Saturday, November 30, 2019

Review: The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

Author: Keigo Higashino, Alexander O. Smith (Translator)
Publisher: Minatour Books
Publication Date: February 2011

Yasuko lives a quiet life, working in a Tokyo bento shop, a good mother to her only child. But when her ex-husband appears at her door without warning one day, her comfortable world is shattered.

When Detective Kusanagi of the Tokyo Police tries to piece together the events of that day, he finds himself confronted by the most puzzling, mysterious circumstances he has ever investigated. Nothing quite makes sense, and it will take a genius to understand the genius behind this particular crime...

The Devotion of Suspect X is the first book from the Detective Galileo that was translated into English.  I'm always up for something new, so when it popped up as an audiobook in my library, I decided to give it a try.  This is the first book translated from a Japanese author that I have ever read.  It was an interesting experience.   I found this mystery much more straight foreword than most other mysteries.   I found the writing to be much more formal that I am used to.  I'm not sure if that is due to the translation or if it is just cultural.  

Even though you know who the killer is, there are a couple of twists that I didn't see coming  I did like the characters, particularly Detective Galileo.  I liked his way of figuring out the twist.  He is definitely a character I would be interested in reading about again. 

If I had to choose two downsides, they would have to be the ending and the audiobook narrator.  While I did enjoy the audiobook for the name pronunciation, I think I would have enjoyed it more had the narrator not had an American accent.  In a way, it took me out of the story.  I also didn't care for the ending.  I know it was probably more culturally fitting, but I didn't agree with the choice.  If you haven't tried this series yet, I do recommend going this one a try.

Friday, November 29, 2019

November DNFs

The Book Charmer:  I really wanted to love this book.  However, I ended up DNFing it about halfway through.  It was kind of boring.  The romance that I wanted wasn't the one I got.  I didn't feel the magic that was in the first book. The characters were flat and I really didn't care what happened to them.

The Lesson:  Sometimes a random library pick works out and sometimes, in this case, it doesn't.  I can honestly say that I got to about 30% and had no idea what was going on.  The story was disjointed and confusing.  I just wasn't the audience for it.

Gingerbread:  This was another really confusing book.  I literally listened to the first 20% three times before I gave up.  It was kind of like a the author just sat down and kept writing with no plan.  I wouldn't recommend this one.

Parental Guidance:  I dnf'd this book at 50%.  I found the characters really annoying.  As I kept reading, the set up just really annoyed me.  I thought the reason for Caleb being in the dating thing was ridiculous and overblown.  I just didn't care if this couple ended up together.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are taking a break today to spend time with our familes and friends.  To all of our readers and authors, we are so thankful for you all!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Blog Tour: Review of Cop Blocked by Aubree Valentine

Author: Aubree Valentine
Publication Date: October 2019


Rachel Beasley wants it all. Being stood up was just par for the course. She knew the pitfalls of putting herself out there…again. But why waste a sitter and good night out when there's a hot guy licking his wounds at the bar just a few feet away?


Logan Walsh likes his life the way it is.

Relationships were a minefield he'd rather not cross. It's not until kismet slides onto the barstool next to him that he begins to question everything in his life that he's held onto with an unbreakable conviction.

Rachel is a lethal combination for a man like Logan…she's gorgeous, sassy, independent and as he soon finds out…a single mother.

Minefield or not, he can't fight his feelings for Rachel or her adorable toddler and only one question is left to be answered.

Can a man like Logan handle being cop blocked?

Cop Blocked in the latest stand alone in the Too Hot to Handle series.  For the most part, it works well as a stand alone.  There were a couple of times that I felt like there was some back story with a few characters that I was missing.  However, it in no way took away from my enjoyment of the story.   Logan and Rachel were a fun couple.  It is a slow burn romance that helps to make their attraction really intense.  I loved watching Logan prove himself wrong when it came to his "allergy" to children.   It's a very quick read and one I definitely recommend.  I now want to go back and read the other couples' stories.

Read Now!

Author Aubree Valentine:

Aubree Valentine is a wife, mom and avid reader. Her love of books goes far behind weaving her own stories to tell. She realized her dream of becoming a published author by the time she was in high school and knew she'd stop at nothing to make that happen.

When she's not writing, she can be found chasing after her twins or her dogs, curled up with a good book or still working with some of her favorite authors.

This blogger event is brought to you by Forever Write PR. For more information, visit our Facebook page!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Review: Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia

Author:  Kate Racculia
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: October 2019

Tuesday Mooney is a loner. She keeps to herself, begrudgingly socializes, and spends much of her time watching old Twin Peaks and X-Files DVDs. But when Vincent Pryce, Boston’s most eccentric billionaire, dies—leaving behind an epic treasure hunt through the city, with clues inspired by his hero, Edgar Allan Poe—Tuesday’s adventure finally begins.

Puzzle-loving Tuesday searches for clue after clue, joined by a ragtag crew: a wisecracking friend, an adoring teen neighbor, and a handsome, cagey young heir. The hunt tests their mettle, and with other teams from around the city also vying for the promised prize—a share of Pryce’s immense wealth—they must move quickly. Pryce’s clues can't be cracked with sharp wit alone; the searchers must summon the courage to face painful ghosts from their pasts (some more vivid than others) and discover their most guarded desires and dreams.

A deliciously funny ode to imagination, overflowing with love letters to art, from The Westing Game to Madonna to the Knights of the Round Table, Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts is the perfect read for thrill seekers, wanderers, word lovers, and anyone looking for an escape to the extraordinary.

In Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts, Tuesday is pulled into a treasure hunt cooked up by a billionaire to commence after his death.  The stakes are high and the search brings Tuesday into contact with a whole cast of outrageous characters.

I'll start by saying that Tuesday Mooney doesn't really talk to ghosts and there is very little in the way of a similarity to The Westing game. Having said that,  I ultimately did like the book. I enjoyed all of the characters.  They really added a lot of color and flavor to the story.  My favorite had to be Tuesday's best friend Dex.  I also loved the  nod to old time horror movies and novels, particularly the Edgar Allen Poe references.  There are a lot of twists in the book, so I was kept guessing throughout.

My biggest disappointment came with the lack of actual treasure hunt.  I was expecting a lot more puzzles and actually hunting. But there were very few.  There was also a distinct lack of ghosts.  Unless you count all of he "ghosts" of the past that the characters have to face throughout the story.  At times, the writing had a distinct YA feel.  However, this is in no way a YA book.

If you are looking for a whimsical mystery, I would recommend giving this one a try. 

Monday, November 25, 2019

Blog Tour: Excerpt of The Art of Ghosting by Ashley Hastings

Release Tour for The Art of Ghosting by Ashley Hastings
Brought to you by Forever Write PR


Alice won’t be tied down, not to a man, a place, or a house plant. Even her job as a traveling nurse allows her to go where she wants, when she wants. And men? She enjoys their company, but when a man gets too close, it must be time to ghost him. 
James is a man whore who lives for the no-strings hookup. James thinks he has it made with Alice - until he falls hard for her and starts second-guessing his playboy ways. 
When James and Alice discover a 100-year-old journal in the walls of an old house she has inherited, they learn to fall in love alongside the writer of the diary. But do they have a ghost of a chance of making this relationship work? 

The Art of Ghosting is a standalone in a series of interconnecting novels. All of the books are set in the small, fictional town of Peacock, and the characters cross over from book to book. Although the books are linked, you can jump in and start reading with any book. Dual POV, contemporary romance with strong historical elements. 

Read for FREE only on Kindle Unlimted!!


Copyright @ Ashley Hastings 2019 

Okay, enough. I was going after this woman. I would look at the house, make my recommendations, and then I would ask her out.

No harm in making it an actual date, right?

I would take her out for dinner, and we could share a good bottle of wine and even better conversation. I wanted to get to know her. I wanted to hear about her travels and why she had chosen such a vagabond existence.

So what that I was deviating from my usual routine. Yes, I trolled bars and looked for the easy hookup, no strings attached. Dinner never happened, and conversation was kept to a minimum.

But that was okay. Was there really a problem with becoming friends before we had sex? I would be clear on my expectations and expect the same from her.

No problem.

I took about two minutes to unpack, which consisted of throwing my folded clothes into the dresser and putting toiletries in the bathroom. I would worry about cleaning and uncovering the furniture later.

Right now, I had a woman to woo.

After stopping at my truck to grab my toolbox, I walked back to the main house and let myself in, making a note to get a copy of the key from Alice. I made my way back down to the basement, figuring that was as good a place to start as any.

I was surprised to see Alice on all fours at the entrance to the closet underneath the stairs. I took a moment to appreciate the view, because I’m still a man, before saying her name.

She jumped.

“Oh!” Alice got to her feet in a hurry. “You snuck up on me. I’m trying to get Sharpie to come out of hiding.”

“I forgot he was in here.” I crossed over to where she stood and peered into the closet. “I don’t see him.”

“He ran in here a minute ago, and I think he might actually be in the wall. See that little panel?” Alice pointed to an access panel I assumed hid some sort of plumbing or electrical system. It was ajar.

She leaned into me, trying to get a better look in the gloomy basement. My brain promptly short-circuited as I breathed in her natural scent. Like rainwater or newly fallen snow. Fresh and beautiful.

Shaking it off, I reached in the toolbox for my flashlight and switched it on. I illuminated the dark corner of the closet, and Alice stepped in front of me. Crouched down on the floor again, she called for Sharpie, and his shining eyes appeared.

Alice held out her hand, and Sharpie slowly advanced, finally giving in to head butt her outstretched hand. His purr filled the closet.

Alice rubbed his head. “Does that feel good, Little Sir?”

I bet it did.

“This is an odd place for an access panel. I mean, it’s so low to the ground.” I was mostly talking to myself, but Alice nodded.

“Yeah. And it’s kind of hidden. If it were closed, I don’t think I would even realize it was here.” She pulled the panel open wider so I could see inside.


I leaned in further and shone the flashlight deeper into the panel opening. Still seeing nothing of interest, I stepped back.

Alice stopped me with one dainty hand on my arm. “Wait! What was that?”

Alice fished her hand around, out of my view, and pulled out a small cloth bundle with a triumphant flourish.

We stepped out of the cramped closet, and Alice unwrapped her find. We stared at a small, leather book of some kind.

Alice opened the old book with care. Scrawled on the first page with a feminine hand were the words, “Diary of Willow Baxter, Started November 1918, Age 16.”

“Holy shit.” I scratched the stubble on my chin with one hand, still looking at the diary.

Alice did a little happy dance. “Willow must have lived in the house and hid her diary here. This is so freaking cool.”

Fuck, she was adorable.

We sat down on the stairs together, and Sharpie sat a few steps above us, spread his legs, and started cleaning his asshole with no shame whatsoever.

Fucking cats.

Alice turned the page with extreme care, and her eagerness to read the secret thoughts of a teenager from over a hundred years ago made me smile.

“So, let me guess. She’s going to ramble on and on about petticoats and ribbons or some shit.” I rolled my eyes, prepared to be bored.

Alice punched me in the arm. “Hush! Let me read.”

I was ready for any excuse to spend time with Alice, so I shut my mouth and listened.

Author Ashley Hastings: 

Ashley Hastings latest book is Sweet Talk. She writes new adult, romantic fiction with a dash of suspense and a liberal sprinkling of humor. A lifelong Southerner, Ashley creates quirky characters in a small-town setting. When she’s not busy plotting her next book, Ashley is collecting cats and planning a future as a crazy cat lady.

Ashley’s favorite quote is "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door," by Milton Berle. She intends to build all the doors.

This blogger event is brought to you by Forever Write PR. For more information, visit our Facebook page!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Blog Tour: Excerpt of Day Zero by Kelly deVos

Author: Kelly deVos
ISBN:  978-1335008480 
Publication Date: 11/12/19
Publisher: Inkyard Press

Don’t miss the exhilarating new novel from the author of Fat Girl on a Plane, featuring a fierce, bold heroine who will fight for her family and do whatever it takes to survive. Fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It series and Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave series will cheer for this fast-paced, near-future thrill ride.

If you’re going through hell…keep going.

Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending the weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby.

But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos.

In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks—and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?

Buy Links: 

Enjoy this excerpt!
Dr. Doomsday’s Guide to Ultimate Survival
Rule One: Always be prepared.
I exhale in relief when MacKenna pulls the car into the Halliwell’s Market parking lot. Because of the Sugar Sales Permit waiting list, old stores like these are the only places that carry Extra Jolt soda. I have to buy it myself, because Mom won’t keep any in the house.
She thinks too much caffeine rots your brain or something. Halliwell’s is a squat brown building that sits across the street from the mall and is next door to the town’s only skyscraper.
The First Federal Building was supposed to be the first piece of a suburban business district designed to rival the hip boroughs of New York. The mayor announced the construction of a movie theater, an apartment complex and an indoor aquarium. But the New Depression hit, and the other buildings never materialized.
The First Federal Building alone soars toward the clouds, an ugly glass rectangle visible from every neighborhood, surrounded by the old town shops that have been there forever. Most of the stores are empty.
We park in front of the market.
Our car nestles in the long shadow of the giant bank building.
Charles gets out and stands on the sidewalk in front of the car.
MacKenna opens her door. She hesitates again. “Listen, I know you might not want to hear this or believe it. But my book report wasn’t about hurting you or getting revenge. I’m trying to get you to see what’s really happening here. That Carver’s election is the start of something bad. We could use you at the rally. You’re one of the few people who understands Dr. Doomsday’s work. You could explain what he did. How he helped Carver cheat to win.”
“I’ve been planning this raid for months,” I say. My stomach churns, sending uncomfortable flutters through my insides. I don’t know what it would mean to talk about my father’s work. What I really want to do is pretend it doesn’t exist. Pretend the world is normal and whole.
I reassure myself with the reminder that there’s no way MacKenna is going to the rally either.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Charles give us a small wave. Before MacKenna can say anything else, I get out and grab my backpack.
Inside Halliwell’s, I pick up a blue basket from the stack near the door. The small market is busy and full of other people shopping after school or work. The smell of pine cleaner hits me as we pass the checkout stations. They are super serious about germs and always cleaning between customers.
I leave MacKenna and Charles at the Click N’Grow rack near the door to check out the seed packets that my brother collects. Dad got Charles hooked on this computerized gardening that uses an e-tablet and a series of tiny indoor lights to create the ideal indoor planter box. Each week, they release a new set of exclusive seeds. Their genetic modifications are controversial.
All the soda is in large coolers that line one of the walls of the market. They keep the strange stuff in the corner. Expensive root beers. Ramune imported from Japan. And! Extra! Jolt! I put a few bottles of strawberry in my basket. I snag some grape too. For a second, I consider buying a couple of bottles of doughnut flavor. But that sounds like too much, even for me. The chips are in the next aisle. I load up on cheese puffs and spicy nacho crisps.
MacKenna and Charles are still at the rack near the door, and I try to squeeze by them without attracting any notice. I usually don’t buy unhealthy snacks when I’m with my brother. I smuggle them in my backpack and have a special hiding space in my desk.
My brother has type 1 diabetes, and he’s supposed to check his blood sugar after meals. He can have starchy or sugary snacks only when his glucose level is good or on special occasions.
MacKenna grimaces at a packet of seeds in her hands. “I still don’t like this one. It’s pretty. But still. It’s…carnivorous.”
I have to hand it to her. She really does have a look. She’s pale and white, like me, but she manages to seem like she’s doing it on purpose and not because she’s some kind of vampire- movie reject. Her glossy black hair always rests in perfect waves, and if the journalism thing doesn’t work out, she could definitely have a career in fashion design.
Charles smiles at her. “It’s a new kind of pitcher plant. Like the Cobra Lily.” He points to the picture on the front of the seed packet. “Look at the blue flowers. That’s new.”
 “It eats other plants,” MacKenna says.
“You eat plants.”
“But I don’t eat people,” MacKenna says. “There’s got to be some kind of natural law that says you shouldn’t eat your own kind.”
Charles giggles.
So far so good. Until.
My brother trots up behind me and dumps a few packs of seeds in my basket. His gaze lands on my selection of soda and chips. “Can I get some snacks too?”
 I freeze. “What’s your number?”
Charles pretends he can’t hear me. That’s not a good sign.
“Charles, what’s your number?”
He still doesn’t look at me. “I forgot my monitor today.”
“Well, I have mine.” I kneel down and dig around for the spare glucometer I keep in the front pocket of my backpack. By the time I get it out, MacKenna has already pulled Charles out of his blazer and rolled up the sleeve of his blue dress shirt. I wave the device over the small white sensor disk attached to my brother’s upper arm.
After a few seconds, the glucometer beeps and a number displays on the screen.
Crap. Crap. Crap.
“Charles! What did you eat today?”
My brother’s face turns red. “They were having breakfast-for-lunch day at school. Everyone else was having pancakes. Why can’t I have pancakes?”
I sigh. Something about his puckered up little face keeps me from reminding him that if he eats too much sugar he could die. “You know what Mom said. If you eat something you’re not supposed to, you have to get a pass and go to the nurse for your meds.”
My brother’s shoulders slump. “I couldn’t go to the nurse. Hummingbirds were visiting the Chuparosa and…”
Charles is on the verge of tears and frowns even more deeply at the sight of my basket full of junk food.
“Look,” I say. “There are plenty of healthy snacks we can eat. I’ll put this stuff back.”
“That’s right,” MacKenna says, giving Charles’s hand a squeeze. “We can get some popcorn. Yogurt. Um, I saw some really delicious-looking fresh pears back there.”
“And they have the cheese cubes you like,” I add.
We go around the store replacing the cheese puffs and soda with healthy stuff. I hesitate when I have to put back the Extra Jolt, but I really don’t want to make my brother feel bad because I can drink sugary stuff and he can’t.
We pay for the healthy snacks and the seed packets.
 I grab the bags and move toward the market’s sliding doors.
I end up ahead of them, waiting outside by the car and facing the store. The shopping center behind Halliwell’s is mostly empty. The shoe store went out of business last year. Strauss Stationers, where everyone used to buy their fancy wedding invitations, closed two years before that. The fish ’n’ chips drive-through is doing okay and has a little crowd in front of the take-out window. Way off in the distance, Saba’s is still open, because in Arizona, cowboy boots and hats aren’t considered optional.
I watch MacKenna and Charles step out of the double doors and into the parking lot. Two little dimples appear on MacKenna’s cheeks when she smiles. Charles has a looseness to his walk. His arms dangle.
There’s a low rumble, like thunder from a storm that couldn’t possibly exist on this perfectly sunny day.
Something’s wrong 
In the reflection of the market’s high, shiny windows, I see something happening in the bank building next door. Some kind of fire burning in the lower levels. A pain builds in my chest and I force air into my lungs. My vision blurs at the edges. It’s panic, and there isn’t much time before it overtakes me.
The muscles in my legs tense and I take off at a sprint, grabbing MacKenna and Charles as I pass. I haul them along with me twenty feet or so into the store. We clear the door and run past a man and a woman frozen at the sight of what’s going on across the street.
I desperately want to look back.
But I don’t.
A scream.
A low, loud boom.
My ears ring.
The lights in the store go off.
I’ve got MacKenna by the strap of her maxidress and Charles by the neck. We feel our way in the dim light. The three of us crouch and huddle together behind a cash counter. A few feet in front of us, the cashier who checked us out two minutes ago is sitting on the floor hugging her knees.
We’re going to die.
Charles’s mouth is wide-open. His lips move. He pulls at the sleeve of my T-shirt.
I can’t hear anything.
It takes everything I’ve got to force myself to move.
Leaning forward. Pressing my face into the plywood of the store counter, I peek around the corner using one eye to see out the glass door. My eyelashes brush against the rough wood, and I grip the edge to steady myself. I take in the smell of wood glue with each breath.
Hail falls in the parking lot. I realize it’s glass.
My stomach twists into a hard knot.
It’s raining glass.
That’s the last thing I see before a wave of dust rolls over the building.
Leaving us in darkness.

Excerpted from Day Zero by Kelly deVos, Copyright © 2019 by Kelly deVos. Published by Inkyard Press.

Author Bio:

KELLY DEVOS is from Gilbert, Arizona, where she lives with her high school sweetheart husband, amazing teen daughter and superhero dog, Cocoa. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. When not reading or writing, Kelly can typically be found with a mocha in hand, bingeing the latest TV shows and adding to her ever-growing sticker collection. Her debut novel, Fat Girl on a Plane, named one of the "50 Best Summer Reads of All Time" by Reader's Digest magazine, is available now from HarperCollins.

Kelly's work has been featured in the New York Times as well as on Salon, Vulture and Bustle.

 Social Links:
Twitter: @kdevosauthor
Facebook: @kellydevosbooks
Instagram: @kellydevos