Rory Anderson just cant catch a break. She's living with the stigma her parents left her at the age of two. This, in turn, has the town's Chief of PolRory Anderson just cant catch a break. She's living with the stigma her parents left her at the age of two. This, in turn, has the town's Chief of Police certain that any crime committed in Vista Beach ties back to Rory - especially if it's arson. So, when the body of a well-known socialite is found buried in her garden, Rory is, of course, suspect number one. Then the evidence begins to mount as the murderer continues to try and frame Rory. Will Rory be able to prove that she's innocent even while incriminating evidence shows up in her yard, garage, and car?
So many characters in Fatal Brushstroke fit the bill of potential murdered of Hester Bouquet. For a while, the author almost has the reader convinced that it could, indeed, be Rory. Well placed bottles, notes, and incorrectly set store alarms, plus other things, all point squarely at Rory. As a typical cozy mystery heroine does, Rory doesn't tell the hot investigator, Detective Green, the truth or omits parts of stories - which then come back to bite her in the butt. Rory spends a lot of time trying to get untangled from the situations that she puts herself in by lying. She does a really good job of making things worse.
Hester's son Kevin has the makings of a murderer after family secrets are revealed and he becomes enraged. Kevin's father, and Hester's husband, Julian also fits the bill - he's set to inherit a lot of money with Hester gone - provided that the trust fund goes to him. Plus, he's having no problems erasing Hester from his home and life - rather quickly, too. Trudy has her own secrets that could have lead to the death of Hester. This novel has so many twists and turns that you really don't know who could have killed Hester and framed Rory until almost the very end.
Rory is likable, even if she's a complete idiot sometimes. Let's not just lie to the police once - let's do it repeatedly so that there's no way anyone will believe you're innocent. I really don't think Detective Green got his 10 seconds of fame - he should have been written into the story a little bit more. He's capable and competent, yet I really didn't see a whole lot of detecting on his part. His scenes were short and pretty unexciting. I was not a fan of the Chief of Police. Don't get me wrong, I realize that he has endured years of heartache and pain - that doesn't give him the right to slander the name of a citizen. I loved Liz, Rory's friend, and Arika, Rory's mother. They were unique and added to the story.
The story was a quick and easy read. There wasn't anything confusing or hard to understand. The dialogue between all of the characters was fluid and comfortable. The author does a great job creating a world that grabs the reader and pulls them in, keeping them engaged from start to finish. I really enjoyed Fatal Brushstroke.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review....more
If you haven't read Torrent, Book 1, stop right now. The Condemned Series is not meant to be read out of order. If you want to completely understand RIf you haven't read Torrent, Book 1, stop right now. The Condemned Series is not meant to be read out of order. If you want to completely understand Rampant, Torrent must be read first.
That being said - just as I stated in my review of Torrent - Rampant is all sorts of an f'd up novel. I've found that a lot of my descriptive segments of the Torrent review are fitting for Rampant, as well. If you dare open Rampant (see my disclaimer below) what follows is a dark and twisted tale of abuse. It's a tale sexual in nature and humiliating. Above all, Rampant, just like Torrent, is hard core! It starts tough and ends tough - nothing is woven in to soften the pain.
Rampant continues where Torrent left off: Alex has been kidnapped from Rafe by her step-brother Zach. The abuse she endured at the hands of Zach begins again after a very short reprieve. He's resorting to other methods to get his rocks off, however. Zach's abuse is physical, psychological, emotional, and now he's resorting to drugs to turn Alex into the compliant sex toy that he wants.
Each time Zach beats her, hits her, rapes her, or abuses her in any way he proclaims that he loves her and he'll do whatever it takes to make her love him again, the way she used to. No one knows where she is but Zach and when she's sure she's out of options, Alex follows in the footsteps of her mother. Only, Alex finds that when she's no longer in danger from Zach, she has a much worse enemy at her door - one that knows all about Zach and what he does to her but hides it and turns it all around, making it Alex's fault. The monster at Alex's door should be ashamed of everything that's been allowed to happen and deserves to rot in hell.
Unfortunately, Alex now has to deal with the man she loves having amnesia. After being shot by Zach, Rafe awakens in the hospital with absolutely no memories of the last 8 years. Rafe no longer knows the abuse that Alex has suffered at the hands of Zach, nor does he remember even being sent to prison for Alex's lies. Just when things might have a chance to unravel in his brain, a huge cliffhanger ending stops the momentum.
Content warning - if this isn't your type of genre, I DO NOT recommend that you read it. I'm pretty flexible in what I like to read and Torrent & Rampant almost cross that line. I don't prefer to read about rape or sexual abuse.
Gemma James' writing is fluid and strikingly powerful. Her story is gritty and hardcore and not at all for the faint of heart. The descriptions and emotions evoke responses in the reader - and that's part of what makes any story a great story. I'm still pissed off 24 hours later at everything Alex has endured for so long.
If you decide to jump on this ride, please be seated, put your seatbelt on, and hold on for dear life - what you are about to undertake will continue to rock you to your core. And once you've dipped your toes into the Condemned Series, there's no going back. Even when the characters disgust you to the point of hatred and a cliffhanger ending slams the door in your face - You Will Be Back for the next round. I will be on board for Book 3. I have to know what happens to the main characters!!...more
I'm sorry to say this because I don't want Roz and Colleen to hex me but.....I liked Jenna's story the best. I almost feel like she was the runt of thI'm sorry to say this because I don't want Roz and Colleen to hex me but.....I liked Jenna's story the best. I almost feel like she was the runt of the group who finally blossomed to her full potential in Witch's Rule. She spent a lifetime wondering why she couldn't even perform one of the easiest magical spells. It takes a changeling and a super hot Sidhe seer to finally unravel the knot that has kept Jenna's true abilities at bay.
Jenna's talents explode in just the nick of time as the Irichna, desperate to gain control, move in with their massive battle strike. The Unseelie and the Sidhe finally decide to come together when a traitor to the Sidhe kidnap some very important members of both groups. It's now up to a very disgruntled Unseelie group, the Sidhe, the demon-stalking witches, and the changelings to prevent a takeover.
In the middle of all of the chaos and the impending war, there is a very hot romance budding - between Jenna & Tristan and Jenna & Kiernan. Jenna works so well with both men that choosing may just be her undoing. That is, until Kiernan and Tristan decide that there may be a way to share. Breaking the status quo and perfecting their very only menage may not exactly turn out as the three of them hope.
LOVE THIS BOOK!!
The plot is solid and written well. The characters are very realistic in their qualities and actions. Everything just flows so well that the next thing you know you're at the end wondering how in the heck you managed to read the entire book so quickly. The content is engaging and manages to pull you along in the quest to figure out Jenna's magic, rid the world of the current Irichna threat, and to see if Jenna, like Roz and Colleen, gets her happily-ever-after.
I've really enjoyed The Witch Chronicles by Ann Gimpel. If you're looking for books with great plots, excellent characters, and steamy sex, then look no further. This series is a Must Have!
Content warning: Novel contains mature language and sexual content.
Review copy courtesy of the author, at not cost, in exchange for an honest review....more
Christmas in Dogtown is a short and sweet little Christmas tale about Theresa "Resa" Madere who finally makes it out of her hometown just outside of PChristmas in Dogtown is a short and sweet little Christmas tale about Theresa "Resa" Madere who finally makes it out of her hometown just outside of Paulina, Louisianna. After a significant job loss and the subsequent shallow break-up by her boyfriend, however, she finds that in order to make ends meet she has to answer her Uncle Aim's request for holiday help at the family's successful butcher shop - meaning she has to go back to Dogtown. And her family is still trying to match her up with her childhood friend, Chandler "Chan"Caillou.
Resa doesn't expect to settle back into the familiarity of home and to the warmth of Chan's arms. She knew in her heart that she would only stay in Dogtown for the time needed to help Uncle Aim. When a shocking family secret is revealed, Resa must choose between what has always been her destiny and the home she has in New Orleans.
Unbelievably cute, this romantic short story that has all of the right components and none of the useless filler. The readers get the only backstory needed - Chan and Resa have know each other their entire lives; Resa and Chandler's families span multiple generations in Dogtown. The reader then gets the rest of the details - there is spark and chemistry between Resa and Chandler; Uncle Aim and Chan become ill in families that never get sick; and Dogtown desperately needs Resa.
Ms. Johnson's writing is smooth and fluid. Her characters are genuinely interesting and in no way perfect, adding to their charm. Chan and Resa are likable, easy to relate to, and believable. The short story is engaging, never dull.
Christmas in Dogtown is a wonderful story when you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the upcoming holidays or even from just everyday life. You'll come to the end the story with a smile on your face and love songs in your head. What are you waiting for? Grab your copy now.
Review copy courtesy of the author, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review....more
My first reaction to the name of the series, A Retired Witches Mystery, was "Why on earth would witches want to retire?" You never here of a witch retMy first reaction to the name of the series, A Retired Witches Mystery, was "Why on earth would witches want to retire?" You never here of a witch retiring. Joyce and Jim Lavene's witches, however, are a very different sort. As a witch ages, they lose magical potency. As such, in order to retire gracefully, each witch has to find their replacement to take their place in the coven. That is what Molly, Elsie, and Olivia are attempting to do when a rogue witch shows up and murders Olivia. Now not only do Molly and Elsie have to find their own replacements for the coven, they have to find one for Olivia, and figure out Olivia's killer. Add in a secret that Olivia has harbored for a long while, a demanding ghost, a mundane husband who's also the cop investigating Olivia's murder, and you have a great cozy mystery.
One of the first time's we meet Olivia I was immediately struck with the though that she must be channeling her inner Blanche from The Golden Girls. I love that show. Olivia's character is modeled after her (even if the authors didn't intend that to be the case). After her death, Olivia isn't content to just stay buried, however, and the crazy antics that went on before her death amplify.
Molly, Elsie, and Olivia are fantastic main characters. They are strong and feisty - rebelling against the Council that refuses to take care of the rogue problem. Sure they get into trouble but what cozy mystery main doesn't?! Each witch is written in a way that, although we don't get huge amounts of backstory, the reader will feel like they've know these women for what seems like ever.
The plot is developed nicely with a few twists tossed in to keep the reader guessing. The end of the story felt a bit rushed to me but, ultimately, I didn't see it coming. There are absolutely no giveaway hints that led me to the conclusion brought to us by the Lavene's.
If you're looking for a different kind of witch story then look no further. Spell Booked will keep you engaged with it's humor, wit, and overall unique take on the life cycle of a witch. I will certainly be on board with the next novel in the series.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review....more
Just a few months ago Martha became involved in helping to solve the murder of a newcomer that had just joined her quilting circle. She was enjoying nJust a few months ago Martha became involved in helping to solve the murder of a newcomer that had just joined her quilting circle. She was enjoying not having to look behind her everywhere she went. Then she stumbles upon the battered, and very dead, body of Dax Martin, head coach of the newly constructed eyesore in her neighborhood's backyard - the Joshua Beaumont School. After the police are called, her neighbor, Ed Pappas is taken in for questioning. It seems that Ed and Dax had confrontations previously - very public ones, at that.
Martha knows deep down in her bones that Ed is not the killer but proving it is a difficult undertaking. She doesn't have the support or listening ear of her boyfriend, police officer Arlo Beavers. Martha doesn't let his lack of support deter her, however, and begins her own investigations. Martha's road to the truth is paved with danger that continues to increase the closer she gets to figuring out what's going on.
Her investigations lead her to a protected habitat that has become home to several displaced people. When Martha decides she needs to ask a homeless couple some questions, a plan to get to them also allows for compassion. Her neighborhood gathers much needed blankets and toiletries to distribute to those in need. The heartbreaking part of the story is all too real and an overlooked group within our society. And when spite and fear takes over, the Army Corp of Engineers does the unthinkable.
Martha's budding romance from book 1 takes a nosedive after she inadvertently causes injury to the best friend of her beau. I'm actually glad that things went the way they did with Arlo because I'm a super huge fan of Crusher. Crusher is one of Ed's biker gang friends that takes an instant shine to Martha. His attraction to Martha causes her a tad bit of distress since it was so soon after the incident with Arlo. I really feel that Arlo doesn't deserve Martha if he can do what he did to her in the story and move on to someone else so quickly. I just found Crusher to be a lot more down-to-earth and sincere. He didn't try to control her or tell her what to do and, instead of trying to prevent her from sleuthing, he makes himself available to her as protection. Time will tell what direction Mary Marks takes with Martha's romance.
Knot in My Backyard has the typical heroine - she's absolultely not a crime solver/fighter but makes it her duty to dive in head first whether there's water in the pool or not. Martha Rose puts herself into vary precarious situations and breaks a lot of laws in her quest to exonerate her neighbor. Martha is a very likable character but in real life, her butt would have been put in jail for obstruction, evidence tampering, fugitive harboring, and possibly even trespassing.
Mary sure knows how to tell a story. Her writing style is fluid and smooth and so easy to get lost in. The entire novel is engaging; never a dull moment. Birdie and Lucy play the faithful sidekicks to Martha's superhero, bringing another dimension to the story. They still quilt together, the time in the story used as downtime for Martha - a time to be focused on something other than the murder.
Mary Marks does a wonderful job building up the mystery and not disclosing clues to the identity of the suspects too early. The truth of the situation is revealed at the perfect time, after sending the reader on several wild goose chases. Danger builds as the mystery unfolds - and there are actually several story lines that take place. The murder is just the beginning of a long line of other illegal activity, deception, and undesirable events involving the Joshua Beaumont School and everyone who was involved in its construction.
Best Snarky Line Ever:
Martha to Kaplan (she dislikes him - you'll have to read book 1 to find out why) when he comes knocking on her door ~ "What do you want now?" I demanded. "Pappas. He's not at home. Do you know where he is?" "Yes. He's in a cheap motel making love to your mother." Pg. 220 Copyright Mary Marks/Kensington Publishing.
Another excellent addition to the Quilting Mystery series! (I think I liked Book 2 better than Book 1). :-)
ARC review copy courtesy of the publisher, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review....more