Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ The Turnbull Murders by R.J. Koreto


The Turnbull Murders by R.J. Koreto
Publisher: Level Best Books
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary
Rated: 5 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Movie star Nicky Tallon selects architect Wren Fontaine to renovate Turnbull House, where he’ll be filming his next movie. Even to Wren, used to old homes, this one is special: a 200-year-old federal-style home on a private island in New York harbor, designed by the most celebrated architect of the day. But Turnbull House hides many secrets, such as the disappearance of the sea captain who built it. That’s just a historical curiosity, until a studio executive no one likes is killed.

Wren just wants to keep her worksite safe, but then another murder occurs, and she starts noting eerie connections between the mysteries surrounding the Turnbull family and Nicky and his entourage. The handsome star seems to have two girlfriends, a childlike folk singer and a cynical fashion model. Meanwhile, renowned actress Veronica Selwyn renews a friendship with Wren’s father, which Wren finds more disturbing than she wants to admit. She concludes it’s time she and her girlfriend Hadley take the next step and find a place together, an exciting but stressful change.

As the attacks continue, Wren realizes she will have to solve the mysteries surrounding Captain Turnbull and Nicky Tallon. Turnbull House speaks of order and harmony, and Wren must dig deep to see how the house has affected its owners, old and new. Fortunately for her, the eminently practical Hadley is by her side, pepper spray at the ready—because a frighteningly clever killer is about to find that Wren is getting too close to the horrific truth.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

The Turnbull Murders by R.J. Koreto


The Turnbull Murders by R.J. Koreto
Publisher: Level Best Books
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary
Rated: 5 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Movie star Nicky Tallon selects architect Wren Fontaine to renovate Turnbull House, where he’ll be filming his next movie. Even to Wren, used to old homes, this one is special: a 200-year-old federal-style home on a private island in New York harbor, designed by the most celebrated architect of the day. But Turnbull House hides many secrets, such as the disappearance of the sea captain who built it. That’s just a historical curiosity, until a studio executive no one likes is killed.

Wren just wants to keep her worksite safe, but then another murder occurs, and she starts noting eerie connections between the mysteries surrounding the Turnbull family and Nicky and his entourage. The handsome star seems to have two girlfriends, a childlike folk singer and a cynical fashion model. Meanwhile, renowned actress Veronica Selwyn renews a friendship with Wren’s father, which Wren finds more disturbing than she wants to admit. She concludes it’s time she and her girlfriend Hadley take the next step and find a place together, an exciting but stressful change.

As the attacks continue, Wren realizes she will have to solve the mysteries surrounding Captain Turnbull and Nicky Tallon. Turnbull House speaks of order and harmony, and Wren must dig deep to see how the house has affected its owners, old and new. Fortunately for her, the eminently practical Hadley is by her side, pepper spray at the ready—because a frighteningly clever killer is about to find that Wren is getting too close to the horrific truth.

The intriguing characters we meet at the opening of The Turnbull Murders grabbed this reader’s interest right away. R.J. Koreto described this new work as a ‘Historic Homes Mystery,’ and I for one, never imagined what a super backdrop architecture could be for a murder.

Our lead character, Wren, is as you have might have already guessed, an architect- but a special sort, with an interest not only in the history of certain styles of homes, but in the specific homes she is asked to restore. The home she tackles on Turnbull Island is that perfect icon of murder locations: it’s isolated. And, it has this sort of haunting back-story…none of which prepares either our lead, or the reader, for the first murder.

The investigation, while important, still takes a backseat to Wren’s interaction with her employer and his entourage. The world of the theater is another whole interesting part of the setting.

Wren’s girlfriend is incidentally involved at the start, as her job brings her to the same location. There’s a touch of family involvement, new friendships, and suddenly something that seems like another murder attempt. The threat looms and is cleverly tied to a long past mystery on Turnbull Island.

R.J. Koreto is brilliant at keeping the plot turning, all the while, keeping our attention on all these other, totally engaging, details. It’s hard to keep clues in mind while you are being entertained by gossip! To quote one of the characters: “Wow, just wow.”

This is a wonderful read, not only for mystery fans, but for anyone. It’s fast paced, with well-developed characters and an impossible to predict plot. Recommended!

Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ The Day Before Tomorrow by Monique Britten

The Day Before Tomorrow by Monique Britten
Publisher: Tellwell Publishing
Genre: Historical Literary Fiction
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Juliette and George Morgan know all about Living the Good Life. As the town’s newest ‘it’ couple, they succeed in transforming the otherwise sleepy farming community of Rickshaw into a hotbed for musical talent and social enterprise. A poignant and beautifully layered tale, the Day Before Tomorrow is a portrayal of an era once removed, yet not forgotten – from the early to late seventies – with much of the story taking place within the Morgan family’s domestic locus and the community in which they live. Relationships become so intricately woven, adult and adolescent lines become blurred and an illicit connection between teacher and student builds into hidden, often disturbing scenes of love, secrets and human experience. When the Morgan’s future essentially falls down in mid-flight, the family is forced to cope with not only trauma, but coming of age and ultimately moving away from their safe haven of Rickshaw. An indictment of survival, shattered innocence, death, love and optimism, this tale is one that will transport your mind, speak to your heart and stay in both long after you have closed the cover.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

The Day Before Tomorrow by Monique Britten

The Day Before Tomorrow by Monique Britten
Publisher: Tellwell Publishing
Genre: Historical Literary Fiction
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Juliette and George Morgan know all about Living the Good Life. As the town’s newest ‘it’ couple, they succeed in transforming the otherwise sleepy farming community of Rickshaw into a hotbed for musical talent and social enterprise. A poignant and beautifully layered tale, the Day Before Tomorrow is a portrayal of an era once removed, yet not forgotten – from the early to late seventies – with much of the story taking place within the Morgan family’s domestic locus and the community in which they live. Relationships become so intricately woven, adult and adolescent lines become blurred and an illicit connection between teacher and student builds into hidden, often disturbing scenes of love, secrets and human experience. When the Morgan’s future essentially falls down in mid-flight, the family is forced to cope with not only trauma, but coming of age and ultimately moving away from their safe haven of Rickshaw. An indictment of survival, shattered innocence, death, love and optimism, this tale is one that will transport your mind, speak to your heart and stay in both long after you have closed the cover.

This is a novel that will stay with me for a long time. A multi-generational novel of a family, their friends, and the effect illness and an illicit relationship had on them… not only in the time it happens but reaching through time. Things are linked in ways you might not expect when you open the book.

The story is told through vignettes, and, thankfully, the author is good about sharing what time we’re looking at in each segment.

The characters are well-drawn and three dimensional. You may love them and want to smack them at the same time. My favorite character was Juliette. I would have loved for her to be my best friend. And, her take on “the day before tomorrow” (the very best kind of day) resonates with me in so many ways.

There are so many layers and complexities that the story builds on and the ending is haunting. I highly recommend this book and am anxious to read more books by this author. Surprisingly enough, it appears this may be her debut novel – it’s so well-written I would have expected the author to be more experienced. Kudo for a job well done.

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Death Tango by Lachi

Death Tango by Lachi
Publisher: RIZE Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction, Horror
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Poppy

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

In a Utopian twenty-third-century New York City, where corporations have replaced governments, AI dictates culture, and citizens are free to people-watch any other citizen they choose through an app, this horror-laden Sci-Fi Thriller follows four mis-matched coeds as they attempt to solve the murder of an eccentric parascientist. Only someone or something able to navigate outside the highest levels of croud-sourced surveillance could get away with murder in this town. If the team can’t work quickly to solve the case, New York City will be devoured by a dark plague the eccentric had been working on prior to his death, a plague which, overtime, appears to be developing sentience.

My mind is officially blown! Death Tango was a un-put-downable read. Let me explain…

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book, but once I opened it and dove in (and you really do dive in–the author plops you right into the world with little explanation, which I actually appreciated) I was hooked. Yes, it took me a little while to sort through the world-building, which the author does effortlessly. She doesn’t do some dull, in your face infodump. Nope, she she shows you the world, as if it was just a normal thing and leads you through the nuances and differences from our own. So well done.

Honestly, her writing ability is what made this book stand out for me. It’s smooth and clean, vivid and clear and checks all the boxes. It truly, clearly shows the world, the plot, the characters. It played out like a movie in my mind while I read. It’s been awhile since I’ve read such a well-written novel, and I want to make sure to give a round of applause to the author, Lachi. So well done.

The story itself is intriguing, and I could see something like it happening as we all dive deeper into the idea of living virtually. It was alternately intriguing and awfully sad. I’m not sure I like her ideas of what society could become, but I completely understand how she got there. Her future is absolutely possible.

I got very deeply attached to her realistically written, three dimensional characters. The complexity of plot took some time to sink into, but that’s a good thing. I was challenged throughout to think, and to feel and to consider and ultimately to not only try to solve her “whodunnit” but just to soak in the environment and to be intrigued and horrified by the dark, horrific world she’s created that’s covered up by what should feel more utopian. I’ve always thought that human beings with their faults and flaws, with their basic humanity, would never be able to create a utopia, and in this book I’m proven correct.

There is good and evil here. Lachi doesn’t shy away from the dark, but she also shares moments of light. And the characters become friends which, for me at least, means I’ll happily read every last word about them.

Looking for a superbly written book with a complex but believable plot peppered with characters you’ll come to love? Don’t mind a little darkness and horror? Then pick this one up. I can’t imagine you’ll be disappointed. I sure wasn’t.

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Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ The Cottage by Jo A. Hiestand


The Cottage by Jo A. Hiestand
Publisher: Cousins House Publishing
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Rated:5 stars
Review by Rose

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Former police detective Michael McLaren is at the home of his lady friend, Melanie. The house is sold, the removal van is booked. All that is left is to help her pack her belongings for her move to his village. But the laborious task is interrupted when one of Melanie’s neighbors asks McLaren to investigate the circumstances of her parents’ murders. McLaren’s reluctance to take it on and abandon Melanie appears to be solved when his best mate, Jamie, steps in to help with the packing. It’s not the easy investigation McLaren was hoping for, however. Sightings of Mordred and a ghost, and a burglary at the local Tudor Hall complicate the murder inquiries. What had seemed to McLaren a perfect remedy with Jamie close at hand now disintegrates into a horrendous mistake. And McLaren questions if the investigation is really worth it, especially when he puts the people he cares about most in danger.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

The Cottage by Jo A. Hiestand


The Cottage by Jo A. Hiestand
Publisher: Cousins House Publishing
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary
Rated: 5 stars
Reviewed by Rose

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Former police detective Michael McLaren is at the home of his lady friend, Melanie. The house is sold, the removal van is booked. All that is left is to help her pack her belongings for her move to his village. But the laborious task is interrupted when one of Melanie’s neighbors asks McLaren to investigate the circumstances of her parents’ murders. McLaren’s reluctance to take it on and abandon Melanie appears to be solved when his best mate, Jamie, steps in to help with the packing. It’s not the easy investigation McLaren was hoping for, however. Sightings of Mordred and a ghost, and a burglary at the local Tudor Hall complicate the murder inquiries. What had seemed to McLaren a perfect remedy with Jamie close at hand now disintegrates into a horrendous mistake. And McLaren questions if the investigation is really worth it, especially when he puts the people he cares about most in danger.

What a joy to be back with Michael, Melanie, and Jamie in Jo Hiestand’s newest book in the McLaren Mystery series – you can see our review of the last book here.

Michael is back in Melanie’s village – this time to help her pack up as she prepares to move to his village, to live closer to him. But, the packing is interrupted when Melanie’s friend asks him to help solve the murders of her parents.

I loved being able to catch back up with this crew. I love we are able to see more of Melanie and Michael’s relationship progressing. One of the reasons I enjoy this series so much is being able to catch up with old friends.

Another reason is that Ms. Hiestand does a remarkable job of plotting the mystery, laying out the clues, and building the tension page by page. I was kept on the edge of my seat right up until the solution was revealed, and I normally pride myself on being able to figure out “who dunnit” before the end of the book. Ms. Hiestand’s masterful laying out the mystery always makes me look forward to the next book in the series.

Thank you, again, for a wonderful chapter in Michael McLaren’s life. 5 stars

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Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ A Pride of Brothers: Dylan by Peggy Jaeger


A Pride of Brothers: Dylan by Peggy Jaeger
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Cyber-security specialist Dylan Keane is working undercover to suss out a corporate thief. When he zeroes in on Harper Vale, he thinks he’s found his mole.

Harper has a reputation as a coding savant and an introvert. Dylan’s interest is flattering, but after she’s implicated in the theft of the company’s protected software, she doubts everything he’s told her.

When a series of potentially deadly accidents occur involving Harper, Dylan wonders if she is being set up to take the fall. One thing is certain: the more time they spend together, the more Dylan realizes he’s the one who’s falling—for Harper.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

A Pride of Brothers: Dylan by Peggy Jaeger


A Pride of Brothers: Dylan by Peggy Jaeger
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Cyber-security specialist Dylan Keane is working undercover to suss out a corporate thief. When he zeroes in on Harper Vale, he thinks he’s found his mole.

Harper has a reputation as a coding savant and an introvert. Dylan’s interest is flattering, but after she’s implicated in the theft of the company’s protected software, she doubts everything he’s told her.

When a series of potentially deadly accidents occur involving Harper, Dylan wonders if she is being set up to take the fall. One thing is certain: the more time they spend together, the more Dylan realizes he’s the one who’s falling—for Harper.

I have been waiting for this book to come out and it was definitely worth the wait. I cancelled a boating trip so I could stay home to read this new book in the Pride of Brothers series. The series is about four brothers who open an investigative company named Brother’s Inc. This particular story is about Dylan.

Dylan has two older and one younger brother. One of the older brothers, Rick, isn’t a biological brother but he’s so much of a brother in every other way, that sharing the same DNA doesn’t matter. I first read Aiden’s story which was book two and I had every intention of reading the first story which was about the brother named Rick. I’m ashamed to admit that I still have not read book one. After reading the third book about Dylan I am more determined to read book one. However, I would be kidding myself if I didn’t admit that I’m curious why I can’t find a book for Josh. Josh is the older brother and the founder of the private investigative firm. He happens to be married to a lady named Kandy, who is a famous chef. All I know is that they met when Josh was hired to protect her. Their romance could be mentioned in book one but since I haven’t read it, I don’t know. I read book two a long time ago that I don’t remember Josh or Kandy in book two. I guess one day I’ll have to sit down and read all three books. Each one can be read as a standalone. Yet, I enjoyed how the characters in book two are brought back in book three.

I’m assuming Dylan’s story is the final book in the series since Josh is married. This makes me sad because I feel like the series just started. Unless the author just writes a book for Josh and in it all the other brothers must be single. I’m probably overthinking this, but I just want to read more about these characters since I’ve grown to love them so much.

I enjoyed Dylan’s story because it was unpredictable, often suspenseful and the romance made me feel gooey. The author’s descriptions throughout the story bring the characters, settings and feelings come to life. I could visualize Dylan’s smile, his physically fit body, his apartment, the car chase, the food they were cooking. Heck, I could smell and taste the food that was prepared. The author’s writing style really makes me want to read the entire book in one sitting. Which I did.

The heroine, Harper, was a character wrapped up multiple times and Dylan had the patience to unwrap her layer by layer. Harper was a diamond in the rough. She just needed someone like Dylan to come along and make her sparkle. Let’s just say that when they were together the chemistry between them was dazzling. I could sense how much they really cared about one another in a heartwarming way.

Okay, I just did a thing. After re-reading my review I realized how invested in these characters I am, so I just went on Amazon and bought the first book in the series. It will arrive by July twenty which just happens to be my twenty-seventh wedding anniversary. If that isn’t enough testimony that others should read this book and the others in this series, then I don’t know what else is.

If you are looking for a wowza book that will leave you feeling a book glow at the end, then I’d recommend Pride of Brothers: Dylan and the others in the series.

August Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Saltwater Sorrows by Rhonda Parrish (Editor)


Saltwater Sorrows by Rhonda Parrish (editor)
Publisher: Tyche Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery/Thriller, LGBTQ, Paranormal, Romance, Historical, Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Deep, mysterious, beautiful . . . dangerous . . .

Women and the sea have been tied together in myth and story from the beginning of time. Tales of women being drawn to the sea or being left on the shore, waiting for their men’s return, have been passed down through the ages.

But what mysteries lie beneath the sparkling placid waters? What power drives the wind and waves crashing against the shore? There is transformation and exaltation—magic—in the ocean and women alike. And both know that while the sea gives, the sea also takes.

Sink into the icy depths of the ocean with these stories by: E.E. King; Natalie Cannon; Morgan Melhuish; Paul A. Hamilton; Laura VanArendonk Baugh; Sarah Van Goethem; Adria Laycraft; Dino Parenti; B. Zelkovich; Lisa Carreiro; Lea Storry; Nikoline Kaiser; Elin Olausson; Chandra Fisher; Hayley Stone; V.F. LeSann; Catherine MacLeod; and Jennifer R. Donohue.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!