The Office

The Office
The Office by Andy Greene

The Comeback

The Comeback
The Comeback by Ella Berman

Friday, August 30, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: The Grifters by Jim Thompson- Feature and Review


To his friends, to his coworkers, and even to his mistress Moira, Roy Dillon is an honest hardworking salesman. He lives in a cheap hotel just within his pay bracket. He goes to work every day. He has hundreds of friends and associates who could attest to his good character.

Yet, hidden behind three gaudy clown paintings in Roy’s pallid hotel room, sits fifty-two thousand dollars–the money Roy makes from his short cons, his “grifting.” For years, Roy has effortlessly maintained control over his house-of-cards life–until the simplest con goes wrong, and he finds himself critically injured and at the mercy of the most dangerous woman he ever met: his own mother.

THE GRIFTERS, one of the best novels ever written about the art of the con, is an ingeniously crafted story of deception and betrayal that was the basis for Stephen Frears’ and Martin Scorsese’s critically-acclaimed film of the same name.



The Grifters by Jim Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I admit I watched the movie version of this book starring John Cusak a long time ago, well before I ever picked up the book, making me, perhaps one of the last people on the planet to have read it. But, I found a copy in a used book store one day and couldn't resist it.

It sat on my shelf for a good long while, but I eventually got it read. This is not a very long book, and once I started it. I could not put it down!

This a true noir classic, with more twist and turns than you can imagine. This story is very dark and some scenes made me squirm in my seat because they made me very uncomfortable. These were some really messed up people!



Jim Thompson was born in Anadarko, Oklahoma. He began writing fiction at a very young age, selling his first story to True Detectivewhen he was only fourteen. Thompson eventually wrote twenty-nine novels, all but three of which were published as paperback originals. Thompson also co-wrote two screenplays (for the Stanley Kubrick films The Killing and Paths of Glory). Several of his novels have been filmed by American and French directors, resulting in classic noir including The Killer Inside Me (1952), After Dark My Sweet(1955), and The Grifters(1963) 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Say You're Sorry by Karen Rose- Feature and Review


Introducing the first novel in the pulse-pounding Sacramento series from New York Times bestselling author Karen Rose.

There is a serial killer on the loose, preying on vulnerable women. The only identifiable mark the killer leaves are letters—sometimes one, sometimes two—all carved into the torsos of his victims. Together they spell “Sydney.” 

When he grabs Daisy Dawson, he believes he has found his next victim. But despite her small stature, she fights back with an expertise that quickly frees her. Before fleeing the scene, Daisy also manages to grab what proves to be crucial evidence: a necklace from around the killer’s neck. 

The necklace is more than a trivial item—it is a link to a cold case that Special Agent Gideon Reynolds has been tracking for seventeen years. With Daisy’s help, Gideon finally has the opportunity to get closer to the truth than ever before. 

But they might not get the chance, as the serial killer has a new target: Gideon and Daisy.



Say You're Sorry by Karen Rose
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Quintessential Karen Rose- Taut, edgy, steamy, and suspenseful!!

Special Agent Gideon Reynolds ran away from a religious cult in his early teens, but still bears the physical and psychological scars. He manages his life with discipline and control. But, when Daisy Dawson manages to escape from a vicious masked attacker, she pulls a locket from his neck, one that Gideon instantly recognizes.

It looks exactly like the one his sister used to wear. How does Daisy’s attacker tie in with Gideon’s past?

When Gideon is assigned to be Daisy’s bodyguard, the couple work in tandem to stop a serial killer before Daisy becomes his next victim.

This book grabbed my attention from the very first chapter and kept me on the edge of my seat to the bitter end. The pacing never slows, as truly shocking and creepy events unfold. Crawling inside the mind of a demented killer is always super tense, so you’ll want to fasten your seat belts for this ride.

Daisy and Gideon develop a very strong bond as they each struggle with emotional scars from their past. They are a great couple and made a pretty good crime solving team, as well.

In my opinion, Karen Rose is the queen of romantic suspense. She writes RS the way it should be, with an even balance between the romance and suspense. The plot is dark and believable, and one always gets their money’s worth with one of KR's books. While her stories are usually pretty intense, and features disturbing content, and some violence, it is not too overly graphic.

Her work is mature and always reliable and this book was no exception! This is another outstanding effort by Karen Rose!



Internationally bestselling, RITA-award winning, author Karen Rose was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. She met her husband, Martin, on a blind date when they were seventeen and after they both graduated from the University of Maryland, (Karen with a degree in Chemical Engineering) they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Karen worked as an engineer for a large consumer goods company, earning two patents, but as Karen says, “scenes were roiling in my head and I couldn't concentrate on my job so I started writing them down. I started out writing for fun, and soon found I was hooked.”

Her debut suspense novel, DON'T TELL, was released in July, 2003. Since then, she has published fifteen more novels and two novellas. Her seventeenth novel, ALONE IN THE DARK, will be released in 2016.

Karen's books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, London's Sunday Times, and Germany's der Spiegel (#1), and the Irish Times, as well as lists in South Africa (#1) and Australia!

Her novels, I'M WATCHING YOU and SILENT SCREAM, received the Romance Writers of America's RITA award for Best Romantic Suspense for 2005 and 2011. Five of her other books have been RITA finalists. To date, her books have been translated into twenty-four languages.

A former high school teacher of chemistry and physics, Karen lives in Florida with her husband of more than twenty years, her two daughters, two dogs, and a cat.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Barefoot in the Dark by Suzanne Enoch- Feature and Review


From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Suzanne Enoch, a new romantic crime thriller featuring fan-favorites Samantha Jellicoe and Rick Addison… 

A simple pre-wedding getaway for a “reformed” cat burglar and her wealthy British fiancé – what could go wrong? Except for his contentious family, a crumbling Scottish castle, a legendary treasure, and a possible haunting, that is. 

Samantha Jellicoe, jewel thief extraordinaire, is still adjusting to being engaged to Richard Addison, billionaire entrepreneur and very hot British lord. Complicating that is the entire press corps hounding her for an interview – bad news for a mostly retired cat burglar intent on keeping her private life private. 

She is ecstatic when Rick suggests they escape to his castle in Scotland; she’s less so when the old pile turns out to be dilapidated, full of Rick’s resentful relatives, and (possibly) haunted. While he navigates the consequences of ignoring his family for the past fifteen years, Sam uncovers a legend of buried treasure – and realizes she isn’t the only one searching for the famous highwayman’s loot. 

While Sam is an expert at blending into the very different worlds of patrons and thieves, meeting people important to Rick is way more complicated. Combined with iffy phones, unreliable lights and power, a clandestine treasure hunt, a wannabe reality-star girlfriend, and a rumored “restless spirit,” this vacation in the Scottish Highlands might be more than a self-respecting former thief can handle.



Barefoot in the Dark (Samantha Jellico #6)Barefoot in the Dark by Suzanne Enoch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Barefoot in the Dark by Suzanne Enoch is a 2018 NYLA publication.

This light romantic caper is delightfully fun and smart!

“Former’ cat burglar, Samantha Jellicoe is now engaged to billionaire entrepreneur, Richard Addison. Trying to keep Samantha out of trouble and out of the spotlight, Richard spirits her away to a crumbling Scottish estate where he plans to introduce her to a few of his relatives. However, Richard is never able to completely tame Samantha, and sure enough, before long she’s pilfering through the attic looking for something of value, while doing a bit of ghost hunting.

This alone is enough to make Richard’s anxiety levels rise, but Richard’s cousin is very serious about locating a booty of treasure. The treasure map is believed to be hidden in the castle. This situation causes a deep family rift, but also raises Samantha’s antennae.

Searching for the long- lost map leading to the treasure is just the type of challenge Samantha loves. She's enjoying it all the more because Richard seems to know more about this treasure than he’s telling, and appears quite determined to keep the treasure hidden. Hilarity, clever banter, and adventure ensues as Samantha outwits Richard, his relatives, and charms everyone on the estate despite their skepticism.

I have always known Suzanne Enoch as a prolific Historical Romance author. I’ve read her books off and on for many years. Well, apparently, somewhere in the early to mid- 2000s, Enoch published a handful of contemporary novels centered around Samantha Jellicoe. I had never heard of this series before now.

If have my information straight, there was a ten -year gap between the last Sam Jellicoe installment and the release of this book. It is somewhat confusing as this book is listed as ‘Samantha Jellicoe #6', but is also listed as the first book in the 'Samantha and Rick' series.

So, to be clear, Samantha and Richard have a back story that sounds interesting, and it would be great fun to locate some of the previous installments in the Samantha Jellico series for kicks and giggles, but this book works just fine as a stand-alone.

When I finally queued this book up on my Kindle, I realized it has been languishing in my ‘Currently reading’ folder for an entire year!! No, it didn’t take me a full year to read this delightful romantic mystery.

My intentions were good, but the book kept slipping down the list, despite my best efforts. I do wish I’d gotten to it sooner, but as they say better late than never.

I’m thrilled to have stumbled across this contemporary series by Susanne Enoch and will be looking for more installments in this series. If you like treasure hunts, ghost hunts, old Scottish castles, family drama and quick -witted dialogue, this fast -paced adventure will keep you entertained and rapidly turning pages. As much as I adored Samantha and her biting sarcasm, I think I may have developed a huge crush on Richard!!

Clever, light and oh so fun!!



A native and current resident of Southern California, Suzanne lives with a green parakeet named Kermit, some very chirpy finches, and a small army of Star Wars figures (including a life-size Yoda). Her books regularly appear on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, and when she's not busily working on her next book or staging fights with action figures, she likes to read, play video games, and go to the movies with her large and supportive village.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier- Feature and Review


This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who's been searching for the truth all these years . . .

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong's remains are discovered in the woods near Geo's childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he's something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo's first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela's death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? 

How long can you live with it?



Jar of Hearts

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier is a 2018 Minotaur Books publication.

Electrifying Suspense!

Georgina Shaw’s past finally caught up with her. She had made a pretty nice life for herself, until the body of Angela Wong, her best friend in high school, is found fourteen years after she went missing.

For her role in the crime, and her connection to the infamous serial killer, Calvin James, Geo is rewarded with a five -year stint in prison. But, once her time is up, Geo's attempts to rebuild her life hits one snag after another as Calvin’s shadow still looms large over her life, and more buried secrets bubble to the surface. But, when a new string of murders, bearing Calvin’s MO, takes place, law enforcement is sure Geo knows more than she’s telling…

The story flips back and forth between the past and the present, as Geo recounts her high school days and what eventually led to Angela’s demise. The tension during these flashbacks is very intense, so much so, I squirmed in my seat, dreading the inevitable. But I never would have guessed the way it all played out. The teenage angst morphing into full blown obsession is riveting.

The present -day segments are also very suspenseful as Geo still harbors a few shocking secrets, and the reader is not sure if she can be fully trusted. The tension mounts as more bodies turn up and Geo could very well be the killer’s next target.

This is one of those books everyone was reading back in 2018. I wanted to read it while it was hot and trendy, but I was also starting to burn out on this genre, so I put it on the back burner for a while.

I never completely lost sight of it though, because I had a feeling that when the time was right, I would really like this one. I’m glad I followed my instincts. I had such a bad attitude towards serial killer tropes and psychological thrillers when this book was released, I’m not sure it would have had the same impact on me back then. Now that my attitude has been adjusted- somewhat- the book really packed an enormous punch!

This is a very taut, atmospheric novel, not only chock full of suspense, but also a compelling drama, which toys with one’s emotions. As a prolific reader of suspense novels, I had an inkling where the story was headed before the ‘big reveal’, but it didn’t lessen the jolt once it hit me.

I thought the book was well constructed and unique, with just the right amount of twists, revealed at just the right time and place. It was hard to put down, and I found myself thinking about the characters long after I finished the book.

Overall, this is a superb thriller worth waiting for!



Jennifer Hillier writes about dark, twisted people who do dark, twisted things. Born and raised in Toronto and a proud Canadian, she spent eight years in the Seattle area, which is where all her books are set.

She loves her son, her husband, the Seahawks, and Stephen King. Not equally, but close. She's the author of five novels. Her newest psychological thriller JAR OF HEARTS, is available now from Minotaur Books. 

Monday, August 26, 2019

MANGA MONDAY- Britannia- Vol. 1- by Peter Milligan- Feature and Review


On the fringes of civilization, the world s first detective is about to make an unholy discovery.
Ruled by the Fates. Manipulated by the Gods. Commanded by Caesar. In the year 65 A.D., one s destiny was not his own. At the height of Nero s reign, a veteran of Rome s imperial war machine has been dispatched to the farthest reaches of the colonies to investigate unnatural happenings In the remote outpost of Britannia, Antonius Axia the First Detective will become Rome's only hope to reassert control over the empire's most barbaric frontier and keep the monsters that bridge the line between myth and mystery at bay.
From comics mastermind Peter Milligan (X-StatixShade the Changing Man) and incendiary artist Juan José Ryp (NinjakClone) comes a psychological journey into terror, temptation, and bloodshed in Valiant's latest magnum opus.


Britannia, Vol. 1Britannia, Vol. 1 by Peter Milligan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Britannia Vol. 1 by Peter Milligan is a 2017 Valiant Entertainment, LLC publication.

A genre bending horror/ detective story-

The setting is Rome - 65 A.D.

Antonius Axia, a former war veteran is sent by Nero, on the advice of the Vestal Virgins, to investigate a disturbance in Britannia, located on an outer border. Things are far worse than he could have anticipated. The world’s first detective must face down a demonic force so powerful it could threaten all of Rome.

History, horror and mystery elements are blended together to create a most unusual storyline. I was unsure about this graphic novel due to the horror elements, which is not a genre I gravitate towards very often. Although this first volume leans quite heavily on the paranormal elements, there is enough detective skill applied to balance the story and keep me invested.

It also helped that the historical setting in one I’m partial to reading about. Ancient Rome is always fascinating.

The graphics were not level in this first volume. I'm a novice at this, so I'm sure someone will set me straight, but the artwork was clear and crisp is some places, but occasionally, I was not quite sure what I was looking at.

The plot is quite ambitious and there is perhaps a little too much going on, which is problematic for me in any circumstance, but it was especially difficult to pull off and still adhere to a standard confines of the graphic novel format.

That said, the story is compelling, and this first volume sets the stage for future installments quite nicely.

Overall, this graphic novel was a little outside my comfort zone in some ways, but right up my alley in others. It was a mixed bag, in other words. However, I would be amenable to continuing with the series. I'd like to see what Antonius’s next adventure will consist of and how things work out for him on a personal level.



Peter Milligan is a British writer, best known for his work on X-Force / X-Statix, the X-Men, & the Vertigo series Human Target. He is also a scriptwriter.

He has been writing comics for some time and he has somewhat of a reputation for writing material that is highly outlandish, bizarre and/or absurd.

His highest profile projects to date include a run on X-Men, and his X-Force revamp that relaunched as X-Statix.

Many of Milligan's best works have been from DC Vertigo. These include: The Extremist (4 issues with artist Ted McKeever) The Minx (8 issues with artist Sean Phillips) Face (Prestige one-shot with artist Duncan Fegredo) The Eaters (Prestige one-shot with artist Dean Ormston) Vertigo Pop London (4 issues with artist Philip Bond) Enigma (8 issues with artist Duncan Fegredo) and Girl (3 issues with artist Duncan Fegredo).







 (Cover Artist)

Friday, August 23, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood- Feature and Review


The London season is in full fling at the end of the 1920s, but the Honorable Phryne Fisher—she of the gray-green eyes and diamant garters—is tiring of polite conversations with retired colonels and dances with weak-chinned men. When the opportunity presents itself, Phryne decides it might be amusing to try her hand at becoming a lady detective in Australia. Immediately upon settling into Melbourne's Hotel Windsor, Phryne finds herself embroiled in mystery. From poisoned wives and cocaine smuggling, to police corruption and rampant communism—not to mention erotic encounters with the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse—Cocaine Blues charts a crescendo of steamy intrigue, culminating in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.


Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher, #1)Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first in the Phryne Fisher series written by Kerry Greenwood and published by Poisoned Pen.

Phryne is a wealthy heiress with a talent for solving crimes. Bored with polite English society, Phryne heads to Australia to see about a woman that could be a poisoning victim. Phryne plans to stay in Australia and start her own private detective business.

This first case Phryne is chasing after a hack abortionist, a cocaine ring and of course,  trying to find out if her friend's daughter is being poisoned.

Set during the 1920's, the sharp dialogue, excellent descriptions, and a fast moving story with a shocking outcome left me wishing for more.

Phyrne is quite modern, non conformist, witty, sharp and very likeable. The secondary characters are equally charming. This series has been going on for a while, with I think about eighteen books, at this time. But, nearly all of them are under three hundred pages, so it wouldn't take long to catch up, which I intend to do.

Very impressed with this one.



The Phryne Fisher series (pronounced Fry-knee, to rhyme with briny) began in 1989 with Cocaine Blues which was a great success. Kerry has written thirteen books in this series with no sign yet of Miss Fisher hanging up her pearl-handled pistol. Kerry says that as long as people want to read them, she can keep writing them.

Kerry Greenwood has worked as a folk singer, factory hand, director, producer, translator, costume-maker, cook and is currently a solicitor. When she is not writing, she works as a locum solicitor for the Victorian Legal Aid. She is also the unpaid curator of seven thousand books, three cats (Attila, Belladonna and Ashe) and a computer called Apple (which squeaks). She embroiders very well but cannot knit. She has flown planes and leapt out of them (with a parachute) in an attempt to cure her fear of heights (she is now terrified of jumping out of planes but can climb ladders without fear). She can detect second-hand bookshops from blocks away and is often found within them.

For fun Kerry reads science fiction/fantasy and detective stories. She is not married, has no children and lives with a registered wizard. When she is not doing any of the above she stares blankly out of the window.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

The History of Lost Dreams by Kris Waldherr- Feature and Review


A post-mortem photographer unearths dark secrets of the past that may hold the key to his future, in this captivating debut novel in the gothic tradition of Wuthering Heights and The Thirteenth Tale.

All love stories are ghost stories in disguise.

When famed Byronesque poet Hugh de Bonne is discovered dead of a heart attack in his bath one morning, his cousin Robert Highstead, a historian turned post-mortem photographer, is charged with a simple task: transport Hugh's remains for burial in a chapel. This chapel, a stained glass folly set on the moors of Shropshire, was built by de Bonne sixteen years earlier to house the remains of his beloved wife and muse, Ada. Since then, the chapel has been locked and abandoned, a pilgrimage site for the rabid fans of de Bonne's last book, The Lost History of Dreams.

However, Ada's grief-stricken niece refuses to open the glass chapel for Robert unless he agrees to her bargain: before he can lay Hugh to rest, Robert must record Isabelle's story of Ada and Hugh's ill-fated marriage over the course of five nights.

As the mystery of Ada and Hugh's relationship unfolds, so does the secret behind Robert's own marriage--including that of his fragile wife, Sida, who has not been the same since the tragic accident three years ago, and the origins of his own morbid profession that has him seeing things he shouldn't--things from beyond the grave.

Kris Waldherr effortlessly spins a sweeping and atmospheric gothic mystery about love and loss that blurs the line between the past and the present, truth and fiction, and ultimately, life and death.



The Lost History of DreamsThe Lost History of Dreams by Kris Waldherr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Lost History of Dreams by Kris Waldherr is a 2019 Touchstone Books publication.

A mesmerizing traditional Gothic tale replete with ghosts and a few stunning twists that will keep you turning pages long past your bedtime!

All love stories are ghost stories in disguise

Robert Highstead, a former historian turned post -mortem photographer, is still struggling with the premature death of his wife, Sida. His daguerreotype photos bring comfort to others, and is, in an odd way, a cathartic occupation.

However, when his brother informs him that their cousin, the famed poet Hugh de Bonne has died, he asks Robert to accompany Hugh's remains to his final resting place. Robert never met Hugh in life and is initially reluctant to make the journey. But, because Hugh wished to be laid to rest by his beloved wife, Ada, in a glass chapel he made especially for her, sixteen years prior, he agrees, knowing better than most the desire to be reunited with one’s spouse.

However, the scene he encounters upon arriving on the moors of Shropshire is startling. His presence is not welcomed by Ada's niece, Isabelle, who outright refuses to unlock the chapel. Not only that, he learns the chapel is a gathering place for deeply devoted fans, of Hugh’s last book, “The Lost History of Dreams.”

Isabelle and Robert strike a bargain, eventually. If Robert will record Ada’s story, within five nights, Isabelle will agree to unlock the chapel.

Ada’s life story, as told through Isabelle’s masterful storytelling, keeps Robert entranced to the point of obsession. As the relationship between Isabelle and Robert deepens, the sad story surrounding Sida, and her death gradually unravels, revealing Robert’s guilt and inconsolable grief. His condition is so profound, spirits linger in his orbit, neither of them able to abide the present circumstances, or move beyond them.

Naturally, I really liked this story. It’s right up my alley and I got sucked into it immediately. The story enthralled me and kept me glued to the pages from start to finish. While a bit too ambitious at times, this is a crackling good historical mystery, heavily steeped in old school Gothic traditions.

While the dramatics are toned down a bit, the story is heavy, creepy, and atmospheric. The mystery is absorbing and twisty, which kept me on toes.

But, let’s not forget the love story. It’s unconventional, but pure Gothic joy. However, I also loved the eventual break in the clouds, and all the possibilities and hope the story left me with.

Although I read this story in the peak of summer, the whole time I was reading it, I kept thinking it would be a great fireside novel fitting for long, dark winter nights. But no matter when you decide to read it, if you like Gothic historical fiction, you don’t want to pass this one up.



Kris Waldherr's books for adults and children include Bad Princess, Doomed Queens, and The Book of Goddesses. The New Yorker praised Doomed Queens as "utterly satisfying" and "deliciously perverse." The Book of Goddesses was a One Spirit/Book-of-the-Month Club's Top Ten Most Popular Book. Her picture book Persephone and the Pomegranate was noted by the New York Times Book Review for its "quality of myth and magic." Her fiction has won fellowships from the Virginia Center of the Creative Arts, and a works-in-progress reading grant from Poets & Writers.

As a visual artist, Waldherr is the creator of the Goddess Tarot, which has a quarter of a million copies in print. She has had illustrations published as greeting cards, book covers, and in calendars and magazines. Her art has been exhibited in many galleries and museums including the Ruskin Library, the Mazza Museum of International Art from Picture Books, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Kris Waldherr's upcoming books include her debut novel The Lost History of Dreams (Atria Books, 2019). She works and lives in Brooklyn in a Victorian-era house with her husband, their young daughter, and a very vocal Bengal cat.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows By Balli Kaur Jaswal - Feature and Review



A lively, sexy, and thought-provoking East-meets-West story about community, friendship, and women’s lives at all ages—a spicy and alluring mix of Together Tea and Calendar Girls.

Every woman has a secret life . . .

Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she’s spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father’s death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a "creative writing" course at the community center in the beating heart of London’s close-knit Punjabi community.

Because of a miscommunication, the proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn basic English literacy, not the art of short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected—and exciting—kind.

As more women are drawn to the class, Nikki warns her students to keep their work secret from the Brotherhood, a group of highly conservative young men who have appointed themselves the community’s "moral police." But when the widows’ gossip offers shocking insights into the death of a young wife—a modern woman like Nikki—and some of the class erotica is shared among friends, it sparks a scandal that threatens them all.



Erotic Stories for Punjabi WidowsErotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal is a 2017 William Morrow publication.

A bold, unforgettable story!

No, the title is not misleading. This book does contain erotic stories. But, trust me, this story has much more depth and importance than the title might suggest.

Nikki lives in London, is a modern girl, rebelling against her traditional Punjabi upbringing, which brings sorrow to her family who had such high hopes for her. However, until she finds her true calling, she is living above a pub and tending bar.

On the other hand, Nikki’s sister, Mindi, has decided to take a more traditional path, looking for a marriage arrangement instead of waiting to fall in love. Nikki vehemently dislikes her sister’s choice but agrees to pin Mindi’s profile up on the Temple’s board.

Here she notices a want ad searching for a writing teacher. Nikki applies and is hired to teach a creative writing course. However, she quickly discovers her class is full of widows who are mostly illiterate. Before they can write stories, they must learn to spell and write the alphabet, starting from scratch. Nikki is irritated because she felt misled. But, before she can make headway with her pupils, the widows take over the class by verbally telling erotic stories, as opposed to writing them.

However, the nature of the class must be kept a closely guarded secret. If Kulwinder Kaur, the dour community director, or worse, ‘The Brothers’, a group of bullies enforcing morality, finds out, they will all suffer dire consequences.

As time passes, and Nikki forges a warm bond with her students, she also begins dating someone. However, her new love interest seems to have a few conflicts of interest he isn’t keen on sharing with Nikki. Meanwhile, Nikki has discovered Kulwinder Kaur lost her daughter, Maya, piquing her curiosity. But, by dredging up the details of Maya’s death, Nikki could meet the same fate…

I loved this story!! It is mysterious, with a sinister undertone, but primarily it is charming, funny, and romantic, plus it blends cultures, diversity and generations with a nice feminist slant.

There is a large cast of characters, along with several threads to follow. However, on this one rare occasion, I had absolutely no problem keeping up with who was who. The threads are super easy to follow and so unique, there was no way to get them confused.

The story blazes through conventions with rousing and inspirational aplomb and had me standing at the finishing line cheering on all the characters as they crossed over into the land of happy endings.

I wish I had been able to fit this book into my reading schedule long before now.

It would be easy to presume this book would mostly appeal to the ladies, but I recommend this book to everyone - well, everyone over the age of eighteen, that is.



Balli Kaur Jaswal's latest novel is The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters (Harper Collins/William Morrow). Her previous novels include Inheritance, which won the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelist Award, and Sugarbread, a finalist for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize and the Singapore Literature Prize. Her third novel Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows was translated into 15 languages and chosen by Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine book club.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Proof of Life- by J. A. Jance- Feature and Review

                                                              ABOUT THE BOOK:

Be careful what you wish for . . . 

Before he retired, J. P. Beaumont had looked forward to having his days all to himself. But too much free time doesn’t suit a man used to brushing close to danger. When his longtime nemesis, retired Seattle crime reporter Maxwell Cole, dies in what’s officially deemed to be an accidental fire, Beau is astonished to be dragged into the investigation at the request of none other than the deceased victim himself. In the process Beau learns that just because a long ago case was solved doesn’t mean it’s over.

Caught up in a situation where old actions and grudges can hold dangerous consequences in the present, Beau is forced to operate outside the familiar world of law enforcement. While seeking justice for his frenemy and healing for a long fractured family, he comes face to face with an implacable enemy who has spent decades hiding in plain sight.



Proof of Life (J.P. Beaumont, #23)Proof of Life by J.A. Jance
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Proof of Life by J.A. Jance is a 2017 William Morrow publication.
I’ve touched base with Joanna Brady and Ali Reynolds recently, but not J.P. Beaumont- my favorite J.A Jance series- in a long while.

So, what has Beau been up to lately?

Of course, at his age, he is retired, he’s still happily married, living in Seattle, but he’s bored and mildly depressed. Meanwhile, his very busy wife is caught up in the politics surrounding an officer involved shooting during a domestic violence call. The family at the center of the case is taken to a safe place, but their dog is left without a place to go.

So, much to his surprise, Beaumont becomes a first- time dog owner, at least temporarily. This should lift his spirits and give him something to occupy his time, but when he runs into an old nemesis, who later turns up dead after his house catches on fire, Beaumont gets sucked into the investigation when the death becomes a suspicious one.

Suddenly, Beaumont is back in his element, his depression all but forgotten…

Beaumont is quite a character, but in this 23rd chapter in the series, he is sublime. Be aware that Beau is very much a product of his time. Not everything he says lines up with our current politically correct guidelines. He still thinks men should do all the yard work, for example, and doesn’t understand why a teacher wouldn’t want a police officer to bring a gun into her elementary school classroom while he speaks to her students. But, mostly he’s a sweet guy who has mellowed nicely in his twilight years.

His interactions with his newly acquired dog are priceless and his tender approach to a delicate family situation gave me the warm and fuzzies- not something I thought I’d ever say about J. P. Beaumont.

But, of course, the reason we tune in is to solve a mystery and this one is a doozy. An old murder case connected to the death of Beaumont’s old acquaintance is woven into the current investigation, which is complex, but compelling. It was a real guessing game right to the end, and I never could have figured out how things would turn out.

I am very satisfied with this latest chapter in the series and am happy to see our favorite detective back in the saddle again!!



Seattle investigator J. P. Beaumont is drawn into an intriguing, and shockingly personal, case in this superb tale of suspense from New York Times bestselling author J. A. Jance.

Former Seattle homicide cop, J. P. Beaumont, is learning to enjoy the new realities of retirementdoing morning crossword puzzles by a roaring fireplace; playing frisbee with his new dog; having quiet lunches with his still working wife.But then his pastcomes calling.

When a long ago acquaintance, Alan Dale, shows up on Beaus doorstep with a newborn infant in hand and asking for help locating his missing daughter, Beau finds himself faced with an investigation that will turn his own life upside down by dragging hisnone-too-stellar past onto a roller-coaster ride that may well derail his serene present.It turns out that, even in retirement. murder is still the name of J. P. Beaumonts game.



J.A. Jance is the top 10 New York Times bestselling author of the Joanna Brady series; the J. P. Beaumont series; three interrelated thrillers featuring the Walker family; and Edge of Evil, the first in a series featuring Ali Reynolds. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.