I picked up One Grave Too Many after reading a recommendation by Ilona Andrews, knowing I would surely enjoy something she liked enough to recommend.I picked up One Grave Too Many after reading a recommendation by Ilona Andrews, knowing I would surely enjoy something she liked enough to recommend. She doesn’t do it often, but when she does, the books are always worth checking out. The Diane Fallon Forensic Investigations series has nine installments, published between 2004 and 2010. One Grave Too Many is the first one.
We meet Diane Fallon after a very traumatic period in her life. Past evens are revealed slowly, but we learn right away of her determination to quit forensic work and dedicate herself to being the director of a museum. Diane can’t handle any more mass graves and her new career is guaranteed to keep her away from dead people. Naturally, things don’t turn out the way she planned. Soon she is involved in an investigation that reminds her of her past traumas and opens wounds that could easily break her.
Diane fights battles on many fronts. Being new to leading a museum and a perfectionist to boot, she has plenty of problems to deal with daily. Connor offers great insight into the inner workings of a natural history museum and successfully inserts plenty of detail without suffocating the plot. Forensic details are also aplenty, giving the impression of a thoroughly researched book, which is always appreciated. With a whole family murdered in cold blood, the reader gets victims that are easy to care about and a reason to get invested into Diane’s investigation.
Diane’s character, however, is insufficiently developed. There are a few hints that could later lead to deeper characterization, but mostly we are given the picture of a solitary perfectionist with past traumas we can’t quite feel. Any description of her appearance is omitted – likely purposely – which makes it a lot harder to see her in our minds. Her relationships, such as they are, could also be described as underdeveloped, but with some hope for future installments.
Overall, this is a worthy read that follows the path of writers like Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs, but doesn’t quite reach their heights. If you’re looking for a decent forensic mystery, this might just be it, as long as you don’t expect too much of its characters.
Cate Ashwood’s writing has been very dear to my heart ever since her Hope Cove series first came out. I’ve read most of her books since then and enjoyCate Ashwood’s writing has been very dear to my heart ever since her Hope Cove series first came out. I’ve read most of her books since then and enjoyed them all, but this series by far surpasses all her previous work. Zero Hour is a compelling blend of mystery and romance and one of those series I plan on rereading whenever the mood strikes.
A Forced Silence, the first book in this series, told the story of Adam and Sam. The two of them found each other again right in the middle of a murder investigation and they rediscovered their feelings slowly, all the while trying to solve multiple murders. While they did find a culprit eventually, the ending made it clear that there are more people involved and that there will be more books to come.
A Fallen Heart shifts focus to Ford and Nash. Ford is an ER nurse and Nash a paramedic. Unlike Sam and Adam, they don’t share a mutual past. They’ve only just met, under less than stellar circumstances. Ford just ended an abusive relationship and is still recovering both body and soul. His confidence is shaken thoroughly and he’s finding it hard to trust that Nash might be there to stay. Nash is a far simpler guy, but nuanced nevertheless. He is steady and loyal to a fault, which is precisely what Ford needs.
The two get tangled in the ongoing mystery as Nash responds to an emergency call and finds a hurt and abused young boy, the first one who survived our serial killers. Ford gets unusually attached to the boy and supports him throughout his stay in the hospital. As the mystery untangles and more victims start surfacing, both Ford and Nash are determined to protect the boy and themselves.
I admire Ashwood for always finding ways to keep her stories original and fresh. There isn’t very much that hasn’t been done in romance, but she weaves her story in a way that constantly surprises and thrills. There is a lot of love and a whole lot of heartbreak in A Fallen Heart. Ford especially has to go through so much before he can retake control of his life.
The ending once again made it clear that more is yet to come. We might get a new couple in the next book, but the mystery remains very much alive. We’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out who is mutilating and killing those boys, but I’m sure Ashwood will make it worth our while. This is a series I’d highly recommend to both romance and mystery fans.
Fish Out of Water is the very first mystery penned by Amy Lane, a living legend of the M/M romance genre. Lane usually writes contemporary romance witFish Out of Water is the very first mystery penned by Amy Lane, a living legend of the M/M romance genre. Lane usually writes contemporary romance with the occasional forays into PNR, but her desire to branch out further was met with a lot of well deserved enthusiasm. As with everything else she does, Lane runs this story smoothly with seemingly no effort at all, her experience as a writer shining through despite her relative inexperience with mysteries themselves.
Amy Lane is known for her fully fleshed out, dynamic character. Lane is a student of human nature and she uses her vast knowledge to give us characters we will never forget. Nobody breaks them or fixes them quite like she does. Jackson Rivers is one of those – broken almost beyond repair, but honorable and principled as a rule. Jackson was betrayed by his birth mother, by the system and by the police force. Now a private investigator in a law firm, he trusts no one but his three best friends, two of which are also his foster family. The world doesn’t care about Jackson and Jackson doesn’t care about the world, but he would die in a second for his foster brother Kaden and his family.
As the second protagonist and Jackson’s love interest, Ellery doesn’t have such strong impact, but only because his past isn’t quite so traumatic. With his strength, determination and integrity, he is precisely what Jackson needs, even though the PI is reluctant to admit it. Ellery’s approach to life and love is simply amazing. He handles Jackson’s issues matter-of-factly, providing rock solid support and unflinching honesty.
The romance, however, is secondary. Lane has her characters busy uncovering corruption, being shot at, attacked at every turn and isolated on all sides. Despite being emotionally damaged, Jackson is fantastic at what he does, and Ellery’s quick thinking helps to move them forward. Lane planned this very thoroughly and competently, although I sensed some insecurity in the execution. Several times I had to go back to reread because explanations and discoveries tended to be confusing. Nevertheless, it’s a minor flaw in an overall successful novel that left me hungry for more of Amy Lane’s writing.
Although it hasn’t been announced just yet, Fish Out of Water is obviously the start of a new series. Several things were left unresolved and Lane wouldn’t just abandon us with all those loose threads to keep us awake at night. Whenever it comes, Jackson and Ellery’s new adventure will be a treat for the fans.
Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey has it all. It’s an exciting mystery, a wonderful romance and a book that pushes the limits of its genre. Kasey created a Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey has it all. It’s an exciting mystery, a wonderful romance and a book that pushes the limits of its genre. Kasey created a unique protagonist with enough complexities and nuances to make him truly unforgettable.
For Ollie Petroskovic, the loss of his older brother Nathan, his only living family member, is devastating. He abandons his modeling career to take over Nathan’s PI business, without a license or any real experience in the field. While Ollie struggles with the feeling of abandonment caused by his brother’s suicide, good friends join forces to keep his head above water. His brother’s old army friend, Kade, comes to live with him and help with the business, but Ollie can’t trust that Kade won’t abandon him just like Nathan did.
There are so very few truly gender fluid characters like Ollie. He was based on Stav Strashko, an androgynous Israeli model who identifies as a woman because society demands it, but who’d prefer not to be categorized at all. Ollie identifies as male, but often dresses in women’s clothes of his own making and fully embraces his gender fluidity. He is a highly paid model at the height of his career and he loves and respects his body precisely how it was made.
Lissa Kasey did an excellent job of explaining the challenges a person like Ollie must face every day, even from those who love him the most. Someone who doesn’t fit into the gender binary molds of society struggles to find a place and be accepted. Even his best friend often failed to take Ollie seriously enough, and the overprotective stance of those closest to him often drove him crazy. But even more than that, the expectations for him to be something easy to define and describe were often crushing. Although he struggled with his role and the way people viewed him, Ollie’s self-image never suffered for a second. We desperately need more characters like him, beacons of hope and self-respect with wonderful defense mechanisms and so much bravery.
The plot itself is very well done and I applaud Kasey for keeping me fully engaged from start to finish. Ollie investigates a case involving his childhood friend and a porn reality show called Sex House. He doesn’t have his PI license nor is he particularly intimidating, but he is very good with people and incredibly clever. Ollie never stumbled around with his case and he never gave me the feeling that I was waiting for him to catch up. He only needed to prove his suspicions and his methods tended to be successful.
Aside from being a good mystery and a thrilling romance, Model Citizen is necessary to the genre. Everything about this book is wonderful and I’d strongly recommend it to everyone, even those who don’t usually choose their reads within the M/M genre.
For me, the summer always brings a craving for mysteries and thrillers. There’s something about these hot days that demands only the most exciting stoFor me, the summer always brings a craving for mysteries and thrillers. There’s something about these hot days that demands only the most exciting stories. Having missed The Bones of You, Debbie Howells’ praised psychological thriller, I decided to start with her newest release and work my way backwards if I happen to enjoy it. Although she’s often compared to Gillian Flynn and other famous mystery writers, Howells’ prose lacks the strength of books like Gone Girl. Despite its promising premise, The Beauty of the End is a colorless, uninspiring book that fails to grab attention or bring forth any real emotions.
The story is told from two seemingly unrelated points of view. Noah carries most of the narrative, but there are occasional interludes during which we follow a young girl named Ella. In addition, Noah’s story constantly jumps back and forth in time, from his early school days, to his days in college, to current events. Noah thoughts, and therefore his narration, are focused on one thing only – his childhood sweetheart and the only girl he’s ever loved, April. When he gets news that April is in a coma and that she’s accused of murdering her stepfather, Noah abandons the life he’s built and runs to her rescue, despite not seeing her for 16 years.
For a former lawyer and a crime writer, Noah is unbelievably clueless. His whole life he worshiped his idea of April, a girl that never really existed, while the actual person remained a mystery to him. There were so many things he should have read correctly, so many truths he should have seen. Watching him stumble about, being the very last person to know everything, was painful and not a little bit frustrating.
I imagine the story was meant to be complex and extremely suspenseful, but it lacked any real urgency. I wouldn’t call this story a thriller at all. If anything, it’s a tragedy of two people that were never meant to be. I had issues with the villain, too, seeing as he was both cartoonish and painfully obvious from the start.
The Beauty of the End is for those who enjoy dramas and tragedies, introspective stories with no HEA guaranteed. ...more
2.5 stars With the rising popularity of YA mysteries/thrillers and the never-ending demands for a creepy and suspenseful read, The Killer in Me was pr
2.5 stars With the rising popularity of YA mysteries/thrillers and the never-ending demands for a creepy and suspenseful read, The Killer in Me was pretty much guaranteed to succeed before it was even finished. The few early reviews that could be found had nothing but praise for Harrison’s debut, emphasizing mind-boggling twists and a very creepy atmosphere. A reliable publisher and a truly fantastic cover only added to the conviction that we hold a future bestseller in our hands, a book destined to be loved by many, regardless of their age.
The truth, for this reader, is vastly different. There is no doubt whatsoever that Margot Harrison had a fantastic idea, but unfortunately, the execution was lacking. Starting with the characters and ending with confusingly written scenes, The Killer in Me hides far too many disappointments and offers too few concrete answers.
There are several good things that can be pointed out about this book, the first and foremost being the original and unusual premise. Anything at all could be considered a spoiler in this case, so it’s best to just stick to generalities. Harrison found a fairly original approach to serial killers, something we haven’t seen before, at least not in YA. The opening chapters are purposely confusing and very promising, giving us the impression that the rest will be just as exciting. The author is also very talented when it comes to writing dialogues. All interactions between characters seem natural and unforced, or at least as much as they can, considering the tense circumstances.
The characters themselves, however, are still mostly unclear to me. Neither Nina nor Warren ever felt fully developed. I can’t really discuss my issues without giving away spoilers, nor can I mention the things that bothered me the most, but suffice it to say that Harrison’s characterization could have been better. The three main characters had such unexplored potential, things that could have been used to turn this into a truly memorable book, but the author chose to merely scratch the surface and to focus instead on plot twists that matter less the second we stop caring for the protagonists.
As for these plot twists everyone seems to be raving about, they truly are virtually impossible to predict. If there’s one thing I loved about this book, it’s that it managed to surprise me. However, the most important chapters were the most confusing, and the actual events are still a bit foggy for me. When dreams and reality intersect, it must be very clear where one ends and the other begins lest we end up with incomprehensible Inception moments that remain unclear until the very end.
It bears repeating that I seem to be very alone in my opinion, so please take it with a grain of salt. Read a sample at least, try to see if this book is something that might work for you. And if you do read it, please come back to discuss. I look forward to it.
It’s always so good to be back with our Charley. Even after ten books, she’s still such a breath of fresh air and she always makes us laugh. There’s bIt’s always so good to be back with our Charley. Even after ten books, she’s still such a breath of fresh air and she always makes us laugh. There’s been a lot of heartbreak in her life lately, but she always manages to stay upbeat and spread sarcasm wherever she turns. It could be the ADD, or maybe she’s just certifiably insane. Either way, it works for her, and it definitely works for us.
Charley is working on one of those cases only she could possibly solve. Emery Adams is dead, her fiancé accused of murder in what appears to be a slam dunk case. However, Charley is less than convinced, and so are Emery’s friends and family. The mystery takes some time to unravel, especially for an investigator with ADD, but as usual, it’s a good one. In addition, Charley stumbles upon a young homeless girl with a curse. If she is to save the girl’s life, she has to dig out the truth about a group home called Harbor House. Cookie is there to help, of course, but even then it’s a race against time.
The worlds of Charley Davidson (and there are now many) are becoming complicated. The number of her enemies and allies both is constantly growing. Now that some of her allies are guarding Beep, though, new people are showing up to fill in for them. I can never get enough of Darynda’s secondary characters, starting with Cookie and ending with Pari the tattoo artist. Fortunately, both of them get plenty of page time in this book.
I’m afraid I also have to address a pet peeve of mine, which takes up a lot of this book. For such a strong, practically destined couple, Charley and Reyes spend very little time actually talking to each other. In fact, most of their marriage is a series of ridiculous misunderstandings, made that much more difficult by Charley’s tendency to hide things and investigate behind Reyes’ back. She is the queen of wrong conclusions, and his avoidance techniques certainly don’t help. Fortunately for them, a wicked game of Twister can solve a lot, and the rest kind of takes care of itself.
Without another word, he stepped forward, and while still holding a plate in each hand, he bent down and put his mouth on mine. I raised half-closed fists to his chest and melted into him. Most of me did, anyway. Some of me melted into my panties.
I’m not sure how many more books we’ll be getting about Charley, but a spin-off is definitely in the works. All the signs are there, and while I’m sure no one could ever replace our Charley, her daughter at least deserves a chance to try.
First of all, thank you, Nora Roberts, for being consistently amazing. Getting the latest J. D. Robb book is practically a holiday in my house. No mo
First of all, thank you, Nora Roberts, for being consistently amazing. Getting the latest J. D. Robb book is practically a holiday in my house. No more than six months pass between her books, and yet somehow they always seem like an eternity.
Honestly, what could be better than a series that keeps on being awesome, even after 42 installments? Not much, that’s what. I know these characters inside and out, but more importantly, Nora knows them too, which means they are always, unfailingly, true to themselves. It’s high praise indeed for a series that’s gone on for approximately 15000 pages. High praise from someone who gets bored easily that I never, ever got even close to being tired of Eve and Roarke. Quite the opposite, each new book leaves me craving more and going back to reread my favorites just to feel close to them a while longer.
In Brotherhood in Death, Eve helps our favorite Professor Mira, a kind, gentle, if a bit scattered husband of Dr. Charlotte Mira. Dennis isn’t in trouble himself, but his cousin, US senator Edward Mira, most definitely is. It’s up to Eve to untangle a web of brotherhoods, vicious crimes and revenge, all the while keeping those she loves safe.
These characters progress and evolve even now, and it’s wonderful to see Eve open up to others and find comfort with friends like the ever-faithful Peabody. The two have such a significant moment in this book, one of appreciation and true friendship. It made me melt a little, and tear up at the beauty of it. Eve finally feels secure enough to rely on people other than Roarke. It was a slow process, so very difficult at times, but now that we see the person she was always meant to be, all of it seems somehow more manageable.
The crimes in this book are more violent, more vicious than usual. Trust Nora to find ways to shake us to the core. I love that her murders are rarely black and white. She prefers the gray areas, and she especially enjoys making us sympathize with the killers.
This is not a review, per se. It’s more of a love letter to this amazing author who keeps proving, again and again, that she knows how to keep a series alive.
4.5 stars A series that’s still exciting and fresh after no less than 41 installments is truly something to admire. I don’t think there are many autho
4.5 stars A series that’s still exciting and fresh after no less than 41 installments is truly something to admire. I don’t think there are many authors who can produce such a thing, and in fact, I know only of one: the wonderful, the incomparable J.D Robb, or Nora Roberts, if you will.
In Death series is a wonderful blend of romance, thriller and futuristic police procedurals. The futuristic setting sets it apart from others of its genre, as do the strong relationships between characters, both primary and secondary. There are many things about Robb’s recipe that work, and more than one reason why this series has consistently made #1 on the New York Times list.
In Devoted in Death, Eve and her team work to catch a pair of spree killers who’ve been running wild across the country. The couple of deranged lovebirds are leaving behind a trail of dead bodies, tortured and mutilated beyond comprehension, and Eve must use her considerable resources and her husband’s help to catch them. I generally don’t enjoy crime stories that offer the killers’ perspective. I don’t like knowing things and waiting for the investigators to catch up. But even with that, Robb does what no one else can do – she makes the hunt itself interesting enough to make up for the fact that we know who is being hunted. I must confess that I skimmed through several short insights into the victim’s mind, though. I can stomach most things – blood and gore don’t bother me at all – but rape isn’t one of them, no matter how subtly described. Overall, though, Robb is perfect at bringing forth every side of a crime, every emotion that occurs in the process, be it the killer’s, the victim’s or the investigators. She’s also perfect at building lives around her dead bodies, at showing us people after she shows us their deaths, so that we suffer and cry and mourn them right alongside their families.
Eve and Roarke have such a beautiful, unique relationship. It is a pillar that holds the series, but it doesn’t take attention away from the actual crime. I know people have been expecting some progression in their relationship, but I’m really happy with how things are. It’s been 41 books for us, but only three years for them. Things feel so deeply and utterly right.
Eve’s team is as strong as ever, with one very interesting addition in this installment. It takes a lot to create such a strong cast of characters, but that’s only to be expected in the 41st installment. At this point, I think I love Peabody She-Body, McNabb, Mira and everyone else just as much as I love Eve and Roarke, as impossible as that sounds.
We’ll have to wait almost a year for the next installment, but there’s plenty to reread until then. I have no doubt that I’m going to love as many books as Robb decides to write.
There’s a strange comfort in starting a book and knowing full well you’re going to love it, but not many authors can provide it. For me, Rhys Ford isThere’s a strange comfort in starting a book and knowing full well you’re going to love it, but not many authors can provide it. For me, Rhys Ford is one of those authors, proven by the fact that I just finished her 9th book, and enjoyed every single one of them. My favorite thing about Rhys is that she always brings cultural diversity in her books, allowing me to learn about different languages, customs and even food. It was Korea and Japan in her Cole McGinnis series, and now she brings us a touch of Mexico and just a dash of Cuba, all mixed together in one Dante Montoya.
Murder and Mayhem is perhaps a bit darker that her other books, but not by much. There’s a real mystery here, not just something superficial to enable and support the romance. If anything, the murders come first and Dante and Rook come second, which doesn’t mean that their romance is any less important or strong. But the focus is all on Rook’s past and the changes his character has to go through in order to truly change his life and accept Dante's affection.
Rhys dazzles with her ability to create characters filled with life, with every single detail about them clear and thought through. Rook, with his horrible abandonment issues, acted exactly as I would expect from someone with his background. And Dante, the juxtaposition of tenderness and strength, never afraid to take risks and be so refreshingly honest about them.
It was hard at first, as it usually is with such fleshed out characters, until we truly get to know them and get comfortable around them. There were times when Rook reminded me of a stray cat, with sharp claws ready to go straight for the eyes if someone gets too close. I loved how slowly his shields went down, how hard it was for him to trust. This relationship, like all of Rhys’ relationships, jumped right off the page and turned into something that was almost tangible and incredibly real. Luckily, this is going to be a series, because these characters have so much potential, enough to give us many more stories, possibly as many as Cole and Jae-Min. This is one I'll definitely reread.
I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Nora Roberts is the Nora Roberts for a reason. She knows just what her readers enjoy, and it’s clear frI’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Nora Roberts is the Nora Roberts for a reason. She knows just what her readers enjoy, and it’s clear from every page that she still enjoys it too, even after so many years and over 200 books behind her. It’s pretty clear when authors love what they do, and you can tell right from the start that this woman writes precisely what she herself would want to read.
The Collector is another one in a long line of successes, and while it’s far from being her best, it’s a book worth remembering. From passionate romances, to sociopath and long lost treasures, Roberts packed it all in this compulsively readable book.
We meet Lila Emerson, a YA paranormal author, as she is house-sitting for a wealthy couple. It’s something she does in her nomadic life, and while she does it, she likes observing people around her and making up their life stories. When she witnesses a murder right across the street, she doesn’t hesitate to notify the authorities and do something about it, but what seemed like a lovers’ quarrel gone terribly wrong is actually far more sinister and dangerous. Ash is the brother of one of the victims, determined to discover the truth about his baby brother’s death. In his grief, he doesn’t see Lila coming until she’s very deep under his skin, but they are both stubborn people set in their ways so their path is not the easiest or the quickest. Ash was sometimes difficult to like, although he was always easy to understand. He isn’t Nora’s usual hero – perfect in every way. While he’s handsome and rich, he is a hard man to live with, and I loved that Roberts never quite changed his nature, not completely. Anything else would have been a fairy tale.
There are two romances in this book – the main one, and the secondary romance between Ash and Lila’s best friends. Ash and Lila met under highly stressful circumstances and it reflected on their relationship. I wasn’t always convinced that they were meant for each other and it wasn’t all smooth sailing for them, but they grew together, they both compromised and changed and by the end, I was right there with them. It was a bit different with Julie and Luke. They got less time on page, but their second chance romance made my little heart beat faster right from the start.
I’m not the sort of person who shies away when a book is over 300 pages long, but I did wish for better editing in this case. There were times when I was extremely tired of this book because it seemed to go around in circles, and I suspect it would have been much more exciting with about a hundred pages less.