Thursday, February 12, 2015


Unbecoming by Rececca Scherm 
*book received in return for fair review
Amazon Blurb -

On the grubby outskirts of Paris, Grace restores bric-a-brac, mends teapots, re-sets gems. She calls herself Julie, says she’s from California, and slips back to a rented room at night. Regularly, furtively, she checks the hometown paper on the Internet. Home is Garland, Tennessee, and there, two young men have just been paroled. One, she married; the other, she’s in love with. Both were jailed for a crime that Grace herself planned in exacting detail. The heist went bad—but not before she was on a plane to Prague with a stolen canvas rolled in her bag. And so, in Paris, begins a cat-and-mouse waiting game as Grace’s web of deception and lies unravels—and she becomes another young woman entirely.

Grace is a young girl looking for a place to feel wanted.  Riley and his family did that perfectly for her. She was the daughter Doctor and Mrs. Graham never had. She and Riley were inseparable, his mom even set up a room for her. Part of a threesome that includes Riley's best buddy Alls, they all hangout together growing up in this southern town. The two's relationship blossoms into a romance at a relatively young age, but the dynamic of the threesome doesn't change.  

Told all through Grace's voice, we go on a trip through her life. We travel back and forth from the past to the present. From a young little girl who feels unwanted by her mother and then left out when twin brothers are born, to a teen getting ready to head off to college. There's one thing, Grace is a liar who also has a penchant for stealing. And so begins the plan to rob the town's historic museum.  

The heist goes bad quick landing Riley and  Alls in prison for three years.Grace goes on the run, now in Paris living as Julie working in a shop restoring antiques, hiding in hopes they never find her. Monitering the local paper through the internet for any info on their release, when the day finally comes, she is always looking over her shoulder. How it all unfolds was quite a surprise.

I liked this book.  I never really warmed up to neither Grace nor Riley, so I can see the comparison to Gone Girl, though I did find myself hurting for her more than once. Ms.Scherm has a great writing style. Going from the past to the present seamlessly it wasn't at all stilted. The only negative is that I didn't find it to be a real thriller in the sense of heart pounding action. Other than that, I recommend this book for a good read.

3 1/2 cannolis

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cold Cold Heart

Cold Cold Heart
Tami Hoag
Netgalley Review

Amazon Blurb -

Dana Nolan was a promising young TV reporter until a notorious serial killer tried to add her to his list of victims. Nearly a year has passed since surviving her ordeal, but the physical, emotional,and psychological scars run deep. Struggling with the torment of post-traumatic stress syndrome, plagued by flashbacks and nightmares as dark as the heart of a killer, Dana returns to her hometown in an attempt to begin to put her life back together. But home doesn’t provide the comfort she expects.

Dana’s harrowing story and her return to small town life have rekindled police and media interest in the unsolved case of her childhood best friend, Casey Grant, who disappeared without a trace the summer after their graduation from high school. Terrified of truths long-buried, Dana reluctantly begins to look back at her past. Viewed through the dark filter of PTSD, old friends and loved ones become suspects and enemies. Questioning everything she knows, refusing to be defined by the traumas of her past and struggling against excruciating odds, Dana seeks out a truth that may prove too terrible to be believed…


Dana Nolan is a fighter.  She never thought of herself as one. The pretty popular blond girl who dated the high school football player, she was on her way to success.  A new reporter just getting started, when she's kidnapped by a sick killer who tortures and rapes her before trying to finish her off. Dana is the only survivor of this monster.   

After a year of convalescing and therapy she is headed back to her childhood home. Certainly not the happy go lucky gal any longer, she categorizes herself as "before Dana" and "after Dana".  She is struggling with PTSD, as well as a brain injury which results in her having no memory of the incident let alone if she shut the water or how to even navigate the home she grew up in.  Family and friends are strangers to her now.  

Police are wanting to talk to her about the possibility of her kidnapper also having something to do with her best friend from childhood, Casey Grant's disappearance. As she tries to recall what happened that last day the two were together, disturbing pieces start coming back.  Dana is finding she feels she can't trust anyone.  Solving this mystery may just be her undoing.    

This was a great book!  First time reading Tami, and I loved it.  I was trying to figure it out all the way to the end. If I have but one critique, it was Detective Hardy.  I know he was supposed to be rough and gruff, but I found him a bit to hard on Dana knowing full well the atrocities she endured. Read this book people if you love to be on the edge of your seat and guessing to the end!

 4 cannolis

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Killer Next Door

The Killer Next Door
Alex Marwood
book recieved in return
for far review

Amazon Blurb -

Everyone who lives at 23 Beulah Grove has a secret. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be renting rooms in a dodgy old building for cash—no credit check, no lease. It’s the kind of place you end up when you you’ve run out of other options. The six residents mostly keep to themselves, but one unbearably hot summer night, a terrible accident pushes them into an uneasy alliance. What they don’t know is that one of them is a killer. He’s already chosen his next victim, and he’ll do anything to protect his secret. 

An eclectic group of tenants reside in a boarding home.  The landlord Roy Preece is a repulsive lech of a man who knows some of his tenants are between a rock and a hard-place and uses their situation as a tool to take advantage of them.

Lisa has come to live here on the run from a mobster whose money she has stolen quite accidentally, after witnessing henchmen delivering a deadly beatdown.   Hopping from place to place Lisa has been on the run from Tony Stott, barely one step ahead of him. Changing her name to Colette, she is hiding here from him while trying to care for her mom who is dying and in a home.

Tenants Vesta, a senior citizen who has lived there since she was a child with her parents, Hossein is seeking asylum, Gerard a divorced music teacher, Thomas a socially inept loner, and Cher, a 15 year old scrapper trying to stay out of the fostering system. Amongst them all is the Lover. One who ghoulishly collects women, preserving them, hoping each one is a better masterpiece than his last.

Their interaction and formed friendships make for an interesting story. In the sweltering heatwave they are dealing with plumbing problems and a stench of grand proportions.  Their landlord fixing the problem is not on his list of responsibilities to his tenants.  In a crazy twist that has them all working together, this group becomes an odd family unit.

I enjoyed this book. My only complaint, the detail was a bit much, and I wished for more focus on the main storyline itself and not on the side stories.  This had me pushing through at times, knowing the good stuff was coming. Alex Marwood has a great writing style, she weaves a tale that holds you in 
its grip.

3 1/2 cannolis

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Night Visitor

   The Night Visitor by Dianne Emley, Netgalley Review

Amazon Blurb -

Gorgeous and successful, Rory Langtry seemed to have it all. Daughter of a movie star and sister of a supermodel, Rory was engaged to sexy artist, Junior Lara. But her bright future went dark one terrible, bloody night that left her sister dead and the accused murderer—Junior—in an extended coma.

Now, five years later, Rory appears to have put the past behind her. She has a wonderful new fiancé and heads a successful cosmetics company. Yet dark secrets threaten. Across town, Junior lies close to death but before he departs he seeks to clear his name.

It starts with a feeling. It turns into a vision. Soon Rory is having sensations that only Junior could experience—from the horrifying to the erotic. Then she learns details about the awful night that only Junior could know, newfound knowledge with potentially fatal consequences. When another act of violence rocks her family, Rory plunges deeper into the unsolved mystery, led by an inexplicable visitor to a dangerous time and place where all will be revealed at last. But until then, Junior will not let her go.

Rory Langtry is a gorgoeus successful business woman.  She founded her own beauty biz and has built it from the ground up.  All this through the sorrow and tradgedy of her sister Anya's murder and her fiancĂ© Junior Lara being in a coma for the past five years.  A coma brought on by the supposed self inflicted gunshot AFTER allegedly killing Anya in his apartment. 

 Junior was an up and coming artist and he and Rory were a hot beautiful couple.  Anya was a gorgoeus supermodel who was never happy and decided she would stir the pot a bit.  Commissioning Junior to paint her nude in a piece that was almost identical to one he did of Rory, Junior's family believed Rory was the one who killed her sister and shot Junior out of jealousy.  He is in a vegetative state a shell of who he was.

Rory is engaged to attorney Tom, and on the evening of her family's annual fundraiser for families of murder victims, Rory starts having the beginning of many odd out of body experiences giving her a glimpse of the night of the murder in a way only Junior could see. Her body starts developing sores where Junior has them, she can feel the sensation of suffocation when he is having his lungs suctioned.  She has never gone to see him once since this whole tradgedy took place.  Now she finds herself having to go to him and find out what is happening, what is this mental connection that has formed.

Her fiance is worried, her mother is doing everything she can to stop her and her stepbrother is trying to pull a coup to oust her as head of her company.  The ending will leave you floored!

I really liked this book, a nice paranormal twist, and a who dunnit that really had me surprised.  Emley has a nice smooth writing style.   I highly recommend this read.

4 cannolis.

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, May 31, 2014


     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

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