Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben

Former special ops pilot Maya, home from the war, sees an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work: her two-year-old daughter playing with Maya’s husband, Joe—who had been brutally murdered two weeks earlier. The provocative question at the heart of the mystery: can you believe everything you see with your own eyes, even when you desperately want to? To find the answer, Maya must finally come to terms with deep secrets and deceit in her own past before she can face the unbelievable truth about her husband—and herself.

This is one of those times where I’m not sure whether I should thank the person who recommended Harlan Coben to me or yell at them. Since it was my daughter, I guess I’ll cut her some slack. 😀

Seriously, after only reading two books by this author and I’ve already realized that you can’t second guess or predict or even try to figure out where the story’s going. I figured that out after reading Hold Tight – that opinion was reinforced after reading Fool Me Once.

Unfortunately, because of the twists, turns and total craziness that’s centered around Maya and the secrets from her past – kept by both her and others – I can’t say too much. Just know that nothing is quite what it seems and it’s really hard to know who to trust.

I might be a gluten for punishment, but I’ve got a couple more Harlan Coben books on my TBR list. I might need a break from all this intense suspense for a little while though, but I’m sure it won’t be long before I pick the next one up. 😉

The Skeleton in the Closet (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries #2) by Angie Fox

A haunted library is no place for a girl who can see ghosts, but when Verity Long stumbles on a dead body in the middle of the main reading room, she has to believe someone… even a dead someone… must have witnessed the crime.
Her ghostly sidekick Frankie warns her to stay out of it. The very alive, very handsome deputy sheriff, Ellis Wydell, inadvertently places her directly in the middle of it. And her ex-fiancé, Ellis’s brother, is back with an agenda of his own.
Undaunted, Verity presses forward, uncovering scandalous secrets, long-forgotten ghosts, and a shocking trail of clues that places her directly in the path of a killer.

Oh how I’m loving this series. There’s mystery, danger, the beginning of a sweet romance, a touch of revenge and lots of humor thrown into the mix.

Verity’s latest plan to free her ghostly side-kick Frankie is foiled by a murder that she stumbles upon. As much as she’s not anxious to go on another ghost hunt, she can’t leave the murder unsolved if she can help. So… Frankie, Verity and even Ellis go searching for clues – both living and not, to help find the murderer. Things get more than a little complicated when the clues lead them a little too close to home.

Through all the mystery and spookiness and the real live drama, not all the danger comes from the ghostly residents in their community. By the end of The Skeleton in the Closet, Verity might have even found a couple more ghostly allies. ❤ Ghost of a Chance is the next short story in the series, followed by The Haunted Heist. Stay tuned!

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness

Picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night takes Diana and Matthew on a trip through time to Elizabethan London, where they are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the School of Night. As the search for Ashmole 782 deepens and Diana seeks out a witch to tutor her in magic, the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them, and they embark on a very different—and vastly more dangerous—journey.

Well, that was an interesting… journey… Not only did Diana and Matthew learn some interesting things about what they traveled in time to discover, they also learned some interesting things about each other and themselves.

It wasn’t surprising that Diana didn’t know everything there was to know about Matthew’s past, but some of what she learned was more shocking than others. The fact that they both learned more about Diana was no surprise, after all, that’s mostly what the trip to Matthew’s past was about. To find out as much about Diana’s magic and how to control it.

During their journey, they made some other interesting discoveries and made some unexpected alliances. It was fun to get a creative take on some familiar historic characters. I think that may have been what I enjoyed most about Shadow of Night.

Time will tell how their trip into the past will affect their future and the future of others. Although Shadow of Night didn’t end in quite the cliff hanger that A Discovery of Witches, I still can’t wait to read, The Book of Life, the last book in the All Souls Trilogy.

Crimson at Cape May (The Haunted Shores Mysteries #2) by Randy Overbeck

No matter how far you run, you can never really escape a haunted past.
Darrell Henshaw—teacher, coach, and paranormal sensitive—learned this lesson the hard way. Now, with his job gone and few options, he heads for Cape May to coach a summer football camp. The resort town, with gorgeous beaches, rich history and famous Victorian mansions, might just be the getaway he needs. Only, no one told him Cape May is the most haunted seaport on the East Coast.
When a resident ghost, the Haunted Bride, stalks Darrell, begging for his help, he can’t refuse, and joins forces with Cassie, another sensitive. As Darrell and the street-wise teen investigate the bride’s death, they uncover something far more sinister than a murder. Can Darrell and Cassie expose those behind the crimes before they end up becoming the next victims?

I suppose that you could read Crimson at Cape May as a standalone, because the author does a pretty good job of recapping some of the events that took place in Blood on the Chesapeake, but I wouldn’t recommend it. A lot happens in the first book, along with introductions to key characters and Darrell’s history – especially the events that brought him to Cape May.

I stumbled on Blood on the Chesapeake, which I tend to do from time to time, and it took me by surprise. I loved the mystery, suspense and the characters – especially Darrell. He was flawed, but lovable and those are my favorite kind. I have to admit that the setting was a big draw for me too, because I was familiar with the area. But the story was what kept the pages turning and even though I didn’t really stalk this author, I tried to keep a look out for the next book in the series. In case you were wondering, Crimson at Cape May was worth the weight. 😉

Once again, Darrell found himself haunted by a ghost. He should have learned from his experience in Maryland that when a spirit has a message and they’ve found someone who can see them, they won’t give up until they’re “heard”. In the case of the Haunted Bride, she needed help not only for herself, but for others and they were among the living. And since Cape May boasts being the most haunted seaport on the East Coast, she had some help getting her message across.

Danger lurked around every corner and ghosts weren’t the most dangerous “people” in Cape May. Even though Darrell was guilt ridden for putting other people in danger, he couldn’t do it alone. The mystery and suspense kept the pages turning, the writing flowed just as I remembered from the previous book (as well as the dialog), the characters were witty and had depth and the romance was sweet and just added to the overall feel of the story. I have no idea if there will be more to come from The Haunted Shores Mysteries, but I’m kind of hoping there is – for a couple of reasons. ❤

Storm Front (The Dresden Files #1) by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a—well, whatever. There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks.
So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get interesting.
Magic – it can get a guy killed.

Like others, I started with the Dresden Files TV series – WAY after it originally aired – BEFORE I realized it was that Dresden Files (because of course I had heard of it, I just didn’t connect them because sometimes I am totally oblivious). Once I devoured the TV series and realized it was based on the book series, the next logical step was to pick up the first book, so here I am. On a side note, I started watching the series before I realized that there was only one season. *sigh* And I also realized that if I had watched the Dresden Files first I may have liked Paul Blackthorne’s character in the Arrow a little bit more, but maybe not.

There are times when I can definitely say that I like the book version better than the movie, or in this case, the TV version. There are other times when I can separate the two and admit that they both have their merits. This is one of those times. There were things that I enjoyed in the series, that wasn’t included in the book and there were things in the book that I really liked that wasn’t included in the TV series. I really wish that there were more episodes in the TV series, but now I have countless books that I need to catch up on. (20 years worth, evidently – YIKES!)

To be honest, The Dresden Files seems to include everything I love about a good Urban Fantasy. A snarky hero who has enough of a hard edge to keep things interesting, enough danger and suspense to keep the pages turning, a unique magical world and good supporting characters.

As I said, I have a lot of catching up to do and Storm Front is just the beginning. Fool Moon is next and I can’t wait to follow Harry Dresden on his next case.

Anyone but You by Brien Michaels

Jack Kieza has a problem. He’s deeply attracted to men, but his homophobic family has left him too afraid to act on it. With his thirtieth birthday around the corner, his curiosity gets the best of him, and he finds himself at a gay club. After spending a fiery night with drag queen Sheila Saltue, everything changes. Especially when he discovers her alter ego: his boss, Ryan Swift.
Ryan knew he should’ve said no the second Jack approached him. Now he can’t stop himself from texting Jack every chance he gets. But Jack won’t let him take the wig off during sex, and being Sheila off-stage is wearing thin.
The more time they spend together, the more intense their feelings get, but Jack isn’t ready to date a man yet. When drag queens start turning up murdered, it forces Jack to reexamine his feelings, because what if Ryan is next? While Jack wants their burgeoning relationship to work, it would mean having to admit who he is to the world. And that’s an idea as frightening as death.

My first reaction when I finished Anyone but You was that “this one grew on me… slowly.” It’s not that I didn’t like Jack and Ryan, it’s just that I spent a lot of this book wondering how a relationship between them was going to work.

Ryan really had the upper hand in their “hook-up”. After all, he knew who Jack was from the beginning and knew exactly how complicated things could get. He couldn’t help himself though and even when Jack figured out who Ryan/Sheila really was, he couldn’t either. Ryan wanted more though and even his growing feelings for Jack weren’t enough to risk getting hurt in the long run.

Along with the burgeoning romance, there was also a mystery and a touch of suspense that kept the pages turning.

This was my first Brien Michaels read, but I’ll be on the lookout for more.

I Buried a Witch (Bedknobs & Broomsticks #2) by Josh Lanyon

Cosmo Saville adores his new husband, but his little white lies—and some very black magic—are about to bring his fairytale romance to an end. Someone is killing San Francisco’s spellcasters—and the only person Cosmo can turn to—the man who so recently swore to love and cherish him—isn’t taking his phone calls.
The only magic Police Commissioner John Joseph Galbraith believes in is true love. Discovering he’s married to a witch—a witch with something alarmingly like magical powers—is nearly as bad as discovering the man he loved tricked and deceived him. John shoulders the pain of betrayal and packs his bags. But when he learns Cosmo is in the crosshairs of a mysterious and murderous plot, he knows he must do everything in in his mortal power to protect him.
Till Death do them Part. With their relationship on the rocks, Cosmo and Commissioner Galbraith join forces to uncover the shadowy figure behind the deadly conspiracy…
Can the star-crossed couple bring down a killer before the dark threat extinguishes true love’s flame?

Funny story… this is my second read of I Buried a Witch. I read it at the end of last year, but it showed up on my TBR list on GoodReads. Now, I know that I could have backdated the read, because I definitely did read it, but I thought what the heck? It definitely wasn’t a hardship on my part to read the book again, so here we are. (This time I double checked to make SURE it was marked correctly on GR.)

You probably already guessed that I considered I Buried a Witch a great addition to Josh Lanyon’s Bedknobs & Broomsticks series. I have to admit that I went into this one a little leery after reading Mainly by Moonlight. Not because I didn’t like the book, but because John and Cosmo’s relationship was sorta doomed from the start and this book’s description is kinda ominous. I wasn’t wrong to be hesitant, but I’m glad I decided to dive in (twice). 😉

The mystery from the Mainly by Moonlight continues in I Buried a Witch, in a round about way. Much to John’s dismay, Cosmo finds himself playing amateur detective. John started growing on me by the end of the last book, but he lost some major points in I Buried a Witch. He had some definite old fashioned ways of thinking how marriage worked. Cosmo took it for the most part, mainly because he felt guilty for the secrets he was keeping from John. Eventually enough was enough and the inevitable blow-up happened.

Beyond the break-up, there was a mystery to solve and the danger was coming way too close to home. There were also some revelations about John’s family that threw and extra twist or two in the story. Things were looking a little bit better by the end of I Buried a Witch, so I’m not as worried about starting Bell, Book and Scandal. Even so, I’m also pretty sure that John and Cosmo haven’t gotten past all of their relationship hurdles. *sigh*

Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane

Detective Chief Inspector Robin Bright and his partner, deputy headteacher Adam Matthews, have just consigned their summer holiday to the photo album. It’s time to get back to the daily grind, and the biggest problem they’re expecting to face: their wedding plans. Then fate strikes—literally—with a bang.
Someone letting loose shots on the common, a murder designed to look like a suicide, and the return of a teacher who made Robin’s childhood hell all conspire to turn this into one of his trickiest cases yet.
Especially when somebody might be targeting their Newfoundland, Campbell. Robin is used to his and Adam’s lives being in danger, but this takes the—dog—biscuit.

I really love this series… just putting that out there… in case anyone hadn’t gotten that impression yet. 😉

Adam and Robin find themselves right in the middle of another mystery, but this one comes a little too close to home. Not that that hasn’t happened before, but this time Campbell comes way too close to being in the cross fire and that is totally unacceptable to both Robin and Adam. This time it’s personal from the beginning – even before there’s a connection between the mysterious murders and a teacher who made Robin’s life miserable in grade school.

There were a lot of “connections” in Old Sins, some more obvious than others. I can honestly say that I had no idea exactly “who” did “what” to “who” and “why”… until I was actually supposed to… The mystery was only part of the story though and that’s just one of the reasons why I love this series. (Did I already mention that?)

Old Sins is definitely not the end of the Lindenshaw Mysteries series… at least I hope not. After all, readers still have to make sure that Adam and Robin finalize their HEA. 😉

The Hell You Say (The Adrien English Mysteries #3) by Josh Lanyon

Demons, death threats…
and Christmas shopping.
It’s gonna be one Hell of a Holiday.
In the third in the popular Adrien English series, the “ill-starred and bookish” mystery writer has to contend with a Satanic cult, a handsome university professor and his on-again/off-again relationship with the eternally conflicted LAPD Detective Jake Riordan.
And, oh, yes, murder…

This book could not have had a better title – for so many reasons. By the end of The Hell You Say, I really wasn’t sure if I was more mad at Adrien or Jake. I don’t want to give anything away, because honestly, readers need to walk away as shell shocked as everyone else, but Jake infuriated me. On the flip side, I was almost as upset with Adrien for letting Jake treat him the way he did. In short, I wanted to shake sense into the pair of them. Grrr….

As far as the mystery went, I like where this one went. It was a little spooky, which I really like and the “who-dun-it” aspect kept things moving. A new character was thrown into the mix that I’m pretty sure readers are going to see more of – at least I hope so. Things definitely need to be shaken up in a very big way.

By the end of A Dangerous Thing I was really hoping… oh well. Death of a Pirate King is next and I can’t wait to see where things go from here.

A Dangerous Thing (The Adrien English Mysteries #2) by Josh LanyonDangerousT

Suffering from writer’s block and frustrated with his tentative relationship with hot but closeted L.A.P.D. Homicide Detective Jake Riordan, gay bookseller and mystery writer Adrien English travels to northern California where he finds a body in his front drive. By the time the sheriffs arrive, the body has disappeared, and Adrien once again finds himself playing amateur sleuth. But when the game turns deadly, Adrien turns to Jake. Jake may be confused about some things, but keeping his lover alive is not one of them–no matter what the cost.
Who are the mysterious strangers excavating on his land? And will he sort out his problems with LAPD Detective Jake Riordan, heavily into S/M sex but not so hot on relationships? Find out in this engrossing, slyly witty thriller.

This is another one of those series that I wish I had started earlier, but the fact that I didn’t is making it fun to read them practically back to back.

A Dangerous Thing took Adrien out of his bookstore and traveling to a semi-isolated area to hopefully get past his writer’s block. He ended up getting a lot more than he bargained for.

This is one of those books with so many twists and turns it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad. Since local law enforcement seems like they’ll be providing no help at all, Adrien calls the only person he can think of… Jake.

I haven’t been a fan of Jake so far in The Adrien English Mysteries, but he made some progress in A Dangerous Thing. He still won’t commit, but he seemed to be softening a little… maybe. The danger and mystery kept the pages turning and there were even a couple heated moments between Jake and Adrien that were long overdue.

I’m kind of behind on some of my reviews so at the time I wrote this, I’d already read The Hell You Say and… well, stay tuned. Things get even more interesting. Let’s just say I’ve got my fingers crossed and can’t wait to start Death of a Pirate King. *sigh*