LAST YEAR I WAS READING…(January 5, 2022)

This meme was created by Reading Marie. It’s a great meme because it’s nice and easy to do.

Here are the rules:

Take your current read and compare it to what you reading this exact time last year. Which one do you like better? What is different about the books? Any special facts/things you want to make note of or bring attention to

This Year I Am Reading…

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Everett Larkin works for the Cold Case Squad: an elite—if understaffed and overworked—group of detectives who solve the forgotten deaths of New York City. Larkin is different from others, but his deduction skills are unmatched and his memory for minute details is unparalleled.

So when a spring thunderstorm uproots a tree in Madison Square Park, unearthing a crate with human remains inside, the best Cold Case detective is assigned the job. And when a death mask, like those prominent during the Victorian era, is found with the body, Larkin requests assistance from the Forensic Artists Unit and receives it in the form of Detective Ira Doyle, his polar opposite in every way.

Factual reasoning and facial reconstruction puts Larkin and Doyle on a trail of old homicide cases and a murderer obsessed with casting his victims’ likeness in death. Include some unapologetic flirting from Doyle, and this case just may end up killing Everett Larkin.

Bookshop: US
Amazon Buy Links: KindleAudiobook
Amazon UK Buy Links: Paperback | Audiobook

I’m still on the first few chapters, but I’m already heavily invested in this. C.S. Poe has created another riveting mystery and a very intriguing new detective in Everett Larkin!

Last Year I Was Reading…

Ricardo Torralba and August Morrison don’t agree on much besides the fact that they hate each other. According to Ricardo, August is a spoiled brat who really needs to knock off the sass once in a while. August insists that Ricardo needs a sense of humor, a good lay, or a well-placed bullet. Maybe all three.

Fortunately, the assassin’s profession is a solitary one, and they can go about their lives without getting in each other’s way.


When a contracted hit turns out to be a setup for both of them, they narrowly escape with their lives. Now, even if they don’t like it (spoiler: they don’t), August and Ricardo have to work together if they want a shot at survival.

In between firefights and questionable interrogation methods as they hunt down their would-be killer, the cranky assassins discover that under all that mutual loathing is a spark of chemistry they can’t ignore. They want to ignore it, they probably should ignore it, but August can’t help flirting to annoy Ricardo, and Ricardo can think of at least one way to shut him up for a while.

But they need to focus, damn it, and figure out who’s gunning for them and why.

Assuming they don’t kill each other first.

Hitman vs Hitman is a standalone gay romantic suspense featuring two men who’d rather chew glass than fall for each other, a whole lot of inappropriate comments, and some buttons that will need resewing.

Bookshop: US
Amazon Buy Links: KindleAudiobook
Amazon UK Buy Links: Paperback | Audiobook

Love me some of those enemies to lovers fun! Not as strongly delivered as other stories from this author tandem, but I loved Ricardo and August all the same.

My 3.5-star review here.

Today we have two mysteries with the grumpy/sunshine trope. One is a police procedural with a neurodiverse detective and a laidback forensic artist. The other is an action-suspense featuring two rival hitmen on the run. The current read is more serious and angstier in tone while last year’s book is more on the humorous side. Both books have characters constantly on the edge. While the two stories have men with guns, the current focuses on the nitty-gritty of the investigation. It also has a slower pace. Last year’s book is more fast-paced and dynamic. The two MCs are constantly on the move, guns blazing. The current book is a series opener while the old book was meant to be a standalone.

Madison Square Murders kicks off the police procedural series, Memento Mori. The series is set in New York. It stars cold case detective Everett Larkin, who has a condition where his brain works like a Rolodex. This makes him a good detective. On the other hand, he is cursed to remember all his bad memories in detail. He is currently working on a case of a skeleton unearthed in Madison Park that was buried with a death mask. This brought him to forensic artist, Detective Ira Doyle, a man who seemed to effortlessly get under his skin.

The book is written in Larkin’s third-person POV and you can see early on his struggles with his professional and personal life. Not only he has to deal with people poking fun at his certain quirks and the homophobic jibes thrown his way, his marriage is also on the rocks. He also has to cope with too many stimuli, where a word or a scent would trigger a barrage of traumatic memories.

The angst is balanced by sparks of humor usually from his deadpan banter with the flirty Doyle, and his detailed observations of people and his surroundings. The book takes time to establish everything. And from what I gleaned from the reviews, the romantic development is going to be slow-going as well. Not complaining because I’m hooked.

Hitman vs Hitman is an enemies-to-lovers romance between World’s No. 1 Himan, Ricardo Torralba, and World’s No. 2 Hitman, August Morrison. The two were forced to work together when they were set up to kill the same mark. A set-up that was planned to get both of them killed. With goons hot on their heels, the two race to uncover who was behind the plan. Along the way, they realized they better resolve the unresolved tension between them before they start killing each other.

This is another opposites attract romance. August is much like Bruce Wayne, a billionaire with a secret identity. The man doesn’t shut up. Ever. Ricardo is the grumpy one. He’s a planner with a trunk full of disguises and a drawer full of burner phones.

The two were constantly on the move, pausing only long enough to come up with a plan. The chemistry is off the charts! The sexual tension adding piquancy to the already strained interactions of two men on edge. I enjoyed the way these two threw off fireworks while constantly bickering. And that they took time before jumping each other’s bones. Happily, Ricardo and August didn’t hang up their guns in the end. They have another adventure together.

Between detectives and hitmen, murder is the name of the game.

I’m ending the post with a book I’m looking forward to reading.

A gunshot to the head is bad enough. Waking up with amnesia is far worse. I learn that the hard way when I wake up in the hospital, my memory practically wiped. I don’t know why someone wants me dead. Hell, I don’t even know my name. They say my name is Christian Cross. Too bad that name means nothing to me.

I haven’t forgotten everything, though. Grayson Laurie has always been my kryptonite, and it would take more than a bullet to the brain to forget him. He assures me that I’m imagining the distance between us, but I know better. I just don’t know how to fix it. I console myself that at least I’ve reached rock bottom and things can’t get worse…until they do.

My life is a tangled mess of lies and deceit. The more I learn about myself, the less I want to know. I want nothing more than an honest future with Gray, but the past isn’t about to let me go without a fight.

Fortunately, I’m starting to realize that fighting is my specialty.

Bookshop: US
Amazon Buy Links: US UK

Not a fan of the amnesia trope but this has rave reviews. And there’s something about the premise that grabbed my attention. We’ll see how this goes…

What were you reading this time last year?

(I hope it’s as riveting as Morticia’s book)

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