Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Review: The Nowhere Man (Evan Smoak #2) by Gregg Hurwitz

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1278 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250067855
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Jan. 17 2017)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech:

Book Description

Evan Smoak, the Nowhere Man, returns in the sequel to the breakout national bestseller Orphan X.

Spoken about only in whispers, it is said that when the Nowhere Man is reached by the truly desperate, he can and will do anything to save them.

Evan Smoak is the Nowhere Man.

Taken from a group home at twelve, Evan was raised and trained as part of the Orphan program, an off-the-books operation designed to create deniable intelligence assets—i.e. assassins. Evan was Orphan X. He broke with the program, using everything he learned to disappear and reinvent himself as the Nowhere Man. But the new head of the Orphan program hasn’t forgotten about him and is using all of his assets—including the remaining Orphans—to track down and eliminate Smoak.

But this time, the attack comes from a different angle and Evan is caught unaware. Captured, drugged, and spirited off to a remote location, heavily guarded from all approaches. They think they have him trapped and helpless in a virtual cage but they don’t know who they’re dealing with—that they’ve trapped themselves inside that cage with one of the deadliest and most resourceful Orphans.

Continuing his electrifying series featuring Evan Smoak, Gregg Hurwitz delivers a blistering, compelling new novel in the series launched with the breakout national bestseller, Orphan X.


ORPHAN X is the most gripping, high-octane thriller I've read in a long, long time. Hang onto your seat because Gregg Hurwitz will take you on a dizzying ride you'll not soon forget! Tess Gerritsen
Exciting and mind blowing! A perfect mix of Jason Bourne and Jack Reacher, ex operative Evan Smoak turns on the action and shows off all the right moves as he sets out to help the downtrodden, and perhaps save his own humanity along the way. Lisa Gardner

This thriller [is] top-notch.... Turn off the real world and dive into this amazing start to a new series. Associated Press

The most exciting thriller I ve read since The Bourne Identity. Fans of Jack Reacher, Mitch Rapp, and Jason Bourne will LOVE Evan Smoak, and the deadly, secret world of the Orphan Program. A new thriller superstar is born! Robert Crais

Orphan X blows the doors off most thrillers I ve read and catapults the reader on a cat-and-mouse chase that feels like a missile launch. Read this book. You will thank me later. David Baldacci


Book Excerpt


About the Author

AKA Gregg Andrew Hurwitz

Gregg Hurwitz is the critically acclaimed, New York Times and internationally bestselling author of 17 novels, most recently ORPHAN X and THE NOWHERE MAN. His novels have been shortlisted for numerous literary awards, graced top ten lists, and have been published in 30 languages.

He is also a New York Times Bestselling comic book writer, having penned stories for Marvel (Wolverine, Punisher) and DC (Batman, Penguin). Additionally, he’s written screenplays for or sold spec scripts to many of the major studios, and written, developed, and produced television for various networks. Gregg resides in Los Angeles.

My Review

The Nowhere Man is the second book in the Evan Smoak series by Gregg Hurwitz. I read the first book in the series, Orphan X, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The Nowhere Man is just as riveting.

The Nowhere Man is an excellent thriller. My heart was beating ridiculous fast at times. The Nowhere Man is a hard book to put down. You need to know what is going to happen next.

The Nowhere Man is a great book for people who love thrillers!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Review: Song of the Lion (Leaphorn & Chee #21) by Anne Hillerman

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (April 11 2017)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers CA
  • Language: English

Book Description

 A deadly bombing takes Navajo Tribal cops Bernadette Manuelito, Jim Chee, and their mentor, the legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, back into the past to find a vengeful killer in this riveting Southwestern mystery from the bestselling author of Spider Woman’s Daughter and Rock with Wings

When a car bomb kills a young man in the Shiprock High School parking lot, Officer Bernadette Manuelito discovers that the intended victim was a mediator for a multi-million-dollar development planned at the Grand Canyon.

But what seems like an act of ecoterrorism turns out to be something far more nefarious and complex. Piecing together the clues, Bernadette and her husband, Sergeant Jim Chee, uncover a scheme to disrupt the negotiations and inflame tensions between the Hopi and Dine tribes.

Retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn has seen just about everything in his long career. As the tribal police’s investigation unfolds, he begins to suspect that the bombing may be linked to a cold case he handled years ago. As he, Bernadette, and Chee carefully pull away the layers behind the crime, they make a disturbing discovery: a meticulous and very patient killer with a long-simmering plan of revenge.

Writing with a clarity and grace that is all her own, Anne Hillerman depicts the beauty and mystery of Navajo Country and the rituals, myths, and customs of its people in a mystery that builds on and complements the beloved, bestselling mysteries of her acclaimed father, Tony Hillerman.

About the Author

Anne Hillerman's newest book,"Spider Woman's Daughter" debuted at number 10 on the New York Times Best Seller list. The novel continues her father Tony Hillerman's popular Jim Chee/Joe Leaphorn series. The book followed "Tony Hillerman's Landscape: On the Road with Chee and Leaphorn," with photos by Don Strel of the country the renown mystery author visited in his novels. Her cookbook, "Santa Fe Flavors: Best Restaurants and Recipes" received the New Mexico Book Award for the best cookbook of 2009. Anne's other books include "Gardens of Santa Fe," "Ride the Wind, USA to Africa," and "Children's Guide to Santa Fe." When she's not writing, Anne enjoys cooking, writing restaurant reviews for the Albuquerque Journal, and skiing.

My Review

Song of the Lion is the 21st book in the Leaphorn and Chee series initially written by the legendary Tony Hillerman and now by his daughter Anne Hillerman. Thank you Anne for continuing this series.

I have read every book in this series. I love the Southwest and it was Tony Hillerman who initially introduced me to the glories of the Navajo Reservation. I liked that most of Song of the Lion is set in Tuba City where many of the earlier books had taken place. And it was a timely book in that developers were seeking to have a resort right on the Grand Canyon on the Indian lands there. It was also an interesting book as it explored the interconnecting issues and interest groups that all have a stake in the area.

As Anne Hillerman has continued the series, the voice of the stories is that of Bernie, a woman. Bernie is married to Chee and Leaphorn still figures prominently but Bernie is star. The stories now have a different voice, a gentler voice that has added interest and of course a woman's point of view. There are as always continuing characters like Largo and Cowboy Dashee but there are new characters as well. And a mountain lion.

The Song of the Lion centers on the hearings into resort development in the Grand Canyon and the mystery begins at a basketball game in Shiprock. The hearings mediator's car is blown up. And a young man is killed by the explosion. Could the explosion be a warning to the mediator?

Great story. Highly recommend Song of the Lion.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Review: A Fatal Romance (A Twin Sisters Mystery #1) by June Shaw

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 647 KB
  • Print Length: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Lyrical Underground (Jan. 24 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English

Book Description

 Fixing up homes can be tricky.
Finding true love can be even trickier.
But finding a killer can be plain old deadly . . .

Twin sister divorcees Sunny Taylor and Eve Vaughn have had their fill of both heartaches and headaches. So when they settle down in the small Louisiana town of Sugar Ledge and open a remodeling and repair company, they think they’ve finally found some peace—even though Eve is still open for romance while Sunny considers her own heart out-of-business.

Then their newest customer ends up face-down in a pond, and his widow is found dead soon after. Unfortunately, Sunny was witnessed having an unpleasant moment with the distraught woman, and suspicion falls on the twins. And when an attempt is made on Eve’s life, they find themselves pulled into a murder mystery neither knows how to navigate.

With a town of prying eyes on them, and an unknown culprit out to stop them, Sunny and Eve will have to depend on each other like never before if they’re going to clip a killer in the bud.

About the Author

 June lives near lazy bayous of south Louisiana surrounded by her wonderful four children and their children, her squeeze Bob, and many friends. She writes the Cealie Gunther mystery series and other books.

My Review

 A Fatal Romance is the first book in the Twin Sisters Mystery series by author June Shaw. This is the first book of Shaw's that I have read and obviously the first book I've read in this debut series.

The first thing that attracted me to A Fatal Romance was the setting of southern Louisiana. The twin sisters, Eve and Sunny live in the small town of Sugar Ledge were they run a small house remodel and repair firm.

I found A Fatal Romance to be a fun and lighthearted cozy mystery. Interesting story with lots of fascinating and quirky characters. I liked that the twin sisters, Eve and Sunny, are not super young and have been around the block a few times so I could relate to them.

Good debut and I know that cozy mystery fans are going to love A Fatal Romance.

Review: Whale of a Crime (A Gray Whale Inn Mystery #7) by Karen MacInerney

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5462 KB
  • Print Length: 221 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01M7QVJ0Q

Book Description

When a tour company books the Gray Whale Inn for a full week, innkeeper Natalie Barnes can’t wait to get cooking — and to hitch a ride on the antique schooner Summer Winds, getting up close and personal with the local whales. But when one of the humpback whales turns up dragging a mass of fishing gear from its tail, the tour takes a dark turn. It turns darker still when the schooner’s handsome captain winds up attached to the vessel’s anchor, sixty feet underwater… and not by accident.

Before long, the tour naturalist (and Natalie’s best friend’s beau) is behind bars, charged with a murder Charlene swears he didn’t commit. Stir in a surprise visit from Natalie’s quarrelsome sister, midnight kitchen sabotage, a sick orphan kitten, and a mysterious investor with plans for a massive resort on the quaint island, and Natalie’s got a recipe for potential disaster.

When a second body turns up just outside the inn, the heat is on Natalie to solve the double murder… or risk ending up with her own goose cooked.

About the Author

I'm the author of the Agatha-nominated Gray Whale Inn mystery series, Tales of an Urban Werewolf. the Margie Peterson mysteries and the Dewberry Farm mysteries (plus a new fantasy in the works). My reading is like my writing: eclectic!

I grew up in the Northeast, but I currently live in Austin with my husband, two kids, and a houserabbit named Bunny. Feel free to visit me online at www.karenmacinerney.com; I love connecting with readers.


My Review

Whale of a Crime is the seventh Gray Whale Inn Mystery by author Karen MacInerney. I have read most of the earlier books in the series and really enjoyed them. Karen is also a lot of fun to follow on Facebook. She engages daily with her readers on her page. Some authors only share with their followers when they have a book to promote but Karen posts every day. And she is funny!

What first attracted me to the series was the setting of the Gray Whale Inn on Cranberry Island, an island close to Mt. Desert Island, Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. I had visited the area and loved it. What has kept interested in the series is MacInerney's writing style and the characters. Author MacInerney has created a group of characters that are like a family now to readers such as myself. I love visiting with the people at the Inn and the quirky characters that inhabit Cranberry Island.

Inn owner Natalie Barnes has a full house with a tour staying with them for a week. The captain of the tour boat is soon found murdered. It turns out the murdered captain had quite the history on the island. And had made plenty of enemies. A second murder sends everyone into a tailspin.

Great book. Fantastic cozy series. Recipes included at the end. I want to make the raspberry bars.

Highly recommend Whale of a Crime.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Review: Death of a Ghost (Hamish Macbeth #32) by M.C. Beaton

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (Feb. 21 2017)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01GZY2854

Book Description

 There are many ruined castles in Scotland. One such lies outside the village of Drim. Hamish begins to hear reports that this castle is haunted and lights have been seen there at night, but he assumes it's some children or maybe the local lads going there to smoke pot, or, worse, inject themselves with drugs. Hamish says to his policeman, Charlie 'Clumsy' Carson, that they will both spend a night there.

The keening wind explains the ghostly noises, but when Charlie falls through the floor, Hamish finds the body of a dead man propped up in a corner of the cellar. After Charlie is airlifted to the hospital, Chief Detective Inspector Blair arrives to investigate the body, but there is none to be found. Dismissed as a drunk making up stories, Hamish has to find and identify the body and its killer before the "ghost" can strike again.

"Longing for escape? Tired of waiting for Brigadoon to materialize? Time for a trip to Lochdubh, the scenic, if somnolent, village in the Scottish Highlands where M. C. Beaton sets her beguiling whodunits featuring Constable Hamish Macbeth."―New York Times Book Review

"Hamish Macbeth is that most unusual character, one to whom the reader returns because of his charming flaws. May he never get promoted."―New York Journal of Books

"With residents and a constable so authentic, it won't be long before tourists will be seeking Lochdubh and believing in the reality of Hamish Macbeth as surely as they believed in Sherlock Holmes."―Denver Rocky Mountain News

"Macbeth is the sort of character who slyly grows on you."―Chicago Sun-Times

About the Author

 Like her on Facebook!

Learn more on her website!

Watch a video of Marion discussing the casting of the AGATHA RAISIN Christmas special

Marion Chesney Gibbons
aka: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Marion Chesney, Charlotte Ward, Sarah Chester.

Marion Chesney was born on 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York.

Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write historical romances in 1977. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, and under the pseudonyms: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, she getting fed up with 1714 to 1910, she began to write detectives stories in 1985 under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Constable Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.

 My Review

Death of a Ghost is the thirty-second Hamish Macbeth mystery by English author M.C. Beaton. I love both the Hamish Macbeth series and the Agatha Raisin series by Beaton. The Hamish Macbeth series is fun, light and easy to read.

I love the setting of the Hamish Macbeth series in northern Scotland. Beaton knows the area well and easily transports me back to Scotland each time. I love the old castle outside of Drim in Death of a Ghost.

Hamish Macbeth books are fun. Always enjoyable and entertaining. Very fast paced. Death of a Ghost is a great addition to the series!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Review: Desert Vengeance (Lena Jones Series Book 9) by Betty Webb

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 750 KB
  • Print Length: 277 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (Feb. 7 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01N6CE6EZ

Book Description

When the man who raped Scottsdale PI Lena Jones when she was a nine-year-old foster child is released from prison, Lena is waiting for him in the parking lot-with a big knife. "Papa" Brian Wycoff survives their meeting, but the next day, his wife, who knew about his crimes but did nothing to stop him-in fact enabled him-is found dead in their Apache Junction home, shot through both eyes. Terrified he will be next, Wycoff, violating his parole, flees north to the small town of Black Canyon City, taking shelter in an RV on his brother-in-law's small ranch. A couple of days later, he is found tortured to death, eight horizontal marks burned into his flesh. One for each of his victims?

Suspicion first falls upon Lena, who has trailed Wycoff to Black Canyon City to make sure he doesn't come near any other children. When the local authorities arrive to question her, she admits to having been tempted to kill her former foster father, but someone beat her to the punch. Suspicion then falls on Wycoff's other victims, the now-grown men and women he abused when they were still in his care, and on the mothers of the children who went missing before his arrest.

When Lena takes up the case, more to protect one of the mothers who has been arrested than to find the real killer, her conscience is torn. Does a serial child rapist, a pedophile also implicated in the disappearance of several children, really deserve justice? That choice might not be left up to Lena when members of a local group, Parents of Missing Children, start working to prevent her investigation from succeeding. How far will they go to make sure she fails?

This book cover topics that most do not like to think about. Betty Webb has written an excellent story she covers these topics from the victim 's standpoint.~~~ I highly recommend this book and series. (Betty Louise Davenport NetGalley)

I have read and enjoyed all of Betty Webb's mysteries. This book, the 9th in the Lena Jones series, about a former foster child who is now a PI, was quite dark, but well-plotted and a great page-turner. (L. Tilden NetGalley)

Webb, no stranger to hot-button issues (Desert Wind, 2012, etc.), takes on child molestation in a page-turner that presents both her flawed heroine and the reader with plenty of challenges to their moral codes. (Kirkus)

Desert Vengeance (Lena Jones Series) by Betty Webb is a difficult book to read because of the subject matter. It is an excellent book regardless of being about the murder of a serial rapist who had attacked Private Investigator Lena Jones when she was only nine. It delves into the past for Lena and shows how she has permanent ill effects from this childhood trauma, including having screaming nightmares. (Carolyn Injoy-Hertz NetGalley)

Webb offers fans the profound pleasure of watching Lena mature as she comes one step closer to understanding and accepting her difficult past, while providing new readers with an introduction to this strong and genuinely likable character. (Publishers Weekly)

No one writes southwestern mysteries as well as Betty Webb and she proves it again in this enthralling, wonderful 9th entry into the trials and tribulations of her private investigator, Lena Jones.~~~This is one of the best Lena Jones books I have read and I can't wait to see where this scrappy, smart, strong but flawed character finds herself next.~~~Highly recommended! (Linda Riffe Goodreads

About the Author

As a journalist and literary critic for more than 20 years, Betty -- a resident of Scottsdale, Arizona, where her detective Lena Jones also lives -- has interviewed U. S. presidents, Nobel prize-winners, astronauts who’ve walked on the moon, polygamy runaways, the homeless, and the hopeless.

Now retired from journalism to write full time, she also contributes the Small Press column for Mystery Scene magazine and teaches creative writing at Phoenix College.
In her writing, Betty makes liberal use of her own varied background. She earned her way through art school by working as a folk singer but eventually gave up singing to concentrate on her art career. At various times she has picked cotton, raised chickens which laid blue eggs (Speckled Hamburgs), worked in a zoo, been a go-go dancer and horse breeder, taught Sunday School, founded a literary magazine, helped rebuild a long-abandoned 120-year-old farm house, and back-packed the Highlands of Scotland alone.

In 1982, Betty moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, where her Lena Jones novels are set, but her roots are in Hamilton, Alabama, where most of her extended family still lives. In 2000 she published The Webb Family of Alabama: Survivors of Change, which focused on the descendants of her half-Seneca, half-English great-great-grandfather, William Douglas Webb, who ran away to sea at the age of 16, then after 14 wild years, settled down to farm peacefully in Hamilton. Recent DNA testing, however, has revealed that her seafaring ancestor harbored a big secret: he might not have been a Webb after all, but the descendant of a New Jersey colonist family named Price. Betty is now working to unravel this real-life mystery: did William Douglas Price change his name to Webb. Was he on the run from the law? (As a mystery writer, she kinda hopes he was)

On her mother’s side, Betty can trace her roots back to the Barons of Riddell in medieval Scotland. The Riddells, friends and financial supporters of the poet Robert Burns, did not always enjoy the best of reputations. The opera, Lucia di Lammermore, about a young bride who decapitates her husband on their wedding night, was based upon a real life incident in the Riddell family. But the Riddells maintain that Lucy (her real name) merely scratched her bridegroom, and that he simply overreacted when he screamed out, "Murder!" Anyway, that’s the Riddells' story and they're sticking to it.

"The impact of my unusual family upon my life has been profound," Betty says. "That's why I thought it would be intriguing to create a detective who had no idea of where she came from or who her parents were. Creating the orphaned Lena Jones has helped me appreciate my own ancestral heritage - both the good and the bad." About the recent DNA testing results, she adds, "All this time the Webbs were keeping an even bigger secret than the Riddells -- and they didn’t even know they were! How could I not have become a mystery novelist."
(from http://www.bettywebb-mystery.com/bio....)

My Review

Desert Vengeance is the ninth Lena Jones Series Book by author Betty Webb. This is an excellent series that I do highly recommend. I have read most of the books in this series. Desert Vengeance did not disappoint...a fabulous addition to the series.

Desert Vengeance focuses on events that happened in Lena's childhood as well as the present. Lena, the brave, damaged and flawed private detective grew up in foster homes. Some were better than others. The worst was run by a pedophile who targeted young girls..and his wife was his enabler. Lena is basically ready to take out her abuser as soon as he is released from prison but someone beats her to it. First Brian Wycoff's wife is murdered, shot in both eyes, at their home in Apache Junction then he is found dead at his sister's ranch in Black Canyon City. Lena is close by to both of the crimes but we know she is innocent. It is fascinating to follow the different trails that Lena pursues and the all the people who have good reason to eliminate Wycoff.

I always enjoy the Arizona setting of this series. Webb lives there and knows it well. Phoenix and its endless suburbs are very well represented. And the characters are well fleshed out. So many people had motives. Really enjoyable mystery...I had a hard time putting down Desert Vengeance.

I loved the addition of the kitten to the tale. It was very realistic. Well then there was the other kittens...and the mother cat...and the horse. And by the sounds of it on the last page, perhaps Lena is finally waking up to the fact that the greatest love of her life might be right in front of her....

Great tale. Highly recommend.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Review: Fever in the Dark (Jane Lawless #24) by Ellen Hart

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Jan. 31 2017)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01D8F64TO

Book Description

On their one year wedding anniversary, Fiona and Annie return home from a trip together to discover that their poignant proposal video has been posted on YouTube and has garnered hundreds of thousands of hits. The video is on the verge of going viral, and there’s enormous media interest in Fiona and Annie, as their fame comes just on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage across the country. As some of the attention starts to turn vicious, Fiona pulls in an old friend, private investigator Jane Lawless, to help separate the harmless threats from the potentially harmful.

As the media storm continues to grow, Fiona revels in the attention, but Annie is furious. Fiona has always known that Annie has secrets, but her newfound notoriety threatens to bring Annie's past straight to their door. And then, when a murder occurs and Annie and Fiona are both suspects, it’s up to Jane to prove their innocence…although the more she learns, the more she starts to wonder whether they actually are innocent.

Ellen Hart will once again captivate readers with her trademark smart, clever, mystery plotting and rich, human characters.

About the Author

Ellen Hart is the author of twenty-eight crime novels in two different series. She is a five-time winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Mystery, a three-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Best Popular Fiction, a three-time winner of the Golden Crown Literary Award in several categories, a recipient of the Alice B Medal, and was made an official GLBT Literary Saint at the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans in 2005. In 2010, Ellen received the GCLS Trailblazer Award for lifetime achievement in the field of lesbian literature. For the past fourteen years, Ellen has taught "An Introduction to Writing the Modern Mystery" through the The Loft Literary Center, the largest independent writing community in the nation. Ellen's latest Sophie Greenway mystery is No Reservations Required (Ballantine). Rest for the Wicked, the twentieth Jane Lawless mystery, will be released by St. Martin's/Minotaur in October 2012. Bella Books has recently revived the out-of-print books by publishing them in both trade paperback and E-book. Ellen lives in the Minneapolis area with her partner of over 35 years.

My Review

Fever in the Dark is the twenty-fourth Jane Lawless mystery by author Ellen Hart. I read The Grave Soul by Ellen Hart last year and really enjoyed it so I have been looking forward to Fever in the Dark. I was not disappointed.

Fever in the Dark is character driven by a fascinating group of people. Jane's friend Cordelia runs a theater.  Fiona is her stage manager. Fiona has been married for one year to her wife Annie. Annie's past has always been a bit of a mystery but not once a video is uploaded of their engagement. The video goes viral and Annie's family discovers where she is. Annie's family was never accepting her life style choices but we soon discover that Annie's rift with her family is much more sinister.

Annie's family show up in Minnesota determined to reconcile. In the meantime, Annie and Fiona's home is bombarded with people, media and threats. Annie, Fiona and Annie's extended family move in with Cordelia. When Annie's brother-in-law is murdered there are is no shortage of suspects. Jane searches to find an answer to the killing while Fiona is worried that Annie is going to be driven away by all the fuss and attention.

I really enjoyed Fever in the Dark. Ellen Hart is a great writer and storyteller. I highly recommend Fever in the Dark.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Review: Without Rival: Embrace Your Identity and Purpose in an Age of Confusion and Comparison by Lisa Bevere

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4391 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 080072724X
  • Publisher: Revell (Aug. 16 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English

Book Description

There is a reason we look at others as rivals and limit ourselves to comparison and competition. We have an enemy assaulting our mind, will, and emotions in the hope that we'll turn on ourselves and each other. It's a cycle that isolates us from intimate connections, creates confusion about our identity, and limits our purpose. 

In Without Rival, bestselling author Lisa Bevere shares how a revelation of God's love breaks these limits. You'll learn how to stop seeing others as rivals and make the deep connections with your Creator you long for--connections that hold the promise of true identity and intimacy. With biblically sound teaching filled with prophetic insight for our day, Lisa uses humor and passion to challenge you to 

  • Flip rivalry so it brings out the best in you
  • Stop hiding from conversations you need to be a part of
  • Answer the argument that says women are unfit, easily deceived, and gullible
  • Dismantle gender rivalry and work with the men in your life
It's time to step forward to live a life without rival.

"A powerful, prophetic, and inspiring book."--Christine Caine, founder of A21 and Propel Women

"Imagine the world if each of us understood how loved and valued we are. In her book Without Rival, Lisa Bevere encourages us to know and understand that we are uniquely created and loved by God. Because we are, we have each been given a crucial and important role to fulfill in God's plan. This book is an invitation to pursue God and the mission he has for you."--Holly Wagner, pastor and author 

"We live in a culture that is filled with wandering souls looking for identity in all the wrong places. This book is a true compass that points men and women to the real source of our spiritual identity. We belong to God, he has chosen us, and we are loved uniquely. Lisa does a masterful job of bringing these timeless truths to life. This book is a must-read!"--Brady Boyd, pastor of New Life Church, Colorado Springs, and author of Addicted to Busy 

"In Without Rival, Lisa shares the penetrating truth about who God cr
eated us to be and how he loves each of us personally and uniquely. After reading this book, I can't imagine anyone ever doubting God's love for them!"--Chris Hodges, senior pastor of Church of the Highlands and author of Fresh Air and Four Cups 

"If you have ever struggled with your identity, this book will be a game changer. Understanding who we uniquely are in Christ transforms us from playing it safe to taking our place in God's great plan of redemption."--Sheila Walsh, author of God Loves Broken People and core speaker for Women of Faith 

"If you struggle with feelings of worthlessness or lack a sense of purpose, Without Rival is just what you need to silence your inner critic. God has positioned you to find contentment in the midst of any circumstance and live a life without comparison."--Pastor Steven and Holly Furtick, Elevation Church 

About the Author

Lisa Bevere is a Christian author of the books Lioness Arising, Nurture, Fight Like a Girl, Kissed the Girls and Made Them Cry, Out of Control and Loving It! Be Angry but Don't Blow It! The True Measure of a Woman, and You Are Not What You Weigh.

In addition to speaking at national and international conferences, she is a frequent guest on Christian television and radio shows. Lisa is also the cohost of the weekly television program The Messenger, which broadcasts to 214 nations. She and her husband, John Bevere, also a best-selling author, make their home in Colorado with their four sons Addison, Austin, Alec, and Arden.

My Review

Without Rival: Embrace Your Identity and Purpose in an Age of Confusion and Comparison by Lisa Bevere is the first book of Bevere's that I have read. Without Rival is a book selection of the Propel Women bookclub and this is why I choose to read it.

Lisa Bevere's Without Rival will probably appeal to women most but men should read it as well. Rivals is such an interesting subject. Bevere's book help us to overcome our feelings of rivalry towards others. What brings on these feelings of rivalry...the enemy of course. Seeing everyone as a rival is very limiting to our Christian life.

There are 10 chapters in Without Rival:

  1. An Identity without Rival
  2. Our Unrivaled God
  3. A Promise without Rival
  4. Don't You Dare Compare!
  5. When You're Seen as a Rival
  6. Gender without Rival
  7. The Rivalry of Fear and Love
  8. Deep Wells and Wishing Wells
  9. A Daughter without Rival
  10. A Life Unrivaled
 Each chapter has discussion questions at the end. There are also discussion questions at the end of the book for each chapter but those questions pertain more to the videos that can be utilized in conjunction with Without Rival if you are doing a group bible study. Would this be a good book for a bible study? Definitely yes in my opinion.

Without Rival is a fascinating, uplifting and revealing book. I highly recommend it.

Bible Review: The Jesus Bible, NIV Edition, Cloth over Board, Gray Linen Hardcover – Deluxe Edition, January 3, 2017 by Passion Publishing (Editor), Louie Giglio (Introduction)

  • Hardcover: 2048 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Special edition (January 3, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310444675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310444671

Book Description

Sixty-Six Books. One Story. All About One Name.

Encounter the living Jesus in all of Scripture. From the Passion Movement, The Jesus Bible, NIV Edition, with exclusive articles from Louie Giglio, Max Lucado, John Piper, Ravi Zacharias, and Randy Alcorn, lifts Jesus up as the lead story of the Bible.

Textured yet soft to touch, classic woven material encases the Bible for smooth access to the faithful plot. Profound yet accessible study features help you meet Jesus throughout Scripture. See him in every book so that you may know him more intimately, love him more passionately, and walk with him more faithfully.

  • Introduction by Louie Giglio
  • 66 book introductions highlight the story of Jesus in every book
  • 7 compelling essays on the grand narrative of Scripture by Louie Giglio, Max Lucado, John Piper, Ravi Zacharias, and Randy Alcorn guide you to treasure Jesus and encourage you to faithfully follow him as you participate in his story
  • Over 300 full-page articles and nearly 700 sidebar articles reveal Jesus throughout all of Scripture
  • Single-column text of the most read, most trusted modern-English Bible — the New International Version (NIV)
  • Room for notes and journaling throughout
  • NIV dictionary-concordance
  • Ribbon marker
How I wish someone had put a book like this into my hands 50 years ago -- N. T. Wright, Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, University of St. Andrews, Scotland

Every line and every word in the Bible comes from a context -- historical, social, cultural, theological -- and speaks into those contexts -- sometimes against that culture, sometimes with that culture, and sometimes to expand that culture. In so doing the Bible models how we can speak from our culture and into our culture in very fresh and missional ways. The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible not only acknowledges this but engages ordinary readers in seeing what it looks like. I cannot recommend a study Bible any more than this one: Five stars! -- Scot McKnight, Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary --This text refers to the Imitation Leather edition.

My Review

This review is of the hardcover version. There is a kindle version available. This hardcover included access to the The Jesus Bible on the YouVersion app which I have already found to be extremely useful.

The Jesus Bible, NIV Edition, Cloth over Board, Gray Linen Hardcover – Deluxe Edition, January 3, 2017 by Passion Publishing (Editor), Louie Giglio (Introduction) is a wonderful new bible to assist with understanding and encountering Jesus throughout the entire bible.

The Jesus Bible is a gray linen hardcover. It comes in a cardboard sleeve to protect it. The words are easy to read...the print is a reasonable size. There are wide margins that are good for notes or journaling. As you can see in the illustration the margins are quite wide.

There is a dictionary-concordance at the end. There are essays, full page articles and sidebar articles.I like the timelines at the beginning of each chapter.

 There are 7 essays by biblical scholars:

Full page articles:

Sidebar articles:

The Jesus Bible is an eye-opening, resource-filled volume that will be a welcome addition to my bible study collection.  There are so many bibles to choose from these days that it can be hard to choose one. I think that The Jesus Bible offers a focus on Jesus that is unprecedented and that will be valuable to those studying the Word. I highly recommend The Jesus Bible.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Review: The Return of the Raven Mocker (Alafair Tucker #9) by Donis Casey

Book Description

World War I is raging in Europe, but as the deadly influenza pandemic of 1918 sweeps like a wildfire through Boynton, Oklahoma, Alafair Tucker is fighting her own war. Her daughter, Alice, and son-in-law, Walter Kelley, have both come down with the flu, and Alafair has moved into town to care for them after quarantining her young children at their sister s farm. Boynton as a whole isolates itself like an old English plague village, discouraging anyone from coming into town and the residents from traveling outside. A new doctor applies science to treating the stricken, but Alafair applies all she knows about hygiene, nutrition, and old and trusted country remedies. Unable to aid her sons and sons-inlaw fighting overseas, this is danger she can combat. One autumn afternoon, screams coming from next door alert Alafair that Alice s neighbor, Nola Thomason, and her son Lewis have suddenly and unexpectedly succumbed. Yet there is something about the way the pair died that causes Alafair to suspect their deaths were due to poison rather than to influenza. The epidemic is so overwhelming that it is many days before the only doctor left in town can confirm Alafair s suspicions; neither Nola nor Lewis died of the flu. The only witness to their deaths, twelve-year-old Dorothy Thomason, a special friend of Alafair s daughter, Sophronia, is so traumatized that she is rendered mute. Were Nola and her son murdered, and if so, why? The usual motives for murder are greed, or jealousy, or hatred. Or could it be, as Alafair fears, that the Raven Mocker, the most dreaded of the Cherokee wizards or witches, the evil spirit who takes to the air in a fiery shape to rob the old, the sick, and the dying of their lives, is hunting victims and bringing misery to the innocent?"


Grimly realistic, this unusual mystery―—ninth in the series―—set during the flu pandemic of 1918, graphically portrays, from a caregiver’s perspective, nursing the desperately ill and witnessing horrible deaths, while also worrying about loved ones fighting overseas. Vividly rendered and psychologically astute, this somewhat transparent puzzler provides an unusually immersive perspective on familiar historical territory. (Jen Baker Booklist)

The Return of the Raven Mocker (An Alafair Tucker Mystery) by Donis Casey is a compelling book. I gave it five stars because the characters came to life and kept my attention.~~~ I had not read Donis Casey's books before and am thrilled to discover an established series. I added all of them to my wish list. (Carolyn Injoy-Hertz NetGalley)

The mystery comes in second (or maybe third) to history lessons and paeans to traditional American values in this folksy tale of small towns and big hearts. (Kirkus)

Casey’s thoughtful ninth Alafair Tucker mystery (after 2015’s All Men Fear Me) ably evokes rural Oklahoma in 1918. In remote Boynton, farm wife Alafair prays for an end to the hostilities in Europe as her youngest child starts school. Meanwhile, the flu pandemic of that year turns Boynton into a battleground. Townspeople by the score fall ill, the Tucker children are unofficially quarantined at a relative’s home, and Alafair moves into town to nurse her daughter Alice and Alice’s husband, who are both sick with the flu. When Alice’s neighbor Nola Thomason and her adult son, Lewis, die suddenly, Alafair suspects foul play rather than flu, a concern exacerbated by the discovery that Nola’s husband has taken out a $25,000 insurance policy on her life. In tandem with new-to-town medic Emmett Carney, Alafair sleuths and keeps her loved ones safe. Readers may find Alafair’s huge extended family hard to keep straight, but the homespun mood remains winning, while the impact of world history on the Ozarks is skillfully evoked. (Publishers Weekly)

What a great time to commit murder. During a major pandemic. Who's to know? Who's going to even notice? A delightful story. One not to be missed if you are fascinated by the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918. (Cherei McCarter Goodreads

About the Author

DONIS CASEY was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A third generation Oklahoman, she and her siblings grew up among their aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents and great-grandparents on farms and in small towns, where they learned the love of family and independent spirit that characterizes the population of that pioneering state. Donis graduated from the University of Tulsa with a degree in English, and earned a Master’s degree in Library Science from Oklahoma University. After teaching school for a short time, she enjoyed a career as an academic librarian, working for many years at the University of Oklahoma and at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.

Donis left academia in 1988 to start a Scottish import gift shop in downtown Tempe. After more than a decade as an entrepreneur, she decided to devote herself full-time to writing. The Old Buzzard Had It Coming is her first book. For the past twenty years, Donis has lived in Tempe, AZ, with her husband.

My Review

 The Return of the Raven Mocker is the ninth Alafair Tucker mystery by author Donis Casey. I have read the previous books in the Alafair Tucker series and found them all to be fascinating, well written and informative.

 The Return of the Raven Mocker. The title of the book itself is enough to grab anyone's attentions. How intriguing can you get? The Raven Mocker is an evil bigfoot being from Cherokee mythology who robs the old, sick and dying of their lives. As the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918 barrels through Boynton, Alafair is reminded of the Cherokee myth and doesn't even want to hear the name Raven Mocker. 

Donis Casey gives the reader a history lesson without them even realizing it. I learned so much about the Spanish Flu Epidemic from this book. But someone in Boynton is using the flu epidemic to cover up a murder. And Alafair figures this out early and the hunt is on. With the assistance of a new young doctor sent to help with the epidemic, Alafair is able to see through the deception.

I love the characters that author Casey has created in Alafair's family and the town of Boynton. Alafair's large family is fighting World War I in Europe and the Spanish Flu at home. Opening The Return of the Raven Mocker, the reader is transported immediately into the realm of the Tucker farm and their lives. It is always a fascinating world to dive back into.

The Return of the Raven Mocker is  well written tale. I found it immensely enjoyable and I'm sure you will too. Read the entire series!!! I highly recommend The Return of the Raven Mocker.