Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Affairs of Steak by Julie Hyzy (Berkley)

Ollie is up to more than menus and cooking as White House executive chef. The First Lady has assigned Ollie and her arch nemesis, Peter Everett Sargeant, to plan an event for the secretary of state's birthday. Peter, the prissy sensitivity director, has made it his mission to have Ollie ousted from her position as chef, which makes for an uncomfortable partnership.

They arrive at the site chosen to host the affair, only to discover the murdered bodies of two White House employees.
The press are quick to hint at an affair between the dead colleagues. This case becomes even more personal when a blotched attempt is made on Ollie's and Peter's lives. She remembered a rude man who had rushed past them on the sidewalk before they reached the crime scene. Could he be the killer? Was he out to silence them forever?

Now, with their lives in danger, Ollie and Peter must work together to find the killer—before they end up being his next victims!

--Karen Sayre

FTC Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher.

Damaged by Alex Kava (Anchor Books)

This eighth book in the Maggie O' Dell series kept me awake till I finished it! Damaged is really two stories. First a cooler, containing body parts, is found floating in the Gulf of Mexico off Pensacola Beach. Next, returning war veterans who have lost limbs are dying from an unidentified viral infection. O'Dell, sent to investigate the body parts, soon finds herself in circumstances that require her to confront not only a serial killer but her own fears. To add more tension a Category 5 hurricane is about to hit Pensacola. As the hurricane approaches, the danger from the storm and the killer creates so much tension I really could not stop reading!

The characters are very well developed, easy to love or hate, and the story is very believable. I'm looking forward to reading Kava's latest, Hotwire!

--Helen Jones

FTC Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher.

Thursday, March 08, 2012


I didn't expect to like this book all that well. The ghost stories I've read are more or less the same. They tend to be superficial and obvious in their attempt to scare you.
I didn't expect anything different from this one. (You can hear the "But" coming, right?......). Well, here it is—BUT—this book was creepily enjoyable or enjoyably creepy and I found myself hooked without having to read pages and pages. It is a book set in the 1920's and I usually don't like these historical types. Here's another "BUT"—
BUT, this book was historically but definitely not dusty.

About halfway through the book, I wondered what in the world could possibly happen that would require pages and pages of writing. I felt that it had to end very soon, but the twists and turns continued to capture my attention, and by the end of the book, I had even more serious thoughts and "what if's" roiling around in my head.

I liked this book immensely. It was well-written and well-crafted. I look forward now to her next book, also, I believe, about ghosts. To me, this story creates many questions about consciousness, about life, about death, about the universe and everything, to coin a phrase.

I heartily recommend this book, even to those who don't normally tend to read "woo-woo" stuff. It isn't a book that takes you so far out that you feel you're in the outer reaches of the lunatic fringe. There is something very real that the author says in this deliciously scary novel. If you don't believe in ghosts, but still have lingering
questions, read this book. It is fast-paced and believable.

The heroine is led to a life very different from her threadbare, dismal existence in 1920's London by saying "yes" to Alistair, a ghost hunter. Maddy Clare is a 19-year-old ghost who has haunted an old barn ever since she hung herself there. Alistair is an experienced ghost hunter and realizes that she is authentic. His side-kick, Matthew, is enigmatic and has War scars that are internal and external, but Sarah, the heroine, and Matthew are drawn to each other; theirs is a torrid romance. Together they work to discover Maddy's secrets—who she was, where she came from, and what is driving her to downright terrifying revenge. They are running out of time and know that Maddy could destroy
them all.

I like this book. It's riveting, suspenseful, and real. Don't believe in ghosts? Read this.

—Diane Esterly

FTC DIsclaimer - This book was provided by the publisher.

THE REAL MACAW by by Donna Andrews (Minotaur)

Meg Langslow hits the floor running. She's not letting the birth of twins nor the lack of sleep slow her down. It's the middle of the night and strange sounds are drifting up the stairs of her farmhouse. In the living room she is greeted by numerous dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits and assorted other creatures. She knew the answers to this circus would certainly involve her father and grandfather!

Meg begins the task of ridding her home of the animal kingdom by seeking out the man who was a no show in picking up these critters. Her discovery of his body definitely put an end to any transport!

Meg has a slew of suspects to question including a cursing macaw. This bird knows more than he's telling. A cast of characters provide hilarious interruptions in Meg's dangerous quest for a killer!

Dive into the pages of The Real Macaw as Donna Andrews once again takes us on a exciting ride.

-- Karen Sayre

FTC Disclaimer - This book was provided by the publisher.