Review: The Girl on the Bridge (McCabe & Savage Thriller #5) by James Hayman


Print Length: 368 pages
Publisher: William Marrow Paperbacks (May 9, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: On a freezing December night, Hannah Reindel leaps to her death from an old railway bridge into the rushing waters of the river below. Yet the real cause of death was trauma suffered twelve years earlier when Hannah was plucked from a crowd of freshman girls at a college fraternity party, drugged, and then viciously assaulted by six members of the college football team.
Those responsible have never faced or feared justice. Until now. A month after Hannah’s death, Joshua Thorne—former Holden College quarterback and now a Wall Street millionaire—is found murdered, his body bound to a bed and brutally mutilated.
When a second attacker dies in mysterious circumstances, detectives Mike McCabe and Maggie Savage know they must find the killer before more of Hannah’s attackers are executed. But they soon realize, these murders may not be simple acts of revenge, but something far more sinister.
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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

For being the fifth book in a series, and not having read any of the prior novels, I had no trouble following along with this one. While I obviously missed a budding relationship between the two leads, there were no confusing references to past cases or anything that made this one FEEL like it was part of a series. 

The characters were the standard run of the mill sort that I have come to expect from these types of novels. There is nothing to really make them stand out from any of the other novels in this genre, but they were likable enough. As for the story itself, there were moments where it felt really flat. Also, was it really necessary to "replay" an entire five pages worth of dialog for another character instead of just having them play it and speak to his reactions? 

Overall, the actual culprit of the crimes was a person that I hadn't considered, and it was just face paced enough that it kept my attention (for the most part, although I did skip areas here and there where it seemed more telling than showing), however, I would read more from this series and this author. 

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                          The Girl on the Bridge is available from Amazon.com

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Review: At Last the Rogue Returns (Avenging Lords #1) by Adele Clee


Print Length: 251 pages
Publisher:  (June 29, 2018)

From Goodreads.com:  A lady discovers that the monster of her nightmares just might be the hero of her dreams.

The lady labels him a devil.

Miss Lydia Lovell is on a quest for justice. For years, Lord Greystone's tenants have suffered at his hands. While he abandoned his estate to rusticate abroad, poverty and illness crippled those who depend upon him. Now Greystone has come home, and Lydia is determined to make him pay.

Greystone returns for revenge.

Having spent five years abroad making his fortune, Miles Oakley returns to England with one goal in mind - to ruin those responsible for his mother's humiliation. The plan is in place. But when a spirited lady accosts him at the manor gates, hurling her ridiculous accusations, he discovers another shocking betrayal.

The course of true love never runs smoothly.

But Lydia has more to worry about than Greystone's tenants. Her brother and his cunning wife want control over her inheritance and are plotting ways to accomplish their goal. And damn Greystone. Lydia cannot fight her attraction to the man she's spent years despising.

When threats of murder and blackmail throw them together, and passion burns with ferocious intensity, Miles and Lydia must overthrow their enemies if they have any hope of surrendering to love.
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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5


This book was.... okay. There were some things that I liked, some things I didn't like, but on the whole, I don't regret using it to pass the time. 

I liked the chemistry between these two characters. I liked the backbone that Lydia first displayed when she rushed to confront Miles about his "wrongdoings". I enjoyed watching the pair as they teased each other, and got to know each other as she took him around his estate introducing him to the tenants, and in most cases, smoothing the way by giving her word that he was not responsible for their misfortune. 

What I didn't like was just how over the top and ridiculous the villains of this story were. Nor did I like how Lydia was stupid enough to put herself in a situation she very nearly didn't escape from. What purpose did it serve? There was just so much going on when it came to who was doing what that it all became a bit muddled for me. 

I also found it a bit hard to swallow when twice Lydia is very nearly raped by different characters, only to be rescued by Miles and then willingly puts herself into sexual situations with him. For someone who claims to know nothing of how sex works, she doesn't seem particularly bothered by the fact that she was almost forced, twice. 

All things considered, I have heard good things about the second book in this series, so I will probably read that at some point. The potential was here for a good story if the author had only toned it down a bit and given us more depth to the characters. 


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                     At Last the Rogue Returns  is available from Amazon.com

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Review: British Bedmate by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland


Print Length: 255 pages
Publisher: Everafter Romance (October 1, 2018)

From Goodreads.com:  
Dear Bridget,
I’m writing this letter because it’s highly doubtful I’ll ever garner the courage to say this to your face.
So, here goes.
We’re totally wrong for each other. You’re the proper single mum with a good head on your shoulders. I’m just the carefree British doctor passing through town and temporarily living in your converted garage until I head back to England.
But here’s the thing… for some bloody reason, I can’t stop thinking about you in very inappropriate ways.
I want you.
The only reason I’m even admitting all of this to you right now is because I don’t believe it’s one-sided. I notice your eyes when you look at me, too. And as crass as I appear when we’re joking around about sex, my attraction to you is not a joke.
So, what’s the purpose of this note? I guess it’s a reminder that we’re adults, that sex is healthy and natural, and that you can find me just through the door past the kitchen. More specifically, it’s to let you know that I’m leaving said door cracked open from now on in case you’d fancy a British bedmate in the middle of the night sometime.
No questions asked.
Think about it.
Or don’t.
Whatever you choose.
It’s doubtful I’ll even end up sliding this letter under your door anyway.
--Simon

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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

DISCLAIMER 1: This book was previously published as Dear Bridget I Want You. Only the title and cover have been changed. All other content remains the same.

This one really didn't work for me, even though it did have its moments. To begin with, both of these characters came across as cringe-worthy - but for different reasons. 

Simon comes across as very immature, crass, creepy, and well let's just I was surprised he wasn't brought up on sexual harassment charges, or at the very least misconduct. For heaven's sake, when Bridget first meets Simon it is as a patient herself. Somehow, during a fishing "accident" she manages to get a fishing hook lodged in her arse. And what does her attending physician say FIRST? 

“So, I hear you want to show me your bum, and I’m not even going to have to buy you some dinner first?”

Seriously? I suppose he could have been going for funny or trying to set her on ease, but to me, it just comes across as highly unprofessional. 

Bridget, I wanted to like her. She's an older (in her thirties) widowed mom of an 8-year-old son. I wanted to relate to her being a widowed mom myself. And for a while I kind of did. But then it seemed like she started allowing more and more slide when it came to Simon, simply because she was attracted to him? Because of his accent? I don't know, but it was annoying.

Did they have chemistry between them? YES. Did they have some pretty awesome sex? Sure seemed like it. But did I buy them falling in love? Not so much. I definitely could see the potential there, especially as Simon slowly started to win her and her son over (in fact my favorite relationship in the whole novel was the friendship Simon developed with her son). But it seemed like they went from strangers - to friends - had sex - and all of a sudden he was willing to give up everything for her and her son? Not just a job back home where he would be closer to his parents and his ailing "nan", but suddenly mister I don't want to settle down or have kids, is talking about having babies and getting married. It seemed too much too soon. 

I'm also not entirely certain what the purpose of the lawsuit being brought against the hospital was. It seemed .... disrespectful to broach that whole thing the way it was done. 

******SPOILER ALERT******

So the woman suing the hospital for malpractice turns out to be the mistress of Bridget's dead husband, and quite possibly the reason he died in the first place. While cheating is something that obviously happens every day, it felt like this was only added to the story to make it okay that Bridget had found a deep connection with Simon. Like she (and we as the reader) was supposed to go oh he was an asshole, then, by all means, Bridget go be happy with someone else. No. That's not how it works. Yes, she should have grieved for him, but speaking as a widow myself IT IS OKAY TO MOVE ON WHEN YOU ARE READY TO DO SO. 

******END SPOILER ALERT******

Overall, it's obvious this story will be a hit with some people, while for others, like myself its something we will say we read, and then move on. 

DISCLAIMER 2: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                              British Bedmate is available from Amazon.com

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Review: Fashion Jungle by Kathy Ireland & Rachel Van Dyken


Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Van Dyken Enterprises Inc & Sandbox LLC (January 28, 2020)

From Goodreads.com:  Four women… Four very different paths. One incredibly cutthroat world.
Welcome to the Jungle.

As America’s sweetheart, Brittany is perceived as the "good girl." The sort to bring her Bible to a photoshoot... only to garner the attention of a most unlikely suitor. Until one mistake irrevocably changes both of their lives forever. Fortunately, both now and then, Brittany has wonderful support systems, including her tribe.

The leader of the tribe and a model who’s fought every battle and obstacle in the industry, Zoe, knows her worth. Until a sex tape scandal rocks her world. She sees no choice but to put her trust in the one man she shouldn’t, to make it all go away and help her succeed. Unfortunately, not only is he mired in New York’s underbelly, he wants repayment... with interest. Namely, her hand in marriage.

Despite her seemingly perfect life, Everlee has problems of her own. Not only has her world-renowned photographer husband been cheating, but it’s actually much worse than that. The things surrounding what he’s done are so dark and dangerous, Everlee’s life may actually be in jeopardy.

And then there's Danica, cold, dead in the ground Danica. Some secrets stay hidden while others are just waiting to be discovered- hers has the power to alter the industry forever.

In the world of the Fashion Jungle, it’s easily eat or be eaten… but, if you make it out alive, you just might have a story to tell - though it will likely be one of secrets, lies, deceit, and loss.

Strap on your stilettos, it's about to get wild.

Based on true stories and events.
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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This was a compelling look into the cut-throat world of fashion and modeling. 

To begin with, I positively adored the fact that while this story was authored by two people, it never felt that way. I couldn't tell you from reading it which chapters (or characters) were written by whom and I like that. I liked that it flowed together into a cohesive story instead of feeling choppy. 

On the flip side, having four different POVs throughout the novel sometimes made it hard to keep track of who had what going on at first, until you got into the flow of the story itself. I will admit that there were a couple of story-lines where the outcome was obvious,  but even though I was right in how they played out, it was still impressive seeing the way the authors chose to get there. 

In closing, this was one of those rare stories that just brought the reader in and kept them glued to the pages just to see what happens next. I would read more from these authors. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                                      Fashion Jungle is available from Amazon.com

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Review: A Cold Trail (Tracy Crosswhite #7) by Robert Dugoni


Print Length: 355 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (February 4, 2020)

From Goodreads.com:  In New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni’s riveting series, Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite returns home to a brutal murder and her haunted past.
The last time homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite was in Cedar Grove, it was to see her sister’s killer put behind bars. Now she’s returned for a respite and the chance to put her life back in order for herself, her attorney husband, Dan, and their new daughter. But tragic memories soon prove impossible to escape.
Dan is drawn into representing a local merchant whose business is jeopardized by the town’s revitalization. And Tracy is urged by the local PD to put her own skills to work on a new case: the brutal murder of a police officer’s wife and local reporter who was investigating a cold-case slaying of a young woman. As Tracy’s and Dan’s cases crisscross, Tracy’s trail becomes dangerous. It’s stirring up her own haunted past and a decades-old conspiracy in Cedar Grove that has erupted in murder. Getting to the truth is all that matters. But what’s Tracy willing to risk as a killer gets closer to her and threatens everyone she loves?
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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Let me begin by saying that although this is number 7 in the series, it is a stand-alone novel. And while there are references made to past books/cases, it isn't done in a way that would be confusing to a first-time reader.

As with all of these books, the characters are robust and complex; while the plot-lines remain multi-faceted. I will say that because the sub-plots of this one were so vastly different, this book did feel more slow-going than the other ones. There were a lot of things that needed to be looked into, and a lot of strings to tug which at times made it easy to set this one aside and come back to it later. I will say that the ending of this story - that pivotal moment where everything comes together was so unexpected that it made up for the slowness of the overall story. 

One of the things that I have noticed in this series, especially where it pertains to Tracy, is that these characters feel real. They have very human reactions to things (unlike in some stories where characters are written off as emotionless, or perfect). In this book, we see Tracy dealing with the challenges of being a new mother - with a career she can't look away from. In fact, we see her almost break down at the thought of leaving her two-month-old daughter with her "daytime mommy" (as the nanny calls herself). This domesticated side of Tracy gives her a vulnerability that wasn't there prior to now, and it was enjoyable to see. 

Overall, I would recommend this story not only to fans of the Tracy Crosswhite series, but those who enjoy well-written thriller novels. I will read more from this author! 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                                      A Cold Trail is available from Amazon.com

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Review: Teach Me by Caitlin Crews


Print Length: 192 pages
Publisher: Harlequin DARE (February 1, 2020)

From Goodreads.com:  Socialite Erika Vanderberg has been planning for this night for months. Years. All so she can finally gain entrance to Berlin’s most exclusive sex club. Erika is here for one person: Dorian Alexander, her brother’s best friend and her secret childhood crush. Only, now her childish crush has been replaced by something hungry, raw and oh-so-wickedly adult. And the moment Erika sees Dorian—his dark eyes intent and focused, that hard body—everything comes crashing into place.

Yes, she’s submissive. And yes, she desperately wants to surrender to Dorian over and over again. Oh yes, please.

But Erika has spent her life pretending to be a spoiled little socialite who pushes everyone away. Submitting to this delicious man and all his heady power won’t change who she is—will it? After one taste, there is already a dark hunger between them…one that threatens to unleash who Erika really is.


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This story was a solid middle of the road for me. It didn't stand out in any meaningful way, but it had an interesting premise and the writing was fluid and engaging.  This can definitely be read in one day (as it only took me a couple of hours to finish), so it's perfect if you're in the mood for something quick and steamy to read. 

I enjoyed the inner conflict that is present within Erika. The way she has to reconcile what she wants, and more importantly who she is, with the image she has presented for so long. The patience that Dorian showed with her as he waited for her to make up her own mind - offering her the option to stay or go, waiting as she had those battles with her inner demons, etc, spoke volumes about his character. The one thing that annoyed me about him, however, was the fact that he went to her estranged brother (even if he was his best friend) about the nature of his feelings towards Erika without telling her first. He seemed pretty darn sure of himself, and that was a slight bit of a turn-off. I would have liked to have seen him be just as unsure of her as she was of him. 

I felt like the final chapter tied things up between them nicely, giving us a small glimpse into their life without going into an overwhelming amount of details. I would read more from this author.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                                       Teach Me is available from Amazon.com

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Review: The Lost Sister (Detective Arla Baker #1) by M.L. Rose


Print Length: 297 pages
Publisher: (September 4, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: For 15 years, Detective Chief Inspector Arla Baker has hunted for Nicole, her lost sister...

Today, a woman lies with her throat slit open in Clapham Common Park. There are three black triangles drawn on her body. DCI Arla Baker is called in to investigate.
Soon there is another body, killed in identical fashion, in the same location.

Arla knows a vicious serial killer is stalking the streets. But what does the killer know about Nicole? For Clapham Common is where Nicole disappeared fifteen years ago. Arla refuses to accept Nicole is dead. She will not rest till she finds her sister.

As another body appears, it’s clear that the killer is hungry for more blood.
And Arla is not the one hunting this crazed psychopath.
Arla is the hunted.

As deep secrets of the past begin to unravel, so does Arla’s grip on reality. It’s not just her career on the line.
It’s her life.
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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This story has the potential to be a gripping best-seller, if only it had a new (or perhaps better), editor. There were a lot of instances where words were misspelled or information not relevant to the case being repeated numerous times while important evidence was only mentioned once - when it applied to both cases they were working on. I'm also not entirely sure what was up with Arla's partner and the fact that he managed to have a key to most every property they needed to get into. 

Arla has made it very hard to like her. Yes, she was a character with a dark past, and internal scars, but the way that she often went off half-cocked to follow "a hunch" was a bit too much for me as a reader. It was understandable why her department was concerned about her and considered her a maverick considering she had an obvious temper and very little tact or subtlety when it came to dealing with important people (even if they were suspects). 

The story itself was very engaging and easy to follow with several surprising twists that I did not see coming. From the wide array of characters (and suspects) that our dogged police had to work through, to the decades-old case of Arla's missing sister, the author managed to perfectly weave these two stories together so that past and present blended together seamlessly. 

Overall, I'm sure this novel will appeal to those who enjoy police procedurals that deal with corruption and are full of surprises. I would read another in this series.

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                                 The Lost Sister is available from Amazon.com

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Review: Seduce Me with Sapphires (The London Jewels Trilogy #2) by Jane Feather


Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Zebra (January 28, 2020)

From Goodreads.com:  A FLAWED CUT...
The Honorable Miss Fenella Grantley has a secret: she’s been taking drama classes and longs to be an actress. Ladies of her standing don’t appear on stage, but Fenella has never been one for society’s rules. She’s quite excited to take on the challenge of reading the leading role in a new play—until she meets the playwright. Toeing the line between infuriating and irresistible, his first impression leaves a lot to be desired...

OR A RARE FIND?
Edward Tremayne, illegitimate son of the Earl of Pendleton, scorned the ton years ago, making his own way in the world, and pursuing his literary gifts on the side. The only thing he misses from his old world is Fenella. Since seeing her at a ball when she was a young debutante, he’s never forgotten her. Now that fate has reunited them, Edward’s determined to make her his leading lady—in every way. But the only thing they see eye to eye on is their intense passion for each other. And it just may take a massive misunderstanding for their love to get on the same precious page...



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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Let me begin by saying that I will most likely be in the minority here with my thoughts on this story. And the things that annoyed me, other people may enjoy or at least be able to overlook. 

What is it lately with novels where the main characters are so ridiculously prickly that they have to fight about everything all of the time?  What happened to stories that were romantic with just an occasional misunderstanding or argument to move the story along?

Edward and Fenella had nothing between them but sex. That was it. The author wanted you to believe that they "challenged" one another, but in reality, their relationship was toxic. And honestly, for a gently bred young woman, even if she did have more radical leanings, she was awful quick to jump into bed with a man she barely knew. 

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me back up a bit. Edward has written a play. A play that he is obviously both proud of, and protective of. And apparently, he's been stalking Fenella long enough that he can't see anyone else being the Rose of his play. Of course, the author doesn't call it stalking, merely that he's always outside of her house, or catching glimpses of her here and there. Either way its creepy. Well, as luck would have it, our Fenella has been taking acting classes with the hopes of being on the stage one day (an occupation that certainly would bring scandal to her family, but I'll get to that later). Edward gets Cedric's acting group to perform his play. And starts yelling at them that they are doing things wrong. Of course, Fenella's Rose is ALL WRONG. 

She goes to his lodgings. Lodgings that his female landlady owns, and yet allows a young, unchaperoned and unmarried lady to go to his rooms alone. Soon, Fenella is lying to her parents, bringing her best friend into her duplicity all so she can spend the night with a man she barely knows, and honestly? It didn't appear she liked him much either. 

In fact, throughout the entire book, they do nothing but have sex and argue. And of course, Edward can't simply let her walk away. Oh no. He must be heard NOW. Things must be settled NOW. He disregards her feelings, he patronizes her at every turn, and what's worse is she puts up with it! Even when she tries to snap back at him, he turns it around so he gets his way in all things. It was ridiculous. At some point I expected them to realize that they were being unfair to each other, and frankly, to grow up. And yet, instead of talking like rational adults, they argued, they went against each other. Fenella does something she thinks will make Edward happy, he yells at her on a very public street and accuses her of doing said thing for her own personal gain. And then wonders why she refuses to speak with him. 

In my opinion, there was nothing to sell this story or this relationship. If 
all of her relationships are this vexing, I'm not sure if I would read more from this author.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                        Seduce Me with Sapphires is available from Amazon.com

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