Last night was Skate Night for my baby basset’s school. My oldest couldn’t go because he had football practice, but my youngest and I went. I sat at a table by myself contemplating the meaning of the universe, while he skated with the new girl in his class. They skated, he fell, she helped him up, and they skated some more. They each waited for the other when one was a bit slower and unsteady. When there was a break in the skating they hung out together and ate a snack. I spent two hours trying really hard not to stare at them, and I held back from any teasing comments. For once in my life I actually played it cool.  Now I know this doesn’t mean they are getting married, but I am thinking a Spring wedding is always nice.

Isabella’s Painting: A Notorious Art Heist Mystery (Karina Cardinal Mystery Book 1)
by Ellen Butler
4.8 Stars (11 Reviews)
Genre: Mystery | Literature & Fiction | Action & Adventure

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In 1990 Boston’s Gardner Museum was robbed of $500 million worth of artwork. Twenty-eight years later the art remains at large… until now.

Peeling back layers of lies could save a masterpiece or reveal a killer.

After a long week lobbying on Capitol Hill, all Karina Cardinal wants to do is chill with Netflix and her boyfriend, Patrick Dunne. Instead, she’s slipping her aching feet into red stilettos for his parents’ annual holiday bash. When she accidentally interrupts Patrick’s father in his study, her embarrassment is tempered by suspicion that Martin Dunne and his dapper, secretive guest are hiding something. Maybe the painting she barely glimpses right before it disappears behind a secret panel.

An internet search raises her curiosity to full-blown alarm.

If she’s right, Martin is in possession of a stolen masterpiece. Infamous because everyone close to it has turned up dead. As in Mafia-style-execution dead.

As she’s chewing over which instinct to follow; back off while she still can, or dig deeper for the truth; she crosses paths with FBI agent Mike Finnegan. An old friend and not-quite flame from her college days. When she looks into his warm, mocha eyes, she’s tempted to tell him everything.

Trouble is, she’s already being watched.

And the next move she makes could destroy innocent lives including her own.

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Troop of Shadows: A Post-Apocalyptic Dystopian Thriller (Book One in the Troop of Shadows Chronicles 1)
by Nicki Huntsman Smith
4.6 Stars (87 Reviews)
Genre: Action & Adventure | Literature & Fiction | Science Fiction

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A catastrophic pandemic ravaged the globe, reducing the human population to extinction levels.

All of the ‘normal’ people have died.

The survivors have genius level IQ’s, possess “autistic savant” skills or are pyschopaths. Some possess all three traits.

How do you survive in a world like that? A world where people are not always who/what they seem to be. Where the enemy is not always from the outside. Cleverness and guile can also hide them from within too.

Four people with diverse backgrounds have survived.

A doomsday prepper, a molecular geneticist, a journal-keeping loner, and a martial arts-trained nerd are struggling to survive and unbeknownst to them are being drawn together. Despite the miles between Kansas and California, Texas and Arizona, the four share a connection… somehow.

They realize that not dying was the easy part. Now a year later, they navigate a bleak world… one without technology, without modern medicine, and without law and order. They must unify their diverse strengths to rebuild civilization.

But not everyone shares their vision. There are those who want to rule the world and use brutality and oppression to bend people to their will.

“There is one who would rule the world or see it burn.” He must be defeated.

It is the unfolding story of the greatest threat humanity has ever faced, and is populated with some of the most entertaining (and brutal) people you will ever meet.

This is NOT your typical cookie-cutter post apocalyptic novel. Troop of Shadows adds unique twists not only to the characters to the story line as well.

Fans of Stephen King’s “The Stand” will love this novel. Intricately plotted, superbly paced, and brought to life by fully-developed protagonists, quirky supporting characters, and charming villains, the Troop of Shadows Chronicles is a tour de force.

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Eyes of the Predator: A Hard-Boiled Crime Thriller (The Hunters Book 1)
by Glenn Trust
4.5 Stars (157 Reviews)
Genre: Literature & Fiction | Suspense | Action & Adventure | Mystery

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There was terror in her eyes. He smiled… He could be anyone. He looks like everyone. He looks like… us.

Eyes scanning, searching, the predator stalks his next victim.

Within hours a backwater south Georgia county will be rocked by two seemingly unrelated murders that signal the arrival of a serial killer in the rural Southland. Hunting the killer and preventing the next brutal murder falls to a plainspoken country deputy and two agents of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

It is a race against time to save the next victim and the chase leads north from the swamps along the Florida line to the foothills of the Appalachians.

GBI agents Bob Shaklee and Sharon Price know that Deputy George Mackey is a natural hunter and if anyone can find the sadistic killer, Mackey can. But Mackey, haunted by his own demons can only wonder if he will be late again. It is his greatest fear.

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Fighting Irish (The Summerhaven Trio Book 1)
by Katy Regnery
4.6 Stars (175 Reviews)
Genre: Literature & Fiction | Family Life | Romance

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Rory Haven and Brittany Manion knew one another as children… but it’s been a long time since their childhood summers at Summerhaven.

The Havens weren’t the children who attended exclusive Summerhaven Camp in Center Sandwich, New Hampshire. They were the children of the owners, expected to “pull their weight” and absolutely forbidden to fraternize with the paying guests. But that didn’t keep Rory from having a quiet, unrequited crush on gorgeous, popular, insanely-rich, Brittany Manion for three tortuous summers.

When all-grown-up, recently-engaged Brittany books the off-season summer camp for her upcoming spring wedding, she immediately recognizes Rory as the scorching-hot boy who wouldn’t give her the time of day. Meanwhile, Rory, who senses that Brittany’s nuptials are less about Mr. Right and more about Mr. Right Now, launches the fight of his life to win the heart of the girl he’s always wanted.

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Dog Love – An Unbreakable Bond: Inspirational Stories of Devotion, Loyalty and Courage
by Shelby Cannon
4.6 Stars (216 Reviews)
Genre: Crafts, Hobbies & Home | Nonfiction

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The bond between humans and dogs is more intense than our bond with any other species? There’s not even a close second. Dogs are more than just a pet; they are trusted companions. They help us hunt, guard our homes, look after our livestock and even our children and, over time, do so many useful and wonderful things that it boggles the mind.

This compilation of heart-warming dog stories illustrates the pure love of these amazing creatures, including extraordinary instances and first-hand accounts of bravery, friendship, loyalty, devotion and companionship down to their very last breath.

There’s a reason we call them man’s best friend. No matter the situation, your dog is happy to see you. You are greeted with the same enthusiasm each and every time you walk in that door. A dog has the ability to live in the present moment. They don’t regret the past or worry about the future.

While we often ask so much of them, they require almost nothing in return. You can ask your dog to chase a Frisbee, take a nap on the couch, herd some sheep, or run around a show ring and he’ll do it, happily, for hours on end. He only wants to be fed, and told he’s good, and most of all loved. If a dog has love, he really needs nothing else.

In the presence of a dog, somehow, nothing else matters. A dog is handing out pure love, sparing no expense, and asking absolutely nothing in return. Perhaps American Humorist Josh Billings said it best: “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”

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