Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Butcher

 The Butcher, Jennifer Hillier, reviewed for Netgalley

Amazon Blurb -

A rash of grisly serial murders plagued Seattle until the infamous “Beacon Hill Butcher” was finally hunted down and killed by police chief Edward Shank in 1985. Now, some thirty years later, Shank, retired and widowed, is giving up his large rambling Victorian house to his grandson Matt, whom he helped raise.

Settling back into his childhood home and doing some renovations in the backyard to make the house feel like his own, Matt, a young up-and-coming chef and restaurateur, stumbles upon a locked crate he’s never seen before. Curious, he picks the padlock and makes a discovery so gruesome it will forever haunt him… Faced with this deep dark family secret, Matt must decide whether to keep what he knows buried in the past, go to the police, or take matters into his own hands.

Meanwhile Matt’s girlfriend, Sam, has always suspected that her mother was murdered by the Beacon Hill Butcher—two years after the supposed Butcher was gunned down. As she pursues leads that will prove her right, Sam heads right into the path of Matt’s terrible secret.

A thriller with taut, fast-paced suspense, and twists around every corner, The Butcher will keep you guessing until the bitter, bloody end.
*****

Edward Shank is quite the imposing figure even at 80 years old.  Respectfully if not fondly called the Chief by all inclucing his grandson Matt, he is moving into a senior citizen community after recently becoming a widower, and leaving his beautiful large old home to Matt.  The Chief shot to fame, no pun intendended, by shooting a serial killer that had been stalking women in the Seattle area.  

Matt is on his way to success.  He's the owner of a restaurant and food truck that has attracted the attention of reality tv, best friends with a former quaterback for the Seattle Seahawks and a gorgeous girlfriend who is an author of real crime stories.  He's got the world at his feet.  His only beef, his girl Sam wants to move in after being together for three years, and Matt really doens't want any part of it.  Oh, and her mother was killed when she was a baby and Sam thinks the Butcher did it.  There's only one problem, her mother was murdered AFTER his grandfather shot the Butcher.

Sam belongs to a murder buff website and is contacted by someone who claims to know the real Butcher's idenity.  Struggling with her relationship with Matt as well as trying not to offend the Chief with this pursuit of hers, Sam sets up a meeting.  She finds out the woman, Bonnie Tidwell, was a friend of her mother's and actually cared for Sam when she was a baby.  Something spooks Bonnie and she doesn't tell Sam the identity, and then turns up dead, and she isn't alone.  Is there a copycat killer out there, or was the Butcher really never caught?

I liked this book.  It was fast paced, a good page turner.  Decent characters, great interaction with them.  You know what the deal is almost out of the gate, but you don't know the outcome till the end, and that doesn't kill the story at all.  This is my second Hillier read and it was really good.  Give it a go :)

3 1/2 cannolis


Friday, June 20, 2014

The Red Hot Fix


  
The Red Hot Fix by T.E. Woods
Netgalley Review












Amazon Blurb -

What do you say, Morton Grant, Chief of Detectives? You got what it takes to find me? Show me a move. . . . Or I’ll have to show you one of mine.

A little more than a year after the Fixer killings, Detective Mort Grant of the Seattle PD once again has his hands full. In the last four months, seven men have been murdered in seedy pay-by-the-hour motels: first strangled, then tied with rope and set on a bed of crushed mothballs, with a red lipstick kiss planted on their foreheads. Speculation abounds that the killer is a prostitute who’s turning her tricks into dead men. The press has taken to calling her “Trixie.”

As Mort follows scant leads in the case, he can’t help but feel continued guilt over his involvement with the Fixer. Though the public holds her up as a folk hero, a vigilante who seeks justice when the system fails, Mort cannot shake the fact that serious crimes have been committed. And though legend says she has vanished, Mort knows exactly where the Fixer is—and he’s conspiring to keep her hidden.

As Trixie strikes again, Mort suddenly finds himself and his family in the crosshairs. Because thesenew murders are not random, and their perpetrator is hell-bent on luring Mort into a sick and twisted game. If he’s not careful, he’s going to need Fixing.
 *****

Mort Grant is Chief of Detectives in Seattle.  He's got a bit of a problem, johns are turning up dead in motel rooms around the city.  The killer has been dubbed "Trixie".  In the midst of this mess he struggles with the guilt of his involvement with the Fixer, a vigilante killer that many view as a hero.

As he and his detectives start getting close to piecing this puzzle together one of Seattle's most wealthy and prominent businessmen, Rhinehart Vogel turns up dead in what seems to be another Trixie hit.  Is he really another victim of Trixie?  Or a copycat?  The path Mort takes drags his son into the fray in a way he never imagined.

This book was ok.  You really don't need to read the first to follow along with this one.  I found it a bit all over.  You had the Fixer doing her thing, you had Trixie, and you had the Vogel intrigue with his basketball team, his star player and his business issues.

I didn't find myself turning pages in anticipation of what happens next.  I found Trixie to be meh in the killer category.  Trying to shoot for Gretchen Lowell of Chelsea Cain's series but not quite cutting it.  I couldn't form a bond with any of the characters in the book, and the most interesting part of the book for me came between Vogel and his rookie player Barry Gardner in the restaurant.

For me it wasn't the best thriller, but I would still recommend it as a decent read.

3 Cannolis

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Torn Asunder


Torn From You by Nashoda Rose

Amazon Blurb -
It is highly recommended to read "With You" the novella first.

*Warning: This book contains some very disturbing situations, graphic violence, strong language and sexual content. Over 18 years.

Love is like an avalanche. It hits hard, fast and without mercy.

At least it did for me when Sculpt, the lead singer of the rock band Tear Asunder knocked me off my feet. Literally, because he’s also a fighter, illegally of course, and he taught me how to fight. He also taught me how to love and I fell hard for him. I mean the guy could do sweet, when he 
wasn't doing bossy, and I like sweet.

Then it all shattered.

Kidnapped.
Starved.
Beaten.
I was alone and fighting to survive.
When I heard Sculpt's voice, I thought he was there to save me.

I was wrong.

*This is a love story with dark elements. Dark contemporary romance. No cliffhanger and next in the Tear Asunder series is Ream's story (the band's lead guitarist). 
*****

SPOILERS ARE COMING!

Wow!  What can I say about this crapfest!?!  Hang on cuz there's gonna be spoilers and I am going to rant about just how far fetched this book is and what a waste of good reading time.  Why did I finish it? Huh, I think it became morbid curiosity after a bit.  Look, I'm not one to rake an author over the coals, but this was just crazy.  It has a disclaimer on Amazon due to the "dark" subject matter as you can see in the above blurb.  Hhhmmm, being kidnapped and made a sex slave, could make a decent story. Hey, I really liked the movie Taken. Finding out your boyfriend is in the middle of it, well all bets are off, right?  Nah, not here, in this story the female protagonist Emily finds she can't help herself and loves him.  Never mind that he screws her in front of a bunch of disgusting men who "own" these poor girls.  Even worse, Sculpt, yeah you read right that's his name and I'll touch on the dumb names in a bit too, throws in her face that she didn't stop him, she consented every time they 
had sex.  Uh WHAT!?!

This is a sad tormenting subject because this horror does happen.  That they tried to make it a love story is ridiculous.  Sculpt's father Raul is the head honcho of this barbaric mess. Sculpt's mother was his prisoner/slave, hence Sculpt being born.  He is an MMA fighter and a singer in a rock band, ooooo weee how awesome. His mother escaped with him, now Raul wants payback and Sculpt want him dead.  His father wants him to fight for him and Eme is the prize that gets dangled like a carrot for an incentive.  See here's the thing, they were boyfriend and girlfriend and his father kidnapped her into his sick world and Sculpt went to rescue here.  The rub?  He never let her know he was saving her, his reason being that she wouldn't act afraid and the crew of depraved animals would know it was an act.

Foul language abounds by the guys and girls regardless whether there are ladies present or not in this 
book.  The love scenes are not romantic or moving at all.  Sculpt is an overbearing gorilla and Emily is a poor excuse for a lead girl.  One scene so hard to believe, a prisoner named Raven that Eme met before getting out is rescued by Deck after being held for 2 years and do they take her to a hospital or her family, or even the police? Nah, they let her stay with friends Georgie and Deck.  How absurd and completely unbelievavle is that?

Now about those dumb names.  While Sculpt's given name is Logan, only his mother and sometimes Emily call him that, then you have Crisis, Kite, and Ream.  Someone give me a break.  I don't recommend this book, and not because of the subject being too dark, but because it was terrible.

1 cannoli


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Room

     Room, by Emma Donoghue

Amazon Blurb -

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
*****
Jack is five.  Yesterday he was four, but today he's five.  He lives in a room 11x11 with his Ma who was kidnapped seven years ago at 19 by Old Nick and repeatedly raped by him.  I guess you can say Jack is THE only bright spot in this torturous situation.  Jack is her sanity, her security blanket, her sunshine.  For Jack Room is his whole world.  No windows, but for a skylight on the roof, he has no concept of the outside world at all.  Ma has told him that the little of it she allows him to see on tv is all fake.

I had a rough time with this book.  Not just the subject matter but the verbiage.  Narrated completely by Jack who's speech pattern really got annoying after awhile.  I would have liked to have it go back and forth between him and his mother just for a break.  Dealing with being at the absolute mercy of her captor was excruciating.  If he was angry at her he shut their electricity as punishment, she had to worry that he might not come back with food and supplies for them.  

This isn't an easy read by a long shot, it made me feel queasy and I couldn't stop thinking about Jaycee Dugard and the Ohio girls.  If you can get past the subject matter and baby banter give it a go.

3 1/2 cannolis



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

We Are The Goldens

 
We Are The Goldens
Dana Reinhardt
Netgally review
Available May 27, 2014

















Amazon Blurb -

Nell worships her older sister, Layla. They're one unit, intertwined: Nellayla. As Nell and her best friend, Felix, start their freshman year in high school, on Layla's turf, there's so much Nell looks forward to: Joining Layla on the varsity soccer team. Parties. Boys. Adventures.
 But the year takes a very different turn.
 Layla is changing, withdrawing. She's hiding something, and when Nell discovers what it is, and the 
consequences it might have, she struggles. She wants to support Layla, to be her confidante, to be the good sister she's always been. But with so much at stake, what secrets should she keep? What lies should she tell?
*****
Lovely!  Wonderful YA read.  This book narrated by protagonist Nell is a gem.   Two sisters, so very close, Layla and younger Nell.  Nell adores her older sister and this school year is going to be awesome.  She's starting high school and who's luckier than her?  She has an ace in the hole with super popular sister Layla at her side no awkward freshie teasing to deal with.  Her best bud in the whole world, Felix will be with her too, life is good.

Nell notices Sam right away, he's beautiful, she can't breathe when she's near him, but of course he has eyes only for Layla.  Funny thing is Layla doesn't notice him.  Layla doesn't seem to notice or have time for anyone.

Nell doesn't know what's happening at first, but when she finds out she's confused on what she should do.  Are some secrets meant to be told, even if it means hurting the one who means the most to you?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It never got boring for me.  Nell is a great character, and Felix is awesome :)  Reinhardt captures the mood of two sisters perfectly, the feelings of hurt and anger are right there so the reader feels it too.

Highly recommend this book for both the teenager to adult who enjoys YA. 

4 cannolis           


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Alone

  Alone, Lisa Gardner
Amazon Blurb -

Alone . . . Massachusetts State Trooper Bobby Dodge watches a tense hostage standoff unfold through the scope of his sniper rifle. Just across the street, in wealthy Back Bay, Boston, an armed man has barricaded himself with his wife and child. The man’s finger tightens on the trigger and Dodge has only a split second to react . . . and forever pay the consequences.

Alone . . . that’s where the nightmare began for cool, beautiful, and dangerously sexy Catherine Rose Gagnon. Twenty-five years ago, she was buried underground during a month-long nightmare of abduction and abuse. Now her husband has just been killed. Her father-in-law, the powerful Judge Gagnon, blames Catherine for his son’s death . . . and for the series of unexplained illnesses that have sent her own young son repeatedly to the hospital.

Alone . . . a madman survived solitary confinement in a maximum security prison where he’d done hard time for the most sadistic of crimes. Now he walks the streets a free man, invisible, anonymous . . . and filled with an unquenchable rage for vengeance. What brings them together is a moment of violence—but what connects them is a passion far deeper and much more dangerous. For a killer is loose who’s woven such an intricate web of evil that no one is above suspicion, no one is beyond harm, and no one will see death coming until it has them cornered, helpless, and alone.
*****
This was the first book of Lisa Gardner I've read, and I really liked it.  Trooper Bobby Dodge has been called out to a domestic distubance with a possible gun.  He's a crack shot, and when he makes a split second decision, his life is never the same again.  Breathtakingly beautiful Catherine Gagnon is the survivor of a horrendous crime, now she has to battle her powerful judge father-in-law over the death of her husband, his son.

How far will someone go to protect themselves? When you let crazy out of the box, is it possible to ever put it back in?

DD Warren plays a small part in this, and to be honest, I didn't like her that much, BUT, I liked the book so much that I'll definitely read more of the series.  I'm sure my opinion of her will change since the series is based on her and she becomes the prominent character.   I do like Gardner's writing style, and this story had me going right through to the end. 

3 1/2 cannolis


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Jane's Melody

 Ryan Winfield
 Netgally review











Amazon Blurb -

What boundaries would you cross for true love?

That's the question a grieving mother must answer when she takes in a young street musician she believes can shed light on her daughter's death—only to find herself falling for him. A sexy but touching love story that will leave you both tantalized and in tears, Jane's Melody follows a fortyyear-old woman on a romantic journey of rediscovery after years of struggling alone.
Sometimes our greatest gifts come from our greatest pain. And now Jane must decide if it's too late for her to start over, or if true love really knows no limits.
*****

This was simply a lovely book.  What a heart wrenching story of a mother's loss and love.  Jane's daughter has died due to a drug overdose.  While at the cemetery she sees a young man at her daughter's grave.  Wanting to know anything she can about her daughter's last weeks, she gives this handsome street musician a hand by hiring him to work on her yard and gives him room and board.

Caleb may be young, but he's wise despite his age.  He's sweet and gentle with Jane, drawing her out of her grief.   Slowly the two begin a relationship and Jane just blossoms under Caleb.  Of course she suffers from doubt being 15 years older than he is.  "Am I too old?"  "Why would he want me instead of someone his own age."  "Am I holding him down?"  All issues that are absolutely understandable.  She looks to her dear friend Grace for advice, who pushes Jane to do what she feels is right, letting 
her make these decisions on her own, while jokingly  letting her know she's the envy of all the gals in the Alan-on group!

As you read, your heart just aches for Jane and her battle with grief and what is right to do by Caleb.  Beautifully written, just love how Ryan handles this tough subject with a softness that touches you, and love the romance too, sexy and sweet.

A special book, I highly recommend this read!

4 cannolis  



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