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FAVORITE NON-MYSTERIES 

I often read books that don't fall into the mystery genre, and I like some of them so much that I want to share them with you, so I hope you enjoy what I'm reading other than mysteries. 

Crystal Deception, A.I./Sci-Fi Smart Crystal Thriller Series, by Doug J. Cooper

Crystal Horizon is the prequel to Crystal Deception, and Crystal Conquest is the confrontation of nefarious space invaders. I began my read with Crystal Deception: Juice Tallette is the top Artificial Intelligence scientist in the world. With materials provided by an alien race, she is on the verge of creating A.I. technology with the thinking and reasoning capability of more than a thousand human brains working in perfect harmony. Already the crystal technologies provided by the aliens have revolutionized the world's everyday systems. This next leap could have far reaching consequences, and could be dangerous to humans. A plot to steal the technology is uncovered, and a top notch security operative, Sid, is sent by the government to ferret out the moles and protect Juice and the technology. Will the new crystal work as it is intended? Will they be able to control it? What if the aliens get their hands on it? When the government decides to test the crystal in a spaceship, how will they protect it and its creator? This is a well thought out story of what could happen when technology exceeds our human ability to stay ahead of its thought processes. Smart, funny, character driven and compellingly paced, I highly recommend it. *****Five Stars ~Review by Sandy Penny, SweetMysteryBooks.com. I received a review copy from the author. 

Crystal Conquest: This is the second in the Smart-Crystal Series following Crystal Deception. After the Kardish kill all earth's crystal scientists and destroy all the crystal fabricating plants, Juice is charged with rebuilding earth's technology base. She is provided funds and land on which to build a new crystal research facility. Criss, the smart crystal that was supposedly lost in a spaceship crash is alive and well and using his super intelligence to do some amazing things. He is preparing for the possible return of the Kardish since their crown prince was killed in Criss's previous confrontation of them. What he neglected to plan for was their having a crystal smarter than him. Now Sid, Cheryl, Juice and Criss will have to team up again to save the planet from certain destruction. It is a David and Goliath scenario. What will happen next cannot be predicted, and it will take all their mental, physical and emotional resources to survive the vengeful Kardish. Can they outwit a smart crystal that is ten times smarter than Criss? What is the Kardish's Achilles heel? A new character is introduced, Lenny, the young hotshot crystal technology student who sets out to prove that Criss is still alive. Will he just be a nuisance or offer an unexpected contribution to the team? This is a very exciting continuation of the story, and I can't wait to read the recently released prequel to find out more about the characters I know and love. I love a good story, and this is definitely a great one. ~Review by Sandy Penny, SweetMysteryBooks.com.  I received a review copy from the author. *****Five Stars. 


Divine Hotel by Nicole Loughan

NEW RELEASE: March 26, 2016

Don't be fooled by the cover which looks like a period romance novel, this is The Lord of the Rings meets The Butterfly Effect. This is a brilliant genre bending book, time travel, historical fiction, mystery, romance, maybe a little steampunk/sci-fi. When caring and mild-mannered social worker, Sarah rescues a couple of kids from the ruins of the Divine Hotel, it sets off a chain of events that will reveal her true identity and mission in life. A mysterious man has been stalking her for years, and it's time to find out who he is and what he wants. She is charged with changing the history of the Divine Hotel and thereby changing the lives of many people connected with it and possibly changing a major historical event. How? A mysterious ring is the vehicle for these changes, but using it could have dangerous repercussions like those of the Butterfly Effect. Can she do it, can she even use the ring? Why was she chosen? It's well-written, deftly plotted, with plenty of twists and unexpected connections. I loved reading it and give it *****Five Stars. ~Review by Sandy Penny, Founder, SweetMysteryBooks.com 


LUCA - Evolution Needs a Reboot by Jacob Whaler  

I received a review copy. I'm not a big fan of apocalyptic science fiction, but this one was very interesting. With the end of the world only five days away, top scientist Qaara Kapoor is determined to find a way to stop it or at least warn the people. But Frank Mercer, the rich, powerful narcissistic would be king who hired Qaara to find the solution really doesn't want her to succeed. He wants the world to be rebooted, cleared of all debris (human life) and repopulated with his chosen few. He offers Qaara a place in his new world order, but she refuses and the race is on to save the world or allow the destruction. Meanwhile in a research prison for genetic misfits who hear voices, Luca continues to listen to everyone's thoughts, to the plants, the animals and a new overwhelming sound coming ever closer. It is the sound of the planetary destroyer. It is alive and sentient and hungrily seeking something. But she can do nothing from her prison, being beaten and starved to try and stop her hearing the voices. They are all on a collision course with destiny, and soon they will find out why. It was a good read, thought provoking, sad at times, hopeful at others. Frank Mercer is the villain you love to hate. Strong characters. There is a religious parable quality in the book, and it has a very interesting ending. If you like sci fi, I highly recommend checking this one out. (It has some proofing errors though. I noticed at least a dozen.) ****Four Stars ~Review by Sandy Penny, SweetMysteryBooks.com


PreOrder Now Release Date: March 29, 2016 

The House by the Lake by Ella Carey

This was a wonderful story, blending the past, family history and a young woman's love for her grandfather. It all starts with a newspaper article about an apartment in Paris that was locked for 70 years or so. It strikes a mysterious chord with Anna's 94 year old grandfather Max. He reveals that he only has one regret in life and when he asks Anna to go to their ancestral German castle to retrieve a hidden memento, she can't refuse him. He has never asked her for anything, and she loves  him dearly. She's also curious about the past he never discussed with her. The castle has been sold, and is boarded up. She can't find even the owner's name, and it all seems too frustrating. She's tempted to just go home, but something about being in this town and finding that her beloved grandfather is hated here makes her want to stay and find out more and perhaps to clear his name. The book moves back and forth between her grandfather's youth and present day as the two interwoven stories unfold. When Anna convinces the castle owner's attorney to help her on her mission, many connections reveal themselves. She seems impelled to continue, no matter what. It is a story of love lost, war, deserted duties, family ties, sad, hidden secrets and finally the beginnings of healing a dispirited community and Anna's family. It is a finely written and openly told story, and deserves a deep read, but it will make you want to gallop through it to uncover all its secrets, heartbreaks and desperate circumstances. I really liked it I felt I was right there with Anna searching, finding and afraid of what she might learn. It's romantic, heart breaking, and uplifting.  Excellent. Five Stars***** ~Review by Sandy Penny, SweetMysteryBooks.com 


Blue Coyote Motel (Book 1) by Dianne Harman

An intriguing and engrossing story of a beautiful young woman who escapes the barrio and marries one of the most brilliant young scientists in the world. Their lives change significantly when it is discovered that he is giving his wife an anti-aging hormone not yet approved for use on humans. When they both are fired quietly by the research firm, their silence bought, the couple buys a remote motel on the edge of the desert where the scientist can continue his work in a fully loaded laboratory underneath the motel. His wife is content to cook and run the motel for the small number of visitors who stop in. The guests seems to be miraculously positively affected by their short stays, and their lives take significant turns for the better. Meanwhile the scientist's god complex gradually descends into madness as he locks himself away in the basement for longer and longer times. It's a singularly creative plot, a well developed story engagingly revealed. What is it about the motel that helps so many get their lives on track? Interesting well-developed and diverse characters. Do the ends justify the means? Intriguing to say the least. First in a series. Science Fiction wrapped in mystery. ~Review by Sandy Penny, SweetMysteryBooks.com *****Five Stars


Hope by Rosy Stewart (Stories from a Women's Refuge)

These were honest, heart breaking and hopeful stories from a women's refuge, in the U.S. a women's shelter. The stories are of the women who come to the shelter and the women who help them free themselves, start new lives and regain themselves. The stories are very affecting, especially those where the women return to dangerously violent situations. I hope this book will speak to women who need a shelter without preaching to them. It was difficult reading their stories, but it was also gratifying to see perpetrators stopped. If you or someone you know is in a situation like this, I highly recommend you read this book and give copies to those in need. The stories also address those around the victims who are affected: children, family and friends. Well done and important information. ~Review by Sandy Penny, SweetMysteryBooks.com


Although there are hints of mystery in this book, it is not strictly a mystery book, so I added it to my non-mystery page. Loved it in a bizarre and puzzling way. 

The Exit Man by Greg Levin

Love, Death and Party Balloons

I've had this book for a while now and didn't really read it. My expectation was that it would be a gruesome serial killer novel. To my surprise, once I started reading it, I found it to be smart, funny, poignant, devastating and all too possible. Without preaching or whining or bringing up all the arguments for and against euthanasia, Greg manages to force us to consider the realities of terminal illness. How does one become a euthanasia expert? How does that first time occur? Who would choose to do that and why? The contrast of his running a party supply store as a business and dealing out early death for those in chronic pain adds a note of humor and irony. The whole story is told with compassion and soul searching honesty and humor. How ironic that the girl he falls in love with is one he saves from suicide. It was a really great read, and I can't stop thinking about it, now that I'm finished. I want to know what happened to The Exit Man after the end of this book. Sorry I waited so long to dive in. It was only after reading some of the reviews that I thought to reconsider it. I'm glad I did. I certainly don't know what category to put this book in. It defies labels. I would love to see this become a TV series in the style of Six Feet Under and Breaking Bad. ~ Review by Sandy Penny, founder of SweetMysteryBooks.com ***** FIve stars. 


At The Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

This was a well written story with an interesting plot. It's a cross between historical fiction, romance and classical literature. In search of the Loch Ness monster, three friends cross the ocean during wartime to make their fortunes as monster hunters. But things are not as they seem, and Maddie, Ellis and Hank have a falling out that leaves Maddie stranded at a remote inn while bombs are falling around her. It's a story of overcoming, finding real love and leaving childish illusions behind. I really enjoyed reading it. I like this author.