“Missing Persons” by Michael Brandman

“Missing Persons” by Michael Brandman

LAPD homicide detective Buddy Steel finds himself detoured from his own life when his ailing father, Sheriff Burton Steel, calls him home to Freedom to take over as deputy. Though relations between father and son have always been strained, and Buddy reluctantly agrees to the arrangement.

When he begins investigating the possible disappearance of a famous local televangelist’s wife, he is met with outright antagonism. While the highly-secured husband insists that his wife is simply visiting a relative, the housekeeper who reported her missing fears she may have been murdered. And no one, from family members to ministry security and staff to the prosecutor’s office seems inclined to help Buddy in his investigation. In fact, many go out of their way to stop him.

But the more he pokes and prods, the more he realizes that the Bible-thumping family and their television empire may be an elaborate cover for a less-than-holy enterprise. This is far more than a typical missing person case. But how far up does the corruption reach—and will Buddy pay the ultimate price for refusing to look the other way?

Michael Brandman is a new-to-me author and he captured my attention with this story right away and kept me glued to the page till the end. Set in a small town on the coast of California, I instantly felt at home. Also, if you’ve been around for a while, you know I have a particular interest in stories with a cult connection.

Buddy Steel had me a little flummoxed at first because he is so conflicted about his new role as Sheriff. He did grow on me quickly though. I really enjoyed the interplay between him and his deputies. The author did a great job of incorporating Buddy’s personal conflicts into the story so that you can relate to him as a complete person not just a stereotype.

The story itself was original and had some great twists before the end. I enjoyed the author’s direct writing style which gave the narrative an added punch. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this first in a series book and will definitely pick up more books in this series.

Happy Reading!

Find it on Amazon!

“Nuclear Country” by Catherine McNicol Stock

“Nuclear Country” by Catherine McNicol Stock

In Nuclear Country, Catherine McNicol Stock explores the question of why, between 1968 and 1992, most voters in the Dakotas abandoned their distinctive ideological heritage and came to embrace the conservatism of the New Right. Stock focuses on how this transformation coincided with the coming of the military and national security states to the countryside via the placement of military bases and nuclear missile silos on the Northern Plains. This militarization influenced regional political culture by reinforcing or re-contextualizing long-standing local ideas and practices, particularly when the people of the plains found that they shared culturally conservative values with the military. After adopting the first two planks of the New Right—national defense and conservative social ideas—Dakotans endorsed the third plank of New Right ideology, fiscal conservativism. Ultimately, Stock contends that militarization and nuclearization were the historical developments most essential to the creation of the rural New Right throughout the United States, and that their impact can best be seen in this often-overlooked region’s history.

This book is a real departure from my normal reading but having transplanted myself to North Dakota almost 20 years ago I thought this would be a fascinating read and perhaps offer some insight into the mindset that I have encountered since living here. My expectations were met and surpassed with this book. I could not put it down, which is not typical for me when it comes to non-fiction.

I found the author’s tracking of the history of political thought in this region to be very thorough and well researched. I appreciated that she took the time to explain in depth the politics of the primarily agrarian society that existed at the beginning of the 20th century. She then goes into how various people and events of the 20th century led to the people moving from a “government should help people” way of thinking into the current pro-military, fiscally conservative way of thought.

There are moments in the book when the author seems to be almost anti-American in her presentation but I don’t think that is the case. I found it rather to be informative and gives me personally further input into my own political thought processes. I think there is a lot of food for thought in this book and we are at a point of time in our culture when we really need to be thinking about our choices with as much information as we can get. In addition, I found this book to be easy to read and understand for the average reader. I highly recommend this book.

Happy Reading!

Find it on Amazon!

“Crochet” from DK Publishing

“Crochet” from DK Publishing

This is a fabulous resource for beginners and advanced crocheters alike. All of the basic stitches are here along with a whole host of specialty stitches. There are beautiful photographs and diagrams that show you exactly what to do very clearly. The book is divided into sections that make sense and starts at the very beginning of a crochet project. Patterns accompany each section and reinforce the material presented.

The difficulty increases gradually as the presentation of stitches and techniques continues. There are a wide variety of projects included, from toys to hats to blankets and lots of other fun things to make. This is the best crochet reference book that I have seen and after 30 years of crocheting I was pleased that there are still techniques that I haven’t learned yet. This is an updated version of the book with new patterns included. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in crochet. Note: This guide uses the UK names for stitches.

Happy Reading!

Find it on Amazon!

“The Nothing Man” by Catherine Ryan Howard

“The Nothing Man” by Catherine Ryan Howard

Narrated by Alana Kerr-Collins and John Keating

“The Secret Mother” by Shalini Boland

“The Secret Mother” by Shalini Boland

Narrated by Katie Villa

Tessa Markham comes home to find a little boy in her kitchen. He thinks she’s his mother. But Tessa doesn’t have any children. 

Not anymore.

She doesn’t know who the child is or how he got there.

After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the boy. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself…

This story had me intrigued from the opening chapter. Tessa comes home to find a child claiming to be her son in her kitchen. She is thrown for a loop. Now she can’t help but want to unravel the mystery of this child. The process will force her to confront her own history and even question her sanity. I couldn’t help but hope for the best even when everything seemed to be working against her.

This story has some surprising twists. I liked the pace of the story, it kept moving forward without dragging but also didn’t feel rushed. The story is well narrated by Katie Villa. She adds the right amount of drama to her narration to make the story come alive without overdoing it. I thoroughly enjoyed this listen.

Glowing StarGlowing StarGlowing StarGlowing Star

Happy Listening!

Find it on Amazon!

 

 

Audible Original: “Second Skin” by Christian White

Audible Original: “Second Skin” by Christian White

Narrated by Ellen Archer

Stan Weir is mourning a tragic loss when he meets a mysterious nine-year-old girl, who claims to be the reincarnated spirit of his late wife. Marcy Keef is a single mother trying to make ends meet when her daughter Erin starts describing ‘past life memories’. Neither wants to believe Erin, but as violent secrets are revealed, the truth becomes harder to deny.

So, I don’t delve into the paranormal much and I really wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I downloaded this Audible Original. I mean, a nine-year-old with the reincarnated spirit of a grown woman. What was that going to be like? I was in for a very intriguing surprise of a story. Turns out that Erin is a very charming little girl, but the secrets in this story are not charming at all.

I found the story to be filled with twists that I wasn’t expecting and Stan, who is in serious need of help. The story is also excellently narrated by Ellen Archer with just the right amount of drama to draw the listener in and breath life into the characters. I found this to be an excellent listen and well worth the 4 1/2 hours.

Glowing StarGlowing StarGlowing StarGlowing Star

Happy Listening!

Find it on Amazon!

Flash Review: “A Curious Beginning” by Deanna Raybourn

Flash Review: “A Curious Beginning” by Deanna Raybourn

Narrated by Angele Masters

Plot Summary: London, 1887. As the city prepares to celebrate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee, Veronica Speedwell is marking a milestone of her own. After burying her spinster aunt, the orphaned Veronica is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry – and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as she is fending off admirers, Veronica wields her butterfly net and a sharpened hatpin with equal aplomb, and with her last connection to England now gone, she intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime. But fate has other plans, as Veronica discovers when she thwarts her own abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron with ties to her mysterious past. Promising to reveal in time what he knows of the plot against her, the baron offers her temporary sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker – a reclusive natural historian as intriguing as he is bad-tempered. But before the baron can deliver on his tantalizing vow to reveal the secrets he has concealed for decades, he is found murdered. Suddenly Veronica and Stoker are forced to go on the run from an elusive assailant, wary partners in search of the villainous truth.

What I liked about it: Veronica Speedwell. She’s a gutsy young lady, an adventurer, who suddenly finds herself alone in the world with somebody out to get her. Very enjoyable characters in this book and an engaging plotline.

What I didn’t like: The first couple of chapters took a little time to get going but once the preliminaries were over it was full speed ahead. This is the first book in a series so there is some groundwork that has to be laid. I’ve also read one of the books further into the series and there is not as much background in subsequent installments.

Quality of narration:  Excellent!

Would I recommend:  Yes!!

Rating:   Glowing StarGlowing StarGlowing StarGlowing Star

Happy Reading!

Find it on Amazon!

 

 

Flash Review: “The Eighth Sister” by Robert Dugoni

Flash Review: “The Eighth Sister” by Robert Dugoni

Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini

A pulse-pounding thriller of espionage, spy games, and treachery by the New York Times bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite Series.

What I Liked: The complexity of the story and all the twists and turns.

Favorite Supporting Characters: The guys on the rescue boat.

What I Didn’t Like: It took me a while to warm up to the main character.

Would I Recommend: Yes!

Rating: Glowing StarGlowing StarGlowing StarGlowing Star

Happy Reading!

Find it on Amazon!

Flash Review!: “Die Trying” by Lee Child

Flash Review!: “Die Trying” by Lee Child

Narrated by Jonathan McClain

Series:     Jack Reacher Book 2

What I Like:   Well, it’s Jack Reacher, handsome, ex-military guy who lives by his own      rules. Great characters. Complex, twisty story. Fantastic narration.

What I Don’t Like:  It leans a little bit too much to organized crime for my taste and lost me a bit at times.

Would I Recommend: Yes, but not my favorite in the series.

Rating:   Glowing StarGlowing StarGlowing StarGlowing Star

Happy Reading!

Find it on Amazon!

“Robert Parker’s Grudge Match” by Mike Lupica

“Robert Parker’s Grudge Match” by Mike Lupica

Sunny Randall Book 8

When Sunny’s long-time gangster associate Tony Marcus comes to her for help, Sunny is surprised–after all, she double crossed him on a recent deal, and their relationship is on shakier ground than ever. But the way Tony figures it, Sunny owes him, and Sunny’s willing to consider his case if it will clear the slate.

Tony’s trusted girlfriend and business partner has vanished, appears to have left in a hurry, and he has no idea why. He just wants to talk to her, he says, but first he needs Sunny to track her down. While Sunny isn’t willing to trust his good intentions, the missing woman intrigues her–against all odds, she’s risen to a position of power in Tony’s criminal enterprise. Sunny can’t help but admire her, and if this woman’s in a jam, Sunny would like to help.

But when a witness is murdered hours after speaking to Sunny, it’s clear there’s more at stake than just Tony’s love life. Someone–maybe even Tony himself–doesn’t want this woman on the loose…and will go to any lengths to make sure she stays silent.

Sunny Randall is up in my Top 10 of female detectives so I was very pleased to be granted a review copy of this latest release. This actually turned out to be a quick read from me because I just couldn’t put it down. Sunny’s got a bad history with Tony Marcus but now he needs her help and is willing to let bygones be bygones, or so he says. While Sunny is looking for his missing girlfriend, the competition is trying to move in on Tony and is not afraid of using Sunny as a part of their takeover attempt. Then she is suddenly confronted with the re-appearance of her ex-husband’s son in their lives.

There are a lot of moving parts in this story but the author expertly wove them together into a story that keeps you guessing. Sunny is brash and ballsy on the job, but finds herself getting more and more wrapped up with the little boy. I love that these stories are set in Boston, a city I have visited but don’t really have a good knowledge of. A lot of the enjoyment for me in reading is getting to visit places I don’t know much about. Sunny is a character that has developed over the course of the series into a tough and loyal detective, with a enough of a feminine side to be relatable for us ordinary folk. As for the mob guys, well, I like the uniqueness of their characters but as people I wouldn’t want to get anywhere near them. That Sunny can hold her own in their presence amazes me.

I am recommending this book because I really enjoy the writing and pacing of the story, I love the character of Sunny, and the location is on that intrigues me. If you haven’t discovered Sunny Randall yet that you need to, plain and simple.

Alinefromabook’s rating:   Glowing StarGlowing StarGlowing StarGlowing Star

Happy Reading!

Find it on Amazon: