What if you were sold into slavery or abducted, put into chains, and dragged to another country to serve in a palace? Would you comply and accept your...moreWhat if you were sold into slavery or abducted, put into chains, and dragged to another country to serve in a palace? Would you comply and accept your fate, broken-spirited, and demeaned by your captors? Or would you learn the art of court intrigue and play the long game, one that involves seduction, lies, and an ultimate betrayal? This story poses the intriguing question of how a slave girl rose from obscurity to becoming the queen of one of the most powerful kingdoms in the world. Was she lucky at love or was she a brilliant evil genius who brought the Ottoman Empire down, one heir at a time? While other reviewers have not agreed with the author's reading of the gaps in history, or his take on a woman's lowly life in the Turkish empire of Suleiman, I found this story and his interpretation compelling(less)
When I first began to listen to this book, I thought, "Oh no. First person narrative." My skepticism turned to fascination over the course of the firs...moreWhen I first began to listen to this book, I thought, "Oh no. First person narrative." My skepticism turned to fascination over the course of the first chapter, wherein the heroine settles on a shrink after going through a number of other psychologists and psychiatrists. It is not that she is fickle; she has post-traumatic stress disorder and is struggling to even speak of the atrocities to herself, much less to another person. A victim of abduction, rape, and daily abuse during her imprisonment by a psychopath, it is a wonder she has a shred of her former self left. I liked the heroine; she was realistic, pragmatic, and resilient. This book is a compelling, tough read, breath-taking and disturbing at the same time. If you enjoy thrillers and mysteries and have a voyeuristic streak, this first person narrative will keep you up late at night to finish the tale. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 suspenseful stars.(less)
Andy Barber is an Assistant DA in a small town, and is a likable man. He has a secret, one he shares with the reader, but not his wife, Lori, until hi...moreAndy Barber is an Assistant DA in a small town, and is a likable man. He has a secret, one he shares with the reader, but not his wife, Lori, until his son, Jacob, is accused of stabbing a classmate to death. Andy's father, "Bloody Billy Barber" whom he hadn't seen since he was five, is in prison for murder. In fact, Andy comes from a long line of murderers. His grandfather was also a murderer, as was his great-grandfather.
When Jacob is arrested for the classmate's death, the slow wheels of the state grind forward, and so does this book. If you are a student of the law or wish to be one, then this book is for you. It has lengthy testimonies, explanations of legal terms, as well as information on how to visit your murderous father in prison (with care).
If you are interested in Forensic Psychology or Psychiatry, there are many chapters examining this aspect of a legal case, vis a vis competence, sociopathies, and biological links to violence and impulse disorders.
And, of course, this can be used in high school and college courses that deal with ethics and morality (and I see there is a study guide for students for this novel). The question this story poses is what would you do if your son was arrested for murder and the evidence piled up against him? Would you intervene? Would you find a way to rescue him? Or would you hand him over to the authorities?
Unlike other reviewers who found the ending stunning, I did not. The path was laid out clearly by the author through careful details given in the character's behaviors. The ending was completely in character, and not at all surprising given what we knew about them.
I admire the exacting research, the characters, motivations, and the plot twists. However, repeated references to real stores (Starbucks, Whole Foods, Staples, etc) and products, made me wonder about its relevance and if this was a new form of product placement. Over 12 hours listening time, it became annoying. (less)
There are seventeen million reasons to want someone dead--especially when that person is the one who stole it from you. A computer genius who is caugh...moreThere are seventeen million reasons to want someone dead--especially when that person is the one who stole it from you. A computer genius who is caught embezzling makes the mistake of thinking he can outwit a Russian mobster. Upon his release from prison, his past, and the past of his lover, wife of a police detective, come rushing back to hunt them down. If you like police procedures and attention to details, this is an excellent book. The tension between husband and wife over her infidelity provide an uneasy background to the investigation. In the end, the good guy wins, but at what cost? (less)
As a fan of The Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, I was delighted to find this little gem tucked away in Willis' back list. Bonus points fo...moreAs a fan of The Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, I was delighted to find this little gem tucked away in Willis' back list. Bonus points for the fact that I am also a lover of Lincoln trivia. The story, which is ignited by Lincoln's dream of his death, leads us in other disturbing directions. Jeff, a research assistant to an historical novelist finds himself babysitting a young, attractive woman, Annie, who has disturbing dreams while her erstwhile boyfriend and sleep researcher, Richard, visits his boss.
The young woman is a bundle of nerves and destroys an African violet while speaking to Jeff in what appears to be a fugue state. She speaks of dreams, the topic of his boss's latest obsession. However, they are not Lincoln's dreams, but Robert E Lee's dreams. Intrigued by her beauty and wistful sadness, Jeff takes it upon himself to rescue Annie from Richard's drugging attempts and whisks her away to Virginia. Before long it becomes apparent that this is a dreadful mistake. Her dreams, sleep-walking, and angst increase among the Civil War Battlefields as she relives each battle in terrible detail up to and including the surrender to Grant from the long-dead Lee's dreams.
This is not a story for the faint of heart. Unlike the Doomsday Book, which is in a distant past none of the living recall, this book revives an old American wound and brings the horror of our civil war to life in a deeply personal way, the invasion of Annie's sleep. No spoilers from me. If you love Willis and you love Civil War history, this is a book that will interrupt your sleep and squeeze your heart with pain.(less)
This highly inventive, creative fantasy from new author Sharon Sapp takes place on the two-mooned planet of Oquar. The story begins with Shauna, the h...moreThis highly inventive, creative fantasy from new author Sharon Sapp takes place on the two-mooned planet of Oquar. The story begins with Shauna, the heroine, thinking about how she arrived on the planet. Rescued by Guardians,she was given to Laird KoDar to be his Lady. The Keep Goshen, which KoDar leads, is a fortified community. In this clan and across the planet, there is a shortage of women. Shauna finds that instead of being treated according to clan laws (no rape, no forcing young girls into breeding, etc) the men have treated the women with brutish behaviors. Her first order of business is to ensure clan laws are enforced. It is not an easy job, however,she accomplishes this and a number of other important tasks with her clever words and compassion.
Laird KoDar adores Shauna, will do anything she wants. However he knows a war is coming and alliances between keeps must be forged. One of these allies is the treacherous Randolph. This laird has no honor and lusts after Shauna. When he sees her, he becomes obsessed with having her. Thwarted first by her, then refused his "right" as an ally to breed with Shauna, he hatches a plan to destroy their happy marriage. Will he succeed?
This adventure packed story will lead you into a world of magical creatures, evil wizards, and prophecies. Will Shauna and KoDar survive? Or will Randolph have his way? No spoilers from me, you will have to read it to find out! (less)
This story is the second in Sharon Saracino’s stories about her snarky heroine, Maxine Logan, and her experiences as one of the rare few who was able...moreThis story is the second in Sharon Saracino’s stories about her snarky heroine, Maxine Logan, and her experiences as one of the rare few who was able to bargain her way back from death, arguing her death was in error (DIE). In the previous book, Max proposed she should fill in for Alicia, the Superintendent of Spiritual Impediment (SSI) who was on maternity leave. By the end of DEATH BENEFITS, Max believes she has fulfilled all the requirements for her job swap, plus she has made some major changes in her attitude and relationships.
Little does she know that the next chapter of her life will begin with her ex-husband’s death. Roger-the-Proctologist, with whom she has reconnected and realizes she still loves, has been in a plane crash. Alicia returns in the middle of the night and offers Max the job of retrieving Roger from the afterlife—provided she also retrieves his less than savory buddy, Dirk the Dirtball. She is less than enthusiastic about Dirk, but for Roger, she will endure anything.
Her adventure into the afterlife takes her through a portal via a very special key, into a world of dark wormy creatures, obstructive bureaucrats, crackling grannies, and Hellhounds. Max, never at a loss for snarky retorts, continues to roll with the punches, and in some instances, punches back. Can she rescue Dirk from the Red Light District of Snake Women? Can she get the Time Keeper to give her gin instead of water? Is the little dog who follows her down the brick road really Toto? Can she raise Roger from the dead? You will have to read the story for the answers.
While this is the second installment in the series, you do not have to have read the first one to understand where you are. The author does an excellent job of bringing the reader up to speed. However, I recommend you read them for the fun of the story and to watch Max develop as a character. While written in a light manner, the book touches on heavy subjects such as grief, letting go, and the meaning of men who wear black cashmere socks with sandals. I highly recommend this read and give it five glowing stars. I can’t wait to read the next one! (less)
When I first began reading Maggie Toussaint's HOT WATER, I was immediately engaged by the main character, Laurie Ann Dinterman. Attentive to the point...moreWhen I first began reading Maggie Toussaint's HOT WATER, I was immediately engaged by the main character, Laurie Ann Dinterman. Attentive to the point of being obsessed with her work on the Mossy Bog Police Force, Laurie Ann is so engrossed in her work, she has no time for romance. Called to a torched restaurant that contains the body of a homeless man, Laurie Ann is quickly embroiled in a murder investigation and a serial arson investigation. The problem, however, is that she is forced to work with and babysit for the politically connected arson investigator, Wyatt North. She is not happy; she's been forced to take the back seat many times because of her gender. However, with a promotion in the wings, she swallows her anger and partners up with the new guy--who turns out to be a smart hottie with an urge to find and bring the serial arsonist who killed his partner to justice.
Wyatt is enraged over the loss of yet another person to this monster. Now he has to work with this no nonsense woman cop who is smart, dedicated, and attractive. Unhappy with the fact that he is being looked after, he at least has a cute baby sitter. Unfortunately, she just happens to keep getting in the way of his investigation and keeps insisting it's hers, too.
Sparks fly and the pages heat up in this romantic suspense set in a small town setting. Readers who enjoy small southern towns will warm up to Mossy Bog and its cast of characters. Everyone is a suspect, and Laurie Ann wonders if this out of towner will cut anyone a break. Besides, as soon as he finds his arsonist, he's just going to blow out of town and go back to his White House connections, isn't he? Why does she keep wishing he'd settle down in her little burg? She should know better at her age, shouldn't she?
No spoilers coming from me! I very much enjoyed this story and learned a lot about arson without lectures. Maggie Toussaint really did her research and it showed over and over. I was delighted with her off beat, quirky characters and the sense of a place where time slows down and the pace of life is a little more civilized and charming. This book took me for a fun filled ride with enough twists to keep me flipping through my Kindle late at night. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 blazing stars.(less)
I’m a bit obsessive about research, and I confess, I judge fiction and non-fiction books by how well the authors have done their homework. For me, tha...moreI’m a bit obsessive about research, and I confess, I judge fiction and non-fiction books by how well the authors have done their homework. For me, that is the foundation of a good book. Layered on this, I next look for compelling characters, quality of writing, a page turning plot, and plot layers. Oh, and good sex scenes.
Wow! All I can say is Lauren Hawkeye hit it out of the park with this book. She clearly did her homework, and even included a glossary for us word nerds who may not have a clue about the clothing a gladiator wore. In addition, I never knew there were female gladiators!! Win!!
Lilia, the female gladiator, is not just physically strong, but also emotionally strong. She had to be to survive in a man’s world—literally. She has numbed herself to the abuses she has endured as a slave from childhood, and no one, especially no other gladiator is going to piece her armor. That is until she meets Christus. Perhaps swoon worthy is an overused phrase, but this hunk is the epitome of swoon worthy. He is handsome, tough, and kind. Yes, I said kind, in a time where brutality was the norm.
The plot kept me flying through the pages, the sex scenes were inventive, well-placed, and progressed the story. It has many layers and you will receive no plot spoilers from me. Suffice it to say, not all is what it seems in the gladiator’s world.
Did I mention the sex was good? Oh, okay, let me say that again. It was excellent and extremely well-written. In an erotic romance/fiction landscape littered with poorly written stories, Lauren Hawkeye has polished her work and pleased this picky reader with her prose.
I was, in short, seduced by Seduced by the Gladiator and I give it five sizzling swords.(less)
Crime scene investigator and fallen away Catholic, Bill Walters, has more than an eye for forensic details, he has eye for spirits and their last expe...moreCrime scene investigator and fallen away Catholic, Bill Walters, has more than an eye for forensic details, he has eye for spirits and their last experiences and emotions. This gift has given Bill the ability to clear more cases than most other on the force, an ability that makes others jealous. When his superior officer assigns a psychologist and atheist, Tom, to play his partner and observe Bill for behaviors that would interfere with his job, his boss does not count on the new partner liking Bill. Even more so, he does not count on Tom having abilities that mirror Bill's. When a series of horrific killings sucks away the spirits before Bill and Tom's eyes, they realize they are dealing with something more than just your garden variety ghost. Can they vanquish this enemy with prayers? Or do they need a higher authority? This book is an ingenious take on old themes: faith, good versus evil, and the frailties of man. I highly recommend this amazing book and give it five supernatural stars!(less)
Helene Collias has a bit of an edge over the rest of the shield carrying detectives on the Holly Municipal Police force. She has psychic powers and wi...moreHelene Collias has a bit of an edge over the rest of the shield carrying detectives on the Holly Municipal Police force. She has psychic powers and will need every bit of them to solve one of the creepiest cases of her career. A young woman who worked as an elf at the local mall has been murdered and the best lead she has is that the killer may be working as Santa.
To make matters worse, the victim is the sister of a ruggedly handsome guy she nearly hooked up with on a senior cruise in high school. Sean Grant lost his parents at a young age, now his younger sister is dead at the hands of a killer with an agenda. But what is his agenda? Why does he go after the Grant family with such a vengeance?
Against her better judgment and department policy, Helene is drawn to Sean. She resists the attraction and so does Sean, but the urge to solve the case with its bizarre twists and turns drives both of them to distraction in more ways than one.
This is a hot novel with edge of the seat pacing and a plot that doesn't let you down. Each character is richly drawn and believable. I especially appreciated the author's use of the paranormal, without relying on a magical solution to the case.
Get it while it's hot hot hot! I give this book five sizzling stars for a great blend of solid police work, suspense, paranormal touches, and sexy characters who can't keep their hands off each other.(less)
When Adeline Buckley finds her fiance having sex with another woman in the barn while she's helping his sister deliver a baby, she calls off the weddi...moreWhen Adeline Buckley finds her fiance having sex with another woman in the barn while she's helping his sister deliver a baby, she calls off the wedding and the jerk knocks her around. The creep goes to her father, a man with a drinking problem, and tells him they've been having relations and insists on marrying her. Adeline's father beats her while the creep stands by and grins the whole time.
Abused, but not beaten, Adeline gathers her meager belongings together and after a brief stint of work at a bordello, finds herself on a stagecoach full of young, preening women. Little does she know that they are heading to their mail-order weddings. When she faints in the lobby, she wakes up briefly in the arms of a handsome man and signs some papers, not understanding that she, too, has joined the ranks of the "Just Married."
Jackson Pruitt is a man's man who raised his kid brother after his mother died and his father abandoned the boys. Leaving him to raise Heath on his own, his father also left a large sum of money to him in a bank account, cash Jackson never touched. When he marries Adeline, Jackson does it out of a sense of honor. His kid brother had written letters to some woman, claiming to be Jackson, and proposed. He is pleasantly surprised to discover he likes Adeline. That is until her ex-fiance arrives on his ranch, claiming Adeline and he were married and she has run away--again.
Hildie McQueen has crafted a story of the a by-gone era in the old west with mail-order brides, cattle rustling, and ranching. In the absence of women's rights and in the presence of a series of horrific abuses at the hands of her thug of an ex-fiance, Adeline survives, triumphs, and against all odds finds joy in the arms of the man who turned his back on her, then when he discovers the truth, turns over all of Texas and beyond to rescue and win her back. It is a tale of betrayal, love, and forgiveness and I give it five big sheriff's stars and highly recommend this read.(less)
Written by a seasoned journalist and correspondent, Beyond the Veil of Vice provides excellent insights into a culture many Westerners do not understa...moreWritten by a seasoned journalist and correspondent, Beyond the Veil of Vice provides excellent insights into a culture many Westerners do not understand. I highly recommend this reflective and unflinching book for anyone interested in the role of women in the Middle East.(less)
I purchased this book because of my interest in angels. Most of the texts I had on hand were framed by religious viewpoints. I expected to find this w...moreI purchased this book because of my interest in angels. Most of the texts I had on hand were framed by religious viewpoints. I expected to find this work to be of a similar vein and was pleasantly surprised to find a spiritual approach, i.e., one informed by formal religions, but not constricted by them. The author provides personal insights into her daily life with the angels. In her world, angels don't just appear when you desperately need a miracle. They are, instead, always by our side, waiting to help us if we ask. I like this approach because it fits with my concept (borrowed from Joshua Trachtenberg's book Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion) of deputy angels. Sometimes the big guns show up in the guise of little folks like you and me. Anyone can be an angel. That means YOU. Are you the person who finds a wallet and returns it with all the money intact? The woman who rescues a dog and returns it to its weeping owner? The big tipper? The teacher who says to the child, "You can do this!" In addition to the usual stars (Michael, Gabriel, Metatron, et. al.) the author also writes about Teddy Bears Angels, Tree Angels, Quilt Angels, and more. If you are looking for a book that brings the celestial message down to earth, I highly recommend this read. (less)