INTO A DARK FRONTIER by John Mangan

September 13, 2017

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Like your action fast and furious? Like it even more when it is authored by a veteran of action packed combat in real conflict zones. The setting of this novel is in the near future when the African continent has collapsed collectively into a near failed state loosely supervised by the U. N. We meet Slade Crawford, a veteran of nearly 20 years of front line combat, who has been falsely accused of terrorism and is fleeing to Africa to escape his captors. Slade has contracted to lead a group of settlers from the United States looking to make a new life in Africa.

The group lands in Cape Town and begins a journey to the site they intend to settle on which is to the north of South Africa with Slade in military command. The trip is filled with danger and the attacks of a group looking to prevent colonization that has already massacred other colonists looking to settle in Africa. Crawford finds a liking for the goals of the group and also attracts a pretty teenager; a girl half his age that appears to flirt with him. Slade was divorced by his wife and also lost a son just prior to being arrested for terrorism. The double whammy puts him on a path of not caring about anything but the goal of getting his settlers to their destination.

The final section of the novel puts Slade under the orders of the mysterious American Colonel Gary Kraven. The colonel feels free to issue orders to Crawford without telling him what the real situation is that Kraven is following militarily.  Slade ends up going to Nairobi in Kenya under orders from the colonel but also to rescue the pretty teenager that has been following him and was captured by the group involved in preventing African colonization. Slade is now placed in a situation of asking Col. Kraven to help him with the rescue at the price of agreeing to work for him on a full-time basis.

After spending several nights up reading Lt Col(his actual rank) Mangan’s book the reader can take a break and catch their breath while impatiently awaiting the next adventure of Slade Crawford.  A definite keeper and one to follow.

9/17 Paul Lane

INTO A DARK FRONTIER by John Mangan. Oceanview Publishing; Sew edition (September 5, 2017).  ISBN 978-1608092611. 323p.

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DANCING IN THE RAIN by Kelly Jamieson

September 11, 2017

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Peyton White’s sister Sara is dying. Her niece is hitting her teen years and the three of them are as close as could be, especially since both sisters have never married and Sara has been a single mom since her daughter was born. She got pregnant during a one night stand in college and didn’t even know the father’s last name, only that he was visiting to play in a hockey game.

Now her daughter is twelve years old and Sara sees a headline, recognizing her one night stand and finally learning his full name. He is Drew Sellers, and he’s in the headlines because his hockey career just ended with an injury. Sara meets with him to tell him he has a daughter, but he has seen that happen to a lot of professional athletes. Turns out Sara is telling the truth, about him being the father and the fact she is dying.

Peyton flies to Chicago from NYC, taking a leave of absence from work to care for her dying sister and supervise Drew’s visits. Drew falls in love with his daughter and with Peyton, but there are lots of complications.

This was a real tear jerker and I cried my way through this book to the (thank goodness) happily ever after ending. This was a riveting, emotional read and I loved it.

9/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

DANCING IN THE RAIN by Kelly Jamieson. Loveswept (April 11, 2017).  ASIN B01M5I070G. eBook only.

 


EXECUTE AUTHORITY by Dalton Fury

September 10, 2017

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A Delta Force Novel, Book 5

This is the latest novel featuring Kolt Rayner and his Delta Force squadron. It features the constant action typical of the series. Kolt is in Greece to aid in defending the American president when the unthinkable happens.  A sniper’s bullet through his left eye kills the Greek Prime Minister. The shot itself serves to identify a foe that Raynor has faced previously. Rasim Miric is the deadly sniper whose trademark is the shot through the eyes of his victim. Miric has a personal grudge against Kolt due to the loss of one of Miric’s eyes in action against him during a previous engagement in Europe.

Raynor is up against the mystery of why Miric did not shoot the American president instead of the Greek Prime Minister. What are Miric’s aims in later traveling to the United States? Why has he singled out Kolt’s squadron for attack when it appears that he is hunting the president? Answers are sought through well-described action by Dalton Fury who served as Delta Force commander at Tora Bora and during the search for Osama Bin Laden.

The information contained in a forward to the book gives us the sad news that Dalton Fury passed away from pancreatic cancer and did not live to see this book published.  Certainly, the literary world has lost a great talent, but Fury’s legacy lives on in his novels as well as his real life deeds.

9/17 Paul Lane

EXECUTE AUTHORITY by Dalton Fury. St. Martin’s Press (September 5, 2017).  ISBN 978-1250120489. 304p.

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THE BEAUTY OF US by Kristen Proby

September 9, 2017

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Fusion, Book 4

I read the last book, Blush for Me, in this series and really enjoyed it, and this one is just as much fun and just as sexy!

Riley Gibson is one of the partners in Seduction, the restaurant/wine bar that is so popular for romantic dinners. She’s gotten them a TV deal but has to convince the chef, Mia, to go along with it and she reluctantly agrees. But when the producer, Trevor, shows up, the chemistry between him and Riley is off the charts. Trevor wants to keep it professional but that is going to be really difficult.

Trevor and Riley all too quickly fall into bed, and then in love. But he lives in Los Angeles, and she’s in Seattle, and how can they make a long distance relationship work? They try but Riley is miserable and pretty soon it all falls apart. Until Trevor realizes he can’t live without her.

This is a fun, fast, super sexy contemporary romance and a most enjoyable read.

9/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE BEAUTY OF US by Kristen Proby. William Morrow Paperbacks (August 22, 2017). ISBN 978-0062674876.  304p.

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FEVER by Deon Meyer

September 8, 2017

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A monumental work written by Deon Meyer unlike anything that he has done previously. Meyer is a South African and writes in Afrikaans, and then translated into other languages. I don’t know Afrikaans but the English version is hard hitting, fascinating and surely delivering the meat and bones of the author’s intent. It is a novel telling the story of a world decimated by a deadly virus that only reaches a stopping point when most of the entire world’s population has died.

The survivors of this 21st century Black Death are faced with the almost impossible task of adjusting to a life that was never in their plans. Not at all a surprise, the locale of the events is in South Africa, Meyer’ s home. Nico and Willem Storm, son and father, are driving a truck laden with supplies through a land devastated by the plague and find a secure spot to set up a living area. But Willem is a wise and compassionate man and envisions a place for him and his son that will allow them, with other survivors, to build a community that allows civilization to flourish again.

The place is found and in growing attracts people interested in the same thing. Meyer utilizes a literary style that has principal characters individually describing events occurring during the growth of the community called Amanzi. They deliver a perspective that helps make “Fever” the great work that it is. Among the people entering the area is a young girl named Sofia Bergman who immediately attracts Nico and causes him to make the decision that when the two are old enough he will marry her.

Meyer uses the vehicle of the book to deliver his opinion about our world; that it is spoiled, selfish, and is not paying the proper attention to things of importance like climate change. Due to the author’s opinions, we have a surprise ending which I found more than a little unsettling and does end the book on a note that may allow another to be written. Certainly, it will be a major draw for readers of Fever as well as the many fans Meyer has garnered over the years writing about his beloved South Africa.

9/17 Paul Lane

FEVER by Deon Meyer. Atlantic Monthly Press (September 5, 2017).  ISBN 978-0802126627. 544p.

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NO ONE BUT YOU by Brenda Novak

September 7, 2017

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Silver Springs, Book 2

I haven’t read Novak for a while and I’m not sure why, I really like her books. Strictly speaking, this is a romance with its happily ever after, but it’s really more romantic suspense, with a heavy emphasis on suspense –  a real page turner. This is truly a case of “don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Sadie Harris is trying to finalize her divorce from Sly, but he wants her back and will stop at nothing to get her back. But the only reason he is after her is because she doesn’t want him, and his pride can’t handle that. They have a five-year-old son who is not the rough and tumble boy Sly would prefer, so he pretty much ignores him or insults him. Luckily, he doesn’t want to spend much time with the boy.

Sadie is struggling to make it on her own. She’s waitressing part-time and renting a tiny one bedroom guest house from a friend. She needs a full-time job to truly be able to provide for her son and she finds one as a housekeeper/caregiver for Dalton Reed. Dalton is the town pariah, acquitted of murdering his adoptive parents but the small town of Silver Springs still believes he did it. He spent a year in jail before his acquittal, and his house was vandalized and his mentally challenged sister put into government care. He wants to bring her home but has to get the house livable and the farm it sits on fully functioning before the state will allow that.

Sadie is scared of Dalton, but needs the job. She quickly realizes that this quiet, very good looking young man is a kind and good person. But Sly – a cop – is infuriated that she is working for a murderer, and starts creating trouble for both of them. When her small cottage is set on fire, Sadie suspects Sly but can’t prove it. Instead of moving back home with Sly, Dalton invites her to stay with him, adding more trouble to the Harris divorce.

Sly is apparently on steroids, which is not helping his situation, and while the brothers in blue stick up for him, his captain is slowly realizing that something is really off. Meanwhile, Sadie and Dalton are falling in love, and he loves her little boy, too. But Sly is a major hindrance to this romance until almost the very last page.

I really enjoyed this read, and the next Silver Springs book is already out: Until You Loved Me. The first book in the series was a Harlequin Special Edition paperback, Finding Our Forever, which is available as an e-book and already on my Kindle.

9/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

NO ONE BUT YOU by Brenda Novak. MIRA (May 30, 2017).  ISBN 978-0778330615. 384p.

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DINNER AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH by Nathan Englander

September 6, 2017

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Englander gives us a novel that describes the ambiguity of the Arab-Israeli conflict via a series of contacts between members representing the two sides.  First, there is the General who has led attacks and wars against Arabs living in territory next to Israel. He is merciless, brilliant and has little guilt about the effects his actions protecting his country cause. He is a beloved figure and we meet him as he lays dying in an Israeli hospital.

Next is the man that the General imprisoned years ago in a secret cell.  No one except the General and the man guarding the prisoner knows where he is kept and why he is there.

There is a meeting and a short love affair between a character known as Z and a waitress. The waitress is actually a rich woman who says she does service work to retain her identity. She takes Z to meet her father in Italy but it is in reality to take him

A love affair develops between an Israeli woman who is a resident of a kibbutz and a Palestinian constantly mapping out Israeli territory in order to present his maps to his Hamas colleagues for use in an attack against the Jewish state. The two decide that they want to experience a dinner date but find that the only place they can have it would be in one of the tunnels dug by Hamas. These, of course, are to be used to invade Israeli at the proper time.

Each of the short vignettes used by Englander in the book illustrates the conflict between Israel and its neighbors. Both sides have a point; fight for their point, and refuse to recognize that the other side also has a point which could lead to settlement if everybody would give in a little.

The author is not presenting any other argument other than that the conflict that has gone on for years could be settled if both sides listened to the other and tried to get a solution based on discussion and coming onto common ground.   Very well done and certainly an argument for reason instead of conflict as the only answer to this grave conflict.

9/17 Paul Lane

DINNER AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH by Nathan Englander.  Knopf; First Edition edition (September 5, 2017).  ISBN 978-1524732738.  272p.

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MIDNIGHT CONFESSIONS by Stephen Colbert

September 5, 2017

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Co-authored with The Staff of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert

I am a long time Stephen Colbert fan, although I must admit up front that “Midnight Confessions,” the segment on the Late Show, is not my favorite bit. So I was somewhat surprised by how much I enjoyed this book, and how funny it is.

You would think if I didn’t like the segments much, I would really dislike a whole book of them but the reverse happened. Maybe because these are the best of these bits? I don’t know, but I read it rather quickly and was laughing out loud through most of it. I couldn’t resist sharing bits of it with my family, either. And I loved that they included tweets from fans with their own confessions! My personal favorite from @pjerickson, “Sometimes I make up words in order to sound more aproserial.”

Stephen Colbert has taken the show on a decidedly political/anti-Trump journey but this book does not reflect that. It is pretty much politics free, so would make a great gift for anyone, Democrat or Republican. (Maybe not strict Catholics who might find the whole confessions idea blasphemous, but what do I know.)

It’s still a bit early for holiday shopping but keep this book on your gift list. It’s a really pretty hardcover, with a padded cover and a non-book-like shape that would look pretty on a coffee table. And if you need a break from all the bad news in the world, do yourself a favor and buy this book. You’ll be glad you did.

A few favorites:

They say there’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s, but I’m thinking a whole bag while you’re idling in the driveway is close.

I think women look great in stiletto heels, but if I were a woman and a man asked me to wear them, I would murder him with my shoes.

I’m a man in his fifties who eats like a man in his twenties who doesn’t plan to make it to his thirties.

A librarian pet peeve that I can get behind:

I have violent thoughts when people use the terms “sci-fi” and “fantasy” interchangeably.

“Oh, I love science fiction. I just read Lord of the Rings.”

I will end you.

9/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MIDNIGHT CONFESSIONS by Stephen Colbert. Doubleday (July 11, 2017).  ISBN 978-0385541800. 304p.

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Y IS FOR YESTERDAY by Sue Grafton

September 4, 2017

A Kinsey Millhone Novel, Book 25

In 1979, a local private school became the site of an academic scandal that turned into murder. Two students were kicked out for cheating and a third, blamed for tattling, was shunned and then killed. Of the boys involved in the crime, only two actually served time­—one escaped and the other was given immunity for testifying. But the case had another twist to it: rumor has it the murder wasn’t over the cheating scandal at all, but a tape the girl was said to have stolen. A tape that was never recovered in the investigation.

Ten years later, the two boys who served time for the crime have been released and the parents of one have called Kinsey. It seems the rumored tape is not only real, it’s being used for blackmail and the parents want Kinsey to find out who is behind it all.

Kinsey’s latest case is something of a pain in the ass. A group of rather well to do (for the most part) teens gets caught up in a cheating scandal that goes south when one of the teens, gun in hand, accidentally kills a classmate. Ten years later, that teen is now a young man, newly released from his time served. But his parents are concerned that he’ll be arrested again when a sex tape from those same high school surfaces.

Everyone involved in making the film claims it was a lark, a joke with outtakes that show the kids laughing and goofing off. But the only actual evidence that seems to remain is the one tape, and there’s no question that it would lead to another trial. The biggest mystery isn’t just who is behind the blackmail, but where the video has been all this time. As Kinsey investigates answers are few and far between, though.

There are a few subplots. First, Kinsey has a stalker who’s returned from a previous case. Then there’s drama in the neighborhood as well, including Henry’s new houseguests, all of which commands some of Kinsey’s time and attention. But, as per usual, never causes her to lose her wits or cool.

I adore this series and I have loved each and every installment. Y is for Yesterday is no exception. Kinsey has grown so much over the course of the series and has learned a lot about herself and her family. Grafton has built a strong support system of characters around Kinsey as well, making each new book a welcome return not only to the PI we all know and love, but to Henry, Cheney, Rosie, and newer additions like Anna as well.

I can’t stress enough just how much I’ll hate saying goodbye to this series. I’ve been reading alongside Kinsey  and her cases for almost two decades now and I’ve loved each and every entry. With Y, there’s now just one more book to go.

9/17 Becky LeJeune

Y IS FOR YESTERDAY by Sue Grafton. Marian Wood Books/Putnam (August 22, 2017).  ISBN 978-0399163852. 496p.

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HOLIDAY IN THE HAMPTONS by Sarah Morgan

September 3, 2017

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From Manhattan with Love, Book 5

This is one of my favorite series and I have enjoyed every one of these books. They have all been set in Manhattan but this one moves out to the Hamptons, summer playground of many city dwellers. And if you’re a dog lover, this is a must read!

Fliss and Harriet are identical twins who own a dog walking business in the city. Their business has grown tremendously since Urban Genie, the concierge service owned by the women who starred in the first three books in the series, started recommending them to their clients. The twins had a difficult childhood with a verbally abusive father, and Harriet was a stutterer as a child and Fliss her protector. As adults, Fliss still feels protective over her 3-minute-younger sister.

Fliss was briefly married to Seth Carlyle ten years earlier, and that marriage ended only a few months in. We don’t find out why for quite a while and that journey is at times heart wrenching and funny. When Fliss sees Seth at the vet’s office, she freaks out and when her grandmother suffers a fall, she offers to go out to the Hamptons to take care of her, escaping her ex. Except when she gets out there, she immediately runs into Seth. She freaks out and lies, telling him that she is Harriet. Turns out he was just helping out a friend in the city for a few days, but his practice is really out on Long Island.

Gradually he convinces her to meet with him and talk, but Fliss is used to keeping everything inside, and it is almost impossible for her to overcome all her baggage and open up to him – or to her twin. She grows closer to her grandmother, learns more about the family dynamics that play into her psyche, and eventually finds her happily ever after.

I loved this book. If you haven’t read the others in the series, it is not necessary to read them first. But if you enjoy this one as much as I did, please go back and read them in order. To be honest, I am very tempted to go back and read them all again, and that is not something I say lightly. In order:

1. Sleepless in Manhattan
2. Sunset in Central Park
3. Miracle on 5th Avenue
4. New York, Actually

9/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

HOLIDAY IN THE HAMPTONS by Sarah Morgan. HQN Books (August 29, 2017). ISBN 978-0373803996. 416p.

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