8. The Informationist (Vanessa Michael Munroe #1), by Taylor Stevens. Vanessa “Michael” Munroe deals in information—expensive information—working for corporations, heads of state, private clients, and anyone else who can pay for her unique brand of expertise. Born to missionary parents in lawless central Africa, Munroe took up with an infamous gunrunner and his mercenary crew when she was just fourteen. As his protégé, she earned the respect of the jungle's most dangerous men, cultivating her own reputation for years until something sent her running. After almost a decade building a new life and lucrative career from her home base in Dallas, she's never looked back. Until now. A Texas oil billionaire has hired her to find his daughter who vanished in Africa four years ago. It’s not her usual line of work, but she can’t resist the challenge. Pulled deep into the mystery of the missing girl, Munroe finds herself back in the lands of her childhood, betrayed, cut off from civilization, and left for dead. If she has any hope of escaping the jungle and the demons that drive her, she must come face-to-face with the past that she’s tried for so long to forget.
The Bug Says: Well this was a ripping good read! I liked (VERY MUCH) that the lead badass character was a woman, and I enjoyed reading about her past & what shaped her. I gave it 4 stars, and I have book 2 in my queue…
9. Innocent in Las Vegas (Tiffany Black Mystery #1), by A.R. Winters. Cupcake-loving croupier Tiffany Black is determined to leave her job at the casino for good. She's one small step away from acquiring her Private Investigator license, and has her eye on the prize. Accepting her first real case - investigating the murder of casino-mogul Ethan Becker - should be exciting. Instead, things spiral out of control and Tiffany finds herself in over her head, as she confronts secretive suspects, corrupt casino henchmen and her mysterious, ex-Special Forces bodyguard. Tiffany's poker-hustling Nanna and pushy parents want her to find a nice man and settle down, but Tiffany just wants to track down the real murderer before he finds her first...
The Bug Says: This was the Kindle freebie for March book club. Absolute total Stephanie Plum knockoff. It was light & fluffy, and I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t been saying, “Oh yeah, that’s just like Stephanie,” every other page. I gave it 3 stars.
10. Case Histories (Jackson Brodie #1), by Kate Atkinson. Case one: A little girl goes missing in the night. Case two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac's apparently random attack. Case three: A new mother finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making - with a very needy baby and a very demanding husband - until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape. Thirty years after the first incident, as private investigator Jackson Brodie begins investigating all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge . . .
The Bug Says: I had read Life After Life by Kate Atkinson & loved it so much that when I saw this book on my book a day calendar I decided to give it a whirl. I really enjoyed it. She’s an excellent writer, and this genre is right down my alley. I gave it 5 stars.
11. Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1), by Jacqueline Winspear. Maisie Dobbs isn’t just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence — and the patronage of her benevolent employers — she works her way into college at Cambridge. When World War I breaks out, Maisie goes to the front as a nurse. It is there that she learns that coincidences are meaningful and the truth elusive. After the War, Maisie sets up on her own as a private investigator. But her very first assignment, seemingly an ordinary infidelity case, soon reveals a much deeper, darker web of secrets, which will force Maisie to revisit the horrors of the Great War and the love she left behind.
The Bug Says: My cousin recommended this book to me when we were in NC earlier this month. Another strong female lead with a fascinating set of skills. I thoroughly enjoyed it & can’t wait to read the next one! I gave it 4 stars.
12. The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1), by Graeme Simsion. Narrator Don Tillman 39, Melbourne genetics prof and Gregory Peck lookalike, sets a 16-page questionnaire The Wife Project to find a non-smoker, non-drinker ideal match. But Rosie and her Father Project supersede. The spontaneous always-late smoker-drinker wants to find her biological father. She resets his clock, throws off his schedule, and turns his life topsy-turvy.
The Bug Says: This was our “real” book for March book club. At first I was a little uncomfortable with the subject matter, but after a bit I realized that the main character was pretty much in charge of his life in the way that he found acceptable, so I relaxed my PC vigilance. It was a lot of fun, and we’re going to read the second book in the series for April. I gave it 4 stars.
13. The Escape (John Puller #3), by David Baldacci. John Puller’s older brother, Robert, was convicted of treason and national security crimes. His inexplicable escape from prison makes him the most wanted criminal in the country. Some in the government believe that John Puller represents their best chance at capturing Robert alive, and so Puller takes on the burden of bringing his brother in to face justice.
The Bug Says: Oh David, David, David – why can’t I just quit you? Your men are ridiculously honorable and manly men (when they’re not sniveling weasly men), and your women, while capable, are formulaic. I started out listening to the audio version of the book, but oh man the narrators are terrible, so I switched to the Kindle version. The story is actually pretty interesting, but even so I gave it 2 stars. And you know I’ll read John Puller #4 if there is one. Sigh.
14. A Very Sad Letter: The True Story of an American Pioneer Woman and the Abosolute Despair She Endured - In Her Own Words, by Paul Kroeze. Read the heartbreaking true letter sent in 1876 from aunt Sara Olds to her niece Matilda Ann Hoteling describing the sacrifices she endured in trying to save her young daughter. Learn what Sara Olds did when another child took ill on a wagon trip from Colorado to Kansas. Also follow Madilda Ann Hoteling and see how she used a teaching certificate to explore and become one of the earliest teachers to settle in the American Northwest. These were two amazing women, both set on different paths who both touched on American history.
The Bug Says: This was my Kindle freebie for April book club. And I just noticed the typo in the title (yes, it does appear that way on the book cover too). The pretty much holds true throughout the whole (16 page) book. The author (a descendant of Aunt Sara) says that he added punctuation to her letter, but I couldn’t really tell. Then he rambled on a bit about the niece Matilda – who actually was a fascinating woman. The excerpts from her writing were the most well written parts of the book. I gave it 2 stars.