200 Book Reviews Frequently Auto-Approved 2016 NetGalley Challenge 80% 2015 Challenge Participant Reviews Published Professional Reader

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

First Cut Blog Tour

Author: Judy Melinek & T.J. Mitchell
ISBN: 9781335008305
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Hanover Square Press

Judy Melinek was an assistant medical examiner in San Francisco for nine years, and today works as a forensic pathologist in Oakland and as CEO of PathologyExpert Inc. She and T.J. Mitchell met as undergraduates at Harvard, after which she studied medicine and practiced pathology at UCLA. Her training in forensics at the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner is the subject of their first book, the memoir Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner.

T.J. Mitchell is a writer with an English degree from Harvard, and worked in the film industry before becoming a full-time stay-at-home dad. He is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner with his wife, Judy Melinek.

Wife and husband duo Dr. Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell first enthralled the book world with their runaway bestselling memoir Working Stiff—a fearless account of a young forensic pathologist’s “rookie season” as a NYC medical examiner. This winter, Dr. Melinek, now a prominent forensic pathologist in the Bay Area, once again joins forces with writer T.J. Mitchell to take their first stab at fiction.

The result: FIRST CUT (Hanover Square Press; Hardcover; January 7, 2020; $26.99)—a gritty and compelling crime debut about a hard-nosed San Francisco medical examiner who uncovers a dangerous conspiracy connecting the seedy underbelly of the city’s nefarious opioid traffickers and its ever-shifting terrain of tech startups.

Dr. Jessie Teska has made a chilling discovery. A suspected overdose case contains hints of something more sinister: a drug lord’s attempt at a murderous cover up. As more bodies land on her autopsy table, Jessie uncovers a constellation of deaths that point to an elaborate network of powerful criminals—on both sides of the law—that will do anything to keep things buried. But autopsy means “see for yourself,” and Jessie Teska won’t stop until she’s seen it all—even if it means the next corpse on the slab could be her own.

Judy: @drjudymelinek

Los Angeles
The dead woman on my table had pale blue eyes, long lashes, no mascara. She wore a thin rim of black liner on her lower lids but none on the upper. I inserted the twelve gauge needle just far enough that I could see its beveled tip through the pupil, then pulled the syringe plunger to aspirate a sample of vitreous fluid. That was the first intrusion I made on her corpse during Mary Catherine Walsh’s perfectly ordinary autopsy.
The external examination had been unremarkable. The decedent appeared to be in her midthirties, blond hair with dun roots, five foot four, 144 pounds. After checking her over and noting identifying marks (monochromatic professional tattoo of a Celtic knot on lower left flank, appendectomy scar on abdomen, well-healed stellate scar on right knee), I picked up a scalpel and sliced from each shoulder to the breastbone, and then all the way down her belly. I peeled back the layers of skin and fat on her torso—an ordinary amount, maybe a little on the chubby side—and opened the woman’s chest like a book.
I had made similar Y-incisions on 256 other bodies during my ten months as a forensic pathologist at the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office, and this one was easy. No sign of trauma. Normal liver. Healthy lungs. There was nothing wrong with her heart. The only significant finding was the white, granular material of the gastric contents. In her stomach was a mass of semidigested pills.
When I opened her uterus, I found she’d been pregnant. I measured the fetus’s foot length and estimated its age at twelve weeks. The fetus appeared to have been viable. It was too young to determine sex.
I deposited the organs one by one at the end of the stainless-steel table. I had just cut into her scalp to start on the skull when Matt, the forensic investigator who had collected the body the day before, came in.
“Clean scene,” he reported, depositing the paperwork on my station. “Suicide.”
I asked him where he was going for lunch. Yogurt and a damn salad at his desk, he told me: bad cholesterol and a worried wife. I extended my condolences as he headed back out of the autopsy suite.
I scanned through Matt’s handwriting on the intake sheet and learned that the body had been found, stiff and cold, in a locked and secure room at the Los Angeles Omni hotel. The cleaning staff called the police. The ID came from the name on the credit card used to pay for the room, and was confirmed by fingerprint comparison with her driver’s license thumbprint. A handwritten note lay on the bed stand, a pill bottle in the trash. Nothing else. Matt was right: There was no mystery to the way Mary Walsh had died.
I hit the dictaphone’s toe trigger and pointed my mouth toward the microphone dangling over the table. “The body is identified by a Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s tag attached to the right great toe, inscribed LACD-03226, Walsh, Mary Catherine…”
I broke the seal on the plastic evidence bag and pulled out the pill bottle. It was labeled OxyContin, a powerful painkiller, and it was empty.
“Accompanying the body is a sealed plastic bag with an empty prescription medication bottle. The name on the prescription label…”
I read the name but didn’t speak it. The hair started standing up on my neck. I looked down at my morning’s work—the splayed body, flecked with gore, the dissected womb tossed on a heap of other organs.
That can’t be, I told myself. It can’t.
On the clipboard underneath the case intake sheet I found a piece of hotel stationery sealed in another evidence bag. It was the suicide note, written in blue ink with a steady feminine hand. I skimmed it—then stopped, and went back.
I read it again.
I heard the clipboard land at my feet. I gripped the raised lip of my autopsy table. I held tight while the floor fell away.

Rating: 4.5
Wow this book was way different then I thought it would be from another
thrillers I've read so far , and the reason is of  , intimate details of the job of medical examiner, and I do mean intimate ,it brings to live in vivid detail , so a word of at if you not into gory full out stuff then this might not be for you . Because this story is was gritty, enthralling, tightly plotted, and beautifully written. And it keeps you guessing on who is the murder , and every time I thought I had it I was wrong .With that said I want to thank Harlequin and Netgalley for letting me read and review it in exchange for my honest opinion and I can't wait for the next book in this series to come out .

Friday, December 27, 2019

Thirteen Across

46042440. sy475

Title: Thirteen Across
Author: Dan Grant
Pages: 514
May 13,2019
Rating: 3


My thoughts
Crossword puzzles, secret government projects, super soldiers, and other dark secrets like medical research, what do they all have in common and what do they do with FBI Special Agent, the bomber, as well as a puzzle master while to answer that question or questions you need to read the book for yourself. I do have to say that while there was twist and turns, and the plot was different then any I've read there was times I was kind of lost and had to go back and re read a page or two, to the point that I just re started the hole book just to understand the story better, as well as the figuring out what character was which and when I did that the story just fell in to place. Of course I had no idea that it was part of a series and if I had know it, it would have made this one a lot easer to understand what was gong on in some parts.With that said I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read and review it .

Monday, December 23, 2019

Risk It All

Welcome to the Risk It All Blog Tour
Risk It All
by Katie Ruggle
Publication Date: 12/31/2019
When bounty hunter falls for bounty, they’ll risk it all to save the one they love.
Cara Pax never wanted to be a bounty hunter—she’s happy to leave chasing criminals to her more adventurous sisters. But if she wants her dream of escaping the family business to come true, she’s got one last job to finish.
Too bad she doesn’t think her latest bounty is actually guilty.
Henry Kavenski is a man with innocence to prove. But when his enemies target Cara in an attempt to force his hand, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe. Deep in the Rocky Mountains, surrounded by danger on all sides, Henry and Cara will have to learn to trust their unexpected partnership if they want to make it out together—and alive.
About the author:
When she’s not writing, Katie Ruggle rides horses, trains her three dogs, and travels to warm places to scuba dive. A police academy graduate, Katie readily admits she’s a forensics nerd.
Connect with Katie at,
 Twitter and Instagram @KatieRuggle.
Purchase Links:

When the woman stopped the stroller next to the bus-stop bench and took a seat next to Kavenski, Cara knew something was up. For one, she would eat her phone if that woman would ever set foot on a public bus. Also, Kavenski, for all his hotness, was a big and intimidating guy. No one would casually plop themselves down next to a dangerous-looking stranger, especially with her baby right there.
With both Kavenski and the woman facing forward, it was impossible for Cara to see if they were talking. She was tempted to move closer to the pair to see if she could eavesdrop, but Kavenski had known she’d been following him earlier, and that made her hesitate. It was one thing for her to follow as he skulked around town, but this meeting seemed very shady and purposeful. He’d let her go once, but who knew what he’d do if she had incriminating information on him.
The woman turned her head toward Kavenski for just a few seconds, and Cara hurried to take a few pictures. With the oversize sunglasses, hat, and scarf, it was hard to get an idea of what the woman actually looked like, especially from a distance. The only things Cara was sure of were that she was white, tall, and fashion-conscious.
To Cara’s frustration, she saw that the woman’s lips were indeed moving. Once again resisting the urge to get close enough to listen to their conversation, Cara watched as the woman reached into the stroller and appeared to adjust the baby’s blanket. When she withdrew her hand, however, she was holding something white and rectangular.
Almost bursting with curiosity, even as her heart pounded from fear of discovery, Cara found herself leaning forward, straining to see what the woman had taken from the stroller. In just the split second it took her to pass the item to Kavenski, Cara was pretty sure it was a legal-sized envelope. Before she could see any other details or even take a few steps closer, he slipped the item into his jacket pocket.
The woman stood and pushed the stroller past Kavenski, and Cara realized that she would be passing right by. After a frozen second, she forced her gaze to her phone screen. Her hair fell in heavy curtains on either side of her face, hiding her profile from the woman’s view, and Cara was intensely grateful that she hadn’t pulled it back that morning.
The seconds seemed to tick by agonizingly slowly as the burr of stroller wheels and the sharp click of the woman’s bootheels drew closer. Cara didn’t breathe as the woman passed just five feet away, and her pounding heart was so loud it made it hard to hear if the footsteps were slowing.
When she couldn’t hold her breath any longer, she dared a pseudo-casual glance and saw the back of the woman a half block away. Sucking in a much-needed breath, Cara returned her attention to Kavenski, just in time to see him rocket off the bench right into rush-hour traffic. The movement was so sudden and unexpected that Cara jerked back a step, startled.
“What is he doing?” Without considering the wisdom of what she was doing, Cara bolted toward him, her eyes locked on his big, surprisingly nimble form as he played a terrifying game of Frogger with oncoming cars. Brakes squealed and drivers laid on their horns as Kavenski shot across the road to the far lane. Turning to face the SUV heading toward him, he raised both hands, palms out, like a traffic cop.
He faced down the oncoming vehicle barreling toward him. The tires squealed as the wheels locked, and Cara instinctively reached toward him as if she could somehow snatch him to safety. His huge frame actually looked small as the five-thousand-pound vehicle bore down on him.
Cara reached the curb, a useless shout of warning building in her chest. Kavenski stared down the SUV, not even flinching as it rocketed closer. Just inches from Kavenski, the vehicle lurched to a halt, rocking back from the force of the stop. Cara’s breath escaped her in a rush. She stopped abruptly, realizing that she had been about to run right out into traffic. She’d been so focused on Kavenski’s near death that she hadn’t even thought about her own safety.
As the driver of the SUV rolled his window down and screamed invectives, Kavenski turned and strode over to a small dog huddled in the center of the lane. Scooping up the tiny furball, Kavenski stepped out of the street, waving casually at the still-yelling driver to continue on his way.
Cara gave a small gasping laugh at Kavenski’s nonchalance. He was acting as if risking his life to save a tiny dog was no big deal, while Cara’s heart was still trying to pound out of her chest and her hands shook with an overdose of adrenaline. As if he’d heard her slightly panicked laughter, Kavenski met her gaze across the four lanes of traffic. They stared at each other for an eternal moment before the corner of his mouth kicked up in more of a grimace than a smile.
Excerpted from Risk It All by Katie Ruggle. © 2019 by Katie Ruggle. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

Mt thoughts
Rating: 4.5
No matter what series of hers I'm either reading or just starting she has never once let me down when it comes to her writing or to her stories, in fact I would say that she's one of my favorite romance authors. Because her romance is always a mixture of suspense , romance, and non stop action. As for her stories when ever I read them I tend to get lost in them and can't or won't stop reading until the very last page and that's what happened with this one.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Family Upstairs

Title: The Family Upstairs
Lisa Jewell
Genre: thriller
Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets

My thoughts
This is the second book from this author I've read and I have to say that this one might just be my favorite of the two. While it does  switch back and forth between times , and while  some of the characters seem to be  unpredictable and not very believable  as well as downright creepy , it made the story that more enjoyable because it kept me wanting to know more and wanting to know the story about what really happened that night. With that said I want to thank Netgalley For letting me read and review it . 

Friday, December 20, 2019

The Orphan Thief

48217307. sy475
Title: The Orphan Thief
Author: Glynis Peters
Genre: WW 2 historical fiction
When all seems lost…
As Hitler’s bombs rain down on a battered and beleaguered Britain, Ruby Shadwell is dealt the most devastating blow – her entire family lost during the Coventry Blitz. 
Hope still survives…
Alone and with the city in chaos, Ruby is determined to survive this war and rebuild her life.  And a chance encounter with street urchin Tommy gives Ruby just the chance she needs… 
And love will overcome.
Because Tommy brings with him Canadian Sergeant Jean-Paul Clayton.  Jean-Paul is drawn to Ruby and wants to help her, but Ruby cannot bear another loss.
Can love bloom amidst the ruins?  Or will the war take Ruby’s last chance at happiness too?
My thoughts
This is the first time I've read anything by this author and I actually enjoyed the story ,in fact this this the 5 WW2 historical fiction I've read this year and while I loved only 4 of those this one has made the list of them that I like and will be picking up again to readr.Just like them this story deals with the obstacles that challenged many people during the Second World War. How people had to persevere in every day challenges for survival. And how some even came together and made a new family for themselves when they lost everything, and I do mean everything. The characters seem to come alive and off the page, and with that they make you feel every thing they felt and went through,there was times I just wanted to cry and infact did so. With that said I want to thank the Publishers as well as NetGalley for letting me read and review it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Dead Girls Club

Title: The Dead Girls Club
Author:Damien Angel Walters
Genre: thrille
Pages: 282
Rating: 4.5

Red Lady, Red Lady, show us your face...

In 1991, Heather Cole and her friends were members of the Dead Girls Club. Obsessed with the macabre, the girls exchanged stories about serial killers and imaginary monsters, like the Red Lady, the spirit of a vengeful witch killed centuries before. Heather knew the stories were just that, until her best friend Becca began insisting the Red Lady was real--and she could prove it.

That belief got Becca killed.

It's been nearly thirty years, but Heather has never told anyone what really happened that night--that Becca was right and the Red Lady was real. She's done her best to put that fateful sum tomer, Becca, and the Red Lady, behind her. Until a familiar necklace arrives in the mail, a necklace Heather hasn't seen since the night Becca died.

The night Heather killed her.

Now, someone else knows what she did...and they're determined to make Heather pay

My thoughts
Would I recommend it? Yes
Will I read anything else by this author? Yes
Wow what a read, it was the perfect read for a cold and wet day like today was. It was never slow going  more of a slow burn, strange things happening throughout, each becoming more brazen and mysterious. So much so that I often found it hard to put it down, no matter which story line I was following. The spooky parts are sufficiently creepy and a little bit twisted or, so I thought,  and it kept you on your toes so much that it kept you wanting to know what happens next. With that said I want to thank Netgalley  for letting me read and request it. 

The Corner Of Holly and Ivy

Title: The Corner of Holly and Ivy
Series: Harmony Harbor # 7
Author: Debbie Mason
Pages 366
Rating: 5

A feel-good Christmas romance

Sometimes love is just around the corner . . .

With her dreams of being a wedding dress designer suddenly over, Arianna Bell isn't expecting a holly jolly Christmas. Instead, her heart feels about three sizes too small. That is until her high school sweetheart Connor Gallagher returns to town and she finds his mere presence still makes her pulse race. But just when she starts dreaming of kissing under the mistletoe, he announces that he will be her opponent in the upcoming mayoral race....

Hot-shot attorney Connor Gallagher has something to prove. He's tired of playing runner-up to his high-achieving brothers. So when the opportunity to enter the campaign comes up, he takes it. Even if it means running against the only woman he's ever loved. But with a little help from Harmony Harbor's local matchmakers and a lot of holiday cheer, Connor and Arianna may just get the happy ever after they both deserve. 

My thoughts
Other books I've read in this series:
Before I go on I just want to say yes I'm reading the series out of order and I have no problem doing so, I first found out about this series with book 8 thanks to Forever sending me a copy of it and after reading just that one book I was hooked on it, then as soon as I saw they had book 9 I was like yes please. There is just something about this series that I love, it could be that it takes place in a small town and its about family as well as finding loving. As well as being cute and adorable mixed in with a very  heartwarming story that makes it the perfect read for any time you want something light and funny . With that said I want to thank Forever for sending me a copy of it to read and review and I'm looking so forward to reading more of this series as well as more by this author.

Sunday, December 15, 2019


title: Hindsight
Series:Kendra Michaels #7
Author: Iris Johansen
Pages: 360
Grand Central Publishing
January 7th 2020
Rating: 5
Dr. Kendra Michaels, blind for the first twenty years of her life before gaining her sight via a revolutionary surgical procedure, is a renowned investigator known for her razor-sharp senses--honed during her years in the dark--and keen deductive abilities.

Now her skills are needed uncomfortably close to home. Two staff members have been murdered at a school for the blind where Kendra spent her formative years. But the murders are puzzlingly dissimilar: one victim was brutally stabbed, while the other was killed by a bullet to the head. Are the crimes related? Or is Kendra on the hunt for more than one dangerous killer?

With the killer (or killers) still on the loose, Kendra must put her life on the line to unravel a terrifying conspiracy. But Kendra soon discovers that she herself may hold the key to the deadliest secret of all.

My thoughts
Even though I've never read this series , I had no trouble fellow along with the story line. And I would have to say this is another win for this author, because I got lost in the story and had to know what was going to happen next, the characters came to life off the page and the story made me want to read more of this series . With that said I want to thank Grand Central Publishing for send me a copy of it to read and review .

Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Forest City Killer

Title: The Forest City Killer
Author: Vanessa Brown
Genre: Nonfiction ( true crime)
Pages: 360
Rating: 3

Dig deep into the unsolved murder of Jackie English and join the hunt for a serial killer

Fifty years ago, a serial killer prowled the quiet city of London, Ontario, marking it as his hunting grounds. As young women and boys were abducted, raped, and murdered, residents of the area held their loved ones closer and closer, terrified of the monster -- or monsters -- stalking the streets. Homicide detective Dennis Alsop began hunting the killer in the 1960s, and he didn't stop searching until his death 30 years later. For decades, detectives, actual and armchair, and the victims' families and friends continued to ask questions: Who was the Forest City Killer? Was there more than one person? Or did a depraved individual commit all of these crimes on his own?

Combing through the files Detective Alsop left behind, researcher Vanessa Brown reopens the cases, revealing previously unpublished witness statements, details of evidence, and astonishing revelations about how this serial killer got away. And through her investigation, Vanessa discovers the unthinkable: like the notorious Golden State Killer, the Forest City Killer is still alive . . . and a simple DNA test could bring him to justice

My thoughts
For someone who loves nonfiction especially ones that deal with true crime, this one was hard to fellow as well as to understand what was going on. It seemed to jump from one case to other and at times the author put in information that didn't have anything to do with the cases she was talking about, while I did like how she put information about other killers who  at was activet at time these killings and disappearances took place, they just made it impossible to understand what she was talking about. Because you didn't know if she was still talking about them or the cases that was supposed to be linked with the Forest City Killer,and while I hope that this book does bring attention to these cases like she's hoping and it did bring them to my attention because I've never heard of them before, I just wished she had set it up in away where the story she was telling worked better then it did. With that said I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read and review it .

The Orphan Sisters

42587298. sy475
Title: The Orphan Sisters
Author: Shirley Dickson
Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 367
Forever ( Grand Central Publishing)
Jan 7,2020
Rating: 4.5

A heartbreaking, unputdownable and utterly unforgettable story of two young sisters cruelly abandoned by their mother at an orphanage. Fans of Wives of War, Lisa Wingate and Diney Costeloe will lose their hearts to this stunning World War Two novel.

1929: Four-year-old Etty and eight-year-old Dorothy are abandoned at Blakely Hall orphanage by their mother, never to see her again. With no other family to speak of, the sisters worship their beloved mam – confused and heartbroken to be deserted by her when they need her the most.

1940: Etty and Dorothy are finally released from the confines of Blakely Hall – but their freedom comes when the country is in the grip of World War Two and its terrors. Amidst a devastating backdrop of screaming air-raid sirens and cold nights huddled in shelters, the sisters are desperate to put their broken childhoods behind them.

But trouble lies ahead. Dorothy must bid goodbye to her beloved husband when he’s sent to war and Etty must nurse a broken heart as she falls in love with the one man she can never be with.

Etty and Dorothy survived the orphanage with the help of one another and neither sister can forget the awful betrayal of their mother, which has haunted them their whole lives. But when a shocking secret about their painful childhood comes to light, will the sisters ever be the same again?

My thoughts
Would I recommend it? Yes
Would I read more by this author? Yes
While I can understand why this might not before everyone, I actually enjoyed this story, and one of the reasons was it showed the story of family and how close the two sisters Etty and Dorothy was. As the story goes forth it shows what their lives was like from the time they was kids to the time they leave the orphanage and their lives doing the War. We see the highs  and the lows as well as the struggles they went though, and how the war effected everything and everyone around them not just them. We also get to meet other characters that are in their lives and see how they inter act with them. While its an emotional type read ,its a story that needs to be told and this author did it in a way that bright it to life. With that said I would love to say thank you to NetGalley as well as to Forever for letting me read it and review it as well as sending me a copy of it.

Books read so far in Decmber 2019

A Jensen Family Christmas by William W. Johnstone The Forest City Killer A Serial Murderer, a Cold-Case Sleuth, and a Search for Justice by Vanessa Brown Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece (A Haunted Craft Fair Mystery #1) by Rose Pressey Last Pen Standing (Stationery Shop Mystery #1) by Vivian Conroy The Bermondsey Bookshop by Mary Gibson Snowbound at Christmas by Debbie Mason Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson Lucky Chance Cowboy by Teri Anne Stanley The Orphan Sisters by Shirley Dickson Wicked Cowboy Wolf (Seven Range Shifters, #3) by Kait Ballenger The Pharaoh's Secret (NUMA Files, #13) by Clive Cussler The Cutthroat (Isaac Bell, #10) by Clive Cussler Risk the Burn (The Smokejumpers #3) by Marnee Blake Much Ado about Nutmeg (Pancake House Mystery #6) by Sarah Fox Crêpe Expectations (Pancake House Mystery #5) by Sarah Fox An Ale of Two Cities (Literary Pub Mystery #2) by Sarah Fox A Cowboy for Christmas (Rocky Mountain Riders, #6) by Sara Richardson Death at Sandy Bay (Sukey Reynolds #13) by Betty Rowlands Death on Clevedon Beach (Sukey Reynolds #10) by Betty Rowlands Death at the Library (Sukey Reynolds #9) by Betty Rowlands Death in the Village A totally gripping British cozy murder mystery (A Sukey Reynolds Mystery) by Betty Rowlands