Dec 22, 2017

Book Review: Her Last Goodbye

Young mother Chelsea Clark leaves the house for a girls’ night out…and vanishes. Her family knows she would never voluntarily leave her two small children. Her desperate husband—also the prime suspect—hires Morgan to find his wife and prove his innocence.

As a single mother, Morgan sympathizes with Chelsea’s family and is determined to find her. She teams up with private investigator Lance Kruger. But the deeper they dig, the deadlier their investigation gets. When Morgan is stalked by a violent predator, everything—and everyone—she holds dear is in grave danger.

Now, Morgan must track down a deranged criminal to protect her own family…but she won’t need to leave home to find him. She’s his next target.

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 Let me start off by saying that I love Morgan!  She is a lawyer who grew up in a family of cops so not only does she know the law but she knows how to physically defend herself and her family.  And  she is like a mother bear when it comes to protecting those she loves.

Morgan and Lance work well together professionally and some of their forays into personal will elicit some chuckles.  After all, having time for romance with three kids and a demanding job can be interesting. The pacing is tight with a steadily increasing tension as the villain starts to concentrate on Morgan.  

I do recommend HER LAST GOODBYE to anyone who enjoys a well written romantic suspense.  It's perfect to take you away from the demands of the holiday season.

*** 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: Foretold

Laura Spinella’s Ghost Gifts trilogy continues as Aubrey’s otherworldly talents—and a visit from a former lover—threaten to tear apart her family.
A mysterious death in a muddy swamp, missing children in different states…psychic Aubrey Ellis and her partner, investigative reporter Levi St John, have their hands full. The added strain of raising their son, who struggles with his own psychic gift, pushes life to the brink of collapse.

Enter Zeke Dublin—Aubrey’s first love from her carnival past. Tensions escalate when it’s clear that the attraction between them is alive and well. But as Levi discovers disturbing clues about the body pulled from the swamp, he begins to suspect Zeke’s sudden presence is more than coincidence.

As Aubrey’s uncanny abilities take an unsettling turn, she fears that this time her own child is in danger. Who can Aubrey trust to help solve the unknowns surrounding her life—the father of her son, or a man who’s always understood the deepest secrets of her psychic gift?

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I absolutely loved the first book in this series, Ghost Gifts, because of Ms. Spinella's ability to seamlessly blend mundane with the extraordinary. Now she is back with the same ease in FORETOLD.

This book is set twelve years from where Ghost Gifts left off when life has gotten complicated for Audrey.  Her son Pete is starting to experience some of her gifts which in turn has caused issues between Audrey and her partner Levi.  Having her first love, Zeke suddenly show up isn't helping matters either.

I really enjoyed FORETOLD.  It was wonderful to be able to see how Audrey has grown and matured.  Again there is that seamless blend of the mundane and the paranormal which will even have the reader questioning what is real and what is not.  I also enjoyed watching Levi and his reactions to Audrey and Pete's gifts.

FORETOLD will definitely keep the reader on their toes as there are several sudden left turns that come out of nowhere.  Even if you think that you know what is going on, think again.  This all leads to a satisfying conclusion that will have the reader waiting impatiently for the next book.  I think that any of my readers who enjoy the paranormal or mysteries 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.

Dec 20, 2017

Book Review: Find Me

As the head of the government’s secret Vigilance spy program, computer guru China Mack already has her hands full when her billionaire boyfriend, Jackson Cooper, asks for one of them in marriage.

Thrown for a loop by the sudden proposal, China’s usually well-ordered life takes another hit when someone tries to assassinate the president. Even that comes with a shocking twist: the primary suspect is none other than her ex-partner, Clark Slattery. With nowhere else to turn, the sexy loner needs China’s help and expertise. Clark has linked the assassination attempt to a failed secret operation undertaken six years ago—and a deadly cover-up that’s putting the leader of the free world in the crosshairs. But the president isn’t the only one in harm’s way.

Now, China is going to have to dig deep for information that’s beyond even her clearance. And what she discovers may have far-reaching consequences for her life and everyone else in it.

* * * * *

I absolutely loved this book!   A lot of my reaction to a book is emotional. Yes I do automatically check for errors.  I can't help it and if I do find them, I let you know.  But if there are none then it is all about how the book made me feel.

First and foremost is China. I can very easily relate to her and even put myself in her place though I am far from a genius.  But she is torn between two good men and I have been there before and it is far from a comfortable place to be.  I couldn't sit this book aside to go to sleep because I wanted (needed) to know her decision.  There were some hard scenes before she made of her mind.  Scenes that had me break down in tears.  And I am still not sure that her mind is made up!

I highly recommend this book and this series to anyone that enjoys romantic suspense.  It is extremely well written and very easy to fall head first into the characters themselves.  If you haven't read the first two then I do recommend starting out with the first and working your way through the 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.
Dec 19, 2017

Book Review: House of Shadows

The wooded hills of Oxfordshire conceal the remains of the aptly named Ashdown House--a wasted pile of cinders and regret. Once home to the daughter of a king, its secrets will unite three women across four centuries in a tangle of romance, deceit and destiny...

1662--A queen

Bound by sex and birth to live for everyone but herself--and to love always in secret--Elizabeth Stuart entrusts a pair of arcane artifacts to her faithful cavalier to keep safe for her rightful heir. But fate will not be generous to the Winter Queen, throwing the question of succession into turmoil, the aftermath of which will resonate through the generations.

1801--A courtesan

Lavinia Flyte wanted so much more from life than to be a courtesan at the mercy of the cruel Lord Evershot. He has brought her to Ashdown, the home of his ancestors, for reasons he guards greedily. But the maids' whispers of hidden treasures--a pearl with the power to foretell the future--consume her with a curiosity she confides only to her diary, unaware of the misfortune that threatens.

And the mystery that binds them

Alarmed to hear her brother has gone missing at Ashdown Park, Holly Ansell is inexplicably drawn to the clues contained in the journal of a Regency courtesan who was living at the historic home when it burned to the ground two hundred years ago. Lured by the tragedy at Ashdown, Holly's search leads her not only to the truth about Lavinia, but deeper into her own connection with the Winter Queen.

* * * * *

It all started with a death.  When Holly's brother Ben disappears, she discovers an old journal that takes her back in time when she reads about another woman's hopes and dreams.  She starts to research this woman and discovers ties back to the Winter Queen.

I really enjoyed this book and how it covers the lives of the three women and how their lives intertwine.  It really shows how history can affect the present.  And there's no need to suspend your disbelief about time travel.

I really think that any of my readers who enjoy mysteries and love stories that span time will enjoy HOUSE OF SHADOWS.  It's well written and guaranteed to sweep you away.  

*** 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 18, 2017

Word of the Year

I don't think that I decided on a word for the year for 2017.  Instead I made some goals which I failed dismally on.  This whole year seems to have whizzed by and I haven't achieved even a fraction of what I wanted so I decided to go back a word for the year. 

I decided that I really need to get organized.  I lost the calendar where I was keeping track of my blog posts and once that happened, I didn't even do my weekly ramblings let alone show off the jewelry that I had designed. So my word for the year will be ORGANIZATION.

I plan on getting my blog posts back on track and start getting all my jewelry that I have designed online. I can't sell anything if no one can see them.  Once I do those two things, others should start to fall back into place.

Thank you so much for staying with me during this year that won't be mentioned.  And I promise that I will be more present in 2018.
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.

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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.