Bunny Hand is our former Store Manager and an avid reader. She is comfortable with mystery, especially with a little romance thrown in. Dabbling a little into SF, she has found a niche in time travel, again, with a romantic twist. Add a historical twist to either category, and she is in.
Bunny reads a lot of books and regularly sends in reviews, so be sure to check back for her latest book reviews!
This is an intriguing look into the cannabis industry in Colorado. Although legal in some states but not sanctioned by federal government, these businesses must be cash only operations, creating an opportunity for entrepreneurs as well as criminals. Peter Ash, a combat veteran struggling to fit in to civilian life, accepts a temporary assignment with a newly established security company. Heavy Metal Protection transports large amounts of cash from clients to locations “off the grid.” Peter’s first cash run is intercepted by uniquely proficient hijackers. Of the four Heavy Metal Protection employees, only Peter survives, having killed four of the five criminals and retrieved the cash. The remaining thug is part of a much more complicated and sophisticated organization of violent activity, now focused on eliminating Peter and reclaiming a mysterious packet smuggled into the cash shipment. Petrie has scored with a novel packed with electrifying characters, thrilling plot, and a most enlightening look into the realities of legalizing cannabis.
As a child, Alison longed to be closer to her younger sister Kitty; however, a horrible accident on their way to school one day robbed her of that dream. Kitty sustained permanent brain damage, and her best friend Vanessa was killed, while Alison was unharmed except for retaining the brutal knowledge of what really occurred before the speeding car crashed into the two girls. Fifteen years later, Kitty is institutionalized, unable to speak or apparently remember what happened that morning. Conversely, Alison is riddled with the memory and lives a self-imposed solitary life in London as a semi-employed artist. An opportunity to teach art at a prison terrifies Alison but, desperate for work, she accepts. The prison experience is scarier than she imagined and will reopen the past with cataclysmic consequences. Once again, Corry uses her past experience working in a high security prison to deliver a gritty suspense thriller seeping in crime, revenge and desperation.
If you are in the mood for a bizarre, terrifying, and over-the-top experience, you must read this haunting debut. A third-generation psychopath is living in London searching out victims with bone abnormalities with the purpose of adding them to his “museum." Like his grandfather and father before him, he kills, skins and meticulously preserves the skeletons of his victims and displays them in his secret space. The disappearance of two medically-challenged children draws the attention of Detective Sergeant Etta Fitzroy, who relates the situation to a cold case child abduction that has plagued her for a year. As Fitzroy and authorities intensify their search, the “Bone Collector," as he thinks of himself, enjoys the hunt and taunts them with clues and his morbid signature calling card. The tender compassion for disabled children, the insane violence of a crazed killer and the excitement of the chase form an emotional roller coaster that readers of this debut novel are not soon to forget.
Set in London, mostly in the Inner Temple High Court, this engrossing novel is a scrutiny of deceit and abuse of power. Kate, a criminal barrister, has just been awarded the biggest case of her career as well as an opportunity for revenge, seething since her college days. Sophie is a devoted mother and wife of James who has just admitted to having an affair. James, a junior Home Office minister in London’s government, has a promising career if he could only curb his “indiscretions.” James’ latest mistake is colossal, and he is being charged with rape. The trial must go on, dragging Sophie into depths of despair and doubt. Kate, who is prosecuting the case, faces challenges and memories almost beyond her capacity. When it seems like justice has failed one must hope that the human spirit will rebound – but will it?
Luna ventures into adult suspense with this extremely engrossing story of two sisters who are abducted from their mother’s car in a K-Mart parking lot in small town in Pennsylvania. The police department is at a minimal force and has no leads, which frustrates Jamie, the girl’s mother, and angers Jamie’s parents; however, her aunt Maggie has the foresight and means to hire private detective Alice Vega, who has a huge success rate in Central California for locating missing children. Arriving in Pennsylvania, Vega is shut out by the local police and hires Max Caplan, a disgraced former policeman from that force who is now a private detective. He still has contacts and favors owed him by his former colleagues. Together Vega and Caplan maneuver through the local police and begin to uncover the lies, misconceptions and secret relationships that have led to this hideous crime, while time is running out to find the girls alive. An intoxicating suspense novel.
Just as in her first novel, Visitation Street, Pochoda has created stories within a larger story, blending and connecting the plots and characters, finalizing in an incredible tale. Set in Southern California from the Pacific Ocean to the slums of Los Angeles to the beauty of the Mojave Desert, this masterpiece of character development includes a menagerie of humankind. Britt is a runaway with a dark secret and Tony is an unhappy lawyer looking for meaning in his boring existence. Ren is just out of juvenile hall searching for his mom, who seems to have abandoned him. Owen and James are discontented teenage twins living in a desert community under the thumb of their father, a self-acclaimed healer of his “disciples.” Blake is a lifelong drifter trying to stay above the law and hiding from a violent past. Only this talented author could spin this mix of human condition to present another resounding literary success.
If you enjoy an engrossing mystery with intense historical undertones, you will love this tale woven into the World War II era existence. The British occupy Palestine in 1946; Lilya has joined the resistance group to form an independent Jewish state. Her assignment, however much she resents it, takes her to war-ravaged Europe in search of Raphael Lind, a scientist reported to have perished in a concentration camp. There is evidence that he is still alive among the many refugees that the British will not allow to emigrate to Palestine, refugees who are housed in camps throughout Europe. Pretending to be a member of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, an organization to aid Jewish survivors, Lilya’s search brings her to London’s Whitehall, home of the British Secret Intelligence Service, and rubble-strewn Munich and Berlin. Meanwhile, someone is mirroring her journey, desperately seeking the same man, and circumstances become very dangerous but immensely interesting. A fantastic debut novel set in a most intriguing time in world history.
Helena Holbrook is the daughter of an abducted sixteen-year-old girl and her kidnapper. Jacob is a brutal man who holds mother and daughter prisoners in a remote cabin in the marshlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for eleven years, with no running water, heat or electricity. Helena learns to live off the land and reveres and despises her father as his moods fluctuate. Thirteen years later, Helena Pelletier is the grown woman who has changed her identity and has a husband and two daughters and is living quite normally given that her entire childhood was spent in total isolation from civilization. But now Jacob Holbrook has just killed two prison guards, is the subject of a massive manhunt to capture “The Marsh King” as he has been dubbed and Helena knows exactly where he is headed – for her and her family. Her father taught her to hunt and now he is the hunted. A terrifying thriller blending the beauty of nature with the wisdom of Native American culture and remarkable human spirit and resilience.
Young lawyer Lily has a lot going on in her life right now. She recently married after a very short courtship; she is starting her first criminal investigation with an interview in a maximum-security prison; and she has inadvertently just volunteered to watch her neighbor’s nine-year-old daughter, Carla, while the single mom works on weekends. The marriage to fledgling artist Ed sours quite rapidly when Lily learns the real reason for her new husband’s haste; and her prison interview with Joe Thomas, a convicted murderer who convinces Lily of his innocence and stirs passionate feelings within her, proves to be life-altering. Carla, despite her young age, has a mature propensity for getting what she wants, haunting everyone she encounters for years to come, especially Lily. Corry’s background as the writer in residence of a high-security prison has enabled her to create a psychological thriller that explores the minds and actions of some incredibly felonious and immoral, but deliciously interesting, characters.
Stephanie blogs about the joys and challenges of motherhood and is equipped to do so as a widow and the stay-at-home single mom of five-year-old Miles. Emily, a high-power Manhattan executive in the fashion industry, is the wife of successful businessman Sean and mother to Nicky, who is Miles’ best friend in kindergarten. An unlikely twosome to form such a good friendship but they have, with Stephanie watching Nicky after school. Stephanie is in awe of Emily’s ability to juggle career and motherhood until one night when the loving, dedicated mom fails to return to pick up Nicky. Terrified and panicked, Stephanie turns to her blog and Sean for help while the police finally find Emily’s dead body in the lake by her family’s old vacation cabin. But Stephanie will soon find out that nothing is as it seems and all the secrets she confided to her alleged best friend might come back to destroy her. Darcey Bell, in her first novel, has created a masterful combination of loyalty, betrayal and true evil. – Guest Reviewer Bunny Hand
Incest is not a hushed topic in this novel but rather a tantalizing, twisted celebration of haunting love. After her mom’s suicide, sixteen-year-old Lane returns to Roanoke, a rural but oil-rich farm in Kansas, to finally meet and live with her grandparents and her cousin, Allegra, in the privileged style that seven other Roanoke girls have enjoyed. All of the girls except Allegra and Lane have either run away or suffered tragic accidental deaths; when Lane suspects the sordid truth behind their stories, she runs away as fast as she can. Years and many hard times later, her grandfather calls to say that Allegra has disappeared and begs Lane to return to Roanoke. Because of her ongoing deep affection for her cousin, she returns to help search and ease her guilt at abandoning Allegra that summer so long ago. Engel weaves between the past and present to reveal the heart of the dark family truth. Engel’s first adult novel is just that – for adults only. – Guest Reviewer Bunny Hand
This is a charming story of love, friendship, family and fantasy. Alice adores her younger brother Theo and is terrified to learn that he needs a heart transplant in order to survive. When a perfect match becomes available, she is sent to live with her estranged and rather severe paternal grandmother, Nell, while the operation and the long recovery take place. Nell and Alice’s father have not spoken since he walked out on Alice, Theo and their mom over two years earlier. Living in her father’s childhood home nestled in the midst of a spooky forest with no heat, internet or TV, Alice discovers that things are not always explainable and that, well, fairies just might exist. A heartwarming tale of the power of believing in something unbelievable! –
“Grief came to her as a heaviness, an open roaring mouth that became bigger and deeper the more she focused on it until it filled up her mind with no room for thoughts, words, food or faces.” This is how Flint describes Ruth’s pain after the murder of her two children ages 5 and 3, abducted from their apartment in the middle of the night in the summer of 1965. Estranged from her husband and juggling long hours as a cocktail waitress and single motherhood, Ruth is immediately suspected by detectives, the press and neighbors. The empty liquor bottles, sexy clothing and many suitors are viewed as obvious conclusions; however, there is a deep love, determination and pride within Ruth that no one can calculate except Pete Wonickie, a rookie tabloid reporter who believes her innocence. Can he help her abate the false testimonies and bias opinions in time to save her from jail? Inspired by real events, this debut marks a new talent in crime fiction and amazing character analysis.
One Folgate Street is an architectural masterpiece in London with sleek simplicity and sophisticated technology that would seem to demand a hefty rent; yet, instead it comes with a complicated and very personal application questionnaire and a stringent list of rules set forth by Edward Monkford, the property’s successful, aloof and affluent creator. Emma and her doting boyfriend Simon have their particular reasons for seeking the security of the property, and are amazed when they pass the scrutiny of the eccentric owner. The space, however, seems to transform the occupants and dark occurrences take place. Years later Jane has her own reasons for coveting One Folgate, and is also surprised to find that she has been approved to take occupancy. Delaney switches from one story to the other throughout the psychological thriller, weaving a masterpiece of duplicity, death, and deception with the correct amount of erotica injected to keep the pages turning and the reader mesmerized.
In the not-too-distant future, a simple outpatient procedure to increase empathy between romantic partners has become all the rage. And Briddey Flannigan is delighted when her boyfriend, Trent, suggests undergoing the operation prior to a marriage proposal--to enjoy better emotional connection and a perfect relationship with complete communication and understanding. But things don't quite work out as planned, and Briddey finds herself connected to someone else entirely--in a way far beyond what she signed up for. It is almost more than she can handle--especially when the stress of managing her all-too-eager-to-communicate-at-all-times family is already burdening her brain. But that's only the beginning. As things go from bad to worse, she begins to see the dark side of too much information, and to realize love--and communication--are far more complicated than she ever imagined.
Jan Fedarcyk, retired from the FBI as the only woman to lead as Assistant Director in Charge, has written a debut novel that captures the very essence of counterintelligence, double agents and secret investigations between the CIA, FBI, and SVR (formerly the KGB). The combination of these three incredibly powerful and ruthless organizations makes for a most stimulating read. Kay, orphaned at age eight by the murder of her parents, is a sharp FBI investigator, and equally driven when she switches to counterintelligence in the New York City unit. She has only one vulnerability – her intense love for her brother and adoptive aunt and uncle. When she receives the assignment of a lifetime and finds that the impossible choice might be country or family, the story heats up to a fever pitch with an incredible conclusion that might just have you a little breathless.
In her first stand-alone teen novel, Marissa tells the story—and what a story it is—of the young Lady Catherine Pinkerton who will live on to become the infamous and terrifying Queen of Hearts. Set in Lewis Carroll’s one hundred and fifty-year old Wonderland, Meyer brings his characters to life with her own original blend of madness, magic and monsters. The squat silly king has decided young Cath should be his bride, however, she has dreams of opening the best bakery in Wonderland and has fallen quite in love with the new, enigmatic and handsome court jester. Enjoy the Mad hatter, Cheshire cat, Jack the Knave of Hearts, the White Rabbit and all the well-loved inhabitants of Wonderland as the story turns deliciously dark and no one lives happily ever after. Just too much fun to miss!
This debut novel is as chilling as it is addictive. Grace is 33 years old and still single due to her loving commitment to her 17-year-old sister, Millie, who was born with Down Syndrome. Their parents, who are indifferent to Millie, are anxious to move from London to New Zealand, so Grace will take Millie in after her graduation from boarding school. Imagine Grace’s delight when she meets Jack in the park and he falls madly in love with her and seems to adore Millie. He promises to build a house of their dreams and to take care of them forever. Grace is convinced to quit her job, sell her house and marry Jack within a few short months. Perfect marriage? Not by a long shot. Flawless Jack is the most terrifying character ever imagined, and you will not put this book down until revenge is dispensed with equally sadistic brutality. An intense tale of amazing evil.
Angie Pulaski, who has grown up in the foster care system, appears to be heartless and without morals. She has abandoned her husband, Will Trent, for over a year this time and he has begun a relationship with Sara Linton, a medical examiner in his department at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. However, a fellow investigator, Dale Harding has been murdered in Marcus Rippy’s half-constructed night club and Angie’s blood is everywhere. Marcus Rippy is a NBA superstar who has just gotten away with rape when Will could not get past Rippy’s collection of lawyers and perjurers to get the case convicted. This, combined with his uncontrollable desire to find out if Angie is dead or alive, is fuel for Will to pursue this case through the many twists and turns. Unknown daughters, more rapes, spousal abuse, creepy stalking: it’s got it all! Another thriller homerun for Slaughter.
Former cop Adrian Wall has just been released after 13 years in prison for the murder of Julia Strange. At the same time, suspended Detective Elizabeth Black is about to face criminal charges in the death of two men she shot 18 times while trying to rescue Channing Shore from a basement where the two held her captive. Elizabeth cannot explain why she fired so many shots, nor can she clarify exactly why she is so anxious to see Adrian or why she is so certain he was innocent. There is Beckett, her former partner, who is insistent that she stay away from Adrian; 14-year-old Gideon Strange, Julia’s son who Elizabeth has been close to ever since she held him at the murder scene thirteen years ago; and her preacher father, comforting to everyone except his own daughter. Meanwhile, Adrian listens to the calm voice of his dead cell mate, Eli, who held onto a secret the evil warden could not squeeze out of him. These multi-faceted characters and more are the genius of John Hart, along with a bold story line that twists and turns and keeps this book in readers’ hands (even if they really should be doing other things!)
I loved In the Shadow of Blackbirds, so I was excited to dive into The Uninvited, a psychological thriller set in the panic of the influenza pandemic of 1918. The world has been turned upside down by the war and the deadly flu and Americans are paranoid to the point of violence against German blooded citizens. Ivy Rowan, who has a lifelong gift for seeing ghosts, rises from her sick bed seemingly a survivor of the flu, only to discover her angry drunken father and brother have murdered a German furniture maker from town. In disgust, she leaves the farm and heads to town where she is horrified by the breakdown of governing society that the panic has caused. She is drawn to the jazz music played at the Masonic Lodge and to Daniel Schendel, the now sole owner of Liberty Furniture and has no inkling of the otherworldly revelations that are about to unfold. A hauntingly great ghost story.
Leonora – known as Lee in a life that she is straining to forget, and as Nora in her new life as a successful crime writer – is safe in her quiet apartment when she receives an invitation to a long past friend’s hen party (as they call them in England.) Curiosity wins over better judgement and 48 hours later she finds herself waking in a hospital bed with a police guard at the door. “What have I done?” her mind is demanding; however, memory is non-existent. What happened in that glass house in the dark woods of Northumberland with old friends and strangers? It begins to come back to her slowly and it involves her beloved James and the life she had hoped to stifle forever. She must get back to the wood before she is arrested. The story offers non-stop action, pushing at the edges until the very end. Ware is a new author from a new literary imprint
This noir page- turner is alive with history, the intrigue of Vegas, the pain of lost love, and much more. The story brings the Vietnam War era to life, and wraps it with such beautiful prose that you ache for the characters and their convoluted existence. Suzy, originally Hong, is missing; and her cop ex-husband is blackmailed into searching for her by her current husband, a violent Vietnamese gambler and smuggler who has a curious past with Hong. Tran flashes back to the saga of Hong’s and her tiny daughter Mia’s migration from Vietnam to LA in beautiful heartbreaking letters Suzy is now writing to her abandoned daughter. The contrast of violent, crazy, and tender emotions is wonderfully woven together by this debut author.
Normal 0 The third in the Lunar Chronicles is as enjoyable and riveting as the first two, Cinder and Scarlet. This next take on fairy tales gone bad has Cress, a Rapunzel counterpart, in a satellite tower monitoring the security and activity of the Lunar operations. A prisoner since birth of Sybil and Queen Levana, she has been ordered to track down Cinder and her accomplice Captain Thorne, who have added Scarlet and Wolf to their team. Prince Kai is about to marry the queen in order to save Earth from war. Nothing will go as planned and readers will be captivated by the action and unpredictable plot. If you have not read the series start right now and you will be waiting, as I already am for the final chapter, Winter, due on shelves early in 2015.
For those of you who read Cinder and said, “I can’t wait…” oh, it is so worth the wait! The Lunar Chronicles continue at breakneck speed with the introduction of Scarlet, the granddaughter of Wing Commander Michelle Benoit, who has some interesting history with Linh Garan, Cinder’s dead stepfather. When Scarlet searches for her mysteriously missing grandmother, she meets Wolfe, member #962, and loyal soldier of the Order of the Pack. Yes, now we have Little Red Riding Hood and the big, bad Wolf, and Cinder, who is busy escaping from prison by using her new found Lunar powers on unsuspecting Captain Caswell Thorne. Fortunately, he is imprisoned for stealing a government owned spaceship, which really comes in handy. IIko makes a comeback in a most unusual way that is linked with this ship as Prince Kai and Queen Levana work, unsuccessfully, to avoid war. Scarlet is the perfect companion to Cinder, and the promise of the third book, and the re-appearance of Dr. Erland make it very difficult to wait yet another year for the final answers.
This is a Cinderella story, complete with the adoption thing, dead father, stepsisters and mean step-mom; however, factor in cyborgs, lunars, deadly plagues and threatening war and then you have a real story. Cinder is a cyborg and the best mechanic in New Beijing and has just met Prince Kai in disguise in the marketplace, asking her to repair a broken android that he joking calls “a matter of national security.” Cinder is distracted from fixing it immediately when her stepsister contracts the deadly letumosis disease that is plaguing the earth. Her step-mom blames Cinder for the disaster and volunteers her to the royal research clinic that is experimenting with cyborgs to find a cure. Dr. Erland not only finds that Cinder is immune to the disease but also much more. What he knows about her could end the plague and stop impending war with the Lunars and wicked Queen Levina. When Cinder finally repairs the prince’s android and learns that only she can stop him from marrying Queen Levina, the tale propels into sheer brilliance.
This is Marissa Meyers’ debut novel and she promises three more, all of which I will be reading as soon as the ink dries.
Connie continues her tale of Blackout, a story of time travel from 2060 Oxford to World War II battle-torn London, in this incredible novel.
The story continues with Mike, Eileen and Polly still “stuck” in London during the Blitz. They do not know why their drops will not open to get them back to Oxford, but it is becoming very clear that the long held belief that time travelers cannot affect historical outcomes is probably not true. With every incident that occurs, the three realize that they are in a position to actually change the outcome of Word War II.
The action is fast-paced and the descriptions of a city besieged by German bombs every night are remarkably real. If you are a history buff you must read this book and live in World War II for 641 pages. The end is a rush of adrenaline connecting all the dots, causing you to say to yourself, “ah, now I get it!” Willis throws in a bit of a love story at the end, which, for me, was the crowning glory of this magnificent novel. -- bkh
As usual, I chose this novel after listening to Connie at an author signing. She had me sold when she spoke so knowledgeably about World War II and the time travel involved in the story that transports the reader to the exact moment of incredible events.
Wow, I was not disappointed! It is a history book, a science fiction book and a suspense novel thrown into one. It is set in Oxford in 2060, with time travelers going back to events from the Crusades to the Civil War to the attack on the World trade Center, but focusing on London during the Blitz.
In the midst of this action something goes terribly wrong and Michael, Merope and Polly find themselves without a “drop” to get back to Oxford. Besides being left behind in the midst of air raids, blackouts, rationing and such, the time travelers begin to get a sense and intense fear that they might be able to alter history. There is no real ending which is why I am in the middle of All Clear, the second half of the two book series.
I highly recommend Blackout to anyone who cannot get enough of World War II details, especially London from 1940 to 1945. -- bkh