with her last serial killer, and, fragile as she is, the FBI is reluctant to tap her brilliant mind. Yet Riley, needing to battle her own demons, comes on board, and her hunt leads her through the disturbing subculture of doll collectors, into the homes of broken families, and into the darkest canals of the killer’s mind. As Riley peels back the layers, she realizes she is up against a killer more twisted than she could have imagined. In a frantic race against time, she finds herself pushed to her limit, her job on the line, her own family in danger, and her fragile psyche collapsing.
          Yet once Riley Paige takes on a case, she will not quit. It obsesses her, leading her to the darkest corners of her own mind, blurring the lines between hunter and hunted. After a series of unexpected twists, her instincts lead her to a shocking climax that even Riley could not have imagined.
          A dark psychological thriller with heart-pounding suspense, ONCE GONE marks the debut of a riveting new series—and a beloved new character—that will leave you turning pages late into the night.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Picture Book - How To Read a Book by Kwame Alexander

Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
2019, Harper
36 pgs. - one opens out to a double spread, and one is smaller, inserted into the middle
Goodreads rating:  3.79 - 1824 ratings
My rating:  3
Endpapers:startling bright neon pink

1st line/s:  see below

My comments: This book is a poem, using a clementine orange as a metaphor.  It's really quite lovely.  And I love, love, love Melissa Sweet.  However, the poem got totally lost in these illustrations.  I could barely read the words myself, let along having a child try to read it.  It's too busy, and almost too bright, though I do love the vibrancy AND the collages, but not with this text in this book, too much is too much.

Goodreads:  Find a tree—a
black tupelo or
dawn redwood will do—and
plant yourself.
(It’s okay if you prefer a stoop, like Langston Hughes.)

With these words, an adventure begins. Kwame Alexander’s poetry and Melissa Sweet’s artwork come together to take readers on a journey between the pages of a book.

Picture Book: Saturday by Oge Mora

Illustrated by the author
2019 Hachette Book Group
HC $18.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.54 - 641 ratings
My rating:  4
Endpapers: monthly calendar with days crossed off, in shades of purple, lilac, and lavendar

1st line/s:  "This morning Ava and her mother were all smiles.  It was SATURDAY!"

My comments:  Love the story, not quite so in love with the illustrations , but I do like them. done in collage where the cut paper is evident in many places.  Mom works six days a week, so when their Saturday plans keep having bumps in the road, they make the best of it.  Very upbeat, great message, positive and fun.

GoodreadsIn this warm and tender story by the Caldecott Honor-winning creator of Thank You, Omu!, join a mother and daughter on an up-and-down journey that reminds them of what’s best about Saturdays: precious time together.
          Today would be special. Today would be splendid. It was Saturday! But sometimes, the best plans don’t work out exactly the way you expect….
          In this heartfelt and universal story, a mother and daughter look forward to their special Saturday routine together every single week. But this Saturday, one thing after another goes wrong–ruining storytime, salon time, picnic time, and the puppet show they’d been looking forward to going to all week. Mom is nearing a meltdown…until her loving daughter reminds her that being together is the most important thing of all.
          Author-artist Oge Mora’s highly anticipated follow up to Caldecott Honor Thank You, Omu! features the same magnificently radiant artwork and celebration of sharing so beloved in her debut picture book.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

DNF - Echoes Among the Stones by Jaime Jo Wright

listened on Audible - my purchase
narrated  by Pilar Witherspoon
Unabridged audio (12:34)
2019 Recorded Books
324 pgs.
Adult Time Shift:  1946/Present
Stopped reading on Jan. 4, 2020
Goodreads rating: 4.58 - 209 ratings
My rating: boring, but didn't finish so won't rate
Setting:  somewhere in Wisconsin both in 1946 and current time

First line/s:  Imogene Grayson, Mill Creek Wisconsin, July, 1946.  "She should have paid more attention to her longtime neighbor, Oliver Schneider, when she passed him on the road at dawn."

My comments:  I made it - forcing myself - through the first third of this book, but it was too boring, oh so boring!  S L O W.  Didn't really care for the reader either.  It's the beginning of a new year, so I'm not going to force myself to finish!  (Note:  I didn't care for either of the protagonists in either time period, either!, just couldn't engage with either of them at all.)

Goodreads synopsis:    After Aggie Dunkirk's career is unceremoniously ended by her own mistakes, she finds herself traveling to Wisconsin, where her grandmother, Mumsie, lives alone in her vintage, though very outdated, home. Aggie didn't plan for how eccentric Mumsie has become, obsessing over an old, unsolved crime scene--even going so far as to re-create it in a dollhouse.
          Mystery seems to follow Aggie when she finds work as a secretary helping to restore the flooded historical part of the town's cemetery. Forced to work with a puzzling yet attractive archaeologist, she exhumes the past's secrets and unwittingly uncovers a crime that some will go to any length to keep hidden--even if that means silencing Aggie.
           In 1946, Imogene Grayson works in a beauty salon but has her sights set on Hollywood. But coming home to discover her younger sister's body in the attic changes everything. Unfamiliar with the burgeoning world of forensic science and, as a woman, not particularly welcomed into the investigation, Imogene is nonetheless determined to stay involved. As her sister's case grows cold, Imogene vows to find justice . . . no matter the cost.

Movie - Knives Out

PG-13 (2:10)
Wide release 11/27/2019
Viewed 1/4/2020 in Carlisle, but myself
IMBd: 8.1/10
RT Critic: 97   Audience: 92
Critic's Consensus:  Knives Out sharpens old murder-mystery tropes with a keenly assembled suspense outing that makes brilliant use of writer-director Rian Johnson's stellar ensemble.
Cag:  4/Liked it
Directed by Rian Johnson

Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, 

My comments:  Although the pace of the movie was a little plodding, the story was excellent.  Daniel Craig was nothing special, but the girl who played the lead protagonist was not only gorgeous but was really fun to watch.  The murder wasn't as convoluted as I had expected it to be, and there was a great deal of very subtle humor which I enjoyed a lot.  Chris Evans is such a doll!

RT/ IMDb Summary:  Acclaimed writer and director Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) pays tribute to mystery mastermind Agatha Christie in KNIVES OUT, a fun, modern-day murder mystery where everyone is a suspect. When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. From Harlan's dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan's untimely death. With an all-star ensemble cast including Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford and Jaeden Martell, KNIVES OUT is a witty and stylish whodunit guaranteed to keep audiences guessing until the very end.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

1. Name of the Devil by Andrew Mayne

#2 Jessica Blackwood
listened via Audible, purchased and owned
narrated  by Jennifer O'Donnell
Unabridged audio (12:53)
2015 Bourbon Street Books
432 pgs.
Adult Mystery/Police Procedural
Finished 1/2//2020
Goodreads rating:  4.18 - 2170 ratings
My rating: 4

First line/s:  " 'You know what you have to do,' said the distant voice at the other end of the phone."

My comments: First finished book of 2020!  The way that Jessica Blackwood connects the dots is sometimes quite mysterious.  I guess that just goes to prove that she's a brilliant FBI agent, on of the best the agency has.  It's like she's the center of a star with many, many branches, and she's the main connection for all of them.  This story includes Latin American cartels, the Catholic Church, backwoods West Virginian hicks, bombs and explosions, psychosomatic pathogens from weird fish, dangling from helicopters, forays into Mexico, and even eorcism.  It's all over the place!  But my favorite parts only come once in awhile, and the's Jessica's relationship withthe mysterious Damien.  uell une interesting book!  Never a dull moment, although most of it is totally un-believable.

Goodreads synopsis: In this electrifying sequel to the crowd-pleasing thriller Angel Killer, magician-turned-FBI agent Jessica Blackwood must once again draw on her past to go up against a brutal murderer desperate for revenge at any price
          After playing a pivotal role in the capture of the Warlock, a seemingly supernatural serial killer—and saving the FBI’s reputation in the process—agent Jessica Blackwood can no longer ignore the world she left behind. Formerly a prodigy in a family dynasty of illusionists, her talent and experience endow her with a unique understanding of the power and potential of deception, as well as a knack for knowing when things are not always as they appear to be.
          When a church congregation vanishes under mysterious circumstances in rural Appalachia, the bizarre trail of carnage indicates the Devil’s hand at work. But Satan can’t be the suspect, so FBI consultant Dr. Ailes and Jessica’s boss on the Warlock case, Agent Knoll, turn to the ace up their sleeve: Jessica. She’s convinced that an old cassette tape holds the key to the mystery, and unraveling the recorded events reveals a troubling act with far-reaching implications. The evil at work is human, and Jessica must follow the trail from West Virginia to Mexico, Miami, and even the hallowed halls of the Vatican.
          Can she stop a cold-blooded killer obsessed by a mortal sin—or will she become the next target in a twisted, diabolical game of hunter and prey…?

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Christmas Hexie Table Runner - The FIRST!

I'm going to surround Christmas hexies in black, so they'll pop.  And I think I'm going to loosely base it on this:
As of today I have 35 flowers sewn together and ready to go.  Some of these have been swaps from my friends from Hexies and More.
And I just started on my black hexies, I basted 18 of them last night.  So, as of today, January 1st, I'm ready to start putting this together!
Let's watch it grow!

1/1/2020 first set of two hexies, looks good!
1/2/2020 Day two of sewing this lap quilt together:
1/3/2020  A couple more hours sewing black hexies....slowly but's starting to look interesting....
1/6/2020  Got a little more done today and yesterday...
1/7/2019  Snowing tonight.  First snow of the year, so I guess I shouldn't complain.  Got a bit more stitching done.  It's growing! (The flower that looks pink isn't - it's thin red on white stripes.)
I went on a hiatus for a couple of months, but have picked this up a couple of days ago, about a week into the coronavirus quarantine. 
     I'm up to 16 flowers, and wondering how long to make it.....
3/28/20  Finished the top!  Now to figure out how to quilt and finish it as a table runner!
All quilted, faced, and finished, front and back: