Monday, December 30, 2019

*TOP TWENTY NOVELS OF 2019*




One thing really good about 2019 was the fabulous books I had the pleasure of reading below in no particular order is my top twenty.
Enjoy!



The Dog I Loved by Susan Wilson
The Dog I Loved
Susan Wilson
Narrated by Christina Delaine
11 hours 4 minutes
Susan Wilson’s latest bandwagon for the dog novel is heartbreaking and heartwarming staring two amazing women and the dogs that loved and healed them. Her plot is poignant, hopeful and realistic featuring a picturesque flowing inspiring dialogue that will bring tears of joy and of sadness. The two stars are both well defined and well developed but of the two Megan, the wounded warrior is the less complicated perhaps because of fitting more into a mold. Making Rosie the more mysterious so Wilson’s attention to every detail about Rosie is invaluable filling in the blanks about how Rosie got to prison, the fear she felt while there and not only from the other inmates, and what she did with her life when given the chance to live it again. Wilson’s giving voices to her canines is a bit haunting and gives just a hint of magical realism to the tale. Any dog lover (including this grateful for her small fur-ball rescue mommy) would lap this up and anyone not having a dog would run to rescue one after reading this.

Christina Delaine’s narration is more than excellent it’s superb giving the audible audience much more than their money’s worth. Thanks to her expressive, emotion filled alto she performs to perfection both male and female voices and her recitation of the dogs is downright goose-bump generating haunting.

When Mary Rose Collins met the man she would tragically and accidentally kill she never knew he would become her abuser or that she would because of his mother’s influence spend almost six years behind bars for his death. She also never could have imagined that being chosen for an experiment training service dogs while behind bars and her first dog would literally save her life. Or that someone would become her advocate and initiate her release from prison.

When Megan Custer left for war she never imagined she’d return home literally broken, a paraplegic angry and afraid. She also never imagined learning about a prison project training service dogs would eventually give her back her independence or that her service dog would save her life. She also never imagined she’d become fast friends with her service dog’s trainer or that she’d be able to pay it forward by setting in motion the woman’s eventual release from prison.


Gut Deep: Torn Worlds book #1
Donna Augustine 
Donna Augustine’s Gut Deep, book one in her fantastic new paranormal romance series has it all, forbidden love, a post apocalyptic America run by Werewolves and Vampires, a company of unforgettable costars and a couple who are as different as night and day, Penelope’s (Pen) life is in shambles yet she’s determined to keep on keeping on for herself and her sister and then there’s Donovan who’s an alpha in every way except for his unexpected obsession with Pen. Donna takes readers on a wild wide through a Washington D.C. where humans are chattel and cattle and a government that’s overrun with monsters from nightmares even scarier than the ones who run the U.S. now. With a decidedly noir feel this fast paced novel will leave her audience breathless, thunderstruck and anxiously awaiting book 2!

Series set up: Three years ago after years of being considered “less than human” Vampire and Werewolves have successfully infiltrated all levels of government and taken over the U.S. putting themselves at the top of the pecking order and making humans second class citizens where even owning a smartphone or laptop could get them executed. But the pact between the Vamps and Weres is anything but secure and there is trouble on the horizon.

Penelope Abbot’s dream of becoming a doctor died three years ago when the “scourge” took over every aspect of rule in the U.S. left her motherless, with a father coping by drinking himself into a coma and a sister sick from a Vamp’s bite. Luckily she’s still working or else they wouldn’t be able to eat, unluckily she seems to have caught the eye of a very dangerous, very handsome predator.

Donovan has enough on his plate being the shifter alpha of DC and doesn’t know why he can’t seem to stop coming to the rescue of this haughty slip of a human woman who apparently doesn’t know her place and is a catastrophe magnet. Darned if he doesn’t find that incredibly sexy, God he needs his head examined.


The Qysterville Sewing Circle
Susan Wiggs
(courtesy Library Journal)
“The latest from best seller Wiggs (The Apple Orchard) is a great mix of contemporary women’s fiction, an old-fashioned friends-to-lovers story, and a big dose of #metoo reading in one fantastic package. The dialog flows smoothly, the past and present time lines effortlessly tell the tale, and the raw beauty of the Pacific Northwest is the perfect setting. The characters are unforgettable, especially Caroline and her two adorable charges. They, along with the author’s focus on domestic abuse, are the standouts.”



The Night Fire
Michael Connelly
(courtesy Library Journal)

A fire that kills a homeless man and a cold case left to retired LAPD detective Harry Bosch by his recently deceased mentor bring current LAPD detective Renée Ballard and Harry back together for a roller-coaster crime-solving ride. Master storyteller Connelly manages to top himself with his latest intensely gripping thriller, his 22nd Bosch story and third Ballard novel. He tells a superb tale with an economy of words using a no-nonsense, fly-on-the-wall style of writing. Keeping the chapters short and the Bosch and Ballard sections separate brilliantly aids in the thought process continuity that readers will find necessary for this mystery containing many irons in the fire, a few holy cows, and edge-of-your-seat chills. Fans will also get to catch up with other frequent costars such as Harry’s half brother “Lincoln Lawyer” Mickey Haller, and his now college-age daughter Maddie.
VERDICT Fans of this prolific author of crime dramas and either series will find this best-seller-list-bound novel hard to put down. Though it reads well as a stand-alone, this series is best read in order. [See Prepub Alert, 4/8/19.]


A Wedding In December
Sarah Morgan

A Wedding in December, Sarah Morgan’s latest women’s fiction stand-alone is fabulous. A holiday themed tale about secrets second chances family bonds and the unconditional love of a mother. It takes place at a luxury resort in the shadows of the breathtaking Rocky Mountains all dressed up in winter finery with an unforgettable cast of characters who are equally endearing, irritating and entertaining plus giving fans not one, not two but three interconnecting stories featuring one fractured family who doesn’t even know they’re dysfunctional. Top it all off with Sarah’s mastery in storytelling putting all the plot pieces together and you’ve got a bestseller bound win-win-win!!!

If you love women’s fiction contemporary romance or just a great holiday love story Sarah Morgan’s A Wedding in December should be on your holiday must read list.

When Rosie White wakes up her family on Thanksgiving from the US half way around the world to across the pond in the UK informing them that she’s getting married at Christmas in Colorado, that the groom-to-be’s mother is handling all the preparations and that all they need to do is to get on a plane it causes quite a stir. How is her family supposed to drop everything and come to her winter Colorado wedding when her big sister an ER doctor is having a life/career crisis, her mom and dad have separated, are contemplating a divorce and don’t know how to tell the girls. Fa La La La La La La La La


At The Mountain's Edge
Genevieve Graham

Graham once again takes readers deep inside pivotal Canadian history through the tormented eyes of her unsinkable never give up characters. In this historical story she covers both the Yukon gold rush and the rockslide that almost wiped out the Canadian mining town of Frank and the importance of the Canadian Mounties.
My favorite way of learning history is through the pages of a historical novel one that accurately records the happenings of the time while telling an unforgettable story and At The Mountain’s Edge does all that and more. Genevieve Graham’s mixture of superior storytelling with a solid recounting of her beloved Canadian history is the perfect marriage for a great novel. There’s a dependable fast paced plot, fabulous characters that readers can really identify with even though they’re years and countries apart and genuinely depicting the devastation that these events caused in not only lives but lively hoods, plus that touch of drama that appeals to the romantic reader like me. So if you want your historical novel on the gritty side where the characters aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty sit down on your favorite reading spot and prepare to be blown away by this latest Canadian historical marvel by an author who’s fast becoming a favorite of mine.

In 1897 the Peterson family gave up their civilized lives in Vancouver for a life in what is fast becoming the Canadian Wild West, loaded up every belonging with a dream of riches not from gold mining but from providing the miners everything they might need in the form of a general store. But getting there is treacherous and daughter Liza isn’t sure she’s up for the challenge.

New recruit Ben Turner wanted to be a Mountie all his life but he has to learn to control his temper, a unwanted souvenir he got from his always angry father. When he’s sent to the far reaches of the Yukon to keep the prospectors safe he finds more than he ever thought he would



A Beautiful Corpse
Christi Daugherty
Narrated by Sophie Amos

Daugherty’s second in her Harper McClain mystery series, A Beautiful Corpse, is a chilling can’t put it down crime drama including a clever story inside a story. The premise is timely southern fried fiction with hot sultry settings and unforgettable characters some new but many returning from book 1, The Echo Killing, especially the novel and series stand out Harper herself a totally believable mix of steadfast and vulnerable. There are two subplots that will definitely keep the pages turning, one is the rocky relationship between Harper and Luke the detective and two the continuing story about her mother’s murder. And in the end will make the wait for book three a torture.

The narration by Sophie Amos will bring listeners deep into the south with her slow Georgian drawl. She makes a credible narrator as well as playing each role both female and male voices to perfection and puts necessary emotions into the recitation right where they belong giving listeners a generous leg up on readers.


Harper McClain knew what she wanted to be when she grew up when she was twelve the day her mother was murdered and she found the body so you could say she’s living the dream except nowadays Newspaper reporters are on the endangered species list. She also knows being summertime in Savannah means that when the temperature rises so does the crime rate and that’s money in the bank for a crime scene reporter like her. When she’s called to a murder scene in the heart of the tourist district she’s not prepared when she learns that the murder victim is a young woman she knows. Now she and the cops are looking for the boyfriend even though the victim’s father says the boyfriend didn’t do it. If that’s not enough she’s either going crazy or someone is stalking her, even going as far as breaking into her home but taking nothing.



Under Currents
Nora Roberts
January LaVoy narrator
Nora Roberts’ latest women’s fiction stand-a-lone is outstanding, one of her very best a must read that most readers will find equally hard to put down because it’s fantastic and hard to read as it deals with heinous despicable abuse against innocents.

Zane Walker has many reasons for never returning to the quiet NC burb he grew up in, a place he almost didn’t make it out alive. But he’s got even more reasons to return, namely the people who mean the most to him who love him as unconditionally as he loves them and besides it’s just time to come home to put away forever the painful memories that have haunted him since the fateful night his parents were finally revealed as monsters.

Darby McCray needed a new beginning in a place where no one knows her, a place she can lick her wounds and make a fresh start and she thinks she found it in this picturesque NC hamlet. It’s got just the right climate and if she plays her cards right she just might be able to build back her landscape design company.

When Zane and Darby meet they hit it off immediately there are even a few sparks between them but they’re not looking for love and both have good reasons not to let someone get close. But sometimes fate has other ideas and sometimes ready or not here comes love.

There are not enough words to express how fantastic a read this is, a well plotted fast paced unforgettable story set in view of the breathtaking Blue Ridge mountains with characters that will leave lasting impressions no matter if they’re good or bad. Fans will devour this book and after they consider throwing the book, kindle or other reading/listening device against the wall because of the horrors that happen in part one, heart rates will (temporarily) return to normal. Roberts gives the audience a few plot dots to connect and a mystery or two to solve and although I had parts figured out there was still a jaw-dropping OMG or two.

The Macmillan audio version narrated by January LaVoy will give the listening audience extra shivers with her excellent delivery, fantastic vocal performances of both adult and child and both sexes. Plus her emotional portrayals make it a grand slam.


A Family of Strangers
Emilie Richards

Emilie Richards latest stand-a-lone is part women’s fiction part thriller and a whole lot of fast-paced knock your socks off unforgettable. It’s darker than her usual fare but its one heck of a novel.

When Ryan Gracie left her hometown after a crime that nearly took her life and that of the man she loved she never thought she’d come back but a frantic mysterious call from her older sister Wendy begging her for help has her doing just that. As time goes by and Wendy’s vague reasons for not coming home start ringing warning bells to the journalist in Ryan a new and not complementary picture of Wendy starts to appear which leaves Ryan torn between family loyalty and ethics. This is especially troubling to Ryan because she’s recently reunited with the man she once loved and almost lost and there will be head-butting about it.

All I can say is WOW this novel has it all, a fantastic storyline, non-stop action, spine-tingling suspense, murder and a few OMG moments thrown in for added adrenalin rushes and racing pulses.

Richards starts out giving the audience a mystery introducing her readers to her protagonist Ryan Gracie who hosts a cold case podcast that she also created. This career choice will be beneficial to the plot as the story gets under way.

As our crafty author peels the layers off her complex characters revealing some jaw-dropping secrets that will literally blow reader’s minds the story takes off running with head spinning twists and turns.

The constant unfolding family drama is intense, intriguing and very believable and gives the read a dynamic added dimension that non-related characters wouldn’t have. And there’s also a budding second chance romance taking place between Ryan and the man who almost died saving her life years ago.

All in all Emilie’s fans will eat this up even though she takes darker turns than usual and those who aren’t familiar with her work if you like the thrillers of Lisa Gardner and Lisa Jackson you will soon add Emilie Richards to your list of must buys.


Stone Cold Heart
Laura Griffin
Just look under Romantic Suspense in the dictionary and you’ll find Stone Cold Heart number thirteen in Laura Griffin’s Tracers Series listed, a gripping unputdownable page-turner and maybe the best yet in this absorbing series. Her prototypical attention to detail is once again impressive from intricate rock climbing details to crime scene techniques she entertains as well as educates readers while spinning her fabulous grizzly puzzling tale that will have her audience wondering who-done-it until she reveals the culprit at the very end. The chemistry between her couple is heady and to see how she navigates Sara and Nelson through the obstacle course of their relationship phobias is credible. The narrative, tight plot and the fascinating story will definitely pull readers in and like all in her Tracers series it stands well alone but there also is a bit of series history missed when read out of order.

When Dr. Sara Lockhart is called to an Austin bedroom community to look at some possibly human remains she has no idea the Pandora’s box she’ll be opening or how to deal with her undeniable attraction to the take charge lead detective. Springville Texas detective Nolan Hess called on the Delphi Center’s forensic anthropologist trying to solve a cold case and give closure to a grieving family but he isn’t prepared for what she uncovers or his feelings for this beautiful determined scientist.

One Summer in Paris
Sarah Morgan

In Sarah Morgan’s latest absolutely fabulous stand-alone women’s fiction novel she introduces two very different women who fate brings together on a Paris avenue and changes both their lives forever. Grace Porter from Connecticut never could have believed that when she booked her month-long twenty-fifth anniversary surprise trip to Paris for her and her husband she’d be going alone, while across the pond in London eighteen year old Audrey Hackett’s plan to spend the summer in Paris far away from the chaos at home almost didn’t happen when the money she’d saved to get there disappeared.


Sarah Morgan is a master storyteller and reading her latest novel proves it. This tale is uplifting and heartbreaking about love, loss, forgiving moving on and second chances it’s incredibly hard to put down and the message and its players will stay with you long after the pages have ended.

She delivers a kind of adult coming of age story starring two amazing women who on the surface seem as different as night and day, but as this exceptional author peels the layers readers see just how much they have in common.

Grace is predictable and compassionate sensual and maternal and the audience will love seeing her beautiful transformation – Audrey on the other hand hides her vulnerabilities behind a convincing tough as nails mask.

The Paris sights and sounds are incredible the bookshop in Paris is delightfully charming the other characters are essential to the storyline and the love stories are touching and real.

If you’re a fan of Kristin Hannah then you will love the writings of Sarah Morgan.


(I know this pubbed in '18 but close enough to be considered a '19 release)
Of Blood and Bone
The Chronicles of One Book #2
Nora Roberts


Highly anticipated Of Blood and Bone, book two in Robert’s Chronicles of The One trilogy is absolutely fantastic full of blood, battles and training. Beginning right after book one ends those with good memories won’t lose a beat, the rest may take a chapter or two to be up to speed and features Fallon Swift’s two year training period from age thirteen to fifteen getting her ready for the prophesied battle between light and dark. Where book one sets the stage, introduces the players and ends the world book two tries to put it back together again, albeit with spit wads and chewing gum (it’s called an apocalypse for a reason). Readers are reunited with all the unforgettable characters from Year One, fifteen years in the future and get to see who hooks up with who, how many kids they have, whose uncanny and who’s normal and answers all those pesky “where are they now” questions. The storyline is intense, the pace is lightening fast and the backdrops are amazing. Nora does a bang up job with book two and leaves her audience with tears in their eyes and wishing they could move time forward to book three, but alas we’ll all have to wait until November ’19 for The Rise of Magicks.
SUMMARY:
Over a decade ago the virus called the Doom, long predicted killed most of the inhabitants of the planet thereby setting in motion the prophesied ultimate battle between good and evil. Those left and those to come were either without magickal powers or with (uncanny) and of those there were either light (good) uncannies or dark (malevolent) uncannies. And they were all expectantly waiting for The One, a savior to the light and whom the dark wanted to destroy.

In her thirteenth year Fallon Swift left her home and her family to fulfill a prophecy she known about and both dreaded and anticipated for all of her life. She knew the story of her birth, knew that she carried the name of both her birth father who gave his life to save hers and her mother’s and her life father who gave her his love and raised her. She knew she had a choice but she also knows that her destiny is to defeat the evil inhabiting what’s left of her world and so she learns to fight against the dark.

The residents of New Hope know the score the founders survived the virus and built a community where all are welcome. But they’ve also known loss, they still mourn those lost in the July 4th massacre and honor them by saving lives from both the dark uncanny and the sanctimonious “Purity Warriors” bringing them into the fold as they all wait for The One and the ultimate battle they know is coming.

The Golden Hour
Beatriz Williams
July 2019
(courtesy Mystery Scene Magazine)
Beatriz Williams’s new historical mystery, a tale of two seemingly unrelated unsinkable women take readers on a sentimental journey spanning two wars and the first half of the twentieth century. Featuring –

Newly wedded Leonora (Lulu) Thorpe who in December of 1943 shows up in dreary war torn London from the shores of sunny Nassau demanding help extracting her (Special Operations Executive) SOE agent husband who’s being held in a Nazi POW camp and comes armed with evidence of possible traitorous activities by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to use to persuade the British spy agency to aid her. Elfriede von Kleist the wife of a German Baron who in 1900 finds herself in her second year as a guest of a sanatorium in Switzerland following a serious bout of depression after the birth of her son.
Master storyteller Williams spends the 400 plus pages expertly alternating between the spunky first person of Lulu the journalist who constantly makes the audience her confidants commenting on social injustices and in the first half of the novel filling them in on the Nassau news of the day intimating the anti-Semitic and often pro-Nazi views of the Governor of Nassau and his wife Wallis Simpson to her valiant efforts to free her husband in the second half and the somewhat somber third person of Elfriede (who fans first met in the author’s 2015 novel Along The Infinite Sea ) as she transitions from insecure sanatorium patient to confident sensual woman. The narrative is flawless, eloquent fast paced ingenious and sophisticated peppered with google worthy well placed words from this bygone era plus the real historical facts mixed in with her fiction give this phenomenal read added authenticity.



Dark Tribute
Iris Johansen
(courtesy Library Journal) 
When it becomes apparent that the disappearance and kidnapping of Cara Delaney, violin prodigy and adopted daughter of world famous forensic sculptor Eve Duncan and Atlanta PD detective Joe Quinn is linked to her Russian Mafia Kingpin, maternal Grandfather’s past, Joe, Eve and the man Cara loves, Jock Gavin will stop at nothing to get her back. Meanwhile Cara in the clutches of a sadistic, maniacal killer does everything she can to try and stay alive. –Johansen’s (Vendetta) twenty-forth installation in her long running Eve Duncan series is a psychological thriller with a little woo-woo featuring some of the author’s iconic flawed heroes and a truly psychotic evil villain giving the audience a fast paced chilling tale. Cara and Jock, background players in past novels take center stage as convincing stars overcoming insurmountable odds becoming a couple putting Joe, Eve and their young son Michael in solid costarring roles. VERDICT: Fans of Kay Hooper, Heather Graham and Lisa Jackson who like their romantic suspense served with a delicious side of supernatural will love this series. Reading in order is best.

Stone Bridges
Swift River Valley #9
Carla Neggers

Carla Neggers takes readers back to her iconic small New England town of Knight’s Bridge and continues the story of Adrienne Portale who costarred in a previous novel when she learned she was the illegitimate daughter of a diplomat and came to Knight’s Bridge to confront him. Tired of wandering (for now) and deciding she likes this small hamlet she (temporarily) takes a position as an innkeeper but finds herself unbelievably adapt at her job and more than just a little attracted to the local stonemason Adam Sloan –– Adam who is as steadfast as Adrienne is impulsive is 4 of 6 in the large Sloan brood, a vet who wanted nothing more than to come home from war and never leave.

Set during a postcard perfect NE autumn Carla draws her audience in with crisp air and inviting scents from the kitchen including some fantastic recipes at the end of the book, some real local history plus some exciting (moose) wildlife sightings and a little needed drama when a group of little boys go missing in the woods. Plus she keeps fans in the know with some crucial series and character catch-ups and a fantastic Knight’s Bridge, who’s who cheat sheet.


Sisters of Summer’s End
Lori Foster
Welcome to Cooper’s Charm, the RV resort with everything even a romance or two.

The Sisters of Summer’s End, book two in Lori’s fantastic Summer Resort series is a great summer read even though it takes place in the fall. Set in Cooper’s Charm RV resort it brings back the characters of book one, but delves more deeply into the lives of Joy, Maris and Daron plus introduces us to new drive-in owner Royce.
As Lori unpeels the layers of her star characters for this novel she’ll focus on misconceptions, new beginnings and families whether chosen or born into while spinning two fabulous love stories and introduces an new fab four legged friend.
The plot is rock solid, the pace is steady and both the human and canine characters rock making this a must read for fans of romance or women’s fiction and a great choice for either your vacation or staycation This novel stands on its own but reading the books in order will fill in all the blanks


Joy Lee is used to being alone, relying only on herself to care for herself and her young son Jack but since coming to Cooper’s Charm the RV resort where she works as the recreation director and lives she’s found a sort of family, especially Maris owner/operator of the camp store, Summer’s End whose become like a sister. So when the new hunky owner of the Drive-In wakes up her libido she’s glad she’s got Maris to confide in.

Royce Nakirck has big plans for the run down Drive-In theatre he bought right next to a successful RV resort. He also needs to focus just on himself after years of caring for his dying mother. He’s not looking for love or a ready made family. But sometimes you get things you don’t ask for.

Maris Kennedy needs to be self-reliant because of how she grew up. She loves Cooper’s Charm and is very proud of the success of her camp store. What she doesn’t need is the park’s hot young playboy handyman sniffing around as she has no desire to be a notch on someone’s bedpost. But what if she’s wrong about him? Is she brave enough to take a chance? She’s just glad she’s now got Joy her new BFF to ask about it.

Daron Hardy is about out of options and ideas to gain a second look from the sexy camp-store owner. He just wants a chance to prove to her that he’s more than she thinks he is.


The Lost Girls of Paris
Pam Jenoff


Jenoff’s (The Orphan’s Tale) latest WWII story is historical realism based on true events, a time capsule that should never be forgotten where evil and good reigned side by side and sometimes those lines were crossed in the name of war. The Lost Girls of Paris is tragic, poignant and reflects the bravery of everyday ordinary citizens fighting to end the tyranny promised by the Nazi regime giving readers a birds-eye-view of real women SEO agents sent into harms way. But Pam does something special she not only gives them voices she also gives them heart and makes them more real. The solid gritty plot, fluent dialogue, unforgettable characters and arresting backdrops make this a must read for any fan of WWII, historical or fantastic literary fiction.

1946 New York City – When Grace Healey finds an envelope full of women’s photos in an abandoned suitcase in Grand Central Station and later learns the owner of the suitcase, a British woman was tragically hit and killed by a car curiosity has her seeking information into who these strangers in the photos were. Little does she know she’d be opening a Pandora’s box full of British wartime secrets.

London, 1943 - Eleanor Trigg, secretary to the director of the covert British intelligence agency, Special Operative Executive (SOE), an illegitimate cousin to MI-6 never would have believed she’d suggest sending women into occupied France to aid the resistance when their male operatives kept disappearing and she sure never would have believed she’d be running it. But that’s exactly what she’s doing, training and preparing these girls to fight the enemy by transmitting messages out right under the Nazis noses, knowing if they’re caught they’d face torture and death and hoping she’s doing the right thing.



The Savior
The Black Dagger Brotherhood #17
JR Ward
So waiting for one of JR’s books, which are auto-and mostly pre-order buys, is bittersweet because even though it’s almost sixteen hours in audio format it’s always over too soon and that’s the way it was with The Savior.
Murhder has always been one of those whispered characters from back at the beginning of the series and learning about his fate and the reason behind it was very enlightening. And the chemistry between him and Sarah is combustible from the get go plus it’s always fun seeing how the Warden brings humans and vampires together like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole but she does it very well.
It’s obvious the series is taking a turn what with the Lessening Society all but defunct the Omega and Scribe Virgin nowhere in sight and the new Shadow entity enemies causing major havoc. JR is doing a bang up job of making those twists and turns exciting while leading readers and listeners down this merry new path.
Although the ending left a big question mark going on and off over the audience’s head, the non-stop action, hot and spicy romance and those larger than life characters make this another slam dunk in a must be read in order series.
Narration:
Brava to Jim Frangione who absolutely owns this series, his remarkable inflections, excellent emotions, and unmatched voices are the reason I will only listen to this series. 


The former Black Dagger Brother Murhder has been in exile for more that twenty years kicked out the Brotherhood because of his rampage slaughtering scientists inside their medical testing laboratory. They don’t know the truth behind the human attack but that really doesn’t matter. What he needs now is their help and he just hopes there is enough empathy left in their hearts to put aside their hatred of him.
Two years after the tragic death of her fiancé Sarah Watkins uncovers some troubling evidence that reveals a secret testing lab inside the company that she and her fiancé worked for and makes her believe that his death may not have been from natural causes. But she has to pinch herself to be able to believe what she finds when she enters the labs high security clearance area.

Secrets of the Chocolate House
Found Things #2
Paula Brackston

Paula Brackston’s second installation in her Found Things series, Secrets of the Chocolate House is a fast paced can’t put it down second journey down the time traveling rabbit hole, taking readers on a fantastical yet believable journey. With breathtaking backdrops past and present period perfect dialogue and behavior a cast of fantastic characters good and bad Brackston delivers another unforgettable story where her protagonist Xanthe is up to her old time traveling tricks solving mysteries battling terrifying enemies and her constant fear and guilt of not being able to return to her own time and her mother who depends on her, plus this time she’s got quite a few more tricks up her sleeve. So settle down but have that nitro pill close because this is one rollercoaster ride you’ll not soon forget.

The narration by Marisa Calin is once again spot on perfection from intonation, to pronunciation to accents she gets and A+ and her portrayal of Xanthe is an absolute treasure.


Xanthe Westlake has always had a gift of connecting with certain treasures of the past a gift that recently revealed her as a traveler through time to solve the mysteries those objects present. But Xanthe’s only recently returned from the 17th century finally settling back in her own life even deciding that the 21st century is where she belongs even if it means leaving the man who stole her heart in the past. That is until on a recent buying trip for the antique shop she and her mother own an ancient chocolate pot starts singing to her giving her a glimpse of her beloved incarcerated and knowing she has no choice but to travel back to the early 1600s to come to his aid once again. Not knowing what she’ll find there and if she’ll be able to get back home.


Never Tell
Lisa Gardner
(courtesy of Library Journal)

Det. Sgt. D.D. Warren's latest case, a woman accused of murdering her husband, takes a macabre twist when D.D. recognizes Evie Carter as the suspect in her very first case, the 16-year-old who accidentally shot and killed her father, a renowned Harvard professor. It gets even stranger when not only this case starts unraveling but it seems the murdered husband has ties to a crime involving D.D.'s confidential informant, Flora Dane, herself a survivor of a heinous crime. Book ten in the series (after Look for Me) presents an exceptional, fast-paced, and disturbing cat-and-mouse game with superscary bad guys and dark-web dealings that will keep readers guessing until an ingenious aha moment. The complicated characters, a brilliantly convoluted connect-the-dots plot, and nonstop action all create a fantastic read; longtime fans will appreciate the costar cameo from Gardner's acclaimed "FBI Profiler" series. The author's compassion for Flora will pull heartstrings, and her portrayal of D.D. in her element fighting crime with her old teammates while remaining a loving wife and mother, is genuine. VERDICT Fans of J.T. Ellison, Hank Phillippi Ryan, contemporary crime drama, police procedurals, and psychological thrillers will devour Gardner's latest. [See Prepub Alert, 8/10/18.]—Debbie Haupt, St. Charles City-Cty. Lib. Dist., St Peters, MO


19 comments:

  1. Great list, Debbie. Not good for my TBR though.😊

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  2. It will never cease to be surreal to me when I see my name listed among these greats. I am so honoured and humbled, Debbie! Pam Jenoff? Really? Hers was one of my favourite books of the year for sure. Have a wonderful New Year!

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  3. You have read some really amazing sounding books. I loved A Wedding in December and Secrets of the Chocolate House. I would love to get my hands on the 2nd and 3rd book in The Chronicles of One Series, I have the 1st on audio.

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  4. Thank you so much!!! I'm so flattered and honored to make this list!

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  5. Six of those I read and loved too. And thanks to you now Susan Wilson is on my radar and will be sampled soon.

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  6. I haven't read any of these, but I read The Echo Killing a couple of weeks ago. Didn't realize there's a book 2.

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    1. yeah I reviewed The Echo Killing for Library Journal and when I saw book two out I knew I needed it.

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  7. Beta-readers are indeed extremely important in your process. They will catch mistakes even you or a proofreader didn’t catch, and give amazing tips on how to develop further your story. I used https://honestbookreview.com to get a few reviews and also promote my book. Hopping to be in the top 100 genre lists and see better sales this Christmas season…

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  8. You have some great books there!
    I really have to start thinking of my list

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  9. I haven't read any of these but they sound good. Happy New Year.

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  10. I love Sarah Morgan and Lori Foster! I want to read JR Ward, and Nora Roberts! Great list Debbie :)

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

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