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Merely A Marriage
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A Touch of Frost
Never Trust A Pirate
The Murder of Mary Russell
Secrets in Summer: A Novel
What the Dead Leave Behind
 
 

Top of the Stack

 

Like most voracious readers, I keep a journal of the books I've read or listened to.  I have a book (sometimes several books) with me wherever I go.  Rather than sharing my entire journal with everyone I've started a list of what I'm currently reading and enjoying.  I'm calling it Top Of The Stack.  Also, be sure to check the Reader To Reader Staff Picks as RTR reviewers share their current and upcoming favorites. 


Racing The Devil by Charles Todd

Racing The Devil
Charles Todd
 

Racing The Devil

If you crave a good British mystery with no stone unturned to solve a baffling case of whodunit then Racing The Devil fits the bill. The very methodical but never plodding, Scotland Yard Inspector, Ian Rutledge ties together what appears to be, at first glance, unrelated deaths into a neat package in this post WWI mystery.


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Journal Entry:  2/10/2017


The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry

The Fifth Petal
Brunonia Barry
 

The Fifth Petal

In 1989 three young women, accused of being witches were murdered on Halloween night.  One left behind a very young daughter.  Traumatised and forgetting almost everything she grew up in an orphanige and foster homes.  The only thing remaining from her terrorizing night is a five petal scar in the palm of her hand.  Returning to the small town as an adult she faces close scrutiny and speculation as the police chief and others resurect the past.  This plays out not as a paranormal but as a mystery with witchy elements.  While the books starts out at a slow pace it picks up speed as curtain of blame rises.


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Journal Entry:  2/1/2017


The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

The Other Einstein
Marie Benedict
 

The Other Einstein

Based on facts culled from intense research, Benedict weaves a very different picture of the man and the genius of Einstein that we were taught in school.  This is the story of his personal life as he rose to fame and the role his wife played in his scientific theories.  Mileva had dedicated herself to her education and was a mathmatical genius that caught the eye of the young Albert.  During their courtship and marriage, a multitude of theories and ideas were discussed, some of which led to the publication of several theoritcal papers for which Albert took credit and for which much of the work should have been credited to her.  This was at a time when women rarely gained admittence to university and would not have been taken seriously when it came to publishing papers.  The more you get into the book the more you want to march for equal rights for women all over again... and again. Very thought provoking and highly recommended.


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Journal Entry:  11/1/2016


A Quiet Life in the Country by T. E. Kinsey

A Quiet Life in the Countryl
T E Kinsey
 

A Quiet Life in the Country
A Lady Hardcastle Mystery

This was a find!  Lady Hardcastle and Flo are the perfect sleuthing duo. One is an eccentric widow and the other her maid and best friend. They settle into a quiet village life, or so they thought...  Seems Lady H can't help but investigate a dead body in the woods.   A fun read and cleverly plotted.  


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Journal Entry:  10/1/2016


The Delphi Effect

The Delphi Effect
Rysa Walker
 

The Delphi Effect
The Delphi Trilogy Book One

In this supernatural suspense novel, Anna mentally picks up ghostly hitchhikers and has a very difficult time getting them out of her head. In book one of The Delphi Trilogy, Anna unwittingly comes into contact with the spirit of a brutally murdered young girl who insists that Anna find her killer. Anna has been in and out of one foster home or psychiatric ward all her life. Now, because of her special talent, she has drawn the attention of more than a random spirit—she's under surveillance by a covert organization that fears she could expose them.


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Journal Entry:  10/1/2016


The Velvet Hours

The Velvet Hours
Alyson Richman
 

The Velvet Hours

A hauntingly, beautifully written story of a young woman discovering a grandmother she never knew existed. On the brink of the German occupation in Paris, an elegant, yet eccentric woman tells her granddaughter of the kept life she led. Full of emotion and deft detailing of a dark time in history, The Velvet Hours is an exceptional novel.


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Journal Entry:  9/1/2016


The Velvet Hours

The Shattered Tree
Charles Todd
 

The Shattered Tree

Bess Crawford, WWI field nurse, in injured in this latest mystery by Charles Todd.  This does not keep her from being curious and determined to get to the bottom of why a wounded soldier she briefly encountered spoke both French and... German and so near the front lines.  When she is sent to hospital for her injuries she is unconvinced that he was from Alsace-Lorraine but rather he might be a spy—one everyone has been looking for.  I never miss a Bess Crawford mystery and encourage all mystery fans to add this to their library.


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Journal Entry:  8/1/2016


The Woman In Cabin 10

The Woman In Cabin 10
Ruth Ware
 

The Woman In Cabin 10

New York Times bestselling author of In A Dark, Dark Wood delivers a suspensful tale with The Woman In Cabin 10. On-board an exclusive luxury liner everything and everyone is set for the trip of a lifetime until a woman disappears overboard and no one believes the only witness. There's no evidence that there was someone in Cabin 10 and everyone is accounted for... Suspenseful. Chilling. Complex.


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Journal Entry:  7/1/2016


The Summer Before The War

The Summer Before The War
Helen Simonson
 

The Summer Before The War

This book touches the heart and the soul at the same time. The setting is a small town in 1914 Sussex, just before the beginning of WWI. The characters are so real you can almost hear them talking and... gossiping in the next room. The beginning of the war comes closer each day, touching each family in the small community.


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Journal Entry:  6/15/2016


A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde

A Useful Woman
Darcie Wilde
 

A Useful Woman

Using her post-privileged status in the ton, Rosiland Thorne makes her way by being useful to those she once rubbed evening gloves with. Years ago, her titled father abandoned the family leaving her and her mother to fend for themselves. Rosiland assists prominent ladies with the management of parties, seating arrangements and other "very important" tasks. She knows everyone and their little secrets and private affairs.   Most recently, she has been called upon to aid in the appointment of a new patroness of Almacks.  That's when her life is turned upside down by . . . a murder.  She is enlisted to use her skills to find the killer.  This is a clever new mystery series filled with wit, charm and just a hint of romance.


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Journal Entry:  5/15/2016


Property Of A Noble Woman by Danielle Steel

Property Of A Noble Woman
Danielle Steel
 

Property Of A Noble Woman

There is an amazing surprise when an abandoned safe-deposit box is opened and the contents inventoried.  Among the mementos of photos and letters there is a cache of old and exquisite jewely.  If the state required notices, filing and documentation does turn-up an heir then the jewelry will be auctioned with proceeds going to the state.  Several unsuspecting lives are touched and an amazing revelation takes place as a search to learn more about the woman who owned millions in jewels but died almost destitute.  This is Steel's best book. 


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Journal Entry:  3/15/2016
 


A Lady in the Smoke by Karen Odden

A Lady in the Smoke
Karen Odden
 

A Lady In The Smoke

This is Karen Odden's debut novel set in Victorian England.  There is a complex mystery sounding a railway disaster that the main character cannot help but solve while falling in love with a good man but not of her class. 


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Journal Entry:  3/1/2016
 


Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

Be Frank With Me: A Novel
Julia Claiborne Johnson

 

Be Frank With Me: A Novel

After reading the books description I just had to read it.  Keywords like reclusive novelist, eccentric child who loves old movies and can quote word for word from anything he has read or watched caught my eye.  This debut novel as it turns out is rather unique not only because of its quirky characters but the bit of mystery woven into the plot as to the precocious child's father.  An excellent read that is both heartwarming and humorous. 


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Journal Entry:  2/25/2016
 


The Black Echo by Michael Connelly

The Black Echo
Michael Connelly

 

Book One in Connelly's Harry Bosch series

I recently watched the TV movie Bosch on Amazon Prime.  It was a combination of two maybe three Hieronymus Bosch novels.  I'd read The Lincoln Lawyer and over the years one or two others in the series but watching the movie I realized I needed to start at the beginning of the series. How did Bosch get the name Hieronymus, where did his fancy apartment (on a detective's salary) come from and what was the character's history?  While The Black Echo was published some time ago (1992) I found myself quickly engrossed in the gritty detective story.  The next is the series is The Black Ice.

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Journal Entry:  2/5/2016
 


The Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones

The Dirt on Ninth Grave
Darynda Jones
St. Marin's Press
January 2016

The Dirt on Ninth Grave

"The Dirt on Ninth Grave is the latest in author Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series, and it’s worth every minute fans have waited since the last installment in this sizzling hot series. While it takes a few pages of reading to figure out who, what and where Charley is, it is the “how” and “why” that drive this story to its unprecedented conclusion."  —Joyce Greenfield, RTR


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Journal Entry:  1/15/2016

In her Charley Davidson "Grave" series, Jones continues to evolve into one of the best paranormal-fantacy-romance witers of our time.  With her fresh approach to sexy devils (literally) creating havoc on earth and doing so with pitch perfect doses of humor readers cannot get enough of her books.  I knew from book one she was going to be a star!

 


The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly

The Bullet
Mary Louise Kelly

 

The Bullet

Caroline Cashion, a professor of French literature, is stunned to learn from an MRI that she has a bullet lodged at the base of her skull. A single bullet, gracefully tapered at one end, is found lodged at the base of her skull. Caroline is stunned. It makes no sense: she has never been shot.


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Journal Entry:  5/10/2015 | 12/01/15

Kelly's real life experience as a reporter adds to the flavor and attitude of this story.  An excellent, believable thriller.

 


You Can Trust Me by Sophie McKenzie

You Can Trust Me
Sophie McKenzie

 
You Can Trust Me

On a quiet, gray, Saturday morning, Livy arrives at her best friend Julia's flat for a lunch date only to find her dead. Though all the evidence supports it, Livy cannot accept the official ruling of suicide... The suspicious circumstances cause Livy to dig further, and she is suddenly forced to confront a horrifying possibility: that Julia was murdered, by the same man who killed Livy's sister, Kara, eighteen years ago.


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Journal Entry:  4/30/2015

You Can Trust Me is an excellent psychological thriller. First you think you know who the killer is… then you think it might be someone closer to home. All the while you try to recall remnants of conversations between characters and plug into the retrospective hints from the killer in hope of figuring out who Livy can trust before the big reveal. This book held my attention and I will look for other novels by this author..

My Sister's Grave by Robert Dugoni

Past Crimes
Glen Erik Hamilton

 
Past Crimes

When his estranged grandfather is shot and left for dead, an Army Ranger must plunge into the criminal underworld of his youth to find a murderer and uncover a shocking family secret...


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Journal Entry:  3/10/2015

Debut author that I want to read more of. There's action, suspense, surprises and you do not know who to trust.  An excellent read.  Received the book from the publisher for review.

My Sister's Grave by Robert Dugoni

My Sister's Grave
Robert Dugoni

 
My Sister's Grave

Tracy Crosswhite has spent 20 years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective. When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking and opens the door to deadly danger.


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Journal Entry:  1/22/2015  Audio Download

New author for me.  The storyline caught my attention. Moves back and forth from past to present smoothly as the mystery of her sister's disappearance is developed.  A couple of red herrings added to the twenty year old mystery—what happened and who knew the truth.  Will look for other Dugoni books.  Purchased the audio book.  I did not receive a copy of the book from the publisher.  Excellent narration.

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

Nefertiti
Michelle Moran

 
Nefertiti

The sweeping story of a powerful Egyptian family, Nefertiti: A Novel tells the tale of two sisters, the first of whom is destined to rule as one of history’s most fascinating queens.

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Journal Entry:  1/15/2015  Audio Download

I love ancient Egyptian historicals and the cover of this one caught my eye.  The story of Nefertiti and her sister is told from such a different point of view than others I've read.  I enjoyed the character development along with the historical impact Nefertiti made.  There is a lot of court intrigue and betrayal.  To this day there's still considerable mystery wrapped around this powerful queen. I downloaded the audio book and then purchased the trade size book for my keeper shelf.  Upon finishing Nefertiti, I immediately purchased The Heretic Queen.  Will read other Moran books right away.

Cold Cold Heart by Tami Hoag

Cold Cold Heart
Tami Hoag

 
Cold Cold Heart

Dana Nolan was a promising young TV reporter until a notorious serial killer tried to add her to his list of victims. Nearly a year has passed since surviving her ordeal, but the physical, emotional, and psychological scars run deep. Struggling with the torment of post-traumatic stress syndrome, plagued by flashbacks and nightmares as dark as the heart of a killer, Dana returns to her hometown in an attempt to begin to put her life back together. But her return to small town life have rekindled police and media interest in the unsolved case of her childhood best friend.


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Journal Entry:  1/13/2015  Audio Download

It's Tami Hoag.  I've read everything she's written including the romance novels from the 90's.  One of my old favs is, Lucky's Lady (1991).  This was a mystery not a thriller and uses PTSD as a vehicle to solve the disappearance of a childhood friend as she tries to piece her life back together.  There's more than one mystery solved by the end of the book and more than one suspect - some too close to home. 


 
The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush by Susan Wittig Albert

The Darling Dahlias
and the Silver Dollar Bush

 
The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush

Albert takes readers back in time to small-town Darling, Alabama, in the 1930s where the Darling Savings and Trust has just closed and the women of the Darling Dahlias’ garden club are betting their bottom dollar there’s going to be trouble. Times are tough all over. The only businessmen not struggling are the moonshiners, though they still have to steer clear of federal agents. Folks are suddenly caught short on cash and everyone is in a panic.


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Journal Entry:  1/11/2015  Audio Download

It is the next in the series and I have enjoyed the small town dynamics of each one.  The ladies all pull together to help out when there's trouble brewing either among friends or the township.  While they are light-hearted moments the plot is not frivolous but deals with real life situations that sometimes just have to work themselves out over time.  The time period is a favorite of mine in US and English
 
     
 
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