Detective Nicole Usher is desperate. A serial killer is stalking women and has killed over a dozen. These women are special to the killer but Nicole a...moreDetective Nicole Usher is desperate. A serial killer is stalking women and has killed over a dozen. These women are special to the killer but Nicole and the rest of her department cannot determine why and have no way of stopping the killings. The killer likes brunettes. Plain, shy and unassuming brunettes are stalked then mutilated for a trophy the killer covets. No one can know the mind of a killer, unless you are a genius profiler with a talent for doing just that. Nicole knows that Kent Harbinger can help catch the killer and despite a tragic history she shares with him, she calls him to help. Kent Harbinger seems as twisted as the killers he catches and although he is ranked as one of the top FBI profilers, his unconventional techniques have rewarded him a long-term stay at an asylum. His presence in the investigation creates pain for Nicole and resentment in Nicole’s partner and lover but despite this she knows there is no other way. Kent is the key character in this story despite the fact that Nicole is written in as the protagonist. His method of hunting the same victims as the killer helps him to guess the next target but he seems as mad as the killer. Stealing whatever he needs, breaking into buildings and stalking women are only some of the acts Kent commits during the investigation and Nicole is left to answer for him to her captain and partner. Kent seems to have no conscious and treats Nicole with apathy to the point that the reader cannot fathom a previous romantic relationship between the two. I hated him and wavered on whether to give this story a three of four star rating. The author pushes the envelope on what the reader will accept in a main character who is supposedly on the side of good and I struggled with this. Then I remembered something important. The best thing an author has ever done for me as a reader was to make me feel. To create emotion, good or bad, as I immerse myself in their creation. I was immersed in Plain Jane. I wanted the characters to do MY will and when they didn’t the author forced me to understand why. What does it take to get into the mind of a killer? What must you become if you want to catch what most don’t understand? Ms. West caught me off-guard and that doesn’t happen to me often.
If you enjoyed Silence of the Lambs or the work of Jeffrey Deaver, you will enjoy Plain Jane.(less)
Detective Nicole Usher is desperate. A serial killer is stalking women and has killed over a dozen. These women are special to the killer but Nicole a...moreDetective Nicole Usher is desperate. A serial killer is stalking women and has killed over a dozen. These women are special to the killer but Nicole and the rest of her department cannot determine why and have no way of stopping the killings. The killer likes brunettes. Plain, shy and unassuming brunettes are stalked then mutilated for a trophy the killer covets. No one can know the mind of a killer, unless you are a genius profiler with a talent for doing just that. Nicole knows that Kent Harbinger can help catch the killer and despite a tragic history she shares with him, she calls him to help. Kent Harbinger seems as twisted as the killers he catches and although he is ranked as one of the top FBI profilers, his unconventional techniques have rewarded him a long-term stay at an asylum. His presence in the investigation creates pain for Nicole and resentment in Nicole's partner and lover but despite this she knows there is no other way. Kent is the key character in this story despite the fact that Nicole is written in as the protagonist. His method of hunting the same victims as the killer helps him to guess the next target but he seems as mad as the killer. Stealing whatever he needs, breaking into buildings and stalking women are only some of the acts Kent commits during the investigation and Nicole is left to answer for him to her captain and partner. Kent seems to have no conscious and treats Nicole with apathy to the point that the reader cannot fathom a previous romantic relationship between the two. I hated him and wavered on whether to give this story a three of four star rating. The author pushes the envelope on what the reader will accept in a main character who is supposedly on the side of good and I struggled with this. Then I remembered something important. The best thing an author has ever done for me as a reader was to make me feel. To create emotion, good or bad, as I immerse myself in their creation. I was immersed in Plain Jane. I wanted the characters to do MY will and when they didn't the author forced me to understand why. What does it take to get into the mind of a killer? What must you become if you want to catch what most don't understand? Ms. McCray caught me off-guard and that doesn't happen to me often.
If you enjoyed Silence of the Lambs or the work of Jeffrey Deaver, you will enjoy Plain Jane. (less)
What a fun read! As a forty-something in the process of reinventing my life, it was an inspiration to read about Suzie Ivy's leap into law enforcement...moreWhat a fun read! As a forty-something in the process of reinventing my life, it was an inspiration to read about Suzie Ivy's leap into law enforcement at a time in a woman's life when things should be set and stable. Kids grown, career stability, confidence and a peace in your life. At least that's what I thought.
After reading a recruitment ad for the police academy, Suzie decides she won't take empty-nest syndrome lying down. It doesn't matter that she has just recovered from hip surgery or is forty pounds overweight and in her forties. She is determined and her enthusiasm is refreshing.
Enlisting the help of a friend, Suzie begins to train for the enrollment deadline. With a family mostly less than supportive and the local police sergeant obviously unconvinced Suzie is a good candidate, she aces through the initial tests required for recommendation to the academy.
Eighteen weeks away from her family and a training instructor that would give Viggo Mortenson in G.I. Jane a run for his money, Suzie uses humor and heart to tell her story. We are introduced to fellow trainees and become immersed in everyone's journey to graduation or wash out.
As Suzie struggles to keep up with her team she discovers a closeness and camaraderie unlike any other.
Bad Luck Cadet is heartwarming and humorous and highly recommended by this forty-something reviewer. (less)
I loved that Grace Doll opened in a 1949 Hollywood setting. The glamour of celebrities at the time seems haunting as you look back and was a perfect b...moreI loved that Grace Doll opened in a 1949 Hollywood setting. The glamour of celebrities at the time seems haunting as you look back and was a perfect background for this haunting story. Grace Doll is at the height of her star power and overwhelmingly unhappy. The opening hints at something more than a jaded starlet and gives the reader a palpable sense of darkness in Grace's thoughts as she and her Producer/Husband enter Grauman's Chinese Theater for her new movie. Grace is performing from the beginning; smile, wave, shine, sizzle. Inside she is in obvious torment and I was anxious to learn why. Rufus B. Solomon is propelling Grace through the hysterical crowd of fans and paparazzi, while looking like her protector, he pulls and pushes at her, controlling her physical movement with a dashing smile and an order not heard by anyone but Grace. "Sizzle, darling. Sizzle." The scene is decidedly creepy. A glimpse of wrongness in the glitz of a Hollywood movie premier and you feel it in your gut. Having discovered the young, 13yr old Grace on a boardwalk with her family, Rufus easily convinces her parents to make a deal with the devil. Promising riches and fame if they allow Grace to accompany him to Hollywood. Faking a birth certificate to make Grace appear older, Rufus begins to take complete control of her life in everyday possible eventually making her into the hottest actress of 1949 and his puppet. Abuse, kidnapping, obsession mark the beginning chapters of Grace Doll and when his obsession with her is at it's peak, Rufus subjects Grace to an experimental treatment that guarantees her immortal beauty and a way he can control her forever. As a rescue attempt to free her from Rufus goes horribly wrong Grace is force to remain in hiding, forever young, for several decades until her secret is discovered and with the help of an old friends grandson resolves to end the nightmare Rufus began 60 years ago.
What an amazing premise. Jennifer Laurens captivates her audience with her brilliant manipulation of emotion and atmosphere. I enjoyed this story and wish I could see it on the big screen.
Book Summary:Grace Doll had everything a girl could want: Fame. Fortune. Beauty.
Everything except, of course, her freedom. So when a powerful movie producer forces an experimental treatment on Grace--one that's purported to make beauty immortal--she stages her own death to escape him.
With the help of trusted friends, Grace slips into hiding. She's forever flawless, forever young and forever pursued by her past.
But when a stranger arrives on her doorstep, holding the key to a life she thought she'd left behind, Grace must decide between the safety she's known... and embracing the role she was born to play.(less)
I would love to say something extremely witty in my opening line for my review of Bill The Vampire. After all, it's been since June since I have poste...moreI would love to say something extremely witty in my opening line for my review of Bill The Vampire. After all, it's been since June since I have posted a review and Rick Gualtieri has waited an unforgivable amount of time for it. I read Bill The Vampire months ago and i'm still freaking giggling about it. I don't giggle much. Laugh, well yah. A good deep giggle? Not too often, hence, I treasure anyone or thing that causes them.
Bill has been added to my favorite list and belongs there. Even though life circumstances kept me from writing, I kept Rick's book in the forefront of my mind as the first review I would write when it was possible.
Bill is a geek, as you can surmise from the book cover and summary to follow. Awkward, self-deprecating, and goofy. I connected. I have a huge crush on geeks of all types. There is no truer and more exciting group of people you will ever encounter. They are heart-felt and honest in their pursuit of all things labeled geeky and i'm one of them.
Rick Gualtieri get's it and his portrayal of an unlikely vampire is dead on, (pun intended). Smart and goofy, Bill takes us on his journey through a dangerous world of supernatural killers but stands back with the rest of us as we see hilarious stereotypes, vampire posers and a trashy heroine who treats Bill like crap, leaves him for food then uses him for her own purposes. Tramp with a heart of gold?
As characters are so important to me, I focused on all of them and was rewarded with unique and entertaining personalities from the vampire leader, Night Razor to his steriod-raged cronies, I was thoroughly involved and turning pages like the wind.
Bill The Vampire contains the mind of a geeky dude, the heart, mostly, of a street-tough vamp chick and the ego of a wannabe Vampire Master. A hilarious string of events when all are combined and an unexpected conclusion that has you cheering and giggling.
Book Summary: There are reasons we fear the night. He isn't one of them.
Meet Bill Ryder: programmer, gamer geek, and hopeless dweeb when it comes to women. All he ever asked for out of life was to collect his paycheck, hang out with his buds, and eventually (someday) ask out the girl of his dreams.
However, then Bill met Sally. She was mysterious, aggressive, and best of all...smoking hot. Bill never stood a chance. Before he knew what was happening Sally had lead him to his death, and that was only the beginning of his troubles.
Now Bill awakes to find himself an undead predator of the night. The only problem is he’s still at the bottom of the food chain.
He’s in way over his head, surrounded by creatures more dangerous, better looking, and a whole lot cooler than he is. Worst of all is the dreaded Night Razor, a master vampire who just can’t stand him. He gives Bill a 90 day deadline to either prove himself or meet a more permanent kind of death, and the deck is definitely stacked against him.
But Bill isn’t exactly average. A vampire like him hasn’t been seen in over five centuries. He's got a few tricks up his sleeve, unlikely allies to help him out, and an attitude problem that makes him just too damn obnoxious to quit. He may just pull it off... if he doesn't get his teeth kicked in first.
When I read the unique summary for this story, I just had to read it. I am a horror movie buff which I'm sure does not surprise anyone who reads my re...moreWhen I read the unique summary for this story, I just had to read it. I am a horror movie buff which I'm sure does not surprise anyone who reads my reviews. Not only was this story promising the horror i love, it also combined the two mediums I use to get my horror fix; books and movies. What could possibly go wrong?
Well not much did go really wrong, the story read well and was fast paced; it did indeed provide a unique plot that had me wondering what the hell was going on and had copious amounts of gore. Gore!
Before I go further, here is the summary from the book; Terror in the Trees, the latest uber-low budget slasher flick is slaying people... literally. But is it all hype or is there an evil force behind the supposed deaths? Special Agent Bolder had best find out before the President attends the Hollywood premiere...
We start the story in line to see Terror in the Trees. The line is long and the first group of movie-goers are already down in the theater watching. Three friends waiting for their turn are listening to the screams from the audience and bouncing with excitement while exchanging horror movie tidbits and trivia when suddenly hell breaks loose in the theater. People are busting out the windows, bleeding and screaming. Chaos erupts as police and medics arrive and try to help. A great beginning as far as I'm concerned. It speaks to the creepy side of my personality that enjoys unexpected chaos and doom in my entertainment.
Enter our main characters. The FBI agent who chose white collar crime after a horrific experience as an undercover agent. The woman who left him at the alter years ago who is now the chief PR agent with the movie studio that bought the rights to Terror in the Trees and a college student working on his Masters in cinema who has a theory as to why this movie has caused so much bloodshed.
They become unlikely allies as the try and stop the movie from premiering with and audience of celebs and even the President.
As I hinted earlier, I did enjoy much of the read but found I only connected/liked one character, I also found the underlying 'cause' of the violence to be way over the top and a few scenes were just ridiculous. Even for horror.
All in all I will recommend this to horror buffs. It is bloody fun. I also really like Elena Gray and other works from her. This was a bit different from her usual but i appreciated it.(less)
The Boat by Christine Dougherty is definitely not your average zombie story, although it has zombies. It isn't your average Post-Apocalyptic story, ye...moreThe Boat by Christine Dougherty is definitely not your average zombie story, although it has zombies. It isn't your average Post-Apocalyptic story, yet there is a plague that causes death and zombies, creating a Post-Apocalyptic environment. Which also makes a great setting for a Survivalist story, though not your......wait for it....average Survivalist story. See, Christine just doesn't do average, ever, and decided to write a fast-moving, horrific, nail-biting, zombie plague story of survival set two months after the aforementioned apocalyptic event. With a twist. A really bad twist. I am not surprised. I met Christine last year when she asked if I would review her novel The Devil Stood Up. As most of you know, I love me some good Horror and was thrilled to accept a copy for review. I eat Horror and Suspense for breakfast, one awesome reviewer on GoodReads, Stephen, http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/..., asked me in a round about way, what kind of book would actually scare me. I really didn't have an answer, until Christine Dougherty. Turns out I couldn't finish The Devil Stood Up. It disturbed the hell out of me and I had to put it down. For the first time ever I had to write an author and humbly apologize for being a wimp and not finishing their book. The writing was excellent but you couldn't make me pick it up again. Instead of throwing rocks and laughing at me, Christine apologized and even asked for another review on her Urban Fantasy novel Born Lucky (The JD Chronicles). I loved it. I love the versatility Christine brings to the table. The Boat isn't overwhelmingly scary but it is very good and original and I urge lovers of Horror, Suspense and Urban Fantasy to check out this exciting author!
Book Summary:At the end of the world, the undead aren't the greatest threat to those who have survived.
A deadly plague brought on by an experimental AIDS drug called Lazarus sweeps the country. Lazarus, named so because it brings patients back from the brink of death, has the unfortunate side effect of bringing the dead back to life. A handful of survivors have made their way to water where the walking dead–called 'sinkers'–are less of a threat. These battered and traumatized survivors have colonized a super yacht (Flyboy), a tugboat (Big Daddy), and a weekender yacht (Barbra's Bay Breeze). As they wait for more survivors and organize a voyage south to a warm climate, they unintentionally bring aboard a monster who might be the end to them all.(less)
The first thing I noticed about Alison Wonderland was the contradictory reviews on Amazon. Now, I made sure not to read the actual reviews, a very bad...more The first thing I noticed about Alison Wonderland was the contradictory reviews on Amazon. Now, I made sure not to read the actual reviews, a very bad practice for reviewers in my opinion. (I am big on opinions, I know.) I did, however, notice the Star Ratings. Fours, twos, fives, threes... it was odd. Having corresponded through email with Helen Smith, I knew her to be articulate and very interesting so I was confused with the ratings I saw.
So I began to read. And read, read some more, remember I missed dinner, and read while I ate dinner. I was delighted! Helen Smith's writing style is enchanting in it's vibrant colors, neurotic characters and flamboyant plot-lines. It's like listening to that wonderful friend, the one who travels all over the world; wears bohemian mixed with designer clothing; has friends with yachts and still can't wait to regale you with her stories, talking non-stop into the night with bottles of wine piling up on your coffee table.
I can see where some would get confused if they tried to take the characters too literally and too seriously. Helen Smith is very clever in that she weaves many "Easter Eggs" into most aspects of the story. It's like falling into the rabbit hole and discovering brilliant people who aren't quit what you expect and scenes filled with double-entandre. I loved every minute of it.
Please do not misunderstand me, this is not a bizarro read in which nothing makes sense and you have to re-read every chapter to get it. In fact, it flowed for me and I became lost in the story. In fact, the story is very straight forward. (Smiles)
Alison Temple has hired an all woman investigative company. She wants to confirm that her husband is not cheating on her. She eventually becomes an investigator at that very office. Once she has become experienced her boss sets her on a very secret assignment and the adventure begins.
You will love her friend Taron who is just plain nuts and lovely. Her neighbor Jeff, who is madly in love with her, is an inventor of crazy but useful things. The relationships are refreshing and funny and believable.
This is a smart story. Fantastical and fun. A decadent read that I loved and strongly recommend to contemporary, urban fantasy, mystery and the curious! Just kick off your shoes, lay back and open your mind, then open the book.....
Here is the Summary from GoodReads but I warn you, it doesn't do it justice. When Alison joins Mrs Fitzgeralds Bureau of Investigation as a private detective, her new job takes her on a series of loosely linked adventures involving an abandoned baby, a transgenic animal and secret tunnels under The Thames. She travels from London to the seaside town of Weymouth and back again with her new best friend Taron, a girl with a hundred candle smile. But someone is betraying her. Is it Taron? Is it Jeff, the sweet-natured inventor who writes her poetry? Or are there darker forces at play? 'Only occasionally does a piece of fiction leap out and demand immediate cult status. Alison Wonderland is one.' The Times(less)
Embattled tells the story of Miracle Madame, a woman who begins showing up during acts of violence against the oppressed all over the globe. She walks...moreEmbattled tells the story of Miracle Madame, a woman who begins showing up during acts of violence against the oppressed all over the globe. She walks in to the middle of a conflict without being harmed and miraculously stops the violence by persuading armies, oppressors, and murderers of all types to give up their weapons and negotiate peace. No one know who she, where she came from or how she does it. Not even Miracle Madame. Known as Em by the two who love her, the Power who controls her and the man who becomes obsessed with her, she only knows that this is what she does. She doesn't remember a normal life or how she came in to this 'job', only that she must do it. She is a normal woman who longs for friends and someone to lean on but the Power who communicates to her through a ring does not answer her questions. Questions about herself and who she is or why she was chosen to be a savior. She worries her mission to end war will actually be detrimental to the world in the future and she worries that every decision she makes will backfire and cause even more strife. Yves is the Power who is tasked with Earth and is the one who chose Em to be the one who carries out his objectives for Earth. As time goes on, Em begins making her own decisions and doing very well. Yves, who is from a society that shows no emotion, begins to fall in love with her. When he starts seeing Ron, a man who has become obsessed with Em through the news, he becomes jealous. Eventually Em begins dreaming of another life, a life where she is normal. Bits and pieces of that existence start bleeding through to her life as Miracle Madame and she realizes she is living a double life but has no idea who her other self is. Wanting to discover herself starts to become a frightening thing when she meets and falls in love with Ron. They have so little time together and always a few days in many months because of the work she must do. This story is interesting and has some wonderful moments but I did find a lot of the beginning to be confusing. I enjoyed the premise of the plot and it was exciting to see what Miracle Madame would do next but I could not connect with Yves, her 'Power' and his journey into human emotion. I didn't empathize with him or his reality. As for Ron and his romance with Em, moments were sweet and I felt his anguish at Em's work but he felt off-balance and a bit incapable. Em was a great character and in my opinion the story would have benefited from delving more deeply into her duality. I could see a series of books with Em and her struggle to do the right thing.
Here is the book summary:With blood on her hands, strange words coming out of her mouth, and her face all over the media, Em knows that she did stop the jungle battle, storm into the armed courtroom, face and defeat the zealot soldiers. But, “working” for the powers controlling her, she is haunted with not knowing about or being connected to her own life. And, at some point she will have to decide which of her two lives are her true destiny.
Yves, her controller has his own set of problems as a rookie learning to be a Power, trying to communicate with Em, facing her doubts and questions as well as his own, and struggling to control the onslaught of emotions that arise from his association with humans. He risks losing his chance for advancement, his chance to free his people, even his life, by falling in love with Em.
Overall an enjoyable read with moments of intensity and tenderness. An interesting look at human nature faced with God-Like abilities. Fantasy and Sci Fi readers as well as romance lovers should enjoy this as well.(less)
Cedardale Court is a delightful romp through the high drama of parental paranoia, unrequited love, blackmail, and murder. The cast of characters are i...moreCedardale Court is a delightful romp through the high drama of parental paranoia, unrequited love, blackmail, and murder. The cast of characters are interesting and imperfect and I loved them. Canner and Chloe are a father and daughter looking for a new and better life. Crippled by his fear of losing his daughter and haunted by visions of his dead wife, Canner is hoping that their move to his Uncle Henry's home in Oregon will gain stability for Chloe. Chloe is a smart and precocious ten year old wanting her father to be happy and will do whatever is needed to help him. Henry has lived alone most of his life and is uncertain of how things will go. His secret love for his neighbor Jane has defined him and his actions for two decades leaving him unprepared for a new family. Jane has waited patiently for Henry but secrets of her own has made her decide to leave Cedardale Court forever. The remaining cast are just as torn in their lives but are as wonderfully imagined as our main characters. Nathan Lee Christensen weaves an entertaining soap opera of murder and mayhem that kept me enthralled throughout. He allows his readers to flit seamlessly into the minds of all of his characters giving us a point-of-view that pulls us in and makes us feel as if we were part of the story. The author deserves every one of this 5 Star rating due to his mastery of immersing his reader completely and telling a complex story effortlessly. Plus, it was just plain fun.
Here is the Summary: Full of daring fools, haunting old flames, and brimming with panicked villainy, Cedardale Court captures the final days of Canner Connelly’s ten year struggle; his quiet avoidance of death. Despite his best efforts, and a well-intentioned move to the Oregon countryside, the safety and peace-of-mind he’s longed for since the passing of his wife, for him and his daughter, Chloe, finally appears to be within reach. But, upon waking the next morning, the promising start at Uncle Henry’s falls rather short as the sun comes up over the tree line, and the ever inept inhabitants of Cedardale Court begin to start their days. A domestic dispute, a little reckless driving, and a broken fire hydrant later, what normally might have been a very enjoyable Sunday quickly turns into a slightly darker affair as a severed human hand, well, half of one really, turns up in Uncle Henry’s bushes. Things only get messier, and more frightfully uncertain as, one by one, the secrets that have so carefully been kept, for so very long, start to unravel for everyone. For Canner and Chloe, amidst the drunkenness, burgling, kidnapping, extortions and murders of the people around them, suddenly it’s no longer a struggle to maintain normalcy, or even an attempt to deny the familiar ghosts lurking around every corner; it’s now a question of whether or not they’ll come out of this with their wits, or if they’ll even make it out at all. In the face of the monstrously absurd, this little neighborhood, this absolutely out of control cul-de-sac, might serve as the key to opening the door for Canner and Chloe’s new life, or it might be exactly what it appears to be; the gateway to the undoing of them all.(less)