Dec 8, 2017

Book Review: The Girl in the Tower




The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.


* * * * *

When I read The Bear and the Nightingale, I fell absolutely in love with this Russian fairy tale and Ms. Arden's writing.  I really didn't think that she would be able to top that first book.  Boy was I very happily wrong.   

I was immediately swept back in time to  medieval Rus when Christianity was replacing earlier pagan beliefs.  Vasya is a wild and free maiden who was never meant to fit into the narrow confines that women were shoved into.  Instead she decides to ride away on her horse and find adventure.  And does she ever.

Again Vasya's character really spoke to me.  She refused to compromise and get married as proper young girls should.  Instead she masquerades as a boy, saves some children and comes to the attention of the Grand Prince of Moscow.  As long as her disguise held, she was happy but all good things come to an end.  She is found out and to save her family, she agrees to marry.  She has such a good heart and love is really her guiding light.

I very highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fairy tales. It is perfect for readers of all ages though there is violence as there is in any good tale.  This book will grab you from very first page all the way through to the satisfying conclusion. 

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Dec 5, 2017

Book Review: Poison and Mercy: A Gril's Adventure





A bawdy and fun Steampunk adventure, Poison and Mercy is an alternative history Steampunk spoof that evokes the underground erotica of the Victorian era.
Mirroring the debauchery of London’s late 19th century Holywell Street and its outlawed printing presses, Poison and Mercy is a delightfully witty send-up with a fast-paced action-adventure story and characters that readers can’t help but root for.

It's 1885, and the people of London suffer under clouds of acid while the Thames burns; nothing has been seen or heard from within the borders of an increasingly belligerent Germany for several years; the Mediterranean is plagued by the Corsair Queens and their fleet of pirate airships; and a dastardly foreign plot to take control of the British Empire is afoot.

Who can save the day?

Poison and Mercy d’Avalon, a pair of notorious adventuresses with a talent for the amoral and profitable sidelines in extortion, assassination, and every other vice imaginable (as well as quite a few others for good measure), are hired to eliminate a blackmail threat to a Very Important Person. It is task that seems simple enough, but it is one that is soon complicated by murder and the machinations of an implacable and remorseless enemy. Poison and Mercy must endure one scandalous episode after another as their travels take them from London to Berlin to Cairo, and finally to a hidden pit of corruption buried beneath the blazing heart of the Empire’s capital.

Imprisoned and stripped (on several occasions).
Abandoned and enslaved in the desert.
Forced to endure an evening of music-hall comedy.

How long can two English roses be denied access to the best shops and restaurants before they start to sharpen their thorns and set about taking their revenge? Not very, apparently.


* * * * *

What a delightful read!  I really reminds me of the Penny Dreadfuls  that one could find at news stands in an earlier time.  Gentle Ladies have the opportunity to follow the misadventures of Poison and Mercy as they attempt to rescue the Prince from the clutches of those evil Germans.  

This is not a tale to take seriously but if one is willing to suspend disbelief and not adverse to a little (okay a lot) sex, this is one fun read.  Mercy is a rather uncomplicated woman who just happens to love sex and knows that she is the best in her chosen avocation.  Poison is much more complicated and is definitely the brains of the operation.  

I do recommend this book to my readers who enjoy steampunk and penny dreadfuls.  I am really hoping that this is the start of a series about their adventures.  

***"I received a free copy of this book and voluntarily chose to review.
Nov 24, 2017

Book Review: Running Into Love




Fawn Callaghan has kissed one too many toads and has finally decided that Prince Charming doesn’t exist. After countless mishaps, mistakes, and unmitigated disasters on the dating scene, she’s decided to give up and move on with her life…solo.

Everything changes, however, after Fawn runs into Levi Fremont, a homicide detective new to New York City.

Dedication to the job has rendered Levi’s love life nonexistent—until he moves in next door to the free-spirited Fawn. After a series of comedic run-ins push them together, will they finally give in to the inevitable and realize—maybe—they are perfect for each other?


* * * * *

This book was definitely not for me.  In my opinion, Levi is everyone's worst nightmare of a man.  Even though Fawn attempts to avoid him, he hunts her down calling her demeaning names like Baby.  He's pretty much the definition of a stalker even though he wears a badge.  And his thoughts about owning her...shudder...

Fawn was nice enough but just the fact that she lets Levi get away with that stuff and still gets together with him causes me to wonder if she needs help with her self worth.

As you can tell,this isn't a book that I would recommend to my readers.  This book stunned me with all the things that Levi pulls and manages to get away with.  Personally I would have called his captain.

 

Book Review: Fierce Obsessions




When raven shifter Riley Porter was given sanctuary by the Phoenix Pack, she let them believe she had left her flock. Reluctant to divulge the secrets of her past, she was still embraced as family. Only Tao Lukas, the protective and passionate Head Enforcer of the pack, was resistant to the enigmatic shifter. Until Riley started to arouse in him something other than suspicion.

Tao doesn’t trust lone shifters, especially ones so guarded—and tempting. But the sexual tension between them is making them both come undone, and vulnerable to more than desire. All Tao wants is for Riley to stay with him and to trust him with the truth of her past.

As Riley’s mysteries come to light, so does a danger that threatens not only her life but the safety of the entire pack. For Tao, keeping Riley safe means keeping her close—forever—as his mate.


* * * * *

Riley has always been one of my favorite characters in this series so I was rather happy to see that she was finally getting her book and her love.  While she opens her heart freely to the children, she is rather prickly with any adult that tries to get close to her.  Riley figures that if she doesn't let anyone close than they won't be able to hurt or desert her like she feels her parents did.  She didn't count on Tao's ability to sneak his way in.

Tao is blunt and totally undiplomatic.  And he doesn't like anyone who might bring danger to his pack. However after watching Riley for a while, he has decided that she doesn't fit into that category but knows that if he lets Riley know that he has changed his mind, she will fly to the hills.

What a great book!  One thing that I really like about this series is how it will highlight one or two of the pack while still giving the readers a chance to check up on the rest.  FIERCE OBSESSIONS stands very nicely on its own but I do recommend starting this series from the very beginning so that you are able to get the inside story on the rest.

I do recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy paranormal romance.  I do want to give a warning however that it does contain a lot of sex and violence so might not be appropriate for all readers.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

Nov 14, 2017

Book Review: Killing June




SEDUCED BY PAIN
At night I’m June, dominating with the whip, even as I crave the hot, searing blow of the cane, myself. I loathe this side of who I am, but I can’t deny it or escape it. And as my clients cry out for me, begging for mercy, I can't help but want June dead.

By day, I’m Alex Ryan, the good, successful Southern woman everyone thinks I am. I’ve compartmentalized my life to make it bearable, and to get what I want most: revenge. I can have a future with June dead, as soon as I confront the man that terrorized my past.

SAVED BY SIN
Cade Brannon is the local gun for hire, part of the seedy underworld of Dallas, but he may also be my savior. I want his help and he wants me. But Cade refuses to play by my rules and is forcing his way into every one of those compartments that I want to lock away. Now the parts of my life I’ve fought so hard to keep separate are bleeding together and it’s tearing me apart.

I just want to go back to being Alex Ryan. But at what cost am I willing to kill June?


* * * * *

I very much enjoy reading dark fantasy but when I started this book, my first thought was that this book was way too dark for my tastes.  But then I got to know Alex.   I started to care for her and the different parts of her personality and I wanted to see her accepting all the aspects of herself.  

And then there was Cade.  He saw all of Alex and accepted her.  He tried to put her back together.  His line of work might be dark but at his core, Cade is a very good man.  

I do recommend KILLING JUNE to my readers but be warned it is a very dark love story complete with BSDM, drugs and other violence.  If that doesn't phase you than this is a very good book.  A story of redemption that is well worth reading.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Nov 13, 2017

Book Review: before I knew




On the second anniversary of her husband’s suicide, Colby Cabot-Baxter is ready to let go of her grief and the mistakes made during her turbulent marriage. Her fresh start comes in the form of A CertainTea, the restaurant she’s set to open along Lake Sandy, Oregon, with help from her family. But when her executive chef quits just weeks before the grand opening, Colby is pressured to hire old family friend Alec Morgan. His award-winning reputation could generate buzz, but their friendship has withered since her husband’s reckless dare cost Alec’s brother his life.

Distracted by guilty secrets concerning the tragedy that changed his and Colby’s lives, Alec self-destructed and lost his famed restaurant. With his career in tatters, he’s determined to use this opportunity to redeem his reputation and to help the woman he’s loved from afar find happiness again.

But secrets have a way of coming out. When Alec’s do, they might destroy the new life he and Colby have rebuilt together.


* * * * *
  
I want to say first off that I am a sucker for books set in a location that I am familiar with though I tend to be pickier as the author also has to have a good handle on the streets and even the general attitudes of the people living there.  Ms. Beck did a fabulous job with portraying Portland and the surrounding towns.   Her descriptions of the sunsets are enough to bring me back to the time I spent living there.

I find that second chance contemporary romances really satisfy my need to believe that there is someone for everyone and you don't have to find that person on the first try.  Colby and Alec have a long history as friends but some deaths have put their families on the outs.  Regardless, Alec finds that he is still in love with Colby but they both have a lot of baggage to work through.  I found myself cheering both of them on as they struggle to find the right note so that their changed relationship will be able to grow stronger.

I really enjoyed BEFORE I KNEW.  The story and the characters engrossed me and made me believe in happy ever afters do come about with a little work.  I would recommend this book to my readers who enjoy contemporary romance.  There is some sex in this book but nothing explicit so all ages could enjoy the story. 

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

Nov 10, 2017

Book Review: Tangled In Time




To set him free from an ancient curse, she must travel to a time of myth and legend…

Regan MacCarthy’s ability to see ghosts is a gift inherited from her Irish ancestors, but it’s one she’d dearly like to give back. In an attempt to return her powers to their source, she travels to Ireland to harness the ancient magic that still permeates the mystical site of Newgrange. Instead, something far more unexpected awaits her: a strapping, gorgeous stranger who insists he’s a centuries-old Celtic warrior.
Fáelán was one of Fionn MacCumhaill’s elite soldiers before being cursed by a resentful fae princess. The only way to free himself is to fall so deeply in love that he’d sacrifice his life. Not an easy matter when he’s invisible to most. Yet Regan sees him—not just the proud, handsome warrior on the surface, but the complex man beneath. Only when it’s too late does Fáelán realize that drawing this beautiful mortal into his world has endangered them both, and may destroy the happiness he’s waited an eternity to claim…

* * * * *

I have been a sucker for a good time travel romance ever since I read Outlander back in the 90s.  That being said, the bar was also set high due to that book and series, and I have read more than few duds.  I am so happy to say that TANGLED IN TIME is far from a dud.

I immediately related to Regan from the very first chapter and that feeling just grew stronger throughout the book.  Her thoughts and comments about her 'boasty ghosty' were both amusing and rather hot at others.  I found myself cheering her and Fáelán on as their relationship deepened.  

Now Fáelán has me wondering how I could find muyself on of Fionn's elite.  He is well spoken, very disciplined and oh so hot. When I learned of his curse, I was crossing my fingers that it could be broken easily but we all know how that goes.

I highly recommend TANGLED IN TIME to any of my readers who enjoy time travel romances especially ones with a bit of magic blended in.  This story will sweep you away from the humdrum of your every day life and shows how love (along with a bit of magic) can overcome all.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
 

 
Nov 9, 2017

Book Review: The Transporter




He’s used to being in the driver’s seat…until the girl he rescues makes him lose control.

Shane Sullivan, a.k.a. the Transporter, channels his need for speed into top-secret delivery runs for the Hudson Kings, an elite band of mercenaries. His precious cargo has never talked back—until now. He’s riding to the rescue of his fellow team member’s sister, who’s fleeing her abusive boyfriend. His job: steer clear of trouble and get her to New York City in one piece. But he didn’t count on her driving him to distraction. Now he needs to keep both hands on the wheel—and off his best friend’s sister.

Cecily Keegan has a poor track record when it comes to falling for charming bad guys. So although she’s grateful for this hard-bodied wheelman’s protection, she’s terrified of listening to her heart, which has been racing since she got into his backseat. But when she learns that the danger is far greater than a possessive ex, she has to trust Shane—because sometimes the bad guys turn out to be good after all.


* * * * *

First off, let me say that this book is well written.  The pacing was smooth and the dialogue spot on which makes for an enjoyable book.  I really think that this is a book that a lot of readers will love.

That being said, I didn't fall in love with this book.  There was a sense of remove, a glass wall between me and the characters.  This really affected my being able to care about the characters which in turn affected the tension that the author was trying to build up.  I think that a part of it is the fact that I didn't find it realistic that Cecily is running from an abusive relationship yet is immediately ready to jump right back into one fraught with danger.  I have had an abusive relationship in the past and it took me a while to gain back my sense of self worth.  Sure I had some rebound flings but those were filled with self doubt.  And that self doubt just isn't apparent in her when it comes to Shane.  

Like I said, I am sure that many of my readers will enjoy this book and it is the start of a new series so jump into the story of the Hudson Kings from the beginning.  This book does contain violence and some rather hot sex scenes so be forewarned.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.



Nov 8, 2017

Book Review: The Lady's Guard




London, 1822At the notorious Hell and Sin Club nestled in London’s dark streets, Niall Marksman relishes taking the fortunes of the very same society that once disregarded his existence. Oh yes, Niall has sold his soul to the devil and paid dearly. It’s only when Lady Diana Verney appears at the gaming club looking for help that Niall knows that the devil has finally come to collect…by forcing him to protect the duke’s pampered daughter.

Disdained by the peerage and ignored by her father, Diana knows that someone wants to harm her. Her only protection is Niall, a scarred, intense man who lives and dies by the knife. Now her life and safety are in the hands of the most dangerous man in London. But a man raised on the city’s mercenary streets is adept at stealing anything he wishes—including a lady’s reputation and her heart.


* * * * *

Wow!   I read historical romances as a way to escape the stress of everyday living.   I achieved that goal in spades with THE LADY'S GUARD.

The tone of this book is darker then I usually run across in this genre being set in both Diana's world of the peerage and the rundown  streets around Niall's club.  It deals with two people in two entirely different worlds who are more alike then they would have thought.  One thing that I really appreciated was how much both Diana and Niall grow and change as they get to know one another. 

I do feel that any of my readers that enjoy a good historical romance will love THE LADY'S GUARD.  There is some violence as someone is looking to kill Diana. I know that I will definitely keep an eye out for any future releases from Ms. Caldwell.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
 

  
Nov 6, 2017

Book Review: Fury of Surrender




Dragon warrior Forge has been sentenced to death by the Dragonkind elite. Recalling the memories of his family’s murders could drive him to the edge of insanity, but it’s the only way to remove the target on his back. Fiercely determined to protect his pack and his newborn son, Forge agrees to undergo harrowing treatments to help him remember the trauma buried deep inside his heart and mind. When nothing works, a woman of unprecedented power is brought in to help.

Young, bright, and haunted by her own demons, hypnotherapist Hope Cunningham helps patients recover from their darkest memories. But each time she liberates a wayward soul, Hope’s personal pain digs deeper—until one patient ignites an unforgettable passion.

Forge’s healing journey is not without risk. Unwittingly, he has put Hope in the middle of a dangerous war, one that could shatter their eternal bond. Will the curative power of love be enough to save them?


* * * * *

Let me start off by saying how impressed I was with how well this book stood on its own.  It is actually the sixth in the series but I didn't feel lost or left out in the slightest.  I really appreciate when authors do such a great job of allowing the book to stand on its own merit.  Really encourages me to go pick up the previous books.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book.  Forge is a dreamboat but he does have some attitude issues.  He really needed a therapist to help him find his way.  The fact that Hope is also his mate just makes everything better.  And the secondary characters are well rounded which is another reason that I have to go read their stories.   

The author also took some time with the setting of this book.  It is set in the Puget Sound which is where I live.  You can bet that I would have picked up any discrepancies.  

I do feel that any of my readers that enjoy paranormal romance would really enjoy FURY OF SURRENDER.  You might even find that you will be searching down the earlier books like I will be.  There is some violence in this book but it  is usually in dragon form.  There is also some sex but nothing that goes overboard.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
 


Nov 1, 2017

Book Review: Turned Up




Dillon Alexander has been Kit Derby’s nemesis since third grade, when he beat her in the school spelling bee. They’ve been competing ever since, driving each other to be the best at everything from science fairs to bake sales. While working together one night during their senior year, they stopped bickering long enough to share an emotionally charged kiss. But a tragedy that same night left them both racked with guilt, driving Dillon out of town and leaving Kit determined to keep her distance.

Now an emergency room physician, Dillon has returned to their hometown of Chance, Nebraska. Soon he and Kit fall back into old habits, sparring in public while trying to stay out of each other’s arms. But when a blizzard traps them overnight at Kit’s grandmother’s farmhouse, the real competition begins: Who will be the first to give in to the feelings they’ve denied for a decade?


* * * * *

 I have really enjoyed meeting the residents of Chance.  Sure they get a lot of tornadoes but it has taught everyone the benefit of working together.  Everyone but Kit and Dillon who feel the need to turn everything into a contest between them.  That worked well until Dillon moved back home to Chance and is now trying to convince Kit that there is something more between them then competitiveness.  

TURNED UP is the third book in the Taking Chances series and I do have to say that it is my favorite.  That is in part because of the sparks that fly between Kit and Dillon and in part because I have the opportunity to see how all the other residents are doing.  This series has been about about second chances and the power of love which is something that is good to be reminded off time and time again.  

I do think that any of my readers who enjoy contemporary romance will enjoy this book  as well as the ones preceding it.  No real in your face violence but there some rather warm sex scenes.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Oct 30, 2017

Book Review: Enigma




Working with Agent Cam Wittier (Insidious) and New York-based former Special Forces agent Jack Cabot, they must race against the clock to catch an international criminal and solve the enigma of the man called John Doe.

When Agent Dillon Savich saves Kara Moody from a seemingly crazy man, he doesn’t realize he will soon be facing a scientist who wants to live forever and is using “John Doe” to help him. But when the scientist, Lister Maddox, loses him, he ups the stakes and targets another to take his experiments to the next level.

It’s a race against time literally as Savich and Sherlock rush to stop him and save both present and future victims of his experiments. In the meantime, Cam Wittier and Jack Cabot must track a violent criminal through the Daniel Boone National Forest. When he escapes through a daring rescue, the agents have to find out who set his escape in motion and how it all ties into the murder of Mia Prevost, the girlfriend of the president’s Chief of Staff’s only son, Saxton Hainny. It’s international intrigue at the highest levels and they know they have to succeed or national security is compromised.


* * * * *

As much as I love crime drama and romantic suspense, I am not sure how it is that I have managed to never read a book by Ms. Coulter.  Especially as she is considered to be the Queen of this genre.  

The book was well written with a wonderful blend of suspense leavened with a dash of humor so that the reader can catch their breath.  I feel that I was able to get to know the main characters rather well which really impressed me considering that ENIGMA is the twenty-first book in this series.  Too many authors by this point in the series tend to slack off of the characters assuming that the readers already know them well.  I

In fact, I have to give huge kudos to Ms. Coulter on just how well this book stands on its own.  I do now want to read her back story but I didn't find it necessary to enjoy this book.   I do feel that any of my readers that haven't been introduced to this series will still enjoy this book. And the followers of this series will love this new addition.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
 


Oct 27, 2017

Book Review: Lie To Me




They built a life on lies

Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s idyllic life is not as it appears. The couple seems made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her.

Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.


* * * * *

LIE TO ME started out as a rather straight forward well written murder mystery but about half way through the book, it turned into so much more.  Then it became one of best written crime dramas I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

The pacing is tight and the characters are magnetic even when you are not sure whether they are the good guys or the villains.  All the clues fall quite nicely into place.  Perhaps a bit too nicely.  It sends up having so many false starts and twists that I needed a seat belt for my own safety.  I have to warn my readers to not start this book late at night as this is a story that demands to be read in one sitting.

I highly recommend LIE TO ME to any of my readers who enjoy suspense and crime dramas.  This is one of the best!  There is some sex and violence but nothing too explicit.  . 

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Oct 26, 2017

Book Review: Blood Guard




Enter a world of immortal danger and desire—and discover an incredible fate borne of blood.

Tendra:
One minute, I’m a bartender in gritty Mission City; the next, I’m whisked away by a vampire named Athan who tells me that I’m the lifeblood of his clan. It sounds unbelievable, but he’s got evidence I can’t deny. Turns out, Athan belongs to an underground society of vampires who feed only on humans with their consent. Their enemies have no such qualms, and they want me dead. The only thing standing in their way is strong, sexy Athan. And the closer we get, the more tempted I am to let Athan feed. . . .

Athan:
How could I have known when I snatched this snarky, beautiful human off the streets that she would change my destiny? As a loyal soldier, I must deliver Tendra to our future king—my brother. Empowered with the blood of ten generations of the Gregorie breed, she is fated to rule as our queen. But there’s something between us that’s so intoxicating, so carnal, I can’t help wanting Tendra for myself . . . even if it’s treason.


* * * * *

I wasn't expecting much from this book since I found a few editing errors in the first couple chapters.  However I didn't take into account Ms. Erickson's magic with characters.  I became so invested in Tendra's story that I couldn't put the book down until the very end.  And now I am waiting impatiently for the next book in this series. 

I really think that my readers who enjoy hot paranormal romance will love this book.  I do want to give out a gentle warning that there are explicit sex scenes and violence.   If those things are not things that you prefer to avoid in your books, I recommend picking up this very enjoyable book.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

 
Oct 23, 2017

Book Review: Dead Girls Can't Lie




Best friends tell each other the truth – don't they?

When North Stone's best friend Kelly Orton is found hanging lifeless in a tree, North knows for certain it wasn't suicide. Kelly had everything to live for – a loving boyfriend, a happy life, and most importantly of all, Kelly would never leave North all by herself.

The girls have been friends since childhood, devoted to each other, soul sisters, or at least that's what North has always believed. But did Kelly feel the same way, or was she keeping secrets from her 'best friend' – deadly secrets...

When the police refuse to take North's suspicions seriously, she sets out to investigate for herself. But her search soon takes her to a glamorous world with a seedy underbelly, and before long North is out of her depth and getting ever closer to danger. Determined to find the truth, she soon wishes that dead girls could lie, because the truth is too painful to believe...


* * * * *

DEAD GIRLS CAN'T LIE is a different type of mystery.  It starts off rather slowly and more then once, I considered setting it aside.  I am really glad that I didn't however because North grows on you.

North has had issues in the past when her parents disappeared.  Heck she still has issues but has managed to pull everything together until Kelly hung herself.  She just knows that there is NO way that Kelly would have been out jogging and decide to kill herself.  The police won't listen to her so North decides to do her own investigation.

I ended up really enjoying  DEAD GIRLS CAN'T LIE once I started to relate to North.  She is a good example of what one person can accomplish without the assistance of authorities or even Kelly's boyfriend. I think that my readers who enjoy British mysteries would like this book.  Just be prepared for a slow beginning. 

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

Oct 17, 2017

Book Review: The Chase




Will she risk it all for a priceless desire?

A rising star in one of London's top art investigation firms, Zara Leighton's talent for seeing deep into paintings is in her blood. She's chosen to help track down Icon, an enigmatic international art thief whose heists are methodical, daring, baffling. To Zara the case is maddening—bordering on an obsession.

She finds distraction in the chiseled form of top-shelf client Tobias Wilder, a magnetic American billionaire who demands her expertise, her discretion—and her secrecy. Wilder doesn't ask questions. He gives orders. His gaze alone ignites her deepest fantasies. And his touch…

The sudden whirl of exclusive exhibitions and decadent parties that Wilder introduces her to is a potent aphrodisiac. But surrender soon becomes tinged with suspicion. Is Zara's tryst with Wilder the real thing…or just a convincing forgery?


* * * * *

I was really looking forward to this book as I love mysteries and romantic suspense.  I did find a bit of both in this book however the pace was rather slow.  After all, you have to time for all the sex scenes that this book introduces the reader too.  In my opinion, this book could do with more plot and less sex.  I also found errors in the book that should have been caught by the editor even though spell check would let them by.

I do suggest that my readers pass this book by if they are looking for a romantic suspense.  On the other hand, if you are looking for a book that really turns up the heat then THE CHASE is perfect.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

 
Oct 13, 2017

Book Review: Dirty Deeds




No dirty deed goes unnoticed in a seductive game of cat and mouse. But for Alec and Gaige, the wrong move could get them killed.

Alec Drummond didn’t make his billions by playing nice—or by playing much at all. When it comes to pleasure, Alec only has time for whatever is quick and easy, which is exactly what he gets from his company’s hot new computer genius. But Gaige Owens isn’t some pushover. He pushes back, and it’s giving Alec a rush. The question is, could Gaige be the one who’s leaking trade secrets? Just to be safe, Alec keeps him close at hand . . . night and day.

Gaige never thought he’d roll over for a man like Alec again, but who could resist sex this mind-blowing? Then there’s the draw of Alec’s mysterious side: his cutthroat ambition, his covert CIA connections, and the murder in his past. For Gaige, a deeper look proves an irresistible temptation. But when Gaige and Alec are stripped of their defenses by an unseen danger, everything they don’t know could bring them closer together—or tear them apart. Only one thing is certain: Before it’s all over, someone’s going down.


* * * * *

I really enjoyed DIRTY DEEDS.  It is filled with hot men, intrigue, government agencies with letters in their name and lots of hot sex.   The pacing is tight even around all the twists and turns.  There is also a lot of character growth especially in Alec.

Readers are also given the chance to check back on characters that have appeared in earlier books by Ms. Dimon.  It was great to see Seth and to know that his relationship is still working out.  The Drummond brothers also appeared in earlier books and I was so glad to see that Alec was given his own book.

That being said, I did find some content errors that might very well have been corrected in the final version.  That I can't say as I was given a review arc to read.  These errors did pull me out of the story as I tried to puzzle them out.  I doubt if they were bother a lot of people but they tend to drive me nuts.  

I do think that my readers would enjoy DIRTY DEEDS but I do want to give a gentle warning that there is a lot explicit sex between men so if you have any objections to that, avoid this book.  On the same vein if your son or daughter wants to read it, be sure that you check it out first.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.



 
Oct 11, 2017

Book Review: When I Wake Up





'Why won't Mummy wake up?'
 
When Anna, a much-loved teacher and mother of two, is left savagely beaten and in a coma, a police investigation is launched. News of the attack sends shock waves through her family and their small Swedish community. Anna seems to have had no enemies, so who wanted her dead?

As loved-ones wait anxiously by her bedside, her husband Erik is determined to get to the bottom of the attack, and soon begins uncovering his wife's secret life, and a small town riven with desire, betrayal and jealousy.

As the list of suspects grows longer, it soon becomes clear that only one person can reveal the truth, and she's lying silent in a hospital bed...

* * * * *

I found WHEN I WAKE UP to be a delightful read.  It is filled with so many twists and turns that the reader will need to buckle up to enjoy the ride.  Set in Sweden, I loved seeing how their police worked and also enjoyed learning about their different traditions.  

Another thing that set this book apart was watching Anna, who is the mother of twins, discover her sexuality when she falls in love with a woman.  She tries to weigh whether this is just a fling or is her happiness worth breaking up her marriage and changing the twins' lives.

There were a lot of suspects that all could have easily attacked her for various reasons ranging from jealousy, obsession to love.  All of the characters are very well drawn out with all of their strengths and weaknesses.

I do feel that any of my readers who enjoy a good mystery will enjoy WHEN I WAKE UP.  Having it set in Sweden definitely adds that little bit of extra to this book.  There is both violence and sex so not appropriate for younger readers.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Oct 4, 2017

Book Review: Nyxia




With millions of dollars at stake, walking away isn’t an option.

Emmett Atwater agrees to leave Earth behind when Babel Communications offers him a fortune. The catch? He has to launch into deep space to get it. One of ten selected recruits, Emmett boards the company’s spaceship and sets course for a planet that Babel has kept hidden from the rest of the world.

Before long, Emmett discovers that all of Babel’s recruits have at least one thing in common: they’re broken. Broken enough that Babel can remold them however it pleases.

Every training session is a ruthless competition where friendships are tested and enemies are made. Each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—where they will mine nyxia, a substance that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. Secrets about the volatile substance they’re hoping to mine, about the reclusive humanoids already living on Eden, and about the true intentions for the recruits.

Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.


* * * * *

Incredible!  I have to say that  NYXIA is the best book that I have had the pleasure of enjoying in 2017.  It is a coming of age story about one teenager, Emmerr Atwater, who has agreed to leave Earth behind so that his mother can get the medical treatment to survive liver cancer.  

When he undertakes this journey, he is a street smart punk from Detroit who is pretty sure that he will be one of top contenders that will be sent down to Nyxia.  He sees all the others as competition and enemies. He will discover some are enemies but others are friends that will help save his sanity and his life.  

This book swept me away!  I enjoy character driven sci-fi and this book is top rate.  If anything, it reminded me of some of Heinlein's books.  It is all about growing up and learning about one's self while competing with both friends and enemies.  I really feel that any of my readers who enjoy books focused on the character and how they grow and change will love this book.  There is violence but there is also friendship and love so I would recommend this book to readers of all ages. 

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Oct 2, 2017

Book Review: Emma In The Night




From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back...

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister's return might just be the beginning of the crime.


* * * * * 

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about this book is Wow!.  This has to be one of the surprising thrillers that I have ever read.  There are so many twists and turns that take to a conclusion that I didn't and wouldn't have expected.   

I found both Cass and Abby to be extremely interesting characters and the pressures that they grew up with make them even more surprising.  Not only are there great, well fleshed out characters but the way that their story unfolds will keep you glued to the screen.  

I highly recommend EMMA IN THE NIGHT to any of my readers who enjoy a well written thriller with a surprising conclusion.  There is some violence and sex but nothing over the top so no need to worry about teenager enjoying this book.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Sep 25, 2017

Book Review: Claiming Alexis




Nothing is more important to Blake Anderson than the work he does with his brothers at Ace Security. At least that’s what he thinks until he meets the fiercely independent Alexis Grant. The security firm’s new intern pushes all his buttons—and makes his temperature rise. But giving in to temptation might be risky business.

Alexis can tell that Blake has his doubts about her ability to commit. But while most people look at her and see only a flighty rich girl, she knows he sees much more. Determined to prove herself to Blake, Alexis jumps at the chance to work undercover. And when her case takes a dangerous turn, she puts her trust—and her heart—in his hands.

Now, as Alexis digs into the deadly secrets of a local gang, Blake will lay everything on the line to protect the woman he’s come to love.


* * * * *

This series just keeps getting better.  Alexis is a very strong woman who will do what is right even though it might put her in danger.  And she is so tired to being thought as the stupid little right girl.

Blake is the middle son of the triplets and he really prefers to fade into the background.  He's not looking for a relationship but there is just something about Alexis especially when he wasn't able to run her off.

I really enjoyed this book.  There was a lot of character interaction including with Grace who pops into the story.  The tension and danger is delicious,  More then once, I was yelling at Alexis to get her butt out of there.  

I think that any of my readers who enjoy romantic suspense with a lot of heat between the main characters will enjoy reading CLAIMING ALEXIS.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
 
 
Sep 22, 2017

Book Review: Claiming Grace





For Logan Anderson, moving on from a traumatic past means moving back to his hometown of Castle Rock, Colorado, to start a personal-security business with his brothers. But it’s not long before Logan runs into Grace Mason, his best friend from high school…and the woman who never answered his letters during his Army years.

Grace was pleasantly surprised to see Logan return to Castle Rock, despite their falling-out ten years ago. Everyone always assumed they would end up together, including Grace, who had eyes only for him. But as Logan eventually escaped their town, Grace got pulled further into her family’s controlling grasp—and farther away from the man she loved.

Now, united by scars both visible and not, the two must fight to free Grace from the suffocating hold of her family. But the Masons won’t let go easily—and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep the couple apart.

                                                                        * * * * *

I have to admit that I wasn't too sure that I would like this book because of Grace.  She had been emotionally abused by her parents all of her life and I just didn't see how she would be able to go from a victim to a strong woman all in one book.  Boy was I surprised at her strength once she was out of their control.

Logan also come from a background of abuse from his mother.  And I want to give huge kudos to Ms. Stoker for bringing up the fact that women can also be the abusers. This issue is mainly not talked about because most men will not report that they are the ones being abused. 

I ended up really enjoying CLAIMING GRACE and am ready to dive into the next book in this series.  The characters are all wonderfully developed and I loved watching Grace grow throughout the book.  The dialogue is on point and the pacing is tight.  I am sure that any of my readers who enjoy romantic suspense will enjoy this book.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

Book Review: Mask of Shadows




I Needed to Win.
They Needed to Die.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.


* * * * *

MASK OF SHADOWS is a well written fantasy. Ms Miller does an excellent job of world building to the extent that I could almost smell the stench of the cities that Sal does jobs within.  The characters themselves are also very well done.  I swear that I would recognize some of them if I met them on the street.  

What really sets this book apart from other fantasies is the fact that Sal is gender fluid.  I just love how Sal describes it.  Sal is a he is he is wear male clothing, a she if wearing a dress and they if the clothing can't be ascribed to either gender.  MASK OF SHADOWS  is the first fantasy that I have read that addresses this issue and it's an important one as I feel that everyone should be able to be the gender that fits them best.

I do feel that readers who enjoy fantasy will enjoy this book.  There is violence within the story but no graphic sex beyond kissing.  This is the first book in this series and I can't wait to be able to follow more of Sal's story.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
 


Sep 19, 2017

Book Review: The Last Move


Catching monsters helps FBI agent Kate Hayden keep her nightmares at bay. Now an urgent call brings her back to San Antonio, the scene of her violent past. A brutal new murder shows hallmarks of a serial killer nicknamed the Samaritan. Tricky part is, Kate already caught him.

Either Kate made a deadly error, or she’s got a copycat on her hands. Paired with homicide detective Theo Mazur, she quickly realizes this murder is more twisted than it first appeared. Then a second body is found, the mode of death identical to a different case that Kate thought she’d put behind her.

Now Kate and Detective Mazur aren’t just working a homicide; the investigative pair is facing a formidable enemy who knows Kate intimately. While Mazur is personally trying to protect Kate, the closer they are drawn to the killer, the clearer it becomes that in this terrifying game, there is only one rule: don’t believe everything you see…


* * * * *

THE LAST MOVE is a particularly delicious crime drama with so many twists and turns that a seat belt is required.   Kate Hayden is so accustomed to putting everything into her work that she comes across as being emotionless which is far from the truth.  Theo Mazur wasn't too sure about calling in the FBI until he meets Kate.  They have really good chemistry right from the start though it is subdued.  

I don't want to give anything away about the story but I do have to say that I was glued to the page right from the very beginning.  And the ending was as satisfying as the beginning with a conclusion that I didn't see coming at all.  This book was written as a stand alone but I am crossing my fingers for more as I would love to be able to keep up with Kate and Theo.

I think that any of my readers who enjoy suspense or crime dramas will love this book.  It has it all; great characters, witty dialogue, well paced plot and a stunning conclusion.   Be sure check out THE LAST MOVE.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own. 
Sep 18, 2017

Book Review: The Hunting Grounds




Maggie Gaines used to be an FBI agent—top of her class and one of the bright, up-and-coming stars—until she spectacularly fell apart during her first high-profile case. That was eight years ago. Now she’s a ranger at Glacier National Park, and she’s found some measure of peace. But when the body of a murdered woman is discovered, she must finally put the past behind her and work with the one man she thought she’d never see again.

For months, Vic Sutherland has been hunting a killer who’s been targeting unsuspecting hikers in national parks—and now the predator has come to Glacier. Vic knows the case will bring him face-to-face with his former partner, yet nothing can prepare him for seeing Maggie again after all these years, or for the memories of passion it stirs in both of them.

As the investigation brings them closer together—and closer to the killer—Maggie and Vic fear they have only each other to trust. But even that might not be enough to make it out of Glacier alive.


* * * * *

Now I am an indoor person.  Never seen any reason to subject myself to all the bugs that call the outdoors home.  However after reading all the gorgeous descriptions that Ms. Roberts has put into her book has me rethinking my stance on the great outdoors.

Maggie has been carrying baggage since her time in the BAU including how her and Vic parted.  She has found peace working in the Park Service but when dead bodies start showing up, she is going to have to rethink her peace especially when Vic shows up to work the case.  There is a definite tension between Maggie and Vic which could effect them working together unless they manage to get all under control.

Along with the drama between the main characters, there is also an unsub who is extremely comfortable out in the wilderness.  An unsub who seems to stay one step ahead of everyone hunting him.  This fact kept me on the edge of my seat and glued to the pages.

I recommend THE HUNTING GROUNDS to any of my readers who enjoy a well written romantic suspense with taut pacing, good dialogue, great characters and a surprising conclusion.  I somehow missed the first book in this series and I plan on going back to catch up.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Sep 16, 2017

Book Review: Close To Home





While investigating the hit-and-run death of a young boy, Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite makes a startling discovery: the suspect is an active-duty serviceman at a local naval base. After a key piece of case evidence goes missing, he is cleared of charges in a military court. But Tracy knows she can’t turn her back on this kind of injustice.

When she uncovers the driver’s ties to a rash of recent heroin overdoses in the city, she realizes that this isn’t just a case of the military protecting its own. It runs much deeper than that, and the accused wasn’t acting alone. For Tracy, it’s all hitting very close to home.

As Tracy moves closer to uncovering the truth behind this insidious conspiracy, she’s putting herself in harm’s way. And the only people she can rely on to make it out alive might be those she can no longer trust.

* * * * * 
 

There is no way around it. I love this series!  It is set locally to myself in Seattle so I recognize the places that Tracy is investigating. I also really enjoy the camaraderie and caring of the team she works with. Kins, Del, Tracy and Faz are all wonderfully developed characters. They have all grown so much. 

In CLOSE TO HOME, there are actually two different cases that end up merging into one. Cases that involve the military and span from Kitsap county up to Seattle.   This book also brings in to focus a crisis that is occurring across the US. The tension is high with little breaks to catch your breath, the dialogue is on point and the conclusion surprising. 

As I am sure you can guess, I highly recommend this book. Heck, I highly recommend this series. I think that any of my readers who enjoy crime drama or police procedurals. I can hardly wait for the next book. 

** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Sep 14, 2017

Book Review: The Strawberry Hearts Diner




Being broke, unemployed, and stranded back in the tiny town of Pick, Texas, was not part of Jancy Wilson’s plan. Yet here she is, watching her car literally go up in smoke—along with her last-ditch hope of staying with her cousin in Louisiana. When Jancy spies a Help Wanted sign hanging in the window of the quaint Strawberry Hearts Diner, the memories of the two years she spent there as a teenager—and the lure of the diner’s beloved strawberry tarts—are enough to draw her in and plant her feet…but only temporarily.

Raised by parents who refused to settle anywhere for long, Jancy has never known what it is to have roots. Now that Jancy’s swept up by the warmth and character of this quirky little community—and by the pull of an old crush—it’s beginning to feel like home. She’s making friends and even discovering the sweetness of falling in love. But when the town is threatened, Jancy knows it will take more than its legendary tarts to save it. Can she fight for this little Texas town—knowing she might not stay forever?

* * * * *

This is book that just warmed my heart as it shows how our past shapes us but doesn’t need to define us. And it features four strong women of three different generations. I really liked Jancy, Emily, Vicky and Nettie.  They are willing to stand up for themselves and their town. I also liked the town of Pick and the chance to meet the townspeople.  Pick has a strong identity for such a small burg because of those folks and their traditions. 

Now as you can tell, I very much enjoyed my time in Pick and Ms. Brown has done a wonderful job with the pacing, the descriptions and the dialogue.  It was wonderful to watch the characters change and grow.  My only issue at all is the fact that there is a lot of head hopping. And often with no warning leaving the reader floundering for a few seconds try to decipher just which of the women is thinking or talking. 

I do think that my readers would very much enjoy THE STRAWBERRY HEARTS DINER if they enjoy contemporary romance set in a small town.  I am really hoping that this was just the first book in a series. 

** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Sep 12, 2017

Book Review: Too Scot to Handle




A MAN WITH MANY TALENTS

As a captain in the army, Colin MacHugh led men, fixed what was broken, and fought hard. Now that he's a titled gentleman, he's still fighting-this time to keep his bachelorhood safe from all the marriage-minded debutantes. Then he meets the intriguing Miss Anwen Windham, whose demure nature masks a bonfire waiting to roar to life. When she asks for his help to raise money for the local orphanage, he's happy to oblige.

Anwen is amazed at how quickly Lord Colin takes in hand a pack of rambunctious orphan boys. Amazed at how he actually listens to her ideas. Amazed at the thrill she gets from the rumble of his Scottish burr and the heat of his touch. But not everyone enjoys the success of an upstart. And Colin has enemies who will stop at nothing to ruin him and anybody he holds dear.


* * * * *

TOO SCOT TO HANDLE has everything that I look for in a historical romance.  There is a very intelligent and feisty heroine,  a hero that prizes her for her individuality and a villain that is determined to get his way.  This book has the added benefits of some interesting orphans and Anwen's family who have appeared before.

I really enjoyed this book and was more then willing to get up some sleep to race to the satisfying conclusion.  Ms Burrowes has done her usual superb job with both the characters and taking her reader back to an earlier time in England's history.  I really feel that my readers who enjoy a historical romance with a bit of heat and heartwarming characters will love this book. 

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.