My Rating System

As you have read my first few reviews you may be wondering what the ratings really mean.  I am using the 5 star rating as per Goodreads:

★ 1/2
★★ 1/2
★★★ 1/2
★★★★ 1/2

Some examples:

I have read at least 50% of the book (labeled as DNF – Did Not Finish) but could not continue as the book was horrid. Or have read the book, but barely made it through.


BLACKOUT Written by Annie Solomon

2006; 354 Pages (Forever)

Genre: romantic suspense, mystery


(I received an ARC from NetGalley)

Margo Scott cannot remember the last 4 weeks of her life. She was supposed to be out of the country to buy a book for her shop but doesn’t remember leaving. Anyone who could have helped her put the pieces together are murdered and she is the suspect. Undercover Agent Jake Wise who is unsure of her intentions joins her to find the truth.

A great premise but I gave up after 200 pages. I did not feel anything for the main characters and to be honest did not care who Margo was and how she came to situation. Jake has no chemistry with Margo which sinks the book further. I just could not force myself to read any further.


★1/2 I have finished the book, probably had to skim parts to get through this almost-horrid book.


Shades of Desire (Special Investigation Group: #1) Written by Virna DePaul

2012; 384 Pages (Harlequin)

Genre: romantic suspense, mystery

Rating: ★1/2

(I received an ARC from NetGalley)

Natalie Jones is slowly losing her sight due to a genetic condition and finds herself to be a victim of an assault. Mac is a special agent for DOJ in California and has been trying to find a killer and find Natalie’s killer. Mac and Natalie start to feel sparks for one another but there is baggage that keeps them apart.

I was really looking forward to this novel based on the description and was majorly let down. I did finish the novel but mostly from reading quickly so I can get through this. The characters were a bit blah, the romance was weak and the suspense was just not there. It sort of read like a first draft that was in need of some editing.


★★ I have finished the book, maybe skimmed some parts to get through this blah book.


FROM DEAD TO WORSE (Sookie Stackhouse: #8) Written by Charlaine Harris

2008; 359 Pages (Ace Books)

Genre: romantic suspense, mystery, fantasy, paranormal


It is post-Hurricane Katrina and also post-explosion at Vampire summit – Sookie is looking for her boyfriend Quinn, a were-tiger. She discovers more about her family and her powers as a fairy. Sookie is in danger yet again…

I Have to admit I am getting bored with these novels now and don’t really remember much as the plots are getting similar. I would compare this overused plot device to the Stephanie Plum series (Janet Evanovich)


★★1/2 I have finished the book, didn’t skim any parts, but still a blah book.


BLACK HILLS Written by Nora Roberts 

2009; 472 Pages (Putnum)

Genre: romantic suspense, mystery

Rating: 1/2

Eleven year old Cooper Sullivan feels like his parents exiled him to his maternal grandparents’ ranch in South Dakota and is down in the dumps until he meets tomboyish Lil Chance. The two become fast friends bonding over baseball, horseback riding and their encounter with a cougar. Over the years as Cooper visits, he and Lil become more than friends until one day Cooper breaks Lil’s heart and leaves for New York on his own. Fast forward to 2009 Cooper has come back to stay and run his grandparents ranch when his grandfather breaks his leg. Lil has also returned from a trip to Peru to run her wildlife reserves. If that wasn’t enough someone is out killing animals…and maybe humans.

Nora Roberts and only 2.5 stars???!!! I did not care for the wildlife story line and the serial killer story line grew old and went on longer than it should have. Cooper and Lil were okay but I felt that Tansy and Farley overshadowed them and were a better couple. I dragged on this book and barley finished it


★★★I have finished the book and while I liked it on the whole there were some things that didn’t work for me.  Most likely not a reread in the future and may donate it to local library.  If this is a first book of a series I will continue with the second book.


DISTURBED Written by Kevin O’Brien  

2011; 528 Pages (Pinnacle)

Genre: thriller, suspense, mystery


Molly is newly married to a divorced man with two children still living in the home his ex decorated. When her stepson’s guidance counselor is murdered things start to come apart for everyone living in the cul-de-scac. Secrets, lies and revenge are all in play while there is also a serial killer loose killing families who live in cul-de-sacs.

First of I liked this novel but found much wrong with it at the same time. After finishing the novel I still have no clue what the prologue was supposed to explain to me. After a few chapters I figured out the murderer but the author was clever enough to keep me intrigued and reading. Molly was a bit annoying as she always seemed to be steps behind everything in her life, but I liked her stepson, Chris as a character.


★★★1/2I have finished the book and liked it but there was something about it that kept me from giving it a 4 star rating.  This is where I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to the right audience.


A DOUBLE DEATH ON THE BLACK ISLE (Highland Gazette: #2) Written by A.D. Scott

2011; 359 Pages (Atria Books)

Genre: mystery, historical

Rating: ★1/2

Patricia, an old school friend of Joanne Ross calls her to her estate for her secret wedding to a fisherman. Unfortunately, that is not the only drama for Black Isle. On the same day two men from the same estate are found dead. Accident or murder? Either way the Highland Gazette is on the case.

I see it now! This second book is a mystery, period. While we still move with the characters and hear what they are think they is more “action” and suspense in this novel. I enjoyed the hesitant banter between Joanne and MacAllister. Don is just a great character that provides heart. I applaud the realism of some of the shadier players in the book. The novel moved at a quicker pace in that I was absorbed in the beginning and found it hard to not read more. I read this one within a day or so. I will read book three but if the series gets like book one again I think I will stop with the series.


★★★★I have finished the book and loved it but it is not a favourite (5★ = the house is on fire and I can only grab one box of book).  I recommend this book and would even be bold to suggest it is a purchase over borrowing from the library.  It is definitely a keeper and one for a possible reread in the future.


GREY MASK (MISS SILVER: #1) Written by Patricia Wentworth 

1928; 256 Pages (Open Road Media)

Genre: mystery, female detective


(I received an ARC from NetGalley)

Margot Standing finds out her father has died and not provided for her future, as his lawyer claims there is no will. As Margot has no proof her parents were ever married her claim over her father’s estate is now in the hands of her Egbert. Egbert was not liked by father or daughter seems cavalier over his uncle’s death and fortune. Overhearing a conversation between her cousin and a strange man Margot discovers her life is in jeopardy. They wish to have her removed so there is no obstacle to the Standing fortune.

Meanwhile Charles Moray has returned home to take over this family estate. After his finacee, Margaret breaks off their engagement he travels to the East to rid his mind of her. Upon his late night visit to his family home he walks upon strangers conspiring the death of a young heiress. Charles is all ready to call the police when he spies Margaret among them and soon finds himself hiring a woman detective. As Margaret, Charles and Margot try to figure out the mystery, Miss Maude Silver has it all figured out, all while knitting a jumper.

A fun novel from the late 1920s. If you like the old classic black and white mysteries, old time radio shows or novels like Agatha Christie you are in for a treat. Wentworth writes an engaging mystery but I wish we knew more about Miss. Silver. Like Miss. Marple she is not the story but around the mystery. I cannot wait to see where this series goes.


★★★★1/2 – I have finished the book and loved it and it is a close favourite but just missing that perfection.  I recommend the right audience read this book soon and add it to your own collection.  It is a valued book in my collection and will be reread.


THE COMPETITION (Rachel Knight: #4) Written by Marcia Clark 

2015; 544 Pages (Mulholland Books)

Genre: mystery, law, police, suspense, thriller

Rating: ★1/2

(I received an ARC from NetGalley)

In the latest Rachel Knight novel, Rachel and Detective Bailey Keller are headed to a local high school where there has been a Columbine-style shooting complete with the killers taking their own lives. As Special Trials Prosecutor, Rachel and Bailey go through evidence and witnesses they soon realize that the facts do not add up and the killers may not be among the dead. Not knowing the killers’ agenda Rachel and Bailey have to act quickly before the body count gets to be any higher.

Each time I pick up a Rachel Knight full-length novel I think it is great and worry the next one will be a let down by not being as suspenseful and absorbing. And each time Marcia Clark knocks me on my butt because it always gets better and I cannot stop reading till the novel ends.

This book had twists and turns I did not always see coming and was so heartbreaking at times. There was less of the courtroom drama in this one, just FYI, but still fits within the series.


★★★★★ I have read this book and am still am in awe of it.  It is a book I definitely own and have reread or waiting to be reread.  I would recommend this book as the book to read.


P.S. I LOVE YOU Written by Cecelia Ahern 

2005; 47 Pages  (Harper Collins)

Genre: contemporary romance 

Rating: ★★★

Gerry and Holly have been soul mates as children and continue to be in love as adults. Gerry has a brain tumor that only gives a little while to live. Before he dies he leaves Holly letters that will help her get through the grieving process, change her life and find love again.

A great novel for when you need a little romance and a tear-jerker. It does have humour to keep it balanced. A young widow loses the love of her life (childhood sweetheart) to a slow death from cancer and now must go on with her life. The book is WAY better than the movie and I LOVE the movie. It is very different as it takes place in Ireland and Holly has a big family.

★★★★★1/2 I have read this book and am still am in awe of it.  It is a book I definitely own and have reread or waiting to be reread.  I would recommend this book as the book to read. And, if there is a fire it is one of the first books I will stop to take with me!


LITTLE WOMEN (Little Women: #1) Written by Louisa May Alcott  

1868; 449 Pages (Signet Classics)

Genre: classic, romance 

Rating: ★★★1/2

While Mr. March is fighting in the Civil War his wife and little women are living their day to day life with as much gusto as they can muster. The four March sisters are close as sisters can be and look to one another for comfort, anger and entertainment. Meeting the new next door neighbour, Laurie adds to the March sisters adventures.

I have read this novel at least 3-4 times from beginning to end. I feel a kinship to Jo with her love of reading, writing, imagining and wanting grand adventures. I wanted a sister just like sweet Beth, but always find it hard to read Beth’s death scene, and often am in denial about it. Marmie is so like my mom – warm, generous and the one who makes our family work. I long for the passion and love of the professor and the friendship of Laurie. This book is a little piece of my childhood.

*Note: All reviews are available on my Goodreads account.


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