Soul Scorched Dark Kings, Book #6 By Donna Grant ISBN# 9781250071934 Author’s Website: http://www.donnagrant.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Warrick has watched several of his Dragon King brothers find love, and although he’s happy for them, he has no desire to ever find a mate of his own.
Things are heating up with Ulrik and the Dark. The Druid that unbound some of Ulrik’s magic has finally been found and Warrick and Thorn are sent to keep an eye on her. Warrick being one that doesn’t like to interact with people much prefers to watch her from afar, but when she is nearly taken by the Dark he has to step in and make his presence known.
However, it soon becomes apparent that the Dark aren’t going to give up until they get their hands on Darcy and it’s up to Warrick and Thorn to get her to safety, even if it means trusting an unlikely source to do it!
This was a pretty mediocre read for me. I found the main characters to be pretty unremarkable. Darcy was especially boring! With that said, it was hard to care what happened to them because I just couldn’t get into them or their relationship. And honestly I thought these two would be burning up the sheets (and other things) with the title Soul Scorched…. But not so much … more disappointment.
And, right when I think Ulrik could be turned to help, he has to go and ruin it for me! Don’t worry, I still think he has the potential to come around, but it will take a lot of doing or possibly the love of a good woman. But that would take a lot considering the betrayal that started all of this. But I have to say his scenes were by far the most interesting in this book.
Touch the Dark Cassandra Palmer, Book #1 By Karen Chance ISBN# 9780451460936 Author’s Website: http://karenchance.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Cassandra Palmer has been living on the run. She’s a clairvoyant that can see the future (and sometimes the past) and can communicate with spirits. She grew up in mafia style vampire, Tony’s, home after he had her parents killed. She’s escaped a couple of times and is hiding out from him now. That is until she gets a warning of sorts on her work computer, her obituary shows up as her computer’s wallpaper. And it lists that evening as her time of death.
“I knew I was in trouble as soon as I saw the obituary. The fact that it had my name on it was sort of a clue.”
So, she does what any sane person would do –runs! But first she stops off at her roommate’s work to tell him. However, they get ambushed there by a bunch of vampires. Cassie is taken to the Vampire Senate who puts her under their protection. There is a war brewing among the magical users of the area and they all want Cassie for their own! Cassie just wants her freedom and she doesn’t know who to trust. But thankfully there are a few familiar faces at the Senate, Rafe and the always sexy master vampire, Mircea, both of which she grew up around in Tony’s home. She relies on them for her protection, but soon finds out that it could come at a great cost to her.
I’ve actually read some of the books at the end of this series and decided to actually try the first book in the series. I found a lot of this novel to be hard to follow. There was just so much going on and so many players that it really was quite confusing. I’m never much for vampire politics in my paranormal reads and unfortunately that’s mostly what this book was.
The book did start getting much more interesting toward the end, when I finally started understanding what was going on. It was also when things started getting steamy with a certain male as well.
Overall, I was a bit disappointed with this book, but hopefully the next installment will be better. I’m sure this will not be my last foray into the Cassandra Palmer series....more
Halloween Hullabaloo Pajaro Bay, Book #4.6 By Barbara Cool Lee ASIN: B01M2YKA0L Author’s Website: http://www.BarbaraCoolLee.com Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
It’s Halloween in Pajaro Bay, and nine-year-old Oliver and his friends thought nothing could be more exciting than competing in the annual costume contest. But before the night is over, they find themselves far from the lights of the party, sneaking through the town’s haunted cemetery just one step ahead of the danger on their trail. Who knew three kids could create such a Halloween Hullabaloo?
This is the first read by Barbara Cool Lee that I have read. The cover definitely had me hooked – a beautiful black cat and the title – Halloween Hullabaloo. This is a short story about Oliver Knight and an older stray cat, Captain Jeffy. Oliver becomes concerned when for the second day in a row he comes to feed Jeffy (something he has been doing for close to a month) and Jeffy is no where to be found. Turns out Oliver’s concern is justified. Through this short read, we see Oliver and a couple of his friends search a local cemetery on Halloween to solve the mystery of the missing cats.
An enjoyable short read. I found the style of the author easy to read and I was left feeling relatively satisfied with the story (something that is not always accomplished when I read short stories). Barbara Cool Lee is worth another look at for a longer read.
Rock Redemption Rock Kiss, Book #3 By Nalini Singh ISBN# 9781942356356 Author’s Website: http://nalinisingh.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Kit has always loved Schoolboy Choir’s guitarist, Noah St. John, and they were having a secret relationship of sorts until she walked in on him having sex with another woman. By the look in his eyes she knew he’d set it up on purpose to hurt her. Months later he calls her drunk and from a seedy hotel room with some unknown (even to him) drugs ready to be shot up. She goes to find him at his absolute lowest. She dumps the drugs and alcohol and takes him home with her.
Noah has hurt her too much for her to ever try a relationship again. Even being his friend is painful, but she can’t imagine a life without him. However, all that changes when an innocent night out together at a charity event gets plastered all over the media as an amazing start to a new romance complete with the cheesy couple nickname, NoKat.
Kit has been building a name for herself for years, and she’s finally starting to make headway as an actress, but Noah could ruin it all if he ends up being caught in bed with one of his many hordes of women or if they end the supposed relationship too suddenly. But if he could keep it in his pants for the next three weeks, it could land her the biggest role of her career. But Kit refuses to use Noah that way. However, when her publicist goes over Kat’s head and tells him about it, Noah is more than willing to pretend to be her boyfriend. He knows he doesn’t deserve her and he can’t have her, but he is more than willing to help her and her career in any way possible. But what happens when the fake relationship is just a little too nice to ever want to let it go? And can Noah keep his demons at bay or will they wreck everything he’s worked to build with his one true love?
Oh My Gosh! I absolutely loved this book!!! I think it’s safe to say it’s my favorite so far in this series.
I absolutely adored Noah! He is so tender and sweet toward Kit. And his inner demons from his past were enough to break my heart. How his own parents could turn on him for something so far out of his control was despicable. The duo definitely still have some work to do, but ah *swoon* I’m sure they will be just fine. And I adore the fun banter between this duo and hope that we’ll see more glimpses of them as the series progresses. And, Noah’s protective side is cute too!
“He was scowling. “What the hell? If I had a daughter and she was dating a guy like me, I’d take him out back and threaten him with a shotgun to make sure he treated her right.”
Kit’s mouth fell open. “You?”
“Yeah.” He folded his arms, his scowl growing heavier. “Jeez, Kit, he didn’t even tell me to be good to you. That’s bullshit.”
Realizing he was dead serious, she bit the inside of her cheek to keep from smiling. “Where did you pick up this chivalrous instinct?”
“My father,” he said, the sneer that usually accompanied any mention of Robert St. John missing from his voice. “He’s a son of a bitch, but he brought me up to look after any women under my care.”
“Under your care?” Kit raised an eyebrow. “Chauvinistic much?”
He shrugged. “Yeah, well, maybe it is, but I’m not changing. My imaginary daughters are never dating musicians. Ever.”
Stomach somersaulting at the idea of little girls with Noah’s features and talent, she shook her head. “Noah St. John, bad boy of rock and concerned father of imaginary daughters. Hell hath frozen over and become an ice rink.”
Kit was a strong character in her own right. She’s been dealing with a stalker while trying to make a name for herself in Tinseltown. The guys from Schoolboy Choir have been close with her for some time and close rank around her to protect her from the disturbed individual that has their sights set on her. Especially now that seeing her in the tabloids with Noah has got her stalker’s crazy switch flipped on high.
This book did have a bit of a lull in the middle, but once I got past that, I didn’t want to put it down. And honestly I didn’t want it to end, I just wanted more of that ‘romantic bullshit’ as Noah so eloquently states it. I was kind of expecting him to write a song with that title to go with ‘Sparrow’. And, for a Singh book there is a surprisingly little amount of sex. Once you get reading the book, you will understand why. But the swoon worthy moments more than make up for it and I just loved the emotion between Noah and Kit.
And as a side note I think this below song is perfect for this book, and I can imagine Noah up on stage, stealing the mike from Fox and belting it out to ‘his girl’.
Title: The Beggar’s Opera Series: Inspector Ramírez Series, Book #1 By: Peggy Blair ISBN: 0143179977 (ISBN13: 9780143179979) Author’s Website: http://www.peggyblair.com Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
In beautiful, crumbling Old Havana, Canadian detective Mike Ellis hopes the sun and sand will help save his troubled marriage. He doesn’t yet know that it’s dead in the water—much like the little Cuban boy last seen begging the Canadian couple for a few pesos on the world famous Malecón. For Inspector Ricardo Ramírez, head of the Major Crimes Unit of the Cuban National Revolutionary Police, finding his prime suspect isn’t a problem—Cuban law is. He has only seventy-two hours to secure an indictment and prevent a vicious killer from leaving the island. But Ramírez also has his own troubles to worry about. He’s dying of the same dementia that killed his grandmother, an incurable disease that makes him see the ghosts of victims of unsolved murders. As he races against time, the dead haunt his every step.
In my quest for finding noteworthy Canadian mystery authors, I have found a gem. Peggy Blair, in her first title in the Inspector Ramírez Series, The Beggar’s Opera, has created a captivating Cuba-set mystery with a cast of entertaining and engaging characters.
I found the book well paced, with numerous twists and turns which kept me guessing throughout. The intertwining of many different story lines was well done. I found the sharing of Cuban culture, history and way of life intriguing. The descriptions of Old Havana and the Cuban countryside were so comprehensive that I could visualize being there. I even felt like I was at the alleyways where Santeria ceremonies are conducted (the voodoo equivalent in Cuba).
We begin (in the prologue) with Ramírez a young boy saying goodbye to his dying grandmother. In her dying breaths she says:
“The dead will come,” she rasped. “My gift to you, as the eldest child.” He barely recognized her voice. She hadn’t spoken for days…….” Messengers from the other side. Eshu, the orisha, will send them to help you so you can help them. You will be a policeman, Ricky. I see it in your future. Treat them with respect, as they will you. But never forget this: Eshu is a trickster.”
That certainly had me intrigued. How will the dead come to Ramírez ? And how will this reciprocal help appear? So now I am hooked. Though I must say, it did take me a wee bit to get used to the manifestations.
On the first pages we are introduced to some of the most interesting characters of the book. Naturally, Ramírez but also Apiro – the pathologist on call to the Havana Major Crimes Unit. As we go on to later learn, Apiro has achondroplasia, which is a form of short-limbed dwarfism. Apiro has adapted his way of working in the morgue to account for his condition. Apiro’s mind is brilliant and he and Ramírez have found mutual respect with one another in their skills for performing their respective jobs.
The discovery of the body of a young boy in the water is disturbing. The evidence, such that it is, points to a Canadian tourist as the prime suspect for the rape and murder of this young boy. Mike Ellis, on vacation with his wife and away from his police job in Ottawa is that suspect. Ramírez halls in Ellis and has seventy-two hours in which to secure an indictment. A lot happens in those seventy-two hours. Mike uses his one call to phone his boss, O’Malley, back in Ottawa asking for help. O’Malley promptly sends Celia Jones, the departmental lawyer to provide support for Mike and possibly (?) help with the investigation. From here they mystery begins to deepen, twist and turn. As the cast of characters grew, so did the intensity and intrigue.
The part of the story which was really difficult to read and comprehend was the introduction of the abuse (physically and emotionally) of young boys sent to schools away from their homes and families. How people can behave that way to the youth is just astounding. Such a close tie in with the residential school’s in Canada. Had me just shaking my head with a heavy heart.
In the end, well….I shall leave that for you to find out. Suffice it to say, the bumpy ride was well worth it, though it did leave me emotionally drained.
Having read this book, I am now poised to continue on with the series (and I have!). I cannot wait to see what is next for Ramirez, Ellis, O’Malley and Apiro in the second installment of the Inspector Ramírez series, The Poisoned Pawn. Will they all be a part of the new mystery? Only time will tell. All I can say is: if you like mysteries with many twists as well as history thrown in, then pick up this first book in the Inspector Ramírez series and enjoy the ride yourself....more
Home Improvement Pajaro Bay, Book #1.5 By Barbara Cool Lee ASIN: B00EKZFVJ6 Author’s Website: http://www.BarbaraCoolLee.com Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Kimberly Bishop married her best friend. Then he died. Now she’s a 27-year-old widow whose friends keep fixing her up with one disastrous blind date after another. But maybe a second chance at love has been right under her nose all along….
Welcome to Pajaro Bay, a charming little village with a cast of quirky characters and funky cottages overlooking the sun-drenched coast.
Another fine short story by Barbara Cool Lee. I found myself really engaged, with emotions abounding throughout.
The story begins with Kim Bishop coming home from the funeral of her husband. This certainly pulled at my heartstrings:
“She was a 27-year-old widow with a broken-down house (Bluebird Cottage), a big insurance settlement, and everything she needed to live a wonderful life. Except the man who had been her best friend, her confidant, her one true love.”
During this scene, Kim throws a hammer and then continues on until there is a gaping hole.
Fast forward about seven months and Kim is now working for her friend Jasmine (Jazz) in her Pet clothing shop. I found the scene where Jazz’s dog Arrow models the booties definitely chuckle worthy. As frequently happens, girls get to chatting and Jazz has decided it is about time that Kim get back in the dating pool. They discuss this particular endeavor over coffee with two other friends.
So Kim finally agrees to go on dates….and then the fun ensues. After a few dates, Kim realizes that no real sparks fly with any of the men.
Meanwhile, Kim has hired a contractor, Gage, to fix her bathroom and the hole Kim created after Bishop’s funeral. There is a history there; Gage was Bishop’s best friend. You can see that sparks could fly, but how does one go from friend to more?
The journey called Home Improvement resulted in a pleasant read which has definitely peaked my interest to the level that I now have the first full length read in the Pajaro Bay series, so I am off to read more. ☺
The Amazing Crafty Cat By Charise Mericle Harper ISBN 978-1-62762-468-0 Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott
The Amazingly Crafty Cat is first and foremost a young female reader’s graphic novel about solving problems by doing crafts. It even includes its own craft section at the end of the book (if you like pandas – Crafty Cat’s favorite). The story starts innocently enough, with Birdie, a young girl (a.k.a. The Amazing Crafty Cat) accidently dropping the panda cupcakes she made for her Birthday Break at school. Through trials and tribulations, things don’t go as planned, and The Amazing Crafty Cat has to come to the rescue. Luckily, with some simple tools The Crafty Cat seems to be akin to a deus ex machina getting Birdie out of tight spots at every turn of events. She is, however, extremely crafty in every sense of the word, and I see this young readers graphic novel as an interactive learning experience.
The writing is glib, even when breaking the fourth wall – making the reader aware that they’re actively reading and judging The Amazing Crafty Cat as they move through the novel (albeit I have a reserved opinion that this was for adults in active participation with their kids). It dwells in expository, however, and most of it could have easily been replaced with dialogue. The dialogue that was present was handled using a fine line between expository dialogue (which I do realize is necessary when writing a craft book) and plot driven dialogue. The story itself went from one craft to the next but there were plenty more to participate in at the back of the book. The crafts propelled the story and resolved the ending. For this achievement alone Harper should be congratulated.
The art was simplistic, and minimalist. There was just enough visual material to make the crafts learnable, in fact most of the detail came out in these sections. The rest of the story was illustrated in a quirky, childlike style – easy to emulate and incorporate into crafts. The crafts themselves are kind of fun: there are panda bracelets and panda necklaces all little treasures in a young girls eyes. In fact, the target demographic of this graphic novel seemed to be aimed at a young female audience. There are also hair ribbons and things most young boys wouldn’t be interested in. The art worked well toward its intended goals. The craft sections were easy to follow, and minimal equipment is needed (a pair of scissors, paper, glue, ribbon, sparkles, etc.) The instructions are clear and simple, and can even be done without adult supervision. Overall, the art carried through its envisioned purpose.
All and all, if you have a young girl who are into crafts (I know my nieces are), The Amazing Crafty Cat is definitely worth a look at; for male readers, look elsewhere. Be warned: most of the crafts are panda centered, except for origami bunnies. Given the nature of the subject material, children should have no problem working from craft to craft, and if the parents get involved, the pandas can easily be replaced by kittens or any other animal with a ‘box-like’ shape.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
The Nameless City The Nameless City Trilogy, Book #1 By Faith Erin Hicks ISBN 978-1-62672-157-9 Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott
The first of what seems to be an enchanting trilogy, The Nameless City, is an engrossing, well written and drawn piece that delivers high adventure, deep emotional feeling and class in a convenient package. The graphic novel is written from the perspective of Kai, the lead protagonist and son of the ruler of the nameless city. Kai’s adventures are involving in this short piece of a much larger tapestry and his newness to the city helps draw the reader in. at a slow, controlled pace. At no point does the reader feel rushed unless it is what Faith Erin Hicks wants you to feel rushed. It’s a truly remarkable work just for that level of reader introduction to a vast new world.
The written word just flows off of the page and I caught myself “double-backing” to absorb the artwork; the story is that engrossing. The main protagonist Kai, and the surrounding cast of characters is given just enough detail to make them believable in a heart-felt way, and leaves plenty to explore in the next two volumes. Dialogue is natural and sincere. The panels conform to a six panel grid, without much deviation, which makes it easier to absorb the complexities of the plots and adventure, the intrigue and twists. The word choice is just enough to start you down a path that is surely going to have a high waterline to beat, with this opening salvo.
Believable characters are what really make this stand out amongst the neo-oriental influence of the work. Although drawn in a manga like fashion, the feel of the characters and their situations is more western in execution. This is probably one of the novels strongest points. It plays on a neo-oriental theme but ensconces it in western ideology that any North American or European can relate to. Grabbing character concepts and their trappings while introducing a new world is a feat enough but Hicks pulls it off with grace and style. You know where all the characters stand, and what their positions are on pretty much everything. This isn’t to say that they aren’t ripe for expansion – they most certainly are – but rather that you feel an almost instant connection to the players in the game.
The artwork alone is just brilliant. The bold inks on graceful lines mark Faith Erin Hicks as a true art lovers artist. Coloring by Jordie Bellaire enhances the art to a new and muted level, that reflecting The Nameless City’s streets and denizens in an all too real fashion. Backgrounds are lush and elegant, and main characters, age-dependent, are portrayed in a traditional manga context. The action sequences, pushed by the artwork, propel the reader literally across rooftops and through labyrinth like alleyways. At no point does the reader not know what the characters are feeling either. Emotions range from despondence to elation, and one or more expressions are always present in any character driven panel.
For fans of action-adventure, political intrigue, and graphic novels like The Last Man series, The Nameless City is the right fit for you. Even if you’ve never delved into the art form before, The Nameless City is a great introduction to the world of neo-oriental stylistics. There is enough in the graphic novel to appease most tastes and being the first in a trilogy, why not take the plunge? You’ll find it quite the enchanting introduction to the world of graphic novels and the “western manga” genre.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
Waiting for the One Harrington, Maine, Book #1 By L.A. Fiore ISBN# 9781477829295 Author’s Website: https://www.lafiorepublishing.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Saffron Mills has lived her life in small-town Harrington, Maine. Nothing interesting ever happens in Harrington and everybody knows everyone else’s business almost the moment it happens. Saffron’s parents are ones that should have never reproduced and barely make time for a once a month phone call, and even then the call is filled with disapproving lectures for her life choices.
Saffron has never found “the one” yet and doesn’t date very much. A lot of the reason could be that the women-to-men ratio in Harrington just isn’t very favorable for dating. But Saffron lives vicariously through her friend, Gwen, who seems to have the perfect marriage and kids. She has two other friends Tommy and Josh, that are like brothers to her and provide much comic relief in this book!
“Resting my head on his shoulder, my gaze turns back to the horizon. “How did you get so smart? Did you, like, eat smart people’s brains?”
“Well, if I did, you’d certainly be safe from me.”
About six months ago Harrington got a new resident, Logan MacGowan, who is the quiet loaner type. He comes to the bar that Saffron works at often, but never speaks to her. She’s made it into a game where she is determined to get him to talk to her, but he’s really good at thwarting her! And, it’s so frustrating seeing how easily he talks to everyone else. What is it about her that keeps him so tight lipped?
David Cambre is a famous sculptor with many adoring fans, and some crazy ones as well! Logan finds peace getting away from all the craziness that is his city life. He’s taken up residence in the lighthouse and has taken joy in working with other mediums as well, mediums that the fans and critics would never allow David to venture into. And, Logan just can’t keep his eyes off the beautiful Saffron, but when he finally breaks the silence and ventures into a relationship with her, his secrets just may be enough to destroy them both.
I found the writing in the earlier chapters of this book to be quite choppy, but stick with it, it gets better! Once we start to know the characters more the flow is much nicer and easier to read.
I enjoyed Saffron and Logan/David. I liked that Saffron was willing to stand up for herself and wasn’t afraid to call Logan out or even break-up with him no matter how strong her feelings. Although I do wish, that she would have made him work a little harder to get back into her good graces. He seemed to get off kind of easy on that score. And, I hated that she was always having to learn things from other people instead of him trusting her enough to come clean himself.
“Saffron, how are you?” Logan asks and he sounds genuinely interested. How am I? Small talk, right.
I rest my hip on the table and give my back to Logan as I look down at his date. “Would you think it odd for a man to come to a small town and proceed to not speak to you for six months?”
Her perfect lips form a grin. “Everyone or just me specifically?”
Her eyes light with humor. “Yes, that is odd.”
“Odder still for that man to then take you to bed and blow your mind with sex for almost twenty-four hours before ditching you and then staying off the radar for a week?”
The humor has left her gaze now, but she answers anyway. “Indeed.”
“So what would you think when that same man shows up at your place of employment with a beautiful woman and attempts to engage you in small talk?”
Her eyes leave mine for Logan’s, but I don’t miss the emotion in her gaze. She’s mad.
“Exactly.” I turn and give Logan my full attention. “So how am I, Logan?” I pull out the chair next to him and sit down. “I could pretend to be a cool, sophisticated woman and lie to you and say I’m fabulous, but that just isn’t me. What I am is hurt and more than a little pissed, so the idea of making small talk with you is repugnant to me, unless that talk is centered on what I’d like to do to you. For example, I’d love to reach for that dull butter knife and stick it in your eye, giving it a hard turn just for good measure. The idea of strapping you to a man-sized lobster trap and throwing you into the ocean holds a great deal of appeal, as does the thought of running your ass over with my car, repeatedly. I could sit here all day making small talk about that, or you could just shut up and order some goddamn lunch.”
The ending of this book sends you on quite the roller-coaster ride. I initially thought the same thing (without saying too much) that Saffron was thinking, but as time went on it seemed we were both wrong, but then a little later she started questioning herself again… I thought it was maybe one turn too many, but it was still a good ending to the book. And I adored Josh and Tommy … I wish I had friends just like them! They are just fun!
All in all this was another nice book be Fiore and I’m anxious to read more from her!
And I thought What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction was fitting for this book 🙂
The “New York Times” bestselling author of “Town in a Cinnamon Toast” returns to Cape Willington, Maine, where blueberry farmer Candy Holliday springs ahead into sleuthing…
The imminent arrival of spring has the locals gearing up for their sweetest celebration ever the first annual Maple Madness Weekend. Along with maple sugar house tours, a community-wide marshmallow roast, and a weekend-long pancake breakfast, restaurants will be serving up special maple syrup dishes. But the weekend festivities are put in jeopardy when things start to get sticky…
One of Candy’s friends is accused of stealing sap from a rival s sugar maple trees, and landscaper Mick Rilke is found dead, floating down the river wrapped up in a fisherman’s net. As Candy taps into Mick’s life, his unsavory side comes to light, as well as a possible connection to both crimes. Now it s up to Candy to follow the flow of suspects to a cold-blooded killer…
INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES!
In author B. B. Haywood’s newest installment of “A Candy Holliday Mystery” (#8), Cape Willington, Maine is having a new festival to bring in more tourists. They have added a Maple Madness festival weekend full of tours, marshmallow roasts and tons of good food. Nothing seems to go smooth for the wonderful inhabitants of this quaint small town and this is no different. Since maple syrup is selling for such high prices, it is a really big deal when someone is stealing sap from established sugar maple trees. That is the catalyst that brings protagonist Candy Holliday into the mix. Things just get worse when a body floats down the river and it is murder. Candy has to get on the job and try to save the big weekend.
Candy definitely has to get involved when one of the participants of the maple syrup tours gets in contact with her to complain about someone stealing their sap. Not only did they tap their trees, but there is a chance they overworked them and they may not make it. The worst part is they are pointing directly at one of Candy’s dear friends as the culprit. Candy is a fun main character. I love her fierce concern for her friends and father. No way is she letting her friend (and maybe a bit more than friend) Neil be accused of something she knows he would never do.
Unfortunately just as she is trying to do some investigating, landscaper Mick Rilke is found dead. And no one believes it is anything but murder. Who would want to kill him, well it seems a few people. Candy is called upon to find the killer so the town festival can keep going. This is the first, it has to be remembered for more than murder. Along with Candy’s father and his gang, her friend Maggie and ever present Wanda, Candy will work to find the answers. Things are not always what they seem in their small town. The mystery twists and turns as Candy picks up clue after clue and finds suspect after suspect. In the end, the festival has to go on.
I have to say that installment #8 in author B. B. Haywood’s “Candy Holliday Mystery” series is not my favorite. That said, it had all the elements one usually finds in this enjoyable series. Fun characters, great setting, intriguing mystery, and good food. I felt Town in a Maple Madness was a bit wordy. Lots of descriptive paragraphs, inner turmoil, and not as much action or interaction. Some readers I am sure enjoy this. I am not one of them. I really enjoy the characters in this series and love Candy’s group of friends. I love the town setting. I do think that this is a series that should be read in sequence. Overall a fun read, just a bit too wordy for me.
*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*
Dragon Fever Dark Kings, Book #9.5 By Donna Grant ISBN# 9781942299455 Author’s Website: http://www.donnagrant.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Rachel Marek is a journalist on a mission, to uncover the truth of the Dragon Kings and expose them all for the world to see! At the direction of new contact, Sam MacDonald, Rachel is going to The World Whisky Consortium, an event that those at Dreagan never miss! While there she is going to cozy up to this year’s Dreagan representative, Asher, and uncover all the secrets of the Dragon Kings! She has her face transforming makeup and outfits for both personas that she’s planning to use ready to go. Now she just needs to go get her King!
Asher can think of much better things to do with his time than go to this convention, especially with everything going on with the Dark and Ulrik. But he knows somebody has to do it, and this time it’s him. Con has saddled him with a drill sergeant of a personal assistant to keep him on track and to make sure he gets to boring meeting after boring meeting. However, there is one bright spot, the beautiful woman he met at the hotel bar, Rae. And Ash can’t get enough!
But when both Rachel and Asher’s secrets are revealed, will their hot romance fizzle out? And can a journalist hell-bent on exposing the Kings ever be trusted???
I’m not a big fan of novellas as a whole, as I’ve stated many times in my reviews. I find it hard to connect with characters and their stories in such a short time, not to mention the plots tend to feel rushed. However, I have to say that this novella actually read like a full-length novel. The romance has a slow build-up, and the plot went along at a leisurely pace. In fact, it kind of went a bit slower than I’d expected, and I wouldn’t have minded if it had been sped up a little bit.
Overall I felt this novella was okay …. Nothing earth-shattering, and a bit boring at times. I found the climactic scene at the end to be pretty predictable … you knew exactly who sent that note and it wasn’t who Rachel thought it was. You’d think a reporter would be a bit smarter than that!
This series hasn’t been my favorite of Grant’s and I keep waiting for it to turn around … well let’s hope it will with the next book, Firestorm!
Sins of the Night Dark-Hunter, Book #7 By Sherrilyn Kenyon ISBN# 9780312934323 Author’s Website: http://www.sherrilynkenyon.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Alexion is the one that’s sent in when things go incredibly wrong. He’s Acheron’s right-hand man and even lives with him and Simi. However, his existence is a secret. When the Dark-Hunters go bad, Alexion is Ash’s judge and executioner. And, when he leaves the Dark-Hunters, none of them will remember he was ever there, well those that are left alive anyway.
Stryker’s newest plot to eliminate Ash is to convince a group of Dark-Hunters that Ash is actually a Daimon and that he devoured their souls. Stryker is using Kyros to call the Dark-Hunters together, and many are believing Stryker’s lies. And, our female lead, Danger, was close to believing it herself when Stryker described Ash’s destroyer and Alexion was at her home when she arrived, matching the destroyer’s description down to the white coat he wears.
Danger was less than pleased when her possible executioner informed her he was staying at her house and that she was going to have to introduce him to the Dark-Hunters for him to try to save them and to ultimately pass judgment and possibly kill her friends. She didn’t know who to trust, but after she spends time with Alexion, she realizes he is truly there to help and they grow close. But it turns out that Kyros was his friend when he was human. Kyros is so hurt to learn that Alexion has been alive all this time while he felt insurmountable guilt for his death, that he can’t trust him now. Can Alexion and Danger sway his way of thinking in time to save him?
I wanted to like this book, but all in all I was pretty disappointed and rather bored throughout. The relationship between Alexion and Danger came about rather slowly. And, even the action in this book seemed to run into slow motion. This book was just way too easy to put down.
I actually did like Alexion. His attempts of getting in Danger’s pants was most pathetic and funny at the same time … well until she finally decided she wanted a piece of him just as much as he wanted her. However, there wasn’t nearly as much steam between these two as I had expected. Their sex life was about as bland as the rest of their relationship.
Danger did not live up to her name. I was expecting her to be a total badass, but she came off as a plain Jane that didn’t really bring much to the story.
There wasn’t a lot of Ash in this story as he was trying to keep himself from interfering in Alexion’s fate, and honestly, I greatly missed him.
This book just didn’t do it for me so I hope the next installment in the series is more impressive....more
The Thing About Love FBI/US Attorney Series, Book #7 By Julie James ISBN: 9780425273777 Author’s Website: http://www.juliejames.com Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army ranger clashed during their training at Quantico, gladly going their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to run into each other again–assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.
For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work as a team–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic, beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated.
The Thing About Love is a steamy contemporary romance novel which left me engaged throughout the entire read and very happy that I had chosen this book. Character development was superb; not just the main characters but also the supporting characters as well.
The story begins with FBI Special Agent John Shepherd flying home from his latest undercover investigation (which lasted eight long months) and NOT in the mood to speak with his neighbors on the plane. And that is when I got hooked:
“Next to John, the guy in the middle sear was in his early forties and dressed in a suit and lime-green shirt…. Yep. Steve in the lime-green shirt was going to be a Talker……Not that sitting next to a chatty passenger was uncommon for John. He accepted the fact that in his line of work, it was an occupational hazard…But tonight, he was hoping to have a few quiet minutes to unwind before the plane landed in Chicago. And also to start thinking about how he was going to get things back on track with his girlfriend, Alicia.”
Now from there I anticipated a challenge, after all, why would he need to get things back on track with his girlfriend. What he walks in on when he gets home is not what he expected. Unfortunately for John he finds his girlfriend and best mate going at it in their bed. Needless to say, John walks out…and he is now single.
Now back in the office in Chicago, John learns that a former colleague (whom he did NOT get along with)
from his time at the FBI Academy in Quantico is joining the team at the Chicago office. In walks sexy Jessica Harlow. They had a long standing rivalry at the academy – trying to out perform each other. Now John and Jessica get assigned to a high profile undercover sting operation; they must work together regardless of their feelings for each other. During this undercover operation they each share their own perceptions of the time they both spent in Quantico. Through the process of hearing each other’s side of the story, we see that they begin to understand and appreciate each other more and even seeing how misinterpretations occurred all those years ago.
The sting operation was definitely intriguing. Made me wonder if this is how it is truly really done.
Wow…the steamy parts were HOT. Yikes. Who would have thought of FBI agents as super sexy as well as super awesome? I loved one reflective moment after a very hot and steamy kiss – had me giggling, that’s for sure:
She looked up at the ceiling and shook her head. “I can’t believe I kissed you.”
“Please. I can’t believe I kissed you.”
Her inner pragmatic voice did a face-palm.
And this is why we don’t hook up with other agents. Never dip your pen in the company inkwell. Don’t get your nookie where you get your cookies. Don’t fish off the company pier. Don’t…Thanks, yes, she got the point.”
John is also following up on his dream of becoming a member of the Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) by participating in the two-week selection program at Quantico. Once that was completed, he was in a holding pattern so he returned to the sting operation. Just as the operation is coming to a conclusion, John hears that he made HRT. Of course by this time, John and Jessica have become quite close. It broke my heart a bit when they split so that John could follow his dream, and that he is leaving his family.
Will love prevail in the end? Read The Thing About Love for yourself ☺. You will definitely enjoy the journey…laughing and tearing up…rooting for John…then Jessica…worth the time and effort to read!!!
I have only read book #6 and now #7 in the FBI/US Attorney Series by Julie James. From this latest read, I am definitely going back and reading the first 5 books of the series.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
Rock Wedding Rock Kiss, Book #4 By Nalini Singh ISBN# 9781942356370 Author’s Website: http://nalinisingh.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Fame and fortune can bring about some major falls from grace, and nobody knows that better than Schoolboy Choir’s keyboardist, Abe Bellamy. The pain of losing his baby sister to cancer at only eight years old has filled him with such pain and grief that he never learned how to deal with it properly. Instead, he sought out anything that could numb the pain, mostly drugs and alcohol. But one night, the anniversary of Tessie’s death no less, he went too far. The things he did and said to his wife, Sarah, where so mean and hurtful that she had no choice but to leave him, shattering them both in the process.
Abe’s band got him into rehab and he’s clean now, but the pain of losing Sarah still haunts him. But she moved on so he’s tried to live his life to the best of his ability. That is until they were at the Zenith musical festival and he saw Sarah’s boyfriend hit her. Sarah left Jeremy after that night, and Abe would do anything for just one more chance to have her back in his life. But can Abe ever undo the pain and hurt he caused her?
This was another good emotional read (God, I love those) in the Rock Kiss series! But I knew it would be! And, I could completely empathize with Abe’s addiction … since you know …. second chance romances are my crack, especially emotional ones like this one. I couldn’t tell you how many times I cried during this read … especially with the scenes about Aaron. Heartbreaking doesn’t even begin to cover it.
I’m glad to see that Sarah just didn’t give in to to what Abe wanted and took him back without any thought like so many women do in the romance genre. She made him work for it! And, I have no doubt he will keep working at it for the rest of his fictional life!
Despite the horrors of Abe’s past and the horrible way he treated Sarah during that time, I did really enjoy Abe. It was great to see how he has turned his life around and finally became the man that Sarah deserved.
My heart broke for Sarah after having a miscarriage and then a stillborn. You can’t blame her for never wanting to get pregnant again. But it seemed kind of obvious, even from early on, the path this book was going to take. But I loved seeing the protective side it brought out in Abe.
I was expecting another confrontation with Jeremy in this one, but sadly it wasn’t to be.
We did, however, get to see all the other couples in the series as they all got to take their vows finally.
“Abe grinned as Noah went in for the kiss. He’d expected laughing passion or maybe a raw lip-lock, but his hands cradling Kit’s face, the guitarist kissed his new wife with a tenderness that had every single woman in the room sighing and all but melting into the floor.
“Abe shook his head. “He really doesn’t give a flying you-know-what about his bad-boy image does he?” he said to David.
David shot him a laughing look, his golden-brown eyes shining. with happiness for a friend who’d found his way out of the darkness that had haunted him for so long.”
Although we didn’t see Charlotte and T-Rex’s wedding, Singh did mention in her note at the end of the book that we’d get to see that in an upcoming book focusing on one of Gabriel’s brothers. But sadly in that note, Singh confirmed this is the last of the Rock Kiss series. I expected it as all the weddings seemed to tie everything up so nicely, but this is one series I will really miss.
And with Abe’s past addiction I though Your Love is My Drug by Ke$ha to be a perfect song to go with this book 🙂
Gunpowder Alchemy Opium War, Book #1 By Jeannie Lin Author’s website: http://www.jeannielin.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Adelynne
Since her father’s execution eight years ago, Jin Soling kept her family from falling into poverty. But her meager savings are running out, leaving her with no choice but to sell the last of her father’s possessions—her last memento of him.
Only, while attempting to find a buyer, Soling is caught and brought before the Crown Prince. Unlike his father, the Emperor, the Prince knows that the only chance of expelling the English invaders is to once again unite China’s cleverest minds to create fantastic weapons. He also realizes that Soling is the one person who could convince her father’s former allies—many who have turned rebel—to once again work for the Empire. He promises to restore her family name if she’ll help him in his cause.
But after the betrayal of her family all those years ago, Soling is unsure if she can trust anyone in the Forbidden City—even if her heart is longing to believe in the engineer with a hidden past who was once meant to be her husband…
Although I enjoyed this book, for me, it did not have much depth. I felt that Gunpowder Alchemy was a book purely entertainment.
I had a few qualms with the book- one of the things that bothered me was the events. I felt that Lin was trying too hard to make the book have action, and a lot of the events felt random and didn’t make sense. Because of this, a lot of her scenes felt too forced, and didn’t feel natural or something believable. For example, the main character Soling gets trapped for a while on her old acquaintance’s ship. To be honest, that event did not need to happen at all. The action wasn’t very engaging and it didn’t leave me feeling excited or hanging off the edge of my seat.
Another thing that bothered me was its historical and steampunk aspects. I don’t think steampunk is a very appropriate label- the book didn’t have many inventive mechanical objects/themes, and even though it was supposed to concentrate on new mechanical inventions, it just didn’t feel very steampunk-like. It was the same for the historical setting. Although the book was set in a historical setting, it didn’t really feel much like 19th century China, and the descriptions weren’t very elaborate or vivid. The most that really came from the setting was the treatment of Soling but that’s about it.
The last thing that bothered me was the romance. It felt very bland and dull. Chang-wei was not a very appealing character to me, and their relationship felt so toned down. They didn’t feel like they were in love, they felt like awkward friends. There were barely any dynamics to their relationship.
However, I really loved Soling’s strength and the whole story was very interesting. Soling was independent and inquisitive- she didn’t just go along with the flow. She wanted to find a path for herself, even though it was being controlled by others.
Overall, Gunpowder Alchemy was an intriguing read that I would recommend for those in search of a historical novel with a strong heroine and complex plot.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
This is not a story of elves or chimneys or huge snow monsters in a blizzard. This is not that kind of Christmas story. Well, there is kind of this big beastly creature in almost a blizzard, but that’s Tanner, the brutish muscle cake of a bodyguard that my father sends after me whenever I try to disappear.
I hate Tanner except when he gets too close and then everything goes haywire a little, like the time he tracked me down in a remote Canadian motel with the snow falling outside and the heat rising inside. He tried to drag me back home for the holidays on this mega road trip, but things got weird and kinda strangely awesome, but that can’t happen because my father will literally kill us both. It’s that kind of Christmas story.
*This novelette is a Christmas story featuring Tanner Hayes, the bodyguard from Scandal*
I am new to the writing of Alison Foster. So, being the cautious reader that I am, I chose to read Take Me Home: A Bodyguard Christmas Story as the first book by Ms. Foster….a novella to get my feet wet.
While not a huge fan of novella’s (I usually find that I am left wanting more at the end), this novella had a sufficient story-line with the appropriate amount of depth to keep me entertained and engaged throughout. True praise for the writer as I now want more of this story….so I shall just have to get Bodyguard Dearest to read more about Tris and Tanner.
Vivid imagery in the storytelling had me totally involved so that I could barely put the book down until I had consumed it in its entirety:
“The reflection from the flames and Christmas lights on his skin, the hunger in his eyes as he glances at me… too much, it’s entirely too much.”
I really enjoyed the part where Tris internally ruminates after having been intimate with Tanner:
“He helped me tonight, though; he helped me regain sight of something, a connection to my heart and soul. He let me experience the most sublime pleasures. It’s better to pursue what you want than run away from what you don’t. Can life really be so simple?
And let me not get started about the intimate description of their lovemaking. I found that it was told with just the right amount of sizzle and detail…left my imagination to fill in some blanks (which is frankly just the way I like reading intimate scenes). The chemistry between Tris and Tanner seemed off the charts.
I enjoyed this brief introduction to Alison Foster’s writing and will most certainly pick up more books that she has written. ...more
Big Sky By Kitty Thomas ISBN# 9781938639050 Author’s Website: http://kittythomas.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
*Warning: Extreme (and very kinky) adult content*
Veronica’s world is falling apart around her, she has always lived outside her means and now the bills are piling up and she’s being evicted from her crappy apartment (after she was forced to downsize from the penthouse). And, she’s been so worried about how she’s going to live and where she’s going to stay that she’s let her work slide and her boss just fired her!! She’s burned too many bridges in the industry and she doesn’t know how she’ll find a job.
She met an honest to god cowboy at the diner the morning she got fired, in New York!?! How weird is that? She was incredibly rude to him being a true New Yorker and all. But he comes across her again after she’s been fired and offers her a job at his ranch in Vermont. A job she turns down, he’s just a bit too creepy for her tastes. However, Luke decides he won’t take no for an answer and kidnaps her! She looks like his deceased wife and he’s determined to turn her into Trish, making her submit to his every desire. He and his ranch hands quickly turn her into their personal sex slave, something Trish had done willingly before she died in childbirth. At first, Veronica tries to escape, but eventually decides that it would be pointless as she has nowhere to go and nothing to get back to. And what happens when the horror of your situation turns into something that you love and don’t want to live without?
I’m really at a loss for words on this book … and if you knew me in real life you’d know how rare that is! But don’t worry I’ll find some to articulate what I’m thinking.
The synopsis that is actually printed on this book is nothing like what I’ve described above. The storyline printed on the book is actually very benign and innocent sounding, giving no hint to the depravity and kink that is really held within the book’s pages. In fact, I contemplated if I was even going to write a review for this book, a little embarrassed that I had read it as it truly seems like a fact that should be hidden and kept behind closed doors. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, and often need to settle into a good “whore book” to let off some steam, but this was a whore book to the extreme. I have never read a book that was quite this dark and depraved before now. I felt pretty dirty reading it, and nothing against the author, but I can’t even imagine the debauched mind that actually wrote the story. I guess that could be why the author appears to be using an alias …. there is no way I’d want my real name associated with this kind of story either. And, apparently this is one of many like it in her repertoire.
As I’m sure you can surmise from my description of the plot, Luke is heavily into domination, bringing the feisty Veronica to heel under his command. He enjoys humiliating her in front of his employees and sharing her whenever he can. She is no more than an animal to him, as he and his ranch hands often refer to her as their cow and even inject her with hormones so she can be a “good cow” and give them milk. I think I can safely say this is the strangest kink book I’ve ever read in my life. But with all that said … *if* you can get past the objectifying of women and have had a dry spell for a while, this book could very easily get your motor revving, despite the fact that the sex scenes actually are not that detailed. I personally didn’t have as many problems with the objectification as I thought I might. Probably because Veronica is under no illusions that Luke actually loves her. He makes it clear she’s an object, his possession, there solely for his own pleasure, and something that he can use as he wishes. I have found with some other BDSM books that I get annoyed with the female leads being treated like crap, but then gushing how good the guy is to her, Maya Banks’s Enforcer series is a good example of this! However, there is no false pretenses or naive characterization in this book. In fact, Veronica was kind of a spoiled bitch in the beginning and it made me wonder if maybe what happened to her was a bit of karma payback, not that anyone deserves to be treated badly, of course.
Throughout this novel I kept thinking how depraved it was (I’ve used that word enough in this review, I think), but the ending left me just thinking how weird the story was. It is just so incredibly strange. I don’t foresee me seeking out more books by this author, but if kink is your thing, then you may want to give it a read....more
Title: One Hundred Eggs for Henrietta By: Sally Huss ISBN: 069240015X Author’s Website: http://www.sallyhuss.com Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Summary: One Hundred Eggs for Henrietta
Easter is not Easter without Eggs! That’s what Henrietta believes and what she’s expected to provide when 100 children are invited to Farmer Johnson’s big Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday. How Henrietta connives to collect, dye, and hide these eggs is her task. Involving every able-bodied bird on the farm to reach her quota is her mission. Birds of a feather must stick together, she believes. Even with their efforts she is still one egg short. Who will provide it? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
One Hundred Eggs for Henrietta, is a delightful children’s book suitable for early readers or being read to by an adult. The pictures were colourful and fun. The message in the story was one of teamwork, co-operation and sharing. One that should never be lost and never too early to tell children about.
I don’t know what the print version of the book is like, but I read it on my tablet and the graphics displayed very nicely.
A wonderful little addition for the budding reader’s collection!
A Frying Shame Deep Fried Mystery, Book #3 By Linda Reilly ISBN: 9780425274156 Author website: http://www.lindasreilly.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
A cooking contest becomes a fry to the finish in the new Deep Fried Mystery from the author of Out of the Dying Pan.
Fry another day.
The town of Wrensdale is abuzz with excitement when Steeltop Foods sponsors a cooking contest to promote its new product, the Flavor Dial. With a $25,000 prize at stake, all the contestants are on edge, including Talia Marby, owner of Fry Me A Sliver. She hopes her mini deep-fried apple pies will win her the money to pay off the renovations on her restaurant. But when Norma Ferguson wins with her flaky-top chicken stew, the tensions dial up even more.
After Norma is found dead at her cooking station, the police suspect a losing contestant got a little too hot under the collar. Now it’s crunch time as Talia works to catch the killer and clear her name before another cook gets burned.
Includes delicious recipes!
Reading the first few pages of A Frying Shame was like visiting home again. I love the characters, the setting, the atmosphere of the story. It was pure joy reading. Linda Reilly has a way of making you feel welcome into her book and keeps you entertained and intrigues the whole way through. The characters are all colorful and well developed. The storyline is full of secrets, mystery, enjoyment and humor as well. Talia Marby, owner of Fry Me a Sliver, is someone I would love to be friends with. She is caring and intelligent and gets things done. Plus she loves her little calico Bo and that is always a good sign. This is a wonderful read that truly keeps you glued to the book until you are done. Then you do not want to be done of course.
Protagonist Talia Marby has entered the much talked about contest sponsored by Steeltop Foods. She is one of 6 contestants to enter and this is a big deal for small town Wrensdale. No one knows why they brought the contest there, but no one is complaining, yet. Talia is going to be frying up her mini deep-fried apple pies for the sweet part of the contest and of course she knows most of the other competitors. She is not familiar with Norma Ferguson, however (who is entered in the savory section) and to Talia, Norma seems off a bit. When Norma wins with flaky-top chicken stew, others are not very happy. Talia is just excited to have been involved and super glad to be done with it. There are other festivities to be enjoyed with that out of the way. So she and her friends do just that. Unfortunately her coworker goes missing while getting a sweater and Norma ends up dead at her cooking station.
Things really get heated when the police think the second place contestant must be the killer. Then they find evidence to back it up. Talia knows this cannot be and has to do a bit of investigating to prove them wrong. There are some interesting back stories and history among the suspects too. Author Linda Reilly has so many tidbits of leads and misleads that I went down one path for the real killer, only to turn around completely and think it was another one. Her writing style is, as always fabulous. She layers the mystery so perfectly, the leads all seem important, and her characters are wonderful. Talia and friends search for answers and find a lot more on the way.
Reading A Frying Shame is a true joy. It sizzles, it pops, it is the perfect fryer and boy is it tasty!! Oh, and do not forget the delicious recipes at the end. Linda Reilly writes in a way that makes the reader feel comfortable and able to really relate to her characters. Then she adds in the spice of murder, the sizzle of clues here and there, the pop of misleads and leads. All to build the most delectable cozy mystery. Even if you have not read first two books in this exquisite series, you will have no trouble at all enjoying this one and relating to the characters. Linda Reilly is one of my favorite authors, her books are delightful, her characters are relatable, her stories are the best. A Frying Shame is the epitome of a cozy mystery. I just wish I could give more than 5 stars.
*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*
Caramel Crush Cupcake Bakery Mystery #9 By Jenn McKinlay ISBN #9780399583810 jennmckinlay.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
When a breakup via cupcake threatens to crumble their friend’s life for good, Mel and Angie race to solve the murder as this New York Times bestselling series continues…
Love is in the air at Fairy Tale Cupcakes as Angie prepares for her wedding, but co-owner, Mel, is preparing for a breakup. Her old friend, Diane Earnest, is dumping her fiancé after discovering he’s only marrying her for her money. She wants Mel to personally deliver a batch of caramel breakup cupcakes to the louse and give her a play-by-play of his reaction.
When Mel finally tracks the man down, the look on his face isn’t the reaction she was expecting: he’s dead. After the police arrive and see the incriminating cupcakes, Diane becomes their prime suspect. If she hopes to taste freedom again, Mel and Angie must make sure the real killer gets their just desserts…(From Goodreads)
When I wasn’t dreaming about caramel, I completely enjoyed Jenn McKinlay’s newest Cupcake Bakery Mystery. Number nine in the series, it can be read as a standalone. It is a delicious romp through June’s escalating temperatures in the greater Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ area. The author’s wit and talent for dreaming up a new, confounding mystery that goes hand-in-glove with a new cupcake treat guarantees a new best seller in the series. And for the dessert connoisseur, there are several new cupcake recipes to enjoy.
The world at Fairy Tale Cupcakes includes the daily drama of Mel, the Maid of Honor for Angie and Tate’s upcoming wedding, and helping Angie through another meltdown. The three have been best friends for what seems like forever, and are co-owners of the cupcake cafe. One would never have thought Angie would become a bridezilla, but trying to plan a wedding she thinks would please Tate’s parents causes daily changes to … almost everything.
Mel’s latest surprise is hearing from her first college roommate, Diane. The flashy Diane arrives with her assistant, the slender, nerd-type Elliott. Elliott, with multiple food allergies, who enjoys the specialty gluten/ lactose/ etc free yet still flavorful cupcakes on the menu. Diane places a unique cupcake order for Mel to deliver personally and video to capture the expression on the face of hew now former fiance – break-up cupcakes. Why is Mel the lucky woman? Diane rescued Mel from some unspeakable event from their college days, and it’s time for Mel to pay the piper to keep the secret. Who could use something that sounds as delicious as Caramel Crush for such an occasion, or to hang such a thing over Mel’s head for so long? Only Diane, the woman scorned, who learns that her fiance only wants to marry her for an influx of cash into his family’s party store.
Mel drives to the man’s country club, then his home, finally arriving at the huge party-rental office and warehouse. The door is open, but Mel can’t find anyone anywhere. Until she sees through the walls of a ball pit to find a hand, still clutching a ball, attached to the murdered body of Diane’s late fiance, Mike. There is no exciting video to send to Diane…unless one wanted to see Mike’s sister arrive, screeching that Mel is the murderer. When the dust settles, Diane becomes the prime suspect and begs Mel to find the real killer. Mel still has a debt to pay.
There is no more delightful set of owners in all of Old Town Scottsdale than the trio of besties at Fairy Tale Cupcakes. The only addition would be Joe DeLaura, an ADA in Phoenix and Mel’s sweetheart. These four are three-D characters who could step off the pages into Old Town. His siblings, known primarily as ‘the brothers’, are a force to be reckoned with. They are ready to deal with anyone who dares mess with a DeLaura, or the girlfriend of a DeLaura, and they are sweethearts to anyone in the family’s good graces. The DeLaura family and Mel’s family, including police detective Stan (who is used to getting Mel out of scrapes) are equally as delightful, but in somewhat limited doses. The rest of the crew at Fairy Tale are fun co-workers. This time, we get to know more about Marty, and it is worth every moment! What we do learn about everyone is through witty, sometimes acerbic dialog and actions.
There are several interesting plot twists that completely change the landscape of the mystery. The suspect list continues to grow as Mel and friends find out more and more unfavorable dirt about Mike. There are just so many people, especially women, with motive! However, the person I thought might be “the” bad guy/ gal isn’t who it turned out to be; the real killer was a complete surprise! The end was completely satisfying, including the latest surprises – at least two – among the staff at Fairy Tale. This reader appreciates the authenticity of the location, location, location…as I am somewhat familiar with the neighborhoods the author uses. It is a special treat for me to read street names or neighborhoods near where I’ve worked or shopped. In all, I highly recommend ‘Caramel Crush’ to fans of the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series, Jenn McKinlay, and humorous, well-written cozy mysteries.
*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*
Occult and Battery Bay Island Psychic Mystery #2 By Lena Gregory ISBN# 9780425282762 Author Website: Lenagregory.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Cass Donovan uses her skills as a former psychiatrist to get away with pretending to be psychic, but she’s not about to let anyone get away with murder…
The outlook is not so good for Cass’s psychic shop, Mystical Musings. With winter winds discouraging tourists from riding the ferry from Long Island to Bay Island, Cass hopes to draw in more customers by hosting a murder mystery weekend, complete with a séance, in a supposedly haunted mansion.
But Cass begins to lose her spirit when her ex-husband shows up, along with his fiancée—Cass’s ex-best friend. Then after one of the guests is found dead, a blizzard blows in, trapping everyone inside with a murderer. Now Cass must divine who did the deed before her reputation and her livelihood fade away. (Goodreads)
Occult and Battery, the second book in the Bay Island Psychic Mystery series, is a better read than the first book, Death at First Sight. With lots of red herrings and a few surprises thrown in, it is engaging and entertaining.
I will be honest, the first book in this series did not impress me, and I was somewhat hesitant to read Occult and Battery, but I am glad that I gave the series another shot. Winter is hard on proprietor Cass Donovan’s Mystic Musings shop located on an island off the coast of New York, and Cass is desperate to generate some revenue to keep her afloat until tourist season. She organizes a whole weekend at a local mansion, which is purported to be haunted, with individual psychic readings and a séance on the agenda. Things go awry when one of the mansion owners is found hanging in the cupola. Did Conrad commit suicide? Was it murder? To make matters worse, a blizzard has blown in, essentially trapping all of the guests at the mansion, and Cass’s cheating ex-husband Donald and his fiancé Sylvia, Cass’s ex BFF, are among the guests. The death count rises, and Cass is in for a bombshell of a revelation.
Cass is a likable character, haunted by the death of one of her psychiatric patients and the betrayal of her husband and best friend. Her baggage makes her more realistic and endearing. As readers, we never really know if Cass has some psychic abilities or if her training as a psychiatrist just makes her better able to read and evaluate people. This ambiguity bothered me in the first book, but here I decided to just go with it. Cass’s best friends Bee and Stephanie embody loyalty, and the three of them make a good investigative team. Their banter is a highlight of the book. Cass’s puppy Beast provides a lot of levity to the story, but I sure hope Cass trains him (and learns how to be a dog owner) in the next book. Stephanie’s husband Tank, the threesome’s police connection, grounds the investigation and makes it all more believable. We do not see much of Cass’s love interest Luke in this outing, and I cannot help but wonder how much longer he will be in Cass’s life.
The murder mystery is solid with plenty of plot twists and red herrings. Gregory does a good job of giving us a variety of suspects, and the blizzard gives the story a “closed room” feel that should please any fan of the golden age of mystery. I suspected whodunit relatively early on, and was partially correct, but I was pleasantly surprised by the plot developments. Really, I was blown away by the final revelations.
I liked Occult and Battery and recommend it to fans of both paranormal and traditional cozies.
Santa’s Scrooge By: Cassandra Logan ASIN: B018BRMYPW Author’s Website: http://cassandralogan.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
In a world where Santa’s Naughty and Nice list is open to the public, every word and action is carefully calculated. Unwilling to live under such pressure, a group of people dubbed “Scrooges” are the only ones prepared to say and do what they want, regardless of the Christmas day result.
Disenfranchised with the world, Noel lives the life of a Scrooge. Shunned by society and only acknowledged when her services as an Aspersion Specialist are needed, she yearns for a life that no longer exists.
Kris, known to most as Santa Claus, is on a mission. It’s been one hundred years since he last ventured out into normal society, but a startling new trend is beginning to emerge on the Naughty and Nice list and he wants answers.
Kris needs Noel’s help putting the pieces together, but his presence is also showing Noel exactly what she’s been missing. Will they be able to help each other or will their differences be too great?
An enjoyable, fast paced novella with Kris (aka Santa) trying to figure out what happened over the last 100 years. When last he was around, his Naughty and Nice list was displayed for the public to see on the Internet. Unfortunately, this public display of the Naughty and Nice list did not go as planned and now Santa needs to fix this.
Noel is a “Scrooge” – a person that does not care about the Naughty and Nice list. She lives by her rules. While performing the duties of her job as an Aspersion Specialist, Noel runs in to Kris. She is quickly compelled to help Kris with his desire to learn what has been happening as a result of his prior actions (of course, at this time Noel does not really know who Kris is)….
Part of the agreement was that if Noel helped Kris, he would clean her bathroom. I loved Noel’s reaction to the clean bedroom and bathroom that Kris cleaned (all in about 10 minutes :☺).
“Walking out of the bedroom and into the living room, Kris smiled at the scowl on her face. He knew it was wrong but pissing her off was fun. Watching how cute she was as she muttered under her breath and the way her cheeks were flushed. He was attracted to her.”
As I read through this fast paced novella, I was filled with the spirit of Christmas and what I feel it should mean. An uplifting and funny novella which I highly recommend....more
Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.
Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.
But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?
Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.
Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.
And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?
In true Kinsella fashion My Not So Perfect Life is a delightful read. Katie Brenner (aka ‘Cat’) is a rural born gal (from Somerset – Anster Farms to be exact) trying to make it big in London. Katie has landed a job with Cooper Clemmow, a branding and strategy agency. She is in fact trying to re-brand herself as ‘Cat’ – a sophisticated version of herself with a new London name.
I loved Katie’s description of her commute (including the panini incident, which brought out a hearty chuckle):
“Commuting in London is basically warfare. It’s a constant campaign of claiming territory; inching forward; never relaxing for a moment. Because if you do, someone will step past you. Or step on you.”
“We’re so tightly wedged that she’s holding her panini about three inches away from my face……. Aargh! I shriek as the train jolts and I’m thrown violently forward. The girl has been thrown too, and her hand shoots up toward my face and before I know it, my open mouth has landed on the end of her panini.”
“Living in London is something that people all over the world would love to do, and now I’m here. And that’s why I don’t care if my commute is the journey from hell and I don’t care if my bedroom is about three-foot square. I’m here.”
Okay…enough about the commute 😊. I found in the beginning that Cat was not very multi dimensional but really just superficial. However, my opinion changed for the better when her circumstances changed. Working with the most perfect boss and the boss from he**, Demeter, has been a great learning experience for Cat. Demeter knows her stuff and Cat is sopping up the knowledge as fast as possible, but really, why can’t Demeter remember her name? Especially when she sacks Cat?
So what’s a girl to do when the proverbial shi* hits the fan? Goes home to re-group. Back in Somerset, Katie does not tell her family anything. Her father is a hoot. Always trying new money making schemes…that do not work. His latest idea is to set up a camp ground on the farmland. With the expert help of Katie for branding the idea, their ‘glamping’ (glamorous camping) business becomes a big hit. Finally, it looks like one of dad’s money making ideas might work? That is to be seen.
The part that really was entertaining was when Demeter books a week at the farm for glamping with her family. Then Katie must come face to face with the woman who fired her without letting her dad and step mother know. All I can say is…. hilarious with a side of mud (you will understand once you read the book). Revenge was never so sweet, until Katie makes the effort to actually get to know Demeter a bit better and vice versa.
The romantic love story was very well played, a bit understated so as to not take away from Katie’s “life” struggles. A bit of a surprise was the subterfuge that occurred in the office. I like how it just snuck up on me – catching me off guard.
All in all, a fun, charming read. A bit of romance, self discovery, office politics and some general silliness. As usual, Sophie Kinsella does not disappoint with an entertaining story.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
Aiden’s Charit Breeds, Book #12 Wolf Breeds #4 By Lora Leigh ISBN# 9781419954467 Author’s Website: http://www.loraleigh.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Aiden didn’t want to go back to get Charity. She had betrayed him in the labs, the only person that could get past his steely sexual control and actually evoked a reaction from him. The scientists had believed him to be impotent until Charity proved otherwise. Afterwards, he couldn’t control the gripping need for her and did all the depraved scientists had wanted. It didn’t matter that Charity did it to save his life, he vowed vengeance from then on. Now the psychic winged breeds claim she’s his mate, the one that can save the wolf breeds, the first that will be able to have a child (his child) and continue their race. But Aiden can’t accept a mating with a woman he despises with his every breath. However, his pack won out and he saved Charity, who was dying in the jungle, in her attempt to escape the labs. The horrors and tests they had put her through were unthinkable. The Council thinks they have finally figured out how to breed the Breeds and she was their Guinea pig. They won’t let all the research and effort they’ve put into it go to waste. They will come for her, and it will be his job to protect her.
This was another great steamy read in the Breeds series. I must say that Leigh has really improved her characters. I loved Aiden! He seemed so harsh at the end of the previous book, Jacob’s Faith, and I for sure thought he was going to be a total jerk, but surprisingly he wasn’t! He was so sweet and tender with his mate, even when he was in denial. When it came time for him to assert his dominance over her and complete their mating, he couldn’t have done it in a more understanding, gentle, and caring way. And, I adored how protective he was of her, even if the good doctor and his pack mates did not agree with me!
This book ended with an unlikely alliance being formed and a nice segue into the next book. Poor Hawke appears to have an uphill battle on his hands to protect his mate from the pack and Breed Law. But I have no doubt he will keep her safe!
Of Books and Bagpipes Scottish Bookshop Mystery, Book #2 By Paige Shelton ISBN: 9781466861220 Author Website: paigeshelton.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Delaney Nichols has settled so comfortably into her new life in Edinburgh that she truly feels it’s become more home than her once beloved Kansas. Her job at the Cracked Spine, a bookshop that specializes in rare manuscripts as well as other sundry valuable historical objects, is everything she had dreamed, with her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, entrusting her more and more with bigger jobs. Her latest task includes a trip to Castle Doune, a castle not far out of Edinburgh, to retrieve a hard-to-find edition of an old Scottish comic, an “Oor Wullie,” in a cloak and dagger transaction that Edwin has orchestrated.
While taking in the sights of the distant Highlands from the castle’s ramparts, Delaney is startled when she spots a sandal-clad foot at the other end of the roof. Unfortunately, the foot’s owner is very much dead and, based on the William Wallace costume he’s wearing, perfectly matches the description of the man who was supposed to bring the Oor Wullie. As Delaney rushes to call off some approaching tourists and find the police, she comes across the Oor Wullie, its pages torn and fluttering around a side wall of the castle. Instinct tells her to take the pages and hide them under her jacket. It’s not until she returns to the Cracked Spine that she realizes just how complicated this story is and endeavors to untangle the tricky plot of why someone wanted this man dead, all before getting herself booked for murder. (from Goodreads)
How exciting to be in Edinburgh, Scotland again, visiting Delaney in her new home across the pond! One of the armchair travels I enjoyed the most in 2016 began when Delaney read the ad for The Cracked Spine bookstore, left her Kansas home for a new adventure in Scotland. Paige Shelton has done beautifully at introducing her readers to the beauty of the land, the quaint architecture, and the uniquely welcoming folks.
The owner of The Cracked Spine, Edwin MacAlister, and his staff Hamlet and Rosie are like family to Delaney now, as are Elias and his wife Aggie, her landlords. Edwin sounds like the ideal boss in every way, especially as he trusts Delaney more and more to research and assist with the unique books and antiquities. At least until she began to learn the bits and pieces of some of Edwin’s secrets from several decades earlier.
Delaney, with the companionship and taxi of Elias, her landlord, went to a castle to pick up a vintage, collectible comic book from the son of an old friend who would be dressed as William Wallace, the character from Scottish history that he reenacted. The castle was not a popular destination in the way that many others were, and they didn’t see anyone at all, much less who she was to meet. When she did finally meet the man they were to see, she found him, dead, on a stairway. On her way to the parking lot to head off visitors, Delaney found the heavy, 2-year annual edition of ‘Oor Wullie’ and took it for Edwin.
Discovering how the young man died, why, and at whose hand leads Delaney through neighboring towns and countryside. Some people she met were friends or acquaintances of the young man and some who are life-long friends or acquaintances of Edwin. In the case of the young man, he was the son of a friend who died in a fire two years earlier. It is a sweeping ‘investigation’ as Edwin grieves the young man and past events, unable to be of help to Delaney. Past and present meet across social classes and various walks of life. The more she learns, the more pieces there are of a puzzle in which someone has kept the picture on the lid hidden from sight.
It is interesting to me to learn more about Scotland and her history. For one, I was unaware of the deep reverence that many Scots feel for their land and its history; it is hard to fathom living in a country whose history goes back many, many centuries. I was also surprised to learn that there was typically little snowfall in Edinburgh. The author brings history to life through Delaney, for example when she ponders what it was like to live in the stark differences the castles of 13th century Scotland.
What Delaney calls her ‘bookish voices’ are also fascinating, especially when she allows them to help her determine the correct course of action. I wonder if those voices are more helpful or less helpful to her as she works in such an intriguing bookstore and historic land. I enjoy seeing Delaney’s research of various items and situations. It is amazing to me, who had a much more liberal reading structure in high school, that this young woman is not only so well-read, but also has an excellent memory of the books, plays, and poetry. Delaney’s loyalty to Edwin, her co-workers, and friends is exemplary, and it is delightful to see her and Tom get to know each other better.
There are many plot twists, at least one or two resulting in red herrings and some with solid, helpful leads. I love the complexity of the mystery and depth of the primary characters. The pace is steady overall, interspersed with action-packed scenes until a certain point in which the action escalates to non-stop. I was very surprised to find out who the real bad guy/ gal was, which is the way I like mysteries. The ending is very satisfactory and I am already looking forward to the next visit to Scotland. I highly recommend this to cozy mystery lovers with an appreciation for Scotland, bookstores, and incredibly well-written stories....more
Hidden Away KGI, Book #3 By Maya Banks ISBN# 9780425240175 Author’s Website: http://mayabanks.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Garrett Kelly has been frothing at the mouth to take Marcus Lattimer down ever since he betrayed them, killing some of his team, and shooting Garrett in the leg. Now he may finally get his chance. CIA agent Adam Resnick has discovered Lattimer’s weakness, his sister that nobody knew he had. Sarah has just fled to a remote tropical island and Resnick wants Garrett to go keep an eye on her so they can pounce when Lattimer inevitably shows up. Even though Garrett is recovering from a bullet wound and is supposed to be out of commission, this is an assignment that he can’t refuse!
Garrett is immediately taken by Sarah’s beauty, but as he gets to know her one thing is clear, she’s been hurt badly by someone. She is skittish around men and he has to take things slow to gain her trust. Garrett wants nothing more than to hurt the one that hurt her. He learns that one of those men have been dealt with, but there is still an opportunity for him to take care of business.
However, when Lattimer shows up, all the lies Garrett used to gain Sarah’s trust come to light and he very well may lose the one thing he wants above all else.
I have really enjoyed the KGI series up to this point. The Kelly family is protective and loving to those they consider to be theirs. And beings hot and sexy guys never hurt either. But sadly I didn’t find this installment to be as good. It was an extra disappointment considering this is Garrett’s book and I just expected so much more from him.
I knew while reading this that he was digging his own grave with lying to Sarah. I was honestly surprised that he still continued the plan to capture her brother. And, in the end, I was frustrated with Sarah, because I think she forgave Garrett way too easy. Had I been in her shoes and what happened to Marcus happened to my brother, it would be a cold day in hell before I’d ever speak to him again, let alone forgive him and embark on a relationship. So, I find the end of this book rather unbelievable and the book was just unimpressive as a whole. But I’m ever hopeful that the next installment will be back to the kind of story that I have enjoyed in the first two books of this series....more
Firestorm Dark Kings, Book #10 By Donna Grant ISBN# 9781250109538 Author’s Website: http://www.donnagrant.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Archaeologist, Dr. Faith Reynolds has uncovered the biggest find of her life on Fair Isle, a myth come to life. She found an honest to god dragon! It’s drawing a lot of unwanted attention and even her second in command thinks she should tell people it’s a dinosaur, but Faith is too honest to lie about it. They have had people trying to get on their dig site to get a glimpse or even sabotage her dig. But luckily Faith’s friend, Ronnie, is sending someone to help.
Once Con gets wind of a dragon being found on Fair, he quickly dispatches Dimitri to go check it out and to destroy the bones. However, the more time Dimitri spends with Dr. Reynolds and his dragon that was left behind, the harder the idea of destroying it becomes. He is overcome with guilt as this was one of his dragons that was left behind. But when the Dark start killing innocents, Dimitri knows they have to leave. They move the dragon to Dreagan to uncover the answers they seek. But the dragon isn’t the only thing that they end up taking with them.
I have to face the facts, I’ve fallen out of love with this world. I find all the books too similar (and the same boring reveal about the Dragon Kings in every book drives me insane) and I’ve just become bored with the storyline. It takes me forever to read them because the books are just too easy to put down. This breaks my heart in a way because I know that Grant can write some amazing books, but I’m just not feelings these. She also has a spin-off series, the Reapers, I’d like to try out, but they take place in the same world and I’m just really worried it will be more of the same tedium.
I found the characters in this book to be the same as all the others in the series, nothing really stood out about them and I know I won’t be able to remember anything all that special about them when I go on to the next book and they will just blend in with most of the others. At this point I just can’t wait for the confrontation between Ulrik and Con to happen so this series can be put to rest once and for all. I just feel like it needs to be put out of its misery.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
The Last Chance Olive Ranch China Bayles Mystery #25 By Susan Wittig Albert ISBN#9780698190283 Susanalbert.com Aboutthyme.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Max Mantel, the killer McQuaid put away years ago, has busted out of the Huntsville prison and appears to be headed for Pecan Springs. McQuaid knows there’s only one way to stop the vengeful convict–set a trap with himself as bait.
China wants to stay by her husband’s side and keep him from harm. But McQuaid insists that she get out of town and go to the Last Chance Olive Ranch, where she’s agreed to teach a workshop on herbs. When China and her best friend arrive at the ranch, she learns the owner, Maddie Haskell, has her own troubles. She inherited the ranch and olive oil business from the late matriarch, Eliza Butler, but Eliza’s nephew is contesting the will.
While China throws herself into helping Maddie, McQuaid’s plan backfires when Mantel executes a countermove he never saw coming. Now McQuaid’s life is not the only one at stake–and this time may really be his last chance… (Goodreads)
It is hard to believe that The Last Chance Olive Ranch is the twenty-fifth book in the long running China Bayles mystery series, and it remains one of the best cozy series out there. Time spent reading author Susan Wittig Albert’s work is never time wasted.
This time out herbalist/former lawyer China and her ex-police officer husband McQuaid each have their own independent plots. The book successfully alternates between the two stories. The rotating point of view helps keep the suspense going throughout. Interestingly, there is no murder to solve in either story line, yet there is enough uncertainty and anticipation to keep readers interested.
China is all set to go to the Last Chance Olive Ranch with her partner and friend Ruby to teach a weekend class. When McQuaid receives an early morning phone call telling him that a man he helped put on death row has escaped and is systematically killing everyone associated with his downfall, China is prepared to drop everything to stay by his side, but McQuaid insists she leave town in an effort to keep her safe. At the ranch, China is pleasantly surprised to encounter an old flame and his friends, along with the ranch’s new owner Maddie Haskell who is engrossed in an inheritance battle. Things eventually become dangerous for China when there is an attempt to cover up crucial information that could change everything. Meanwhile, McQuaid is facing a battle literally for his life and offers himself as bait. Things take an all too personal turn before the final fight. My only criticism is that both plots feel rushed at the end.
China and the other recurring characters in this series are well developed and deeply nuanced, as one would expect this far into the series. Their everyday lives are realistic and relatable. I like China, especially since she has mellowed a bit with age. McQuaid is equally intriguing, and I particularly like that we get an inside view of how he deals with his past and its repercussions. McQuaid’s ex-wife is an unusual character and over-the-top, as I think she is meant to be, and even after reading what she goes through, I still do not feel sorry for her or like her much. Central to this book is Maddie. Likable enough, she has to be one of the most naïve people out there. I have a hard time believing that she really could not tell when she was being blatantly lied to. I guess this was done to further the plot, but she had me shaking my head more than once.
Long time fans and those new to the world of China Bayles should be pleased with The Last Chance Olive Ranch. I recommend this book to cozy fans who enjoy a heavy dose of suspense.
*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*
After a whirlwind romance, Darby Hayes Grisom married the man of her dreams. Smart, handsome, ambitious-Sean was everything she always thought she wanted. Little did she know that one year later that dream would turn into her worst nightmare. Sean is moody, angry, violent. Violent enough to kill. When Darby realizes she’s pregnant she knows Sean will never let her go.
Attorney Jack Kavanaugh is the only person Darby can trust to help her with her plan to save herself and her baby. But the deeper Jack gets involved in protecting Darby, the deeper the feelings between them become. A complication Darby can’t afford-because her husband is watching their every move and he’ll do anything to get her-and their baby-back. (Goodreads)
When Darby met Sean, she thought that she had met Prince Charming. He was charming, funny, attractive and attentive. Until he wasn’t. Then he became mean, abusive, volatile and a real pyscho. He will do anything to keep Darby with him because he wants her money. When she becomes pregnant, the abuse did not stop, it escalated. When Darby has the baby, she knows that she has to get away from Sean, any way that she can. She comes up with an elaborate plan to do just that. But her plan does not work as well as she thought it would, and she turns to Jack, a lawyer that she picked randomly for help. Jack realizes that Darby is a woman in trouble and he is willing to help her any way that he can. The more time they spend together the more they find they are attracted to each other. But Darby has a lot of baggage and the threat of violence hanging over her head. Can they work together to take the threat to Darby and her baby away and have their happily ever after?
The characters are well rounded and well developed. Darby is a smart tough woman and even though she made a mistake marry her husband, she will do anything to correct that mistake. Jack is a sweet caring man who does not like seeing wrongs done to anyone. And Sean is a vile disgusting person who deserves whatever evil he gets. They were all strong characters and people you could either care about or despise.
The author is very talented in creating suspense with the written word. Through most of the book I was afraid to keep swiping the pages. Afraid because I did not know what would happen next. But I had to keep swiping the page because I had to know what would happen next. I thought about this book even when I was not reading it, wondering and worrying about what would happen to Darby and her baby. I think that is a sign of a really good author when the reader cannot stop thinking about their book.
The author took a very serious social problem and wrote about it in a realistic way. I think that is why this book stuck with me so long after I read it, it was realistic and it could happen in real life (and does happen in real life). Some portions of the book (like Darby’s plan to free herself from Sean) were farfetched but most of the book was true to life.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted romantic suspense. This is the first book in this series and I am looking forward to reading the next book when it is published.
The forests burned, the lakes and rivers dried up, and the oceans swelled.
Then came a plague, and fever spread across the globe. Families died, violence reigned, and man killed man.
Next came WICKED, who were looking for an answer. And then they found the perfect boy.
The boy’s name was Thomas, and Thomas built a maze.
Now there are secrets.
There are lies.
And there are loyalties history could never have foreseen.
This is the story of that boy, Thomas, and how he built a maze that only he could tear down.
All will be revealed. (Goodreads)
The Gladers went through heaven and hell during their time in the maze, throughout the Scorch trials, and then as they ventured themselves back to where it all started, the WICKED headquarters. Thomas never fully trusted WICKED after waking up in the maze without his memories and seeing how they treated his friends. All WICKED wanted was a cure, but in the end, there was no cure to be found.
In Kill Order, the readers got to see how it all started. The sun flares hit earth, and in an attempt to reduce the surviving population, to accommodate the resources left in the world, a deadly virus was released with an unexpected effect. The new survivors were divided between infected and immune. And in another attempt of clearing mistakes, WICKED was formed to gather immune subjects in order to find a cure.
In the final book of The Maze Runner series, we get to see how the maze came into existence and how the Gladers were put in it. Teresa was the only survivor from Kill Order, and a special survivor as well. Now in The Fever Code, Teresa meets Thomas, whom she is paired up with to build the maze, and also meets Minho, Newt, Alby and several of the other characters that were seen in the first three books, only younger.
This book is also narrated from Thomas’ perspective, and the reader learns along with him most of the background story that takes place before the events of the Maze Runner. The reader learns how several of the kids were separated from their parents and taken to WICKED in order to prepare them for the maze. We also get to see more of the people that run WICKED and who were the ones Thomas trusted and didn’t before losing his memories.
One thing I didn’t like was that because the story is from Thomas’ perspective, the readers hardly got more information about Aris, Rachel, Teresa, and the other kids. I still wonder what was going through Aris and Teresa’s mind, and Paige’s. I would have liked for someone to mention where they were sending the kids at the end of Death Cure. I did like that we got to know that Newt had a sister, Sonya, and she was one of the few to survive at the end of Death Cure. I also liked knowing more of some of the WICKED characters that made an appearance in this book that we had only slightly known about from emails that appear throughout the other books.
The ending events do make it clearer as to why Thomas wakes up in the maze without his memories, and even though he doesn’t remember what it was like being part of WICKED and their plans, he still feels he can’t fully trust them. Fever Code was a good book to wrap up the series and finally get to know how it all started. The first book caught my attention instantly when it first came out. The story was fresh and new to me. You had a group of kids in a maze who knew nothing of what was going on, and certainly didn’t expect the disaster outside the maze.
I recommend you read the Maze Runner series if you’re looking for a good dystopian series. I do recommend you read the books before watching the movies, they are slightly different. I’m okay with the Maze Runner movie, but prefer the Scorch Trials book to the movie, very different.