Bonded The Cavanaugh Brothers, Book #4 By Laura Wright ISBN# 9781101626184 Author’s Website: http://www.laurawright.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Blue just can’t seem to get his head on straight anymore. His world has gone to crap ever since Everett Cavanaugh died, and the truth came out, that Everett was his father and his mom has lied to him his entire life. The only solace he found was with his online relationship with ‘cowgirl’, but even that turned to crap when her identity was revealed as none other than Natalie Palmer, the girl they suspect killed his half-sister, Cass.
But the night he found out about Natalie he took solace in the arms and body of Emily Shiver, his angel. But she left in the middle of the night making it clear what she thought about the situation. But now her brother Deputy Shiver, just took him to jail for speeding! But he got to see Emily again, but it’s another blindside as he finds out she’s pregnant with his child! Now he’s out to make sure that he’s the father to his baby that he wished he had had. But Emily can’t take the distance he’s trying to keep between them, and pushes him away. But now Emily and their baby are both in danger at the hand of Natalie, who thinks she has a claim on him. It’s up to Blue to protect what means the most to him, his new budding family.
OMG! I loved this book, and literally couldn’t put it down!! It was sooo good that I blazed through it. And now I’m a little sad that it’s over. This appears to be the last book in the series and I’m sad to see it go, even though I realize that there is no more story to tell. The mystery has been solved.
Blue has been my second favorite Cavanaugh brother throughout this series, second only to Cole! I just adore him! Yes he has been a bit thorny in these last few books, but who could blame him? His world came crashing down when he realized all he ever knew was a lie. But I loved to see how he instantly became so protective of Emily and the baby. He was down-right swoon-worthy, even when he wasn’t giving his whole heart. You could see he wanted to, but just couldn’t trust anybody anymore. Completely understandable after what he’s been through.
I really liked Emily as well. She was a good person to help Blue get though all the betrayals he’s recently faced and come out a better person on the other side. It takes her awhile, but it all finally sinks in for Blue. It was almost too late by the time he figured it out, like it often is in romance novels.
This book was great, I loved it! But like I stated earlier, I’m just sad it’s over. I love the Cavanaughs like family and to not see them anymore makes me sad. And I won’t even get to see Blue welcome his baby into this world. *sniff sniff* I’ll be okay … honest … just give me time to mourn my loss!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
The Marsh Madness A Book Collector Mystery, Book #4 By Victoria Abbott ISBN 9780425280348 Author’s website: www.victoria-abbott.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
The national bestselling author of The Wolfe Widow presents another spine-tingling mystery featuring rare book collector Jordan Bingham and some Ngaio Marsh first editions worth killing for…
Jordan works hard to improve Vera Van Alst’s collection of classic detective stories. So when Chadwick Kauffman—heir to the Kauffman fortune—offers a very good price on a fine collection of Ngaio Marsh first editions owned by his recently deceased stepfather, she is thrilled to meet with him at his fabled summer estate, Summerlea.
The next day, Jordan and Vera are shocked to read that Chadwick has died in a fall from the grand staircase at Summerlea. But when the picture in the paper is of a different man, it becomes clear that the ladies are victims of a scam. And they’ll have to unmask the imposter fast, because someone is trying to frame them for murder…
Jordan Bingham has what seems like a plum job to we bibliophiles. If one is saving money for grad school, working as a live-in assistant to a rare book collector doesn’t sound bad! It does have benefits: Private attic room with adequate space and privacy, quaint, small-town living, all the food that one could possibly eat from a dear, feisty Italian lady, time to visit family and friends. A climate controlled library with rare and valuable books. There are downsides to any job, however. The “boss”, Vera Van Alst is hated by most of the people in town, and she succeeds at being an intimidating old lady. She is a sourpuss at times, but many disabled, frail folks can be accused of that. Oh, and there are cats, which I would typically see as an upside, except there is a good cat…and a bad, snarly, clawing cat. They look alike; one doesn’t always know which cat is in one’s room. Sometimes the people in town tend to judge Jordan based on her employer, making it hard for her to do a deal to get the books Vera seeks. There is that little thing about murder…People just seem to get murdered around there. That might make all those pluses go out the window for many. Unless, like Jordan, one has an eye for detail and the ability to think logically based on the way her favorite classic detectives have solved mysteries. For example, like Dame Ngaio Marsh’s hero, Inspector Roderick Alleyn.
Chadwick Kauffman, the ultra-wealthy heir and end of the Kauffman family line, wanted to sell a very fine first edition set of Dame Marsh’s mysteries. His people had approached Vera to see if she was interested. Jordan and Vera would attend a luncheon at the Kauffman family summer estate, Summerlea, inspect the set of books and pay cash for it. All went well, the estate was amazing, the deal done. Kauffman’s butler and personal assistant seemed a bit ‘off’, and Kauffman even seemed…reptilian. It seemed surreal when the news broke that Chadwick Kauffman had died at the estate sometime after they left. Then, the police came to their door.
Jordan had grown up in the care of three beloved uncles who adored her. They had unique ideas about the law, the police, and how to break one and avoid the other. Jordan was the first in her family to ‘go legit’, yet any cop other than her friend Smiley coming to the door was not good. Vera and Jordan were stunned that they were the chief suspects in Kauffman’s death. Well, them and Uncle Kev.
I really love the Book Collector Mystery series; The Marsh Madness is the 4th and to me, the best to date. It can be enjoyed as a stand-alone cozy or as part of the series. Kudos to the cover art designer; even if the author is not a new one for me, it is very appealing (especially Walter, the Pug). The Cast of Characters listing is wonderful; I wish every author included one. The recipes look like fun for those of us who enjoy cooking.
Jordan is someone I almost envy for her job with Vera, her intelligence, and her acting and people skills. Reading this as a first person mystery quickly drew this reader in, showing who she is and leading me to genuinely like her. We ‘meet’ the other characters through her eyes, most of whom she views with optimism, capitalizing on their good traits and ignoring some of the less pleasant. Through her eyes, her uncles and their significant others are delightful, even…normal. Her instincts are better honed with each solved murder, and she diligently seeks the bad guy/ gal. Who, by the way, was a surprise to me. Without her unique background, neither the reader nor the police could find the real ‘who’ or the ‘why’ behind the murder. The complexity of The Marsh Madness appeals to this reader, guaranteeing that I’m already waiting for the next one to publish! The writing style is such that this reader can stay in the story and savor it no matter how badly I want to flip the pages and get to the denouement! It is the feeling of the location, the adventures with Jordan as she goes after clues and the bad guy/ gal, it is even Vera’s ‘tude that makes the journey more fun than the destination.
While reading this, I realized there are far fewer “classic” detective writers whose works are still acclaimed than there are mystery writers publishing today. The Book Collector Mystery series is one that I would like to think will be sought after by at least one or two future generations. I highly recommend The Marsh Madness to readers of all ages who appreciate excellent writing, exciting plots, and fun, small-town people. It can also enjoyed by those who appreciate ties to the classic detectives who they may not yet have read. Dame Marsh might even gain a new generation of readers, solidifying Victoria Abbott’s presence in classic suspense literature.
After having read several of the books written by Michael Phillip Cash I had an idea what to be expected in this one. Or so I thought. Well one thing that was similar, he writes books that work perfect for movies or television. This one is definitely prime for that. His writing style just reads like watching a wonderful show or movie. This one has to be my favorite so far. I expected some off the wall premise, witty dialog and interaction between characters and first rate pacing and I got that for sure. Witches Protection Program is wonderful. From beginning to end, it pulled me in and never let go. I would really love to see this as a new television show, TV needs something good like this right now.
The main character Wes Rockville is self-depreciating and seems to lack the skills needed to be a stellar law enforcement agent like his father. It doesn’t help that his father is also his boss. When he fails again at his job, he is sent to the last resort job. Or so we are lead to believe. A 232 year old secret government agency, The Witches Protection Program. He is paired with veteran Alastair Verne and begins to see things he never believed existed. A horrible conspiracy is in the works that could change things around the world. A famous cosmetic company is using witchcraft to attempt world domination. Wes is thrown into a world he never knew as soon as he goes looking for his new department. From that moment on things happen that push him to believe the impossible and he drags the reader along with him.
Wonderful characters abound in this short but entertaining read. Great interactions with the dynamic duo of Wes and Alastair and those they are sworn to protect, witches. Evil comes in all shapes and sizes, including animals. Tempting the reader’s sense of reality, this book pulls the reader through strange happenings and makes them seem true. Even in the most outlandish scenarios, this author writes with a voice of truth. Explaining in a satisfactory way that makes everything feel like fact. As I was reading, I could see it all play out and imagine exactly how the show be!!
Witches Protection Program is a surprisingly wonderful book. I say surprising since I am not really a fan of witches, supernatural, etc. I truly enjoyed this book and even the premise of it. As I have said Michael Phillip Cash writes in a way that just plays like a movie. This one would be a fabulous new TV series. Reading it is similar to watching an amazing movie play out in your mind. His writing is so descriptive and entertaining. His characters are so well written they pop off the page. I would say this book would appeal to any reader that enjoys a bit of witchcraft, but truly it will appeal to so many others. It is like a wonderful, suspenseful cop show, drizzled with witchcraft and supernatural fun, and then pumped up with an excellent storyline.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*...more
After reading All Together Now’s descriptive blurb, I thought the book would by right up my alley – a small English village combined with a community choir. I expected a feel good story and classic dry British wit. What I read was a somewhat entertaining snippet of life in a small town and a floundering community choir.
A small village has lost its identity and its purpose having become just someplace to commute to elsewhere to work. It has lost its charm, and a giant superstore is in the works which will further diminish the town. Similarly, the Bridgeford Community Choir is also petering out. There are plans to enter a local choir competition. Unfortunately, the choir’s director Constance is incapacitated early in the story, and the remaining members do not quite know how to carry on without her. They desperately need to increase their numbers and more or less draft and blackmail town folk into joining their ranks. All Together Now follows an eclectic bunch of awkward misfits who have nothing in common sans the choir. An aspiring reality singing completion star, an organized busybody, an unemployed and recently separated middle-aged man, a woman with secrets facing an empty nest, a pair of old bitties, a father/handicapped daughter duo, and a handful of members from another choir round out the cast. None of the characters are particularly likeable, but they did grow on me as I continued to read.
Ms. Hornby does an admirable job of providing a picture of small town life in England, depicting its secrets, social hierarchy, and resistance to change. I did think that the story got a bit bogged down at times with overly long descriptions. This is ultimately a story about redefining self and community, and though I know the protest against the proposed superstore was pertinent to the community and served as a catalyst for one of the character’s change, I ultimately found its inclusion to be unnecessary.
As expected, my favorite aspect of the book was the choir. Having been part of more than a few choirs myself, the attitudes, conflicting opinions, struggles, and the choir’s ultimate sense of togetherness were all too real to me. I laughed at myself because I knew every song (with the exception of Tracey’s “hit”) that was mentioned over the course of the book. I am not sure what that says about my level of nerdiness, but I’ll accept that it is obviously rather high.
In the end, I did come away from the book having enjoyed it, and I think it will most appeal to readers who have their own choral experiences.
“What is it with music? What exactly is its power? How come smart-arse scientists were capable of splitting atoms yet were unable to explain how music would conduct electricity through the souls of men?” *OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
If you have never read one of David Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter Mystery books, do it now!! I don’t care what kind of books you like, you will enjoy these. Ok so maybe that will not always be true, but it should be. Everyone should love a mystery series that always includes a dog or two or three, a lawyer that hates to lawyer, a quiet muscle man, some grand mystery that runs parallel to the case and oh my goodness some serious laughs. What more could you want?? Well I would want more dogs, but that is just me. This is a legal thriller I guess, but I just call it a joy to read.
Now on to the meat of Who Let the Dog Out? And it is meaty. You have to love lawyer Andy Carpenter. He does not like doing his job, actually does not like doing a lot of anything except play with Tara his golden, enjoy sports on television and hang with his family. I can appreciate that lifestyle. When he does take a case it is for a good reason. And when he is in court, he cracks me up. A bit Matlock with some Perry Mason thrown in and a lot of easy reading. The court scenes are interesting, entertaining and never dull. That takes a lot of talent to write them so I am not bored with them. Andy has surrounded himself with some wonderful characters including his wife, Laurie, his partner in the Tara Foundation, Willie and all of his amazing staff. Staff is actually used in the loosest sense in describing those that work with him.
As always in an Andy Carpenter novel, there is a dog at the root of him taking the case. This time one of the dogs in their foundation facility is stolen. Thanks to GPS technology they have, Andy and Willie are able to track Cheyenne the stolen dog. Just to cover their bases they call their police buddy to meet them at the house. When they find Cheyenne, they also find a dead man and it does not look like a natural death in any way. Things really get crazy after Andy takes the case of the arrested man Tommy Infante. The police think they have an open and shut case against him. Andy sees things differently. He fears that this murder is just a very small part of a much larger and much more dangerous plan.
I absolutely love Andy Carpenter mysteries and I am not a fan of legal thrillers. Maybe that is why I love them, they don’t fall in the same boring pattern as most do. Filled with humor, action, dogs, sarcasm, dogs, entertaining characters and did I mention DOGS. This is a wonderful and fast paced read. David Rosenfelt’s own humor and character definitely bleed through into Andy. It is a very honest and fun read. Who let the Dog Out?, is a fast paced, action packed, hilarious novel. I recommend it to everyone, even though some will not love it as much as I do. Although honestly everyone should....more
I fell in love with the Fairy Tale Mystery series when I read the first installment, Snow White Red-Handed, and eagerly awaited the release of Cinderella Six Feet Under. Unlike anything else currently available in the ever expanding cozy mystery genre, this is a clever mix of historical mystery and fairy tale lore. I was not disappointed in Chase’s sophomore effort, and the series is now ranked among my favorites.
Fresh off of their adventure in Germany (see Snow White Red-Handed), unemployed actresses Ophelia Flax and Prue Bright arrive in Paris in hopes of reuniting Prue with her somewhat estranged mother Henrietta. Ophelia has barely enough money for return passage to New York with hopes of leaving the theater world behind and owning a farmstead…she just needs to deposit Prue first. Discouraged when they are turned away by Prue’s step-sister, they soon have bigger problems on their hands when Prue literally trips over a body in the mansion’s garden. As if finding a corpse is not shock enough, the deceased woman is dressed in a ball gown, missing a shoe, and lying among pumpkins. And she could be Prue’s doppelganger.
This discovery provides admittance to the house where they find Henrietta is missing. The police think that the dead girl is merely a prostitute killed by a local vagrant, and no one else seems to take her demise seriously, so sensible Ophelia takes it upon herself to investigate. Meanwhile in England, Professor Gabriel Penrose, Lord Harrington, reads of the death in the paper identifying the girl as Prue. Gabriel is taken aback by the news, perhaps even more so by the concern for Ophelia’s welfare that he feels, and leaves immediately for Paris. It is a fortunate coincidence that Gabriel recognizes the mansion’s address, quarters that once housed the real Cinderella and might lead to a relic relating to the tale.
Prue is initially kept under wraps in the mansion, learning the skills of housewifery, until a stranger knocks on the kitchen door and snatches her. Lord and Lady Cruthlach, collectors of fairy tale paraphernalia, promise to leave Prue alone if she will steal a book, the Fairy Godmother’s Spell Book, from the mansion. Of course, they desire much more than that, and Prue is kidnapped multiple times.
Once Ophelia and Gabriel meet up, the adventure begins in earnest, and the pair follows clues which take them all over Paris, from the L’Opera de Paris ballet to drawing rooms to less reputable bohemian areas of town to the prince’s ballroom. They meet many likely suspects including Prue’s step-father and step-sisters, the dressmaker, the costume mistress and dance master at the opera house, the prince whom all of the young ladies wish to snag, and the maker of all things mechanical. The pair find themselves in more than one harrowing situation, including being chased by a velocipede, attacked by animatrons, flying bullets, and near drowning. Perhaps most dangerous of all, the unlikely couple find it difficult to squelch their growing feelings for each other. As sometimes happens with budding affairs of the heart, they manage on mucking up the whole thing.
Ophelia and Gabriel are good foils to one another. Where Ophelia knows the tricks of a good disguise, Gabriel is proficient at picking locks. Ophelia’s common sense and scrappy nature can get them out of a bind just as well as Gabriel’s title and funds. Together they make an effective investigative team. Their lively banter and romantic tension keep them fresh and interesting.
The Paris setting is magical. I was transported to the City of Lights right along with them exploring the bowels of the L’Opera de Paris or strolling the rainy streets of the city. I sensed the draft of the dilapidated mansion and heard the scampering of little mice feet.
There are several mysteries at play, and I think Cinderella’s relic that tied them all together was intriguing. The idea that fairy tales are not mere folklore but history is captivating and Gabriel’s passion for them contagious. There are plenty of misdirection and possibilities to keep the reader guessing until the very end. Cinderella Six Feet Under was entertaining from the first word to the last, and I cannot wait to read Ms. Chance’s take on fairy tales in, hopefully, many more mysteries to come. Highly recommended....more
As the story begins, we are introduced to Kayla, a Blood pit warrior by the name of Shadow Panthe, whose goal is to win a every match she can in order to provide for her and her young brother, Corinth, who hasn’t been able to talk after the devastating attack to their home planet, Ordoch. What no one knows is that Shadow Panthe is, in fact, one of the last remaining members of the royal family in hiding.
“Shadow Panthe, in whose honor do you fight this eve?”
“I fight only for myself.”
Then we have agent Malkor, whose mission is to find a body double capable enough to win the Empress Game for his princess, Isonde, in order for her to gain a place in the Council of Seven, and in some way, free Kayla’s home planet. His best option, Shadow Panthe, an Ordochian. From this point on, Kayla embarks on a space adventure, not only to save Ordoch but to find the truth behind the people who killed her family.
The Empress Game is a thrilling story. As you read through every chapter, the book just keeps getting more and more interesting. I don’t think there was any part that had me taking a break from it. If there was the need to put the book down, it was probably to go back to my mundane life out of Wyrd space and the Empire.
The characters are unique in their own way. Kayla is our warrior princess ready to do anything for Corinth and their safety. Corinth is a kid whose character grows from shy to a great ally for Kayla. He demonstrates that he can fight, too. Malkor is another character that transforms throughout the story. We see him from following every IDC order to following his own will and heart. The octet is another set of characters that I just loved. They are the ones that I hope we get to learn more about in future books. Especially one or two.
All in all, the Empress Game is the book of the summer! I quote a fellow OBS reviewer, if I could give the book more than five stars, I would. Empress Game is the new space adventure science fiction fans should give a chance. It is written in a way that every event told catches the reader’s attention. It has action, fight scenes, space, empires, fierce warrior women, and more. And after that cliffhanger that author Rhonda Mason left us with, I can’t wait for the next book. Meanwhile I’ll wait in Wyrd space....more
As the book’s small description says, From a High Tower, has as the main plot the fairy tale of Rapunzel, but like all of the Elemental Masters stories, this story is more than the one you have seen in the kid’s movies. The beginning of the book starts more closely to the original tale, as Giselle (our Rapunzel) is attacked by the man that she lets into her tower; he is about to rape her but her mother arrives in time to save her and sends the man out the four floor tower window. Even though Giselle shows signs of becoming an Air Master in the future, her mother decides that she needs to know how to defend herself without the help of her magic or elementals, so she asks her friends of the Bruderschaft to train Giselle in the arts of hunting.
Years later, after the death of her mother, Giselle takes the persona of a young man to be able to enter shooting contests, and win some money to live by. But when her name doesn’t appear in the logs of the army, a captain learns the truth and tries to take advantage of her. In her fear and rage, she ends up killing the man and flees the scene leaving behind the persona. With the help of a local Earth Master she is able to escape and ends up in an American traveling show. A couple of Slyphs point her to the direction of the shooting act and she is able to impress them, getting a job until winter with the show. But the shadow of her past still haunts her, as they never found the body of the man that attacked her in tower.
I liked this story in the Elemental Masters series, and the characters were great to read. Giselle over the course of the story changes a lot and manages to help her friends of the show. I liked that a reader could relate to her because of her fondest for books, and gets to experience and meet American people that she only read in them.
This time, there is not the same amount of magic being used compared to the other books, but the magic shown is very interesting. We learn of more types of spells, charms, and even about the special properties of Giselle’s hair. I also liked the scene where they encounter magical creatures, good and evil.
For fans of the series, we are able to see Rosamund again. Rosa is a Hunt Masters and the main character from the previous book, Blood Red. We see her as an agent of the Bruderschaft and later she becomes friends with Giselle. She is able to help Giselle finish her magic studies and summon greater forces.
The only things that I would have liked to see was Giselle’s family in the background or just a mention of them by the author. Even though, some stories portrait the woman that takes the girl as evil; in this story, Giselle’s mother ends up saving her life.
If you are a fan of Mercedes Lackey’s work or the Elemental Masters series, I recommend you From a High Tower. In this story, a girl learns how harsh the world outside her comfort zone can be, that looks can hide evilness under them, and that her views are not always correct, but is willing to learn better....more
Get ready for the thrill of a vacation gone wrong. Steel yourselves for intrigue, suspense, and high action. Enjoy the ride through space because you’re extinct. That’s right. Earth has been destroyed and the what little remains of the human race is feared and shunned as bringers of war by their mutated offspring and alien races. The novella Class-M Exile by Raven Oak hurls you thousands of years into the future and hits you at the core of your being. It’s a fresh look at science fiction in a charming “hillbilly” fashion.
It was the dialogue between the characters that struck me first. A southern drawling Tresik , named Eerl, narrates in almost an ironic union of slow paced speech, with a high tension tale. When he stumbles across Mel, a human, and subsequently has to save her, it brings on delightful interplay in dialectal terms. While gritty, the interplay between Mel, who knows scraps of her history but speaks perfect “common,” and Eerl who knows of humans through studies in books, shines with a levity rarely graced by other authors.
The dialogue only packs a wallop as in this primarily plot driven book. Visiting no less than three worlds, with adventures on every one, Raven Oak brings a new flair to the novella format, making the length of the word count seem longer than it actually is; a testament to Oak’s skill at short fiction writing. The plot has as much intrigue, suspense and action befitting a much larger work. Although rather linear and reactive to start out with, the book surprises the reader with ingenious plot twists, and a remarkable ending. What would take other authors a book to tell, Oak manages to hit the word count of the novella with a resounding finish.
The main characters are surprisingly three-dimensional, each with their own nuances and quirks. The sideline characters dot the scenes and are memorable for the actions they perform, rather than the words they speak. Action and a hazardous adventure drive the races, species, and lifeforms that populate the book. The omnipresent abhorrence of humans and the “hickish” voice of Eerl, the narrator, keep the intensity high throughout the course of the tale, and gritty and down to earth at the same time.
The exotic underdrawings of the different worlds “visited,” add to the gritty effect. As Star Wars fans will recognize, never has there been a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. The worlds are still recovering from a galactic war and this plagues the vistas at every turn of the page. Earth has presumably been destroyed, humanity scarce, and most confined to slavery or left, on their own, in a prejudiced arena. The worlds reflect the action: the claustrophobic ship and busy tourist resort and an angry mob, a desert world with a library of 700 year old books, and a tranquil utopia with hidden secrets; all reflect the totality of the action surrounding them.
Class-M Exile is a fantastic read for readers of all genres, not just science fiction. Yes, it has starships, and alien species, but the manner in which it’s told will pull any discerning reader in. The events, as in any good speculative fiction, are a reflection of social mores we hold today, examined under new light. I’d highly recommend this novella to anyone; the twists and turns it takes will draw you in and wanting for more. It’s a treat. ...more
Vasily was taken into the Petrovich Bratva as a young boy and was forced into sexual servitude to Elena Petrovich. He later became a soldier with a reputation as their Volk, ruthless with the reputation of killing anyone, even his own sister. What most don’t know is that his sister is alive and well, his ‘killing’ of her was a rouse to protect her from the depravity that he was forced to live through. She’s been hidden away ever since and Vasily hasn’t seen her in ten years. But it’s the only way to keep her safe.
Vasily recently killed Elena’s brother, the head of the Bratva and Elena is next on his list, but he must wait as it would be too suspicious to kill them too close to one another. But now he’s ready to make his run at leading the Bratva, he just has to convince the elders. They set him on a task to find a painting that most believe is only a myth. Unfortunately he owes a debt to the head of another Bratva for helping with the ‘killing’ of his sister and the debt it being called in. He also wants the painting. If Vasily fails to retrieve it and hand it over, his sister will pay the price.
Naomi was kidnapped 18 months ago. She has Asperger’s and is a genius once you get past her quirks. She has chosen to help her kidnapper to save herself. She does what she loves best for him, hacking into the deep net and skims money into his accounts. But now her brother has mounted a rescue, only she is now in the hands of another assassin, Vasily. He wants her to find a painting for him, but wants her body as well. And strangely enough she’s not all that opposed to it … once she gets used to his germs (she hates germs!).
I found this story to be very hard to stick with in the beginning. Naomi was clinical by nature not feeling or understanding emotions. She only knows facts, and rattles them off at every chance she gets. Vasily was a Russian on a mission, talking in clipped harsh tones. Conversations and thoughts between the two were cold and stiff, making it hard to take them into your heart or even caring what happens between the two.
But I did stick with the story through to its completion. And as the story wore on, and things heated up between the two, the ice between the duo melted and they both learned what their hearts were really for! I really enjoyed watching Vasily learning Naomi’s quirks and actually caring enough to learn not to trigger her episodes. I loved their protectiveness of one another as well.
But the few scenes of Naomi talking to her brother had me laughing out loud with her oversharing and his reactions!
The edition I read, also had a bonus short story about Nikolai and Daisy at Christmas. It was a quick sweet story about their first Christmas. It was a nice little gift for the fans of the series.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy in exchange for an honest review*...more
Deeper Than Dreams is an epilogue novella that picks up the day after Louder Than Love end. When I obtained Deeper Than Dreams and found this out, I went and picked up Louder Than Love to read first. And am I glad that I did! Without the history of Adrian and Kat, this novella would not have been the same. So…if you have not read book one…I suggest you STOP and go read Louder Than Love first.
This novella picked exactly where the first book ended…the next morning. It was engaging in its naturalness…the reader was able to live a morning in their lives as a family…so mundane and everyday…possibly how life would be for this little family of three?
I LOVED the surprise Adrian bestowed upon Kat…and I will leave it at that for you to find out :)
One of the points I do like about this novella is that it does not feel like a novella to me. By this I mean that the story was robust enough with details that kept my interest and I was not left with any unanswered feelings or thoughts. The story came to its natural completion and as a reader; I was satisfied and not left for wanting more. Well…that is not entirely true….I would really like to read more of Ms. Topper’s writing. So I shall begin my read of Softer Than Steel (Love & Steel #2).
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
Aunt Dimity and The Summer King is a wonderful cozy mystery with nary a murder. The main character, Lori Shepherd, is just getting out and about after giving birth. She and husband Bill spent the first months of their later in life daughter Bess’ life at home caring for her and their young twin boys. Out for a stroll and a bit of exploration (with a look towards exercise), Lori and baby Bess investigate an old trail friend Emma found on a map. When Bess’ all terrain stroller loses a wheel, a wonderful and whimsical older gentleman appears on the wall surrounding an old home. Arthur Hargreaves is a mystery, one that Lori finds entertaining and intelligent. Therein lies the mystery. Who is this amazing man, why does no one in Finch speak of him and what is going on with the bizarre town feud between Finch and Tillcote.
Aunt Dimity and The Summer King is the 20th in Nancy Atherton’s series An Aunt Dimity Mystery series. It is a truly enjoyable and well written novel. The characters are entertaining and come to life in the word of Nancy Atherton. Descriptive prose and a wonderful story line drive this enchanting cozy. Ghost Aunt Dimity plays a minor part, but it the voice of reason. Small town English life at its best and worst are portrayed in this book. As Lori tries to find answers about her mystery man, she is also worried that 2 cottages in town have sat empty for so long. A third will be empty after the wedding of her father-in-law and his fiancee Amelia. Lori searches for answers and is in for a surprise if she gets them.
Along the way in Lori’s search she spends more time with Arthur and his grandchildren, learning more about them, the house and his forefathers. Her friends cannot believe she is spending time with the hermit and also town enemy. She looks forward to her time in his fascinating home. She even makes a fast getaway to the abbey from her husband’s harpy aunts’ disaster visit. Comments the nasty women spew get Lori thinking more about the empty cottages. Finding the answers is painful at first, but exposes a well-kept secret.
Aunt Dimity and The Summer King is a wonderful cozy that is not just well written, it is enchanting. Like watching a wonderful English mystery play out on paper. The words jump out to form a tantalizing sensory experience. The reader is taken through meadows, flower gardens, enchanting homes and every scene is superbly crafted to perfection. Even if you have not read all the books in this series, I have not, you can enjoy and immerse yourself in this cozy mystery.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*...more
Charlotte Holden is a pediatrician in Sugar, Georgia. She loves her job, she loves her patients and she love the Grow Clinic that she is creating. And at one time, she also loved Jace McGraw, the town bad boy. She loved him enough to marry him. When she sees Jace again, she knows that she has not moved on with her life and that she still has feelings for him. But she cannot afford to be distracted by him or anyone or anything else. She needs to focus all her energy, thoughts and actions on the Grow Clinic. She needs to obtain the necessary funding to open the clinic. She has worked too hard to open a place for all children to receive the medical care they need, whether they can afford it or not. Nothing can get in the way of seeing her dream come true.
Jace McGraw has returned to Sugar to tell Charlotte that they are still married. Both of them thought the marriage was annulled but they were both wrong. Now that Jace has seen Charlotte again, he realizes that he is not over her and he wants to be with her again. But he is just about to purchase the business he has always dreamed of owning, but it is in Atlanta. Long distance does not work well for relationships. He does not know how he is going to do it, but he vows to win back Charlotte and keep her as his wife. Now he just has to convince her that they are meant be.
The characters are well rounded, well developed and three dimensional. Charlotte is a hard working, kindhearted, loving woman. She would do whatever it took to help the children of Sugar. She has issues with her father, who tries to control the funding of the Grow Clinic. She loves with all her heart and that heart has been broken by Jace. Jace tries to do the right thing, even though he has the reputation of being a troublemaker from his earlier years. He would do anything for his grandmother, his family and Charlotte. The secondary characters play a big part in the story, and I like all of them. I would love to get to know them even better, hang out with them and call them my friends.
I really enjoyed the relationship between Charlotte and Jace. The bickering and banter between them was so realistic and I found it very funny. I could have read about their conversations and interactions all day long.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The author is very good at creating a southern small town feel. I felt like I was right there experiencing the traditions, the nosiness and the family loyalties first hand. I really enjoyed the fact that Jace’s family was more than willing to offer their advice, whether Jace wanted it or not. It was very refreshing reading about such family loyalty, love and concern.
I would recommend this book (and series) to anyone who enjoys a well written women’s contemporary. This book was a perfectly blended mixture of romance, friendship, second chances, humor and forgiveness. What more could you want when reading a book? I really hope that there will be another book in the series because I want to spend more time with the residents of Sugar, Georgia. Do yourself a favor and pick up all the books in the series, you will be very glad that you did....more
A Gilded Grave, the first book in Shelley Freydont’s new Newport Gilded Age Mystery series, is a delight. This well-crafted historical mystery transported me to the opulent world of the Gilded Age, and I cannot wait to return.
The year is 1895, and it is custom for the most eminent of the upper class to summer in Newport, Rhode Island. This is Deanna Randolph’s big year as she is being presented to society with hopes of making an acceptable, and profitable, marriage match. For most of her life it was expected that she would marry her father’s business partner’s son Joseph and combine the R & W Sugar Refineries families. However, Joseph caused a bit of scandal when he called things off with Deanna and announced that he would not return to New York but stay in Newport to work on his inventions for sugar refining. Though humiliated, if truth be told, Deanna really wishes she could capture a bit more time as a child, with the freedoms that childhood allows.
She is looking forward to the first ball of the season and meeting Lord David Manchester, a sugar plantation owner with whom R & W hopes to do business, but is horrified to find Joe in attendance. Things take a dire turn when one of the host’s maids is found crumpled and lifeless at the base of the cliffs during the ball. Did Daisy jump or fall? When it becomes apparent that she was pushed, Joe, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, becomes the prime suspect. As a member of the upper class, albeit a bit of a black sheep at present, the police surely will not place blame on Joe. The police soon set their sights on Daisy’s boyfriend, who also happens to be Joe’s assistant and Deanna’s ladies maid’s brother, Orrin. Deanna and Joe call a reluctant truce and set out to prove Orrin’s, and ultimately Joe’s, innocence.
Ms. Freydont does a great job of taking the reader on a journey through time to the late nineteenth century. Newport provides a lush backdrop with all the glitz and glamour that defined the excess of the Gilded Age. I was captivated by the descriptions of ball gowns, vast ballrooms and mansions, and the mores of the elite. There are also glimpses of the bleaker life of servants “below the stairs” that are equally interesting. Deanna’s unconventionally familiar relationship with her ladies’ maid Elspeth provides some of the most touching moments in the book, and I really like Deanna. Though suppressed by the trappings of what is proper and expected, she does not hesitate to do what she thinks is right and just, conventions be damned. She is wise beyond her year, vivacious, curious, and intelligent. Joe, though offered a bit more freedom as a man, is also confined by what is expected of him, and I love his devil-may-care attitude about it all. He is equally likable, and the interplay between the pair is charming.
There is a touch of romance included and the smart writing has a cozy feel to it, but A Gilded Grave is a true historical mystery. There are plenty of well-drawn characters from which to cull suspects, and Ms. Freydont kept me guessing throughout. The final plot twist, which I will not disclose here, came as a surprise yet resolved things nicely. This novel affords a fascinating look at the dark side of the upper class, and I look forward to future adventures with Deanna and Joe. Highly recommended....more
Fast forward to the future – the Second Civil War between the States is well underway. The Liberty Union Democracy (the North) clings to outmoded, ancient traditions, placing value on material worth rather than the human condition; Avantica (the South) provides for the people who are genetically engineered, from birth, to do tasks they are most suited for the productivity they provide the state. Thus begins the rollercoaster ride through a myriad of plot turns and twists and plenty of food for thought on the way things are headed in society today. As most fine speculative fiction, Avant Nation proffers a delightful spin on the world as we knew it, and from threads, weaves the extremes of both sides of these rather poignant topics.
The writing, deceptively simple, plays up the various themes and the overall story arc. The citizens of the L.U.D. are an extreme of capitalism and the horrors that merit brought on by material acquisition entail. Higher crime rates, increased poverty, a division between the haves and have-nots and increased violence because of this. By way of comparison, Avantica seems idyllic, except that its citizens are sterilized and “vat-grown” embryos are the norm, save that they are genetically engineered to be the perfect cogs in the machine that feed the state – however, since the entire population can be controlled, nobody really wants for anything – but everyone lives in fear of discovering they’re “defective” (i.e. not fit to carry out their duties). At no point in the story does the reader converge on one side or the other, as the blacks and whites portrayed are mired in shades of grey. The prose flows from chapter to chapter, trickling from the viewpoint of the lives of Avants from Avantica, to what a skillfully written plot, and gushing into high adrenaline pumping action adventure.
The main protagonist, Claire, is from the “Compassionate” class and it is through her compassion that the force propels the story. Although others appear in the novel, they aren’t as fully fleshed out as Claire. With Claire, the reader is given a sounding board and the people passing through her life serve as reflectors of her current state of mind. She is a fully fleshed out character that exudes compassion (as she’s supposed to) and a deep three dimensional understanding of how things work in the setting. Sadly the other members of the cast are two-dimensional in flavor and her Academy classmate Hawk (from the Rugged class), is the only other individual we get to know, somewhat well.
Overall, Avant Nation is a joy to read, right up to the climatic ending. Well executed in plot and setting and the theme of genetic engineering vs. rampant capitalism should earn this a spot on any Alternative History or Science Fiction fans shelf. Had there been a little bit more character development, this easily would have received 5 stars. However, the story itself is sound and should keep readers guessing until the very end. ...more
One sunny afternoon in Ottawa (spring 2015), I attended a literary event called “Prose in the Park” (http://www.proseinthepark.com/ ). It is there that I met Rebecca Diem – author. We got to talking and from that point in time; I knew I had to read her books. I could sense Rebecca’s joy and love for her craft and while I have not previously read this genre, I wanted to give steampunk fantasy a try.
I am totally delighted to say that my first voyage into this genre has been enjoyable. Thank you, Rebecca Diem, for penning such a captivating story. From the beginning I was drawn into Clara’s world through your use of words, which definitely brought the story to life. I loved Clara’s quick wit, ingenuity and her daring. And the spark between Clara and Captain Duke…I can’t wait to see where that might lead…
I quite enjoyed getting to know some of the other characters in the book as well…Cat and Mouse! What interesting children. I loved how they took Clara under their wing and trained her on the art of the ropes (and such glee Clara got from this training…). And the first mate, Nessa – her character, I am hoping, has much more depth than we have seen to date. She is intriguing and I can’t wait to see how her character develops as the series continues.
My one disappointment is that the book ended WAY too quickly. I was immersed in my reading and before you know it….the story has ended! L As luck would have it though – I had purchased the second book (From Haven to Hell) at the same time as the first…so I have it on hand and will continue the saga momentarily. Whew…. Again, congratulations on a fine first book and please continue to write as your stories are too good to keep to yourself!...more
What do you call a cat lady that charges for helping you with your cats? A cat behaviorist. But when Edie first hears Magnus talk, he calls her a crazy cat lady. From there on, they don’t start on the right foot. At the dinner party, Edie with her sharp tongue, doesn’t let any men redeem themselves, most of all, because she cannot understand how guests of her best friend can talk like that in somebody else’s home.
Content that she won’t be seeing Magnus, and any of those men until the masquerade party and the wedding, Edie tries her best to put the incident behind. But her sister and Magnus’ brother have other plans. Levi, Magnus brother, believes that he has found the love of his life, again, and insists Magnus to date Edie, so her sister Bianca can date Levi secretly. Magnus needs his brother to get his new love out of his head so he can work on their next project, and accepts to help them. The only complication is that the more time he spends with Edie, the harder it is for him to deny his feelings for her.
First of all, I liked that the story was different. Yes, there was the plot of opposite people falling in love, and betrayal, but I can say that the characters surprised me. I found Edie quite unique and Magnus very charming when he sets his mind to woe Edie.
The cats, what can I say about the cats? Just that the need to want one has increased. Because of Edie’s profession, in the story there are a lot of cats, owned by her and by other people. Also, all the cats have funny names. The end of the book was very cute, bringing a trend from Japan to the United States, *spoilers* a cat cafe.
In this book, we meet Edie and Magnus because they are friends of Hunter and Gretchen (Beauty and Billionaire). Edie was the one that gave Gretchen her cat, and Magnus is a client of Hunter’s. We see both Hunter and Gretchen throughout the story and a glimpse of their life preparing for the wedding.
The book had a lot of funny lines and scenes throughout the story, my favorite ones were the ones regarding how the characters treated Bianca, most of all Gretchen,
“Except for you, Bianca. You’re not invited unless we need another usher or some s**t” This book was full with surprises. Magnus’ line of work was one of them. He and his brother are game developers, and when the author describes an app game, she describes a lot of games that are out there regarding war and strategy. I wonder if Jessica Clare played these games. I do, and I was pleased that she adds them in her story.
Being a story of Billionaires and Bridesmaids, the story has its hot scenes involving Edie and Magnus in compromising places. For fans of her books and this series, I think you would be pleased with these scenes.
If you’re a fan of Jessica Clare or her Billionaires and Bridesmaids or Billionaire Boys Club series, then I recommend you read The Taming of the Billionaire. In this story, two people learned to trust that their own strength and that being family doesn’t mean that they can step on you; there are love scenes and most of all, cats.
Dougal Lachlan is a true crime writer. He has never met a mystery that he did not want to solve. So when he receives an anonymous email telling him about unsolved murders that happened thirty years ago, he is definitely intrigued. When he does some investigating he finds that he needs to pay a visit to Twisted Cedars to follow some leads. He grew up in Twisted Cedars, in a trailer park, and he has not been back for a very long time. Not even for his mother’s funeral. He knows that his sister’s wedding is coming up soon, and he can spend time there trying to talk his sister, Jamie, out of the marriage. He does not like the man she is marrying, even though they used to be friends. He does not trust him and he knows that he is a cheater. But his sister is not very likely to listen to him, she is upset because he never came back for his mother’s burial.
Charlotte Hammond is a librarian for the Twisted Cedars library. She lives a quiet life which is very predictable and calm. But when Dougal shows up at the library, asking for information about the deaths that had occurred years ago, that quiet life abruptly disappears. She remembers Dougal from when she was younger and she finds him fascinating. He was friends with her sister, Daisy, who disappeared after giving birth to twins. She gets excited at the idea of helping him with his research and getting to spend time with him.
The characters are well developed, well rounded and three dimensional. The characters all have flaws and imperfections which make them seem even more realistic to me. Many of the characters have past history and their relationships are finely woven together. Family relationships are strained and there is a lot of guilt and regret felt by many of the characters. Some of those cannot be changed and fixed, such as Dougal never saying goodbye to his mother. Some can be fixed but it will not be an easy to do that.
Dougal has a lot of regret that he has to live with and after returning to Twisted Cedars, he realizes just how much he has done wrong in his life. He wants to try and make things right, where he can, but he does not know how to do that. Charlotte has regrets concerning her sister and wishes that she knew where she was so she could try to mend their relationship. She does not know where Daisy is or how she is doing. She feels confident that Daisy is alive somewhere because there are withdrawals from their joint bank account, but she does not know anything for sure. What she would not give to see Daisy again and tell her she loves her.
The mystery is carried on well throughout the book and the author is very talented in creating suspense with the written word. There are twists and turns and I kept second guessing myself with the answer to “Who did it?”. I will say that I was a little disappointed in the ending. When I finished the book, I still had questions with no answers. I do not feel like the book had a true conclusion and that bothers me. The next books in the series may address these questions and give me the answers I am missing now, but that is what I want when I finish a book. This is only my opinion and it may not bother other readers.
I enjoyed the characters and I enjoyed the fact that there was romance as well as mystery in this book. The thing I liked the most about the book was the plot, the fact that the murdered were librarians and that the killings took place in the library. I thought this was very clever and what better place for all that to happen but in a library, where there are thousands of mystery books.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well written mystery suspense. This is the first book I have read by this author but I will getting the other books in the series to read. Hopefully, I will get my questions answered...more
Avi Grant has returned home for her one month long furlough from Afghanistan. She is there to visit her parents and to rest and relax before she starts her new assignment, stateside. She also plans to pay her respects to her commanding officer’s wife, Patricia. Both her commander, George, and his wife have been like second parents to her and she loves them both and greatly mourns the loss of George from her life. She knows it will be painful to see his wife but she also hopes it will be healing for them both. On her first visit to see Patricia, Avi meets her son, Ben.
Ben is struggling with the fact that his mother left her family and started a whole new life with George. It was only after his death that Ben reconnected with Patricia but it is a relationship that is very strained, to say the least. When he meets Avi and sees the love she has for both his mother and George, he is surprised and curious about the relationship between them and Avi. He begins to see George in a different light, and although the hurt of his mother’s abandonment is still there, he feels now he is beginning to understand the deep love that they had for each other.
Avi and Ben feel an instant connection with each other. Avi is hoping to find the person that she is meant to be with and she longs for a lifelong love, family and children. The more time she spends with Ben, the more she thinks he could be the one. But she knows that Ben has strong ties to Tulsa and he would never move away from his sisters and his job as a surgeon. Ben realizes what has been missing from his life, someone to share special occasions with as well as daily triumphs and sorrows. He thinks that Avi is special and that she makes his life much fuller and richer. But he knows that Avi still has eight years left before she can retire from the military and she will only be in Tulsa for a month. He knows that he will never abandon his sisters like his mother did so long ago. Neither are willing to change their life and follow the other and there is no compromise that can be reached. So their relationship is doomed to be only one month.
I fell in love with these characters, the story line and the entire book. The characters are well rounded, realistic and three dimensional. I feel like they are people I really know and care about rather than characters in a book. Avi and Ben have both been hurt in the past and the hurt is hard to let go of. Avi has lost so many of the people that she has loved, both family and fellow soldiers and she will not be able to handle losing someone else she cares about. Ben has never totally forgiven his mother for walking out on her family. He still blames her for his father’s death, feeling like he died with a broken heart. Although his sisters have reconciled and formed a new relationship with Patricia, Ben just cannot seem to let his guard down and forgive her. The supporting characters are also well developed and an important part of the story. They are a close knit community of military wives who have all lost so much. But they stand behind each other and support each other unconditionally. The characters are all very easy to like and you cannot help but to care what happens to them.
The writing style flows smoothly and it is a very well written book. The story is an emotional story of love, forgiveness and second chances. It’s a story of forgiving others as well as having the courage to follow your dream. It is a story of remembering those you have lost but not allowing those losses to control your life. The characters and the story line are heart wrenching and heartwarming at the same time. I do not think this an easy thing to do as an author but Marilyn Pappano does an excellent job of blending the two together. Although this is the fourth book in the series, I feel it can be read as a stand alone. The author gave enough of a back story on the characters that I knew who was who and what was going on but not so much as to become repetitive.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading well written women’s fiction. If I could I would give this book more than five stars, that is how much I enjoyed it. I have also read the third book in the series and I am looking forward to reading the first two books. I want to spend more time with all of the characters and learn more about each of their stories. I am definitely a fan of Marilyn Pappano and I think you will be too.
*OBS would like to thank NetGalley for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
Right from the get go, I was laughing and engaged with Double Mint! A hilariously funny cozy mystery ☺ Seriously though, could Gretchen Archer’s writing grab me any better? I think not! One of my new favorite authors! Starting this series at book 4 was not a problem…enough back story was told so that I caught up quickly enough with who the main characters were. The sense of humor really (I mean REALLY) grabbed me – as can be seen by the bit of dialogue from Davis:
“I’ve slept with animals before (I was married to the same ape twice before Bradley, a long story I don’t want to tell)…”
The players: Davis Way Cole is a redhead, a newlywed, and the lead investigator on an undercover team (with partners Fantasy Erb and Baylor, just Baylor – like Batman) for the Bellissimo Resort and Casine in Biloxi, Mississippi. Davis is married to Bradley Cole – the casino’s general manager.
Davis describing a specific piece of equipment from her Super Secret Spy bag – brought a chuckle to this reader with respect to where she picked up this handy tool…:
“…my Quik-Piks, a set of universal bump keys. The only doors I can’t get in with my Quik-Piks are cockpit, White House, and my mother’s. (She’s onto me.) Where did I get this amazing tool? Amazon”
And the secret of the cat (who’s cat is it anyways ???) continued on until the end…loved it! Throughout the crime solving antics of Davis and her team, I was entertained by her sheer tenacity. She had an idea and would not let it go. The lengths she went to prove (whether rightly or not) her theories were entertaining. There were plenty of twists and turns which kept me guessing until the end.
The plot includes platinum, counter-fitting, bank robbers, organ transplants and that darned refrigerator. Luckily, this will all be revealed when you read this hilarious cozy mystery! I loved Gretchen Archer’s fast-paced storytelling. She injected plenty of witty humor along with an intriguing mystery. I am sure to go back to book one and start the series from scratch!
*OBS would like to thank NetGalley for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
I found this book to be quite the pleasant surprise. I started the series at book two, Come to Me Softly, when we saw Aly and Jared trying to work through their many issues. I found the characters to be pretty immature. I did not think I would continue the series, figuring it was going to be more of the same. But I saw this book was going to be about another couple so I decided to give it a chance, and I’m glad I did! I didn’t even make the connection that this book was about Aly’s brother, Christopher, until I sat down to read it. I have to say that I found this couple much more entertaining!
Samantha Schultz was in love once, when she was in high school, to a beautiful boy named Christopher Moore. But Samantha was the daughter of a pastor and was forbidden to even have a boyfriend. But Christopher would come to her window at night and sneak her away. That is until one night when her parents discovered she was gone. Then they did everything in their power to rip the couple apart, they even went as far as to move across town and enroll her in a different school. The couple was crushed, but tried to hold on to hope that their love would survive.
“You see … there’s this girl who’s on my mind every second of every day, and she drives me kind of crazy because I don’t really understand the hold she has on me. But she has me in a way no one else ever has and more than anyone else ever will. And this girl … she needed me, and I didn’t think twice about that jump, because getting in deep with her is the only place I ever want to be.” And honestly if a guy in high school said that to me, I’d be head over heels too!
But it all came crashing down when Christopher pushed too hard one night, Samantha ended it and he lost all hope. And, then she walked in on the worst betrayal imaginable, one that ripped the two apart for good … or did it?
Seven years later Samantha is living with the boy that picked up her broken pieces and took care of her, but of course he’s all grown up now! But Samantha has never truly gotten over Christopher. She cares for Ben, but she knows it’s not like the love she had with Christopher. In fact, she didn’t even want to move in with him, but was a bit manipulated by Ben.
While at the store one day, Samantha runs into Christopher’s sister, Aly, and she agrees to meet with her for coffee sometime, even though she knows it’s a mistake, it turns out they live in the same neighborhood! She and Aly become quick friends, which puts her right in Christopher’s path, and he makes no qualms about the disgust he feels for her … if only it was the truth.
Once the duo puts away some of the pain they have inflicted on each other they are able to be friends, but the more time Samantha spends with Christopher, the more distant she becomes with Ben. How can she keep the charade going? She soon must decide which fork in the road to follow.
I really can’t believe how much I enjoyed this book. It was a complete night and day difference from the previous one in the series. I didn’t want to put it down and was cursing things like work that kept getting in the way of my reading!! The book is longer than it looks, but was so worth the read.
It was nice getting to see Jared and Aly again, a much happier couple, then they were before. It was also great getting to know their baby girl. I loved how she had Christopher and Jared wrapped around her little finger!
But I loved Christopher, even if he did have a darker side. But it was a dark side that Samantha has all the power to erase with her light! He was very swoon-worthy overall, and I loved his devotion to fight for what has always been his.
“You’re my world, Samantha. Everything I do, from now until the end of time, I’m going to be doing for you.” Samantha was a decent character in her own right. She had definitely been through a lot, although was a bit too gullible at times where Ben was concerned. I was glad to see her finally take charge of her own life.
Speaking of Ben, what a jerk! He made the perfect villain in this story though. Acting more of a father figure than a lover, and he definitely didn’t treat Samantha as an equal partner. He was so manipulative and controlling, a prime example of a toxic relationship.
I also loved Samantha’s brother, Stewart! Broke my heart that boy did! But I could not have loved him more. And I loved how much Christopher cared for him to and that he truly got what Stewart meant to Samantha.
Everything was tied up in a nice neat bow at the end of this story, so I don’t expect to see another installment about Christopher and Samantha, but hopefully we do get to see more of them.
This was a great love story and a tear jerker to. You could easily skip the previous two installments and dive right into this one! And, I hope you do! This was a beautiful second chance romance that draws you in early on and doesn’t let go.
“Never stop believing in magic.” *OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review* ...more
This story is fresh and delightful and would appeal to anyone looking for a good light romance. Jeannie Moon again has developed her characters so that the reader becomes immersed in their stories. I for one liked how she took the characters from her previous book the Second Chance Hero and intertwined the plots. Both books can stand alone but it was really nice if you had read the other book to blend and recall the characters from both. I know I loved this aspect and although it had been some time since I read the Second Chance Hero the story and characters came back to me immediately.
Jenna comes with a past that caused her to mistrust rich powerful men. Nate seems to be different but can she trust him or herself to make sound decisions. Her family thwarts her at every turn and even friends question their decisions. When she looks at her old boyfriend prerequisites Nate meets every point but when her past comes back to haunt her she does not know if love will sustain all.
Nate is a billionaire who has never found anyone like Jenna. Determined to make her his, Nate knows that he will have to gain her trust and make her realize that he wants the simple things out of life in spite of his money. He will protect their love at all costs even if it means he must assert himself to make a decision that will change everyone’s lives.
I loved the family dynamics of Jenna’s large Italian family and it provided much comic relief. This was really evident when Nate and Jenna’s father confront each other. The whole book was well written and had me not wanting to put it down until it was finished. I look forward to more books by Jeannie Moon. ...more
From the beginning I felt that the book was kind of frivolous and hard to get into. The back and forth with the chapters did not work so well in the electronic format for me this time. AND…The actual conflict is not spelled out until about 40% through the book….so I was confused for the beginning portion. The present / past and not so recent past continuum was confusing. Luckily for this reader, once I was past this …the book and my enjoyment level increased exponentially….whew….so I persevered and quite enjoyed the book in the end.
I enjoyed the interactions between Jackie and Kitty – Whitney University, Central Illinois October 1994 – when the girls were getting ready for rush. The story about the blue pantyhose (when Jackie dressed as a smurfette for Halloween) and how it is affecting Jackie’s ability to be comfortable wearing nylons now is priceless.
“I can’t put my finger on how or why, but I feel like this exchange has somehow brought up to a new level in our relationship, and that makes me so happy. Despite how we differ, Jackie’s awesome and I want us to be friends forever. And very soon, sorority sisters.” ‘Nairgate’ did have me chuckling. And the chocolate fountain incident had me in stitches. The ensuing antics to get back at each other was quite humorous, until Jackie went too far (sleeping with Kitty’s boyfriend. That is when the friendship developed the big divide.
Nana Baba is wise “All’s I’m saying is sometimes you have to forgive your enemies.” Is it so true that nana’s always give sage advice!
When Kitty and Jackie start working together to solve the mystery of Trip’s death I really liked how they interacted. “Our tentative truce holds while we compare notes and form our plan of attack.” Slowly they were able to realize their friendship was precious and get back to what they were about as friends all those years ago. While the mystery was somewhat predictable, there were a few moments that were a surprise. While this read got off to a rocky start for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the story once I reached the half way mark. The humor in the book was what saved it for me.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review* ...more
Again, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book and Megan Erickson didn’t disappoint. I loved the characters of Colin and Riley, and through descriptive character development and the complexity of the characters, Erickson reeled the reader in. Once I started I just couldn’t put the book down; the story flowed easily. The connection to Trust the Focus was appreciated if you had read it however it was not necessary if you hadn’t; this book stands alone on its own merit.
Riley is a disturbed young man who accepts a ride with Colin hoping to find a purpose for himself along the way. I found it interesting how Megan Erickson worked the story around the issue of male anorexia and depression. Detours don’t provide the answers he is looking for and he finds himself attracted to Colin physically and emotionally .As their relationship strengthens, Riley realizes that he has fallen in love with Colin. Riley is forced to face the demons that have been haunting him for years. This causes him to wonder if he ever will be well enough to accept help and venture into the relationship with Colin the way he knows he wants to.
Colin is returning home having failed in life again this time with college. Stopping at a gas station, he offers a ride to the sexiest guy he has ever seen. When they both admit to being gay, a physical relationship embarks having both men realizing that they have something special. As the detours continue Colin sees darkness in Riley and knows that for the relationship to survive he must get him help. He just can’t fail again especially when the stakes are so high. He continues to tell Riley during his darkest time to focus on him; but will Riley want him once he is well?
As a fast moving story I found myself totally immersed in the characters and their trip. I love the way the author lets each character find out their own strengths and rid themselves of past doubts. She also keeps Riley’s character and illness believable and as Riley admits he would always have to take medication and be followed for his ups and downs. This leads the reader to realize that the relationship would have highs and lows in spite of the love the two felt for each other. I would highly recommend this story, and will look forward to other stories by Megan Erickson.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
With the exception of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, and Joseph Haldeman’s Forever War, never have I read an up and coming author like Bennett R. Coles, literally topple and overcome his predecessors in the genre of military soft science fiction, in his book Virtues of War. The Jolting hi-tension action, and edge of your seat suspense, in this hard hitting, action filled, novel, leaves you wanting for more. Luckily this is the first book in a new trilogy, so at least, lovers of this genre will be tempted (and you will be) to pick up more (and perhaps, his last two novels). A military veteran himself, Coles breezes you through the more complicated of military protocol and produces a work that is accessible to all audiences. The science, as in any good speculative fiction novel, accentuates, not dominates the core of the book.
The writing whips by you at the speed of a bullet; you’re hardly standing in the same spot for very long and then the end of the chapter hits you. Coles in a deft manner pulls you and literally begs you to continue; it was a work that was hard to put down. Pushing you through the story, and throwing plot crisis after plot crisis at you, leaves you jittery, and full of emotion when the novel concludes. Crisp sharp words punctuate the novel and never, outside of Robert Ludlum, have I been exposed to such tight word economy with concentration on the unfolding of the explosive narrative. Skillful prose whips by you as you frantically try to finish the book. The pacing is haphazardly fun and reckless. Like a hydra chopping off one head to have two others grow, the reader is split in three convergent paths through the novel. This never once caused anything but momentum buildup, and in the writing alone this merits strong attention.
The plot is pure military genius, and readers of the late Tom Clancy, will greatly appreciate Bennett’s military background shining through on what he knows best. Combining the tales of a Fast Attack Craft (FAC) crew, and the seeds of an interstellar war, everything has its place in Virtues of War, and is self-contained so it can be read on its own. The frenetic pacing between FAC assault, combined forces operations and capital attack craft assault, leaves you dizzy but wanting more. Plotting is as tight as a drill formation and following the three converging paths to the stunning conclusion is handled with the ease and confidence of a science fiction veteran.
Where would a fast-paced thriller be without its characters? Virtues of War renders even the most minor of background characters their own voice, utilizing the military command chain of command to limit, in a sense, their overall importance to this story. Apparent by how much they appear. Initially, limited to the crew and soldiers of a FAC, but later buildups to the movers and shakers of the fate the Terran system itself, no character of importance is left hanging in the air. Every one of them is carved out perfectly via dialogue and action. The nucleus of the trio of protagonists, shine especially bright in each regard, bringing to from the highs and lows of human emotion and leaves the reader hanging off every word.
I’d highly recommend this book to everyone, not just readers of military science fiction, such as Heinlein and Haldeman, or military fiction like that in Clancy or Ludlum. Virtues of War, By Bennett R. Coles will stand the rigors of timelessness, and in that regard, warrants a five out of five star review. ...more
Walking Shadow is a cozy crime short. Edith Elliot overhears a conversation (between James and his wife Louise Carey) while having tea and toast and her sleuthing skills come alive and she feels like she must become involved. James insists that his mother, Patricia Grayson, would not have committed suicide, even though she had left a note. He feels this is totally out of character and Louise is insisting that the note clinches the suicide theory.
“Edith placed the teapot down and stirredc her tea. ‘I don’t think it sounds crazy at all,’ she said aloud, as she took a sip from the delicate china teacup. Edit heard a chair scrape across the floor behind her. She turned and found herself looking at the man who she now knew to be James.” Let the sleuthing begin!
Edith does have a background with respect to law enforcement as before retirement, Edith was a secretary for the local police department. While the road to the truth is not straight, it was entertaining. As the story progresses, we find that Patricia is not all that she seems. According to James, Patricia is much too selfish to even have left a suicide note…so with this information….Edith trots off and investigates. There is definitely NOT a shortage of suspects as Patricia had several ex-husbands and lovers….and she was so ego centric that other people’s feelings were never within her consideration.
I quite enjoyed Edith’s interactions with the local constabulary. And a bit of humor was thrown in which added to the enjoyment of this cozy. This was an easy read (even with the grammatical errors; which drive me nuts). The flow was easy and kept my interest throughout this British cozy mystery.
*OBS would like to thank NetGalley for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
Hayden was born into a life of privilege. To some it may seem a wonderful existence. But to her she feels caged, never able to make her own choices about her life, and having a mother that wants nothing more than for her to marry one of their rich friend’s sons, a life of being a piece of arm candy. That’s not what Hayden wants. She has dreams and ambitions, but her parents just don’t see it.
Now that they know the lost Lockwood brother is still alive, Hayden rushes ahead of her brother to find him and bring him home. Maybe then people will take notice of her and she can start to live the life she’s only dreamed of, one of her own choosing.
Hayden travels to Colorado and to the rodeo where Fenn is bull riding, but the unthinkable happens as he’s thrown from the meanest bull there. Hayden sees Tabasco heading for injured Fenn and does the only thing she can think of … take off her shoes, scale the gate and draw Tabasco’s attention away from Fenn, risking her own life in the process.
Fenn can’t believe that girl’s stupidity risking herself to save him. He’s the man, he should be the protector and hero, it’s enough to make him want to take her over his knee and paddle her good and well. But you don’t see girls like her around these parts and he doesn’t expect he will ever see her again, so imagine his surprise when she shows up at his trailer door! And to top it off she’s spouting nonsense about him having a twin on Long Island that’s looking for him and that they’re both in danger. But the more he is around Hayden and hearing her telling him about his supposed brother, the more flashes he gets from an alternate reality, until he realizes they’re actually forgotten memories. Is he really the lost Lockwood? And how can he protect Hayden and his family at the Broken Spur ranch from this new threat that will not give up until he and his brother breathe their last breaths?
I liked Fenn. He was a good ol’ boy, and exactly what you’d expect from a handsome cowboy, always looking out for others, always there to lend a helping hand when need be. But he’s a rough and tumble kind of guy too, never backing down from a fight (especially when want-to-be rodeo stars start talking smack!).
Hayden is no wallflower either. She gives as good as she gets and from the moment she lays her eyes on Fenn she wants him to possess her body and soul! Something he is more than willing to do. In fact I thought that first scene showing his dominant side in his truck was pretty unrealistic … that he’d take a complete stranger, a grown adult, over his lap like that… But when compared to his brother, he really wasn’t all that dominant, not nearly as much as I thought he would be based on the synopsis of this book. This book was BDSM lite, if you don’t want to read this book because of the BDSM aspect, you really shouldn’t let it stop you, as there really isn’t that much of it in this book, a little light bondage and a few spankings, but nothing all that intense.
The main focus in this story really was on the threat to Fenn’s (and anyone with him)’s life.
The secondary characters were good in this story as well. I loved the family that Fenn created with Callie and Jim and fully expect to see more of them as we approach Wes’s love story. Although the main threat to the Lockwoods seems to be over, so I’m curious what kind of storyline we can expect do see besides the sex of course.
This was a decent read and I’m curious to see what happens next in the series....more
Andre has been a mysterious, ghostly, character throughout the Dark Series books. He made small appearances in some of my favorite titles. And now, we get to finally know more about him and his lifemate!
Every book in the Dark Series is linked to the other. I would like to say that each one can be a stand-alone story, but then the reader would missing out on important details of the saga. So Dark Ghost feels that way. This book opens the door for what would be another trilogy within the saga, or even more books to come. I’m talking about you triplets. And the one that has already been confirmed, Gary!
This time around author Christine Feehan takes her readers even higher up into the Carpathian Mountains, so high ghostly figures live there. This is where Teagan, in search for a way to help her grandmother, meets Andre. What I always like about these stories are the flashbacks that we get from the Carpathian males. We get to see more into their pasts and the struggles they go to find the right one for them.
Andre’s past is a tragic one as well. We get to know why he is called Ghost and the monastery, which introduces us to even more characters in the never ending Carpathian population in the world of Feehan. Exciting! I would have liked for them to explore the monastery more, shows us more of its secrets, and describe it further.
All in all, Dark Ghost is a good introduction for what is to come in the next books in the Dark series. There is still several lose ends within Christine Feehan’s Carpathian world, which hopefully will be solved with more books....more
Vivian Westfield has returned to Christmas, Colorado to attend a wedding. She has just gotten demoted from her newspaper job and is now the writer of an advice column. To say that she is upset about this would be an understatement. Adding to her problems is the fact that she knows when she returns to Christmas, her best friends will do whatever it takes to get her to move there. And that is so not happening. She also knows that she will see Chance McBride again and this is a bigger problem. She fell in love with him once after being with him for only a short period of time, and then he left her without a backwards glance. It has taken her a long time to get over him, and she is afraid that she really is not.
Chance McBride is also returning home to Christmas for the same wedding. He has not been back for a long time, because he cannot bear the memories. Everything in the town reminds him of all that he has lost, his wife and unborn child. He blames himself for their deaths because of a case he was working on and the guilt is overwhelming. Chance knows that he will see Vivian at the wedding and this scares him. She is the first woman since he lost his wife that has made him feel alive again and wondering if he can have another chance at love. And this scares him more than he is willing to admit.
When Vivi and Chance meet again (on the plane) the sparks are still there. But so are the feelings of distrust, betrayal and frustration. Vivi has not forgiven Chance for walking away from her and breaking her heart. Chance is not happy to see that she still has the ability to make him want more out of his life. Neither knows how they will survive the time they are together for the wedding.
The author is very talented in creating characters that are relatable, likable and lovable. Vivi wants to present to the world the image of a tough, no nonsense kick-butt reporter who can take care of herself. She is all those things, but the reality is that there is definitely a softer more vulnerable side to Vivi. She is loving and caring and loyal. She also has her fears, such as flying and animals (especially Chance’s little dog, Princess/Cujo) and never finding love. Chance is protective of those he loves and a loyal friend. He will do whatever needs to be done to take care of those he loves. But he can be stubborn and controlling (if it means protecting Vivi) and he carries so much guilt that it almost suffocates him. It was heartwarming reading about their relationship and watching it grow.
This book has it all. There is suspense and mystery, humor (the bickering between Chance and Vivi and the interaction between Vivi and Princess had me laughing out loud) and the hope of a second chance at love. I could have read about the interactions between them all day long. The supporting cast of characters were also well rounded and realistic and added a lot to the story. I really enjoyed reading all of the interactions between family and friends. Aunt Nell is quite a character and keeps everyone on their toes.
The writing style flows easily and the book is an easy, enjoyable read. The romance is sweet and heartwarming and you can tell how much Chance and Vivi love each other. It is a clean read when it comes to the romance, not steamy but heartfelt. The mystery is carried on throughout much of the book and there were enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. I just kept wanting to read the next chapter to see what was going to happen. I found myself totally immersed in the romance, the mystery, the characters and the drama.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading a well written romance that offers so much more. I would give this book more than five stars if I could, that’s how much I loved this book. Do yourself a favor a pick up a copy and find out for yourself.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
Revenge of the Chili Queens is the third in author Kylie Logan’s Chili Cook-Off Mystery series. I have seen other reviewers that did not read the first two say that this one can stand alone. I have to say for me, there were times I was lost in the woods. That did not diminish the overall effect of this fast paced mystery, but did make the reading a bit slower for me to start off. That really is my only complaint and I think I am in the minority in even that. So in other words, this is a wonderful, fast paced, intriguing cozy that packs a punch.
Maxi Pierce and her half-sister Sylvia are in San Antonio,Texas to celebrate the city’s famous Chili Queens. Their legends are long and well known. The pair are busy not only selling their wares but also helping out with several fundraisers going on. This pair could not be more opposite and that brings a wonderful sense of push and shove, give and take among them. A well written and enjoyable quirky pair for sure. They are also still looking for their missing father and that is a wonderful side mystery and conclusion as well. There is a murder in the first part of this read that leads to intrigue, mystery and fast paced action. Lots of surprises and twists and turns kept me wanting to get to the bottom of things myself.
This series has wonderful characters that are well developed (even when I was lost in the woods), great back stories (that took me a while to figure out because of my own stupidity), great local color and characters added in the mix and you have one heck of a cozy. Such an interesting premise that the main characters actually travel around. Makes dead bodies popping up all the time a bit more normal if there is such a thing. And honestly is there anyone that doesn’t love chili and all those yummy spices. With some characters that also travel with the sisters, it seems to keep continuity. The little world surrounding them is enjoyable and entertaining.
Revenge of the Chili Queens is a spicy and tasty cozy that heats up more than the chilies Maxie uses to spice up her chili. I am definitely going to read the first 2 in this series to get a better understanding of these characters. Although I had a stuttered start, I think most people can enjoy this read as a stand-alone. Kylie Logan’s writing style is thoroughly enjoyable and I cannot wait to read the first 2 and any that follow in this series. I also cannot wait to try the chili recipe included although I may have my sister-in-law make it for me. Great writing, colorful flair, wonderful characters all make for a great cozy read.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*...more