The Mistletoe Inn

The Mistletoe Inn Book Cover The Mistletoe Inn
Mistletoe Collection
Richard Paul Evans
Christmas
Simon & Schuster
November 17, 2015
Kindle Edition
300
November 22, 2017

The second holiday love story in New York Times bestselling author Richard Paul Evans’s Mistletoe Collection.

At thirty-two Kimberly Rossi, a finance officer at a Lexus car dealership, has had her heart broken more times than she wants to remember. With two failed engagements, a divorce and again alone with no prospects, she hardly seems the type to dream of being a published romance author. Dreading another holiday alone, she signs up for The Mistletoe Retreat, a nine-day writing retreat in Burlington, VT. Deep inside Kimberly knows she’s at a junction in her life and it’s time to either fulfill her dream or let it go. The other reason she decides to attend the conference is because famed romance writer, H.T. Cowell, once the best selling romance writer in America, and the author whose books instilled in her the desire to be a writer, will be speaking in public for the first time in more than a decade.

In one of her breakout sessions Kimberly meets another aspiring writer, and one of the few men at the conference, Zeke, an intelligent man with a wry wit who seems as interested in Kimberly as he is in the retreat. As Kimberly begins to open up to him about her stories and dreams, she inadvertently reveals her own troubled past. As Zeke helps her to discover why her books fail to live up to their potential she begins to wonder if he’s really talking more about her life than her literature. But as she grows closer to him, she realizes that Zeke has his own darkness, a past he’s unwilling to talk about.

The theme of The Mistletoe Inn is that like literature, relationships must be lived with passion and vulnerability to succeed.

Clueless Gent’s Review

I’ll start this review of The Mistletoe Inn with a little disclaimer.  The only reason I purchased this book – and paid full price, I might add – was because the Hallmark movie of the same name was going to premiere on Thanksgiving Day.  It stars one of my favorite actresses – Alicia Witt.  I was a little concerned because, even though I made the purchase several weeks before Thanksgiving, I didn’t actually start reading it until two days before Thanksgiving.  However, that turned out not to be a problem.  I eagerly tore through it in two days! Continue reading The Mistletoe Inn

The Einstein Prophecy

The Einstein Prophecy Book Cover The Einstein Prophecy
Robert Masello
Fiction
47North
August 1, 2015
Kindle Edition
338
November 15, 2017

As war rages in 1944, young army lieutenant Lucas Athan recovers a sarcophagus excavated from an Egyptian tomb. Shipped to Princeton University for study, the box contains mysteries that only Lucas, aided by brilliant archaeologist Simone Rashid, can unlock.

These mysteries may, in fact, defy—or fulfill—the dire prophecies of Albert Einstein himself.

Struggling to decipher the sarcophagus’s strange contents, Lucas and Simone unwittingly release forces for both good and unmitigated evil. The fate of the world hangs not only on Professor Einstein’s secret research but also on Lucas’s ability to defeat an unholy adversary more powerful than anything he ever imagined.

From the mind of bestselling author and award-winning journalist Robert Masello comes a thrilling, page-turning adventure where modern science and primordial supernatural powers collide.

Clueless Gent’s Review

I love stories that blend historical fact with fiction. Although there was ample opportunity for Masello to dig into the science aspect, I think it was a good choice not to. There was plenty of excitement without it!

Continue reading The Einstein Prophecy

The Unremembered Girl

The Unremembered Girl Book Cover The Unremembered Girl
Eliza Maxwell
Fiction
Lake Union Publishing
2017-11
October 25, 2017

In the deep woods of East Texas, Henry supports his family by selling bootleg liquor. It's all he can do to keep his compassionate but ailing mother and his stepfather--a fanatical grassroots minister with a bruising rhetoric--from ruin. But they have no idea they've become the obsession of the girl in the woods. Abandoned and nearly feral, Eve has been watching them, seduced by the notion of family--something she's known only in the most brutal sense. Soon she can't resist the temptation to get close. Where Henry's mother sees a poor girl in need, his father sees only wickedness. When Henry forges an unexpected bond with Eve, he believes he might be able to save her. He doesn't know how wrong he is. Eve is about to take charge of her own destiny--and that of Henry's family. As both their worlds spin violently out of control, Henry must make an impossible choice: protect the broken young woman who's claimed a piece of his soul, or put everyone he loves at risk in order to do the right thing.

Clueless Gent’s Review

I thought The Unremembered Girl to be a very well written dark story. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story quite like this, but I can certainly understand that some folks live the same way as the characters. If you like dark stories and dark subject matter, I highly recommend this book!

Abandon

Abandon Book Cover Abandon
Blake Crouch
Horror
Thomas & Mercer
September 1, 2015
Kindle Edition
521
October 3, 2017

A history professor, a journalist, a psychic, and a paranormal photographer venture deep into the Colorado wilderness to explore the fate of an entire town that mysteriously vanished in 1893.

Clueless Gent’s Review

Wow! This story seemed to have it all!! Blake Crouch seemed to cover a handful of genres in one tale, and a very well written one, at that. The story bounces from 1893 to present (2009-2010), but I liked the way it was done. Several chapters were presented in one time, and then several chapters in the other, etc.

One of the things that impressed me most is the way the author tied everything together at the end.  I sure didn’t see it coming until I was already there!

The only negative I have with this book is that it kept me up much too late at night turning pages!

Stillhouse Lake

Stillhouse Lake Book Cover Stillhouse Lake
Stillhouse Lake
Rachel Caine
Fiction
Thomas & Mercer
2017-07
300
September 21, 2017

An Amazon Charts most-read book. Gina Royal is the definition of average--a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband's secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor--the ultimate warrior mom. With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband's crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace. But just when she's starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake--and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed--or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she's learned how to fight evil. And she'll never stop.

Clueless Gent’s Review

This was a very good read, in my opinion. The story was unusual – but I mean that in a good way. The characters were well portrayed, the action was well documented, and the twists were unexpected.

This book was headed for a five-star review, until I got to the end. I was a bit disappointed with the way Caine brought the story to a close. But well done, overall!

End of Watch

End of Watch Book Cover End of Watch
Bill Hodges Trilogy #3
Stephen King
Fiction
Simon and Schuster
November 1, 2016
Paperback
496
September 12, 2017

"A fabulously suspenseful closing volume--Brady Hartsfield, the Mercedes killer Stephen King introduced in his Edgar award winning first book in the trilogy, returns to diabolically drive his victims to suicide in this last, masterful installment starring the ever more winning Bill Hodges and Holly Gibney."--

Clueless Gent’s Review

This final installment of the Bill Hodges Trilogy was just… WOW!

The first two books in this trilogy were pretty much thrillers – albeit good ones.  This last one, however, brings in some of the spookiness that Mr. King has made a lot of money writing about.  I didn’t expect that AT ALL, but I was very pleased.

After having only a small role in the second book, Bill Hodges returns in full force in End of Watch.  Just when he’s about to sever his relationship with Brady Hartsfield, and stop the visits to the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic where Hartsfield now resides, people start committing suicide.

All the characters that survived the first book came back for the finale.  The character arcs just kept getting better.

(If you have not yet read any of this trilogy, I strongly recommend that you at least read the first book, Mr. Mercedes, before reading this one.  Reading the second book, Finders Keepers, is also highly recommended.

Finders Keepers

Finders Keepers Book Cover Finders Keepers
Bill Hodges Trilogy #2
Stephen King
Fiction
Simon and Schuster
March 22, 2016
Paperback
544
August 30, 2017

Previously published: New York: Scribner, 2015.

Wake up, genius.

The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.

Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years.

Clueless Gent’s Review

This second installment of the Bill Hodges Trilogy only loosely ties back to the first novel. However, it’s still action-packed and worth the read!

If you read this after reading Mr. Mercedes, the first book in the trilogy, you may wonder why is this book a part of the trilogy.  I know I did!  But give Mr. King the benefit of the doubt and he won’t disappoint.

When the son of a survivor of the Mr. Mercedes attack stumbles upon a treasure trove of cash and unpublished work of an iconic author murdered years earlier, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot.  And he has – sort of.  He makes very good use of the money, and becomes enthralled in the writing.  But when the original mastermind of the murder and theft is released from prison – found guilty of an unrelated charge – and finds his buried stash stolen, he’s ready to kill again.

This story will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.  It’s not the scary or spooky type of story so commonly attributed to Stephen King, but the pace is perfect, the characters are perfect (at being imperfect), and the suspense is killer!

Into Forbidden

Into Forbidden Book Cover Into Forbidden
Forbidden Series #2
Regina Puckett
Steampunk
Punk & Sissy Publications
March 4, 2015
Kindle format
237
August 22, 2017

Freedom isn’t a place Harmony would normally travel to, but she’s there on a mission to rescue her brother and cousin, Walker and Journey. Since The Great War, the world has become a barren and unfriendly place. If Harmony didn’t already know that, she certainly does the moment she winds up in the walled-off city of Freedom. It turns out that this city is anything but free. Its people are ruled by a group of huge, spider-like robots, aptly named Overseers.

Harmony’s big plan is to get in there, rescue Walker and Journey and then steal one of the Overseers’ steam engines, to use in their big escape. The only thing going in her favor is a runaway from Freedom and two rusted-out, falling apart robots who have offered her their help. Now Harmony has put together her strategy, all they need do is sneak Walker and Journey out of their jail cell and then figure out how to run a steam engine. Easy, right? Throw into this crazy mixture a few Overseers determined not to let this crackpot group escape and a steam engine low on water and the adventure turns into a long flight to Forbidden, one that’s fraught with danger.

Clueless Gent’s Review

I purchased and read this story because I was enamored with its predecessor, I Will Breathe.  I thought it was very interesting, and the first time I’ve actually seen this in a series, that the characters in this story are the next generation of descendants of the characters in the first story.  How clever is that?

This tale reveals some not-so-friendly robots – called Overseers – who tend to think of humans as pets, so to speak.  They all reside in a walled-off city ironically named Freedom.

Harmony, the protagonist, must rescue her brother and cousin, who have become captors in the city of Freedom.  Of course, she’ll have the assistance of some robotic friends.  You’ll have to read the book yourself to find out whether Harmony can successfully complete the rescue.

I love the characters in this series.  They’re just so danged lovable!  Even the robotic ones!  (Maybe especially the robotic ones!)

I Will Breathe

I Will Breathe Book Cover I Will Breathe
Forbidden Series #1
Regina Puckett
Steampunk
Punk & Sissy Publications
January 13, 2015
Kindle version
169
August 19, 2017

The year is 2836. It has been eight hundred years since The Great War. There are small groups of people scattered in isolated pockets around the world, but most are too suspicious of each other for any intimacy. If they don’t stop hiding, and learn to help each other, there won’t be anyone left on earth.

Liberty has grown up in this post-apocalyptic world. Her home is an airship built by her adopted father. Since his death, each day is just another day trying to survive in a hostile environment. That is until her father's dying friend asks if she’ll take custody of a small, child-like robot.

The last thing Liberty needs is another responsibility. Surprisingly, once the endearing robot is aboard Airus, she discovers there is more to life than just living, and loving someone can be as easy as breathing.

Clueless Gent’s Review

This was a very delightful and fun read! I think this story would appeal to both young and old alike. I’ve never read a post-apocalyptic story quite like this one. It’s very unique in that regard.

I know, how can any storyline set after the apocalypse be delightful!  Right?  Well, if it’ll ease your mind a bit, the characters in the story had absolutely nothing to do with the apocalypse.  They just have to deal with the aftermath.  Further, the setting is far enough after the events of the apocalypse (800 years) that it’s considered more historic than present.

Have you even imagined what it would be like to not only ride – but LIVE – in a hot air balloon?  That was one of the delights in this story.  Also, the variations in technology is very thought provoking.  The characters seem to mostly have “old school” technology, but yet they interact with clumsy (and comical) robots that seem to be a collection of odd parts.

From a technical standpoint, I thought the pacing was perfect, and characters were developed, and any SPAG problems were minimal.

This was my first venture into the “steampunk” genre.

This story kept me fully engaged and turning the pages! Highly recommended!