Sunday, March 25, 2018

Book Review - DI Kayli Bright Trilogy by M. A. Comley

I've always loved series, and this is actually my first trilogy. My enjoyment of the characters was definitely increased by the fact all three books were released close in time to each other. A long time fan of the best selling Justice series, and the DI Sally Parker series I couldn't wait to dive into a new character and see if she could measure up to DI Lorne and DI Sally.  DI Kayli did not disappoint.

Book 1 - The Missing Children

 When we think of missing children, we naturally think of the parents and the nightmares they must be going through. I loved the fact that in this book we also peeked into the nightmares the law enforcement investigating these crimes have to go through. Our first introduction to DI Kayli Bright and her team. As an officer investigating these crimes, they have to look at all suspects and not worry about stepping on toes, even the toes of the parents. Heartbreaking but true.

TMC starts with the discovery of a body of a child and quickly leads to the discovery that more children are missing. The subject matter of this one is quite horrifying, and not for the faint-hearted, but those of us who live in the real world, we know it isn't an uncommon thing anywhere in the world. I love the fact that the author treats this with respect for the reader, and doesn't include a lot of sensationalism. I also love the fact we get to share the family lives of Kayli and Dave, making them more real. The book wraps up in a way that is totally satisfying for crime lovers, making it in my opinion a definite 5* read.

Book 2 - Killer on the Run

A brilliant story that also incorporates more of Kayli's family life, giving the reader an opportunity to know her intimately, both professionally and personally.

I have to warn you that this one ends on a cliffhanger, which is why the early release of Book 3 was so important to me as a reader. I'm not a fan of cliffhangers when I have to wait months, or sometimes years to read the next book.

Killer starts with an automobile accident, and the death of a lovely young woman and the child she's carrying. Most law enforcement officers have a gut instinct they have to listen to, and Kayli is no different. She immediately suspects there was more to this than a car going off the road in a natural accident. Her fears are validated when another accident happens on the same stretch of road. A confusing matter for Kayli and her team, as their prime suspect in the first murder appears to have no connection to the second death. But our killer gets braver, no longer caring if it looks like an accident as more deaths occur. A serial killer, or is there some underlying issue that ties the deaths together?

Kayli and her team do an excellent job of flushing this one out, and tying up loose ends. Another definite 5* read for those who love crime thrillers and police procedurals.

Book 3 - Hidden Agenda

It's difficult to review this one without including spoilers from the first two. I try to never include spoilers in my reviews, so I'll home in on the crime portion and leave most of the family matters for the reader, who like me was waiting for this heartwarming conclusion to Book 2.

Kayli becomes even more real in this book, as her personal life is shattered, and yet she struggles on to solve the horrendous murder of a young woman. Sarah was well like, and the clues are almost non-existent--or does Kayli really have her mind and heart on the task at hand? The dedication of her team helps her overcome her self-doubts, and the pieces slowly begin to fall in place. With the conclusion of her case, Kayli is forced to take a long look at what is important in her life. Does she continue to struggle with her fears and emotions, or does she leave the force and go after the man she loves?

An emotional roller coaster with this one, and a definite 5* read for DI Kayli Bright fans. I hope this isn't the last time we see her.


New York Times, USA Today, Amazon Top 20 bestselling author, iBooks top 5 bestselling and #2 bestselling author on Barnes and Noble. Over one million copies sold world wide. I am a British author who moved to France in 2002, and that's when I turned my hobby into a career. 

When I'm not writing crime novels I'm either reading them or going on long walks with my rescue Labrador, Dex.

Love series with strong female characters, crime that reads like true-life, and character driven fiction?  Visit Mel's Amazon Page and check out these thrillers!


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Book Review - Kindred Killers by Graham Smith

This was actually my first book by Graham Smith, and although it can be read as a standalone, I truly wished I'd read the first book before this one. Having read the reviews that talk about character development I feel I missed some things so will take care of that very soon, as I liked Jake Boulder. One of the crucial things for me in book enjoyment is to like the main character. Although extremely flawed in many ways, Jake is also loyal to the people he cares about. That makes him somewhat of a hero in my mind. And he doesn't give up or back down even when his own life is at risk.


Jake Boulder's help is requested by his best friend, Alfonse, when his cousin is crucified and burned alive along with his wife and children.

As Boulder tries to track the heinous killer, a young woman is abducted. Soon her body is discovered and Boulder realizes both murders have something unusual in common.

With virtually no leads for Boulder to follow, he strives to find a way to get a clue as to the killer's identity. But is he hunting for one killer or more?

After a young couple are snatched in the middle of the night the case takes a brutal turn. When the FBI is invited to help with the case, Boulder finds himself warned off the investigation.

When gruesome, and incendiary, footage from a mobile phone is sent to all major US News outlets the pressure to find those responsible for the crimes mounts. But with the authorities against him, can Boulder catch the killer before it's too late?

Five Stars

Well written with enough twists and turns to keep you entertained. Although the crimes are gruesome, I did not find the details given over-done for shock and awe purposes. Mr. Smith gives the facts of the murders, and enough details to show just how gruesome they were, without the need for excessive brutal descriptions. I like that in an author. It gives you enough to allow your imagination to finish the pictures.

I will definitely be reading more of the Jake Boulder series and can recommend this to readers who enjoy crime thrillers as well as mysteries.

Want to start at the beginning, or look for more books by Graham Smith?  Visit his Amazon Author Page for a full list of fast-paced crime thrillers.

Amazon Author Page

Friday, March 16, 2018

Book Review - My Gift To You by Tracie Delaney

I haven't read a romance novel in years, but after months of crime thrillers and psychological thrillers I needed a change. When Tracie offered this as an ARC I jumped at the chance to crawl out of the darkness and into the light.  I am so glad I did.

It's really difficult to review a great book without giving spoilers that to me would dampen a reader's enjoyment, and I want every reader to enjoy this book as I did.

For heartbroken Livvy Hayes, the world went dark two years ago when tragedy struck.

With her life in tatters, she flees to California where an unexpected meeting brings handsome businessman Gabe Mitchell into her life.

Gabe loves a challenge and Livvy is his newest endeavor. Her broken spirit calls to him, begging to be healed. And who knows, she might be the one to heal him too.

Can he persuade her to take a chance on him--and convince her that together they have a future?

Or will fate intervene and destroy them both?

This is a highly emotional read that will make you laugh, but will also pull at your heartstrings and have you crying, so I suggest a huge box of Kleenex be on hand and within easy reach.

I totally enjoyed following Livvy and Gabe's romance, as he introduced her to a life she'd never known before. The characters are well developed, witty at times, and the descriptions of the trips he takes her on fascinating. I loved seeing the world through Livvy's eyes.

If you're a romance fan and not into they have a fight, get back together, have sex and live happily every after--then this book is for you.  A compelling drama that will lift your spirits and break your heart at times.  I highly recommend it.


Tracie has a large selection of wonderful reads. For more visit her Amazon Author Page.

Amazon Author Page

Thursday, March 1, 2018

If I Were A Teacher In Today's World

I've heard several teachers talk about quitting or retiring when the laws pass that allow guns in schools. I don't often comment on politics or the gun issues as such comments usually set off volatile reactions among even friends and families. It doesn't seem anyone can agree on a solution, although I think we all would agree there has to be something done. Children have enough to worry about in today's world without having to worry about being killed just to achieve an education. Parents have enough to worry about without having to worry that as they watch their child head off to school it may be the last time they see them. How do we work and function with those ideas planted inside our head?  How do children knuckle down, study and learn when every loud noise inside the school causes anxiety?

That leads me to teachers. How do they function as they watch their classes, trying to determine if one or more of the students is having a bad day? Do their eyes constantly scan the room envisioning places to hide or things they can do to lessen the body count if someone does come in and start shooting? Mine would. And they must worry about their own families, and what would happen to their wives, husbands and children if they had to give up their life to protect their students. I know I would.

A lot of the teachers I know went into teaching for two reasons--they loved sharing knowledge, and helping to mold young minds for future success. They're good, hard-working, dedicated people. They buy supplies out of their own pockets to make sure their students have what they need. Their hours aren't 9 to 5 or 8 to four. They aren't paid overtime when they have to stay late, or come in early. Not all, but most go out of their way to help a child who may need help with a certain subject, and they encourage, smile, and make sure that child knows he or she is appreciated and they are there to help. A good teacher knows what it takes years for many children to understand--little Johnny doesn't smile often because his teeth are bad, and his home life isn't like the rest of the class. The bruises on his arm didn't come from playing football, and yes, he's angry. A good teacher spots this early, and does his or her best to intervene and make sure little Johnny's time at school at least is filled with encouragement to help him achieve the same goals as those more fortunate.

Teachers share the same fears we as parents do today. Only in my mind theirs must be worse, as yes I worry about all children, but my first thoughts go to my own. If a teacher has children they must also worry about their own, as well as those that have been entrusted into their care. Their worry is magnified far more than mine, and it's daily now. I can only imagine the stress they're under.

And now we want them to carry guns? We want to make them responsible for shooting possibly a child or young adult they've taught, encouraged, cared about for years? Or maybe they're going to have to shoot another staff member. One who is also armed legally, and came in that morning blaming the school and children for his/her failed marriage or just the fact their life sucks today. And where do they keep these guns so that they're readily available if needed and yet out of the reach of children in the school?  Do they keep it loaded or once a problem occurs to do they have to try with trembling hands to load the gun?  Is anyone thinking about this?  Does it do any good to have a gun available if it isn't easily accessible, and if it's easy accessible couldn't a student also get that gun? We used to hear that criminals were dumb--well, they're not. Neither are children. They're going to know where that gun is, and if they wanted to, I'm sure they could find a way to get it.

I don't know if you've seen how big some of our young people are today, but I can tell you from going into the schools there are some sixth, seventh and eight graders that could easily disarm a teacher and take the gun away from them. I know how to shoot, but I've never aimed a gun at another person. With high anxiety, tears in my eyes and fear in my heart, just how badly are my hands going to shake when I raise that gun? Am I going to hit what I'm shooting at, or another student or staff member near the shooter? There's no way I could function in that type of environment.

I started this article with "If I were a teacher in today's world". I'm raising a 10 year old grandchild, and I'm facing the possibility that eventually guns may be carried by teachers in his school. I'm going to be doing a LOT of research on home schooling. So if I were a teacher in today's world I would be talking to my fellow staff members and my family about the possibility of setting up a home school where I could teach children without the necessity of carrying a gun or being around others carrying guns. I would pay to have my grandson go to one of these home schools with a qualified teacher, and I bet there are other parents out there that would be willing to do the same. Not a perfect solution to the problem, no, but it keeps my child as safe as I can possibly make him in today's world. That doesn't make him safe, because we could be sitting at McDonald's and the same thing happen. Do we arm McDonald's employees? We could be at the park and the same thing happen? Do we start carrying guns to the park? And if we do, do we carry assault rifles so we have matching firepower as the shooters?  Do we arm all parents when they drop off and pick up their students from school? Do we start carrying guns when we go to a ballgame, shopping or walk the dog? These sound like stupid questions to me, but the idea of putting guns in a school and arming school teachers is far more ludicrous, and far more dangerous.

I hope that teachers who are thinking about quitting or retiring as these new laws come closer to passing will consider the idea of home schooling which will allow them to continue in the field they love without the anxiety and stress of seeing guns toted around their place of employment. I hope our government opens their eyes and their minds and outlaws assault rifles and passes stricter laws on who can buy a handgun.  Will that solve the problem?  No, it won't completely solve the problem, but it should lower the death toll if a shooting does occur. There's no way to stop senseless violence, as the person compelled to commit it will find a way. Our problem is we make it easy for them to find that way and the weapons to do it with. And now we're going to make those weapons available in the very places we've tried so desperately hard to keep them out of. Never again will someone have to sneak a gun into school--it's already there.