Review: The Scent of Murder (Jazz Ramsey #1) by Kylie Logan



Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books (May 7, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: The way Jazz Ramsey figures it, life is pretty good. She’s thirty-five years old and owns her own home in one of Cleveland’s most diverse, artsy, and interesting neighborhoods. She has a job she likes as an administrative assistant at an all-girls school, and a volunteer interest she’s passionate about—Jazz is a cadaver dog handler.

Jazz is working with Luther, a cadaver dog in training. Luther is still learning cadaver work, so Jazz is putting him through his paces at an abandoned building that will soon be turned into pricey condos. When Luther signals a find, Jazz is stunned to see the body of a young woman who is dressed in black and wearing the kind of make-up and jewelry that Jazz used to see on the Goth kids back in high school.

She’s even more shocked when she realizes that beneath the tattoos and the piercings and all that pale make up is a familiar face.

The lead detective on the case is an old lover, and the murdered woman is an old student. Jazz finds herself sucked into the case, obsessed with learning the truth.

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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

I feel like the synopsis of this book is deliberately misleading in order to entice people to read it. So let me sort through the two main points that I had an issue with to keep other people from going into this story unprepared. 

TRUE. Jazz is a cadaver dog handler. In fact the story opens with (as promised) her putting a dog in training through his paces. However, this dog (and the mentions of her prior dog) are merely background noise. Used when handy to explain how she finds a body, used to explain why her relationship with her ex failed. Used now and then as filler for the story, and then forgotten.

FALSE. Jazz finds herself sucked into the case. Sure, she finds the body. And yes, it was a former student in the school where she works as an administrative assistant. But absolutely no one told Jazz to start poking her nose into a police investigation. And that is exactly what she does. She does around questioning people, questioning potential suspects, and all the while withholding this information from the actual police. Even when she seemingly finds information that could lead to who the killer is, she still keeps it to herself. 

And therein lies my biggest issue with this story. Had she been a police officer herself? This story would have been much better. Everything else could have stayed the same. She could have known the victim through her friend (who was an art teacher at the same school). She could have dated the lead investigator privately. Heck she could have even trained cadaver dogs. But at the end of the day there is no reason she should have been running around interviewing people (and potential suspects at that) just because she wanted closure. It simply doesn't work like that. And not only should the people she was questioning refused to talk to her, but she should have been arrested for interfering with a police investigation. I will say the twist at the end was enjoyable, but even that couldn't overshadow the rest.

Overall, as capable as this writer may be, I doubt very much I will be continuing on with this series, however I may give this author another shot.

DISCLAIMERI 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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                                    Scent of Murder is available from Amazon.com

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Review: Dearly Devoted Dexter (Dexter #2) by Jeff Lindsay



Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Vintage Books (July 19, 2005)

From Goodreads.com: Life’s tough for Dexter Morgan. It’s not easy being the world’s only serial killer with a conscience, especially when you work for the Miami police. To avoid suspicion, Dexter’s had to slip deep into his disguise: spending time with his girlfriend and her kids, slowly becoming the world’s first serial killing couch potato.
Then a particularly nasty psychopath starts cutting a trail through Miami — a killer whose twisted techniques leave even Dexter speechless. When his sister Deborah, a tough-as-nails cop, is drawn into the case, it becomes clear that Dexter will have to do come out of hiding and hunt the monster down. Unless, of course, the killer finds him first. . .
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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

There are several pros and cons to the second installation of the Dexter series. Since I like to end on a positive note whenever possible I will start with the things that I didn't enjoy about this story. 

What the hell happened to the killer from book number one? Given the big reveal and the very anti-climatic way that book ended I had expected there to be at least some mention of him. He killed a police officer. I would have thought at the absolute very least, the rest of the department would be looking for him. But no. It's like he really was just a figment of Dexter's imagination. I also still don't feel like we have gotten to know the characters on a deep level. They still feel like pale imitations of what they could be. And the fact that Dexter allows himself to so neatly be trapped into becoming engaged to Rita? I understand him needing her to appear normal, but how does she not realize on some level that he's faking it? I'm also not sure how I feel about the books revelation about Cody and Astor. I'm having a very hard time with them. 

On the flip side of things, this one was much better paced and just gruesome enough that it held my attention and kept me reading. I know how awful that sounds, but I've been binge reading a lot of historical and contemporary romance as of late, so this was a perfect way to "cleanse the palate" so to speak. 

Two books down. And because I got them all at once, two down, six more to go. Wish me luck! 


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                           Dearly Devoted Dexter is available from Amazon.com


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Review: Their Final Moments by Jane Adams


Print Length: 353 pages
Publisher: Joffee Books (May 3, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: HE WANTS TO CAPTURE THEIR FINAL MOMENTS ON FILM SO HE CAN WATCH THEM AGAIN AND AGAIN

DECEMBER: Detective Mike Croft is in pursuit of a serial attacker whose victims are all young blonde women. But forensics on the victims reveals an even more horrific scenario. Many miles away, in Wiltshire, a young woman dies in a burning car. In Norwich, an actress is found dead in her own home and a teenage boy runs away from a past he doesn’t know how to face. Can DI Mike Croft work out what links these events? Then a greater threat emerges. 


JAKE BOWEN: filmmaker and serial murderer. There is no pattern to his victims. He doesn’t care who dies, so long as their final moments make good film, and Jake is very imaginative in deciding how his victims will die.

MIKE CROFT FACES A RACE AGAINST TIME TO STOP A KILLER. BUT THEN THE KILLER COMES FOR HIM.

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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

I can already tell from the number of four and five star review given that I will be in the minority with this one. However, I found Their Final Moments to be excruciatingly long winded. There were too many characters to the point it felt overloaded and confusing, especially as the story shifted between different people throughout the book.

And somehow, even despite that it managed to be boring plot wise. The first half of the book is two different departments investigating two entirely different cases that have little to do with each other (just a minor overlap of secondary characters), and included pages upon pages having to deal with characters that had nothing to do with the overall story and who in fact disappeared entirely before the second half.

Also for the record, even though I know this will be considered a spoiler, but I feel it needs to be said as a possible trigger to some people. He's not making the films so he can re-watch them and remember them. He's making them because he sells them. That's right he makes and sells snuff films. And that right there was enough to be a huge turn off as well. 

DISCLAIMERI 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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                                   Next Girl to Die is available from Amazon.com

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Review: Tick Tock (DS Grace Allendale #2) by Mel Sherratt





Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Avon (April 4, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: In the city of Stoke, a teenage girl is murdered in the middle of the day, her lifeless body abandoned in a field behind her school.
TOCK…
Two days later, a young mother is abducted. She’s discovered strangled and dumped in a local park.
TIME’S UP…
DS Grace Allendale and her team are brought in to investigate, but with a bold killer, no leads and nothing to connect the victims, the case seems hopeless. It’s only when a third woman is targeted that a sinister pattern emerges. A dangerous mind is behind these attacks, and Grace realises that the clock is ticking…
Can they catch the killer before another young woman dies?


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This book was just the right amount of murder, police work, and intrigue that I started off enjoying it immensely. However, the ending just killed it. There was really no reason to explain how the killer was able to manipulate people the way that they did. It felt like there had been this huge thing building up throughout the book that the ending felt felt anti-climatic. Even the why of it didn't feel like it was explained successfully. Looking back, I am also a little confused about the first chapter (its sort of a prologue if you will). Considering, I would have thought considering that the jump would have been obvious and they would get their first lead sooner rather than half-way through. 

I also found that sometimes the story jumped points of view from Grace to the killer, and those occasionally weren't obvious at first. In fact there was one scene that I had to re-read and had actually marked as not making sense due to something that was said when I realized it made perfect sense coming from the killer. 

All things considered, I do see a lot of potential in this author and this series, so I would give this author another chance. 

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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                                  Tick Tock is available from Amazon.com

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Review: His Convenient Royal Bride by Cara Colter


Print Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Romance (May 1,2019)

From Goodreads.com: From small-town waitress… 

To royal bride!

Since leaving her cheating fiancĂ©, sensible Maddie Nelson is back waiting tables in her hometown. When a gorgeous stranger needs a guide for a few days, she decides to throw caution to the wind, never expecting him to be Prince Edward Alexander of Havenhurst. And he’s in need of a convenient wife! Now Maddie must decide if their powerful connection is enough for her to swap her cafĂ©…for a crown!


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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

This is one of those stories where people are either going to love it, or hate it. It was a cute story-line, after all who doesn't a love a small town girl to Princess love story? It was also a quick read, the kind that is perfect for the beach or a rainy day. 

However, for me at least, this story just didn't work. It was an okay enough read when it was just Ward and Maddie getting to know each other. But when they became husband and wife is when the story started falling apart. They went into their marriage thinking of it more in terms of a business arrangement - but then sparks fly when they kiss. Believable sure. 

What isn't believable is when Prince Edward begins to ignore and avoid her causing Maddie to throw herself into re-decorating their castle apartments (the ones the staff has suddenly been banned from because that's not suspicious or all). They have little to no interaction, and when they do he's cold to her. There is no chance for their relationship to develop. In fact, I stopped even seeing any chemistry between them when they did talk. 

So of course when suddenly they start sleeping together we are lead to believe that they have fallen in love. When I still don't buy that they even really know each other. A little drama occurs, the make up and ride off into the sunset. 

As I said, it will work for a lot of people. And a lot of people will love this story. I just wish there was more depth to it. More to the characters, and definitely more to their story. I would however give this author another chance. 

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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                      His Convenient Royal Bride is available from Amazon.com


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Review: One Night for Seduction (Wicked Dukes Club #1) by Erica Ridley


Print Length: 204 pages
Publisher: Web Motion (April 16, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: When the Wicked Duke dares the Duke of Colehaven to find a suitor for an unmanageable ward, Cole immediately accepts. He's on a winning streak, and besides, how unmarriageable can a pretty young lady be? He appoints himself bodyguard and duenna, only to discover his own desires may be the greatest danger of all.

Supposed wallflower Diana Middleton lives a double life, bringing dishonest businessmen to justice. Shaking off a meddling duke should be child's play. Yet the more they lock horns, the more she wants to lock lips. Her scandalous secrets would derail his political career. But surely there’s no harm in one little seduction…


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

At first I liked this book. I love strong, independent women who don't conform to the rules society tries to put upon them. Even though I was a little confused about what and how exactly Diana was doing her "inspections", I was refreshed by the fact that she was trying to make a difference in people's lives. I was even endeared to Cole, the humble Duke who has worked hard to prove himself worthy of the title and of chairing committees in the House of Lords. Even their first meeting was much different from the standard presentation in historical romances. I thought to myself finally. I have finally found the book that is going to break my unfortunate three star or lower streak.

And yet. I was wrong. *sigh*

While its admirable that Diana cares so much about people being wronged, she just is not all that intelligent when it comes to the bigger picture. She becomes so focused on herself - her independence as a spinster, her defending the common folk against a perceived wrong - that even when a golden opportunity is presented to her she can't see it for anything other than a man trying to control her. The back and forth between them on the subject of marriage became so tiresome that I almost wished he would tell her to go to hell and marry someone else just for spite. After all, a man has his pride too right? 

I am however, a fan of this author's work. So while this one didn't gel for me the way I would have liked it to, I know there will be those that love this story and these characters. I will also not let this bump deter me from reading more from this author or in this series. 

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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                             One Night for Seduction is available from Amazon.com

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Review: The Earl's Countess of Convenience by Marguerite Kaye


Print Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Historical (May 1, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: A countess in name only…

…tempted by a night with her husband!

Part of Penniless Brides of Convenience: Eloise Brannagh has witnessed firsthand the damage unruly passion can cause. Yet she craves freedom, so a convenient marriage to the Earl of Fearnoch seems the perfect solution! Except Alexander Sinclair is more handsome, more intriguing, more everything than Eloise anticipated. She’s set her own rules for their marriage, but her irresistible husband might just tempt her to break them!

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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I hate it when authors do this. When they take characters with amazing chemistry, have them fall in love despite the fact that they were both at the onset found the idea of marriage objectionable, and then forget to have them communicate! It does not add drama to your story, all it does is aggravate the reader! *deep breath* Ok, so its likely I'm in the majority with that opinion as I know there are plenty of people out there who do enjoy just the exact thing I have spoken about, and for them, this story will likely be a four or five star read. 

I can't say I don't understand why Alexander won't reveal what he truly is - he can't. But the fact that these two repeatedly show they have feelings for each other, just to then argue, insist that its not true or its somehow wrong, its tiresome. I expected his cousin to be more of a threat than he was as well - it seemed as though he just accepted things at face value without doing any research of his own. I would have been much more interested had he tried to prove their marriage was false. But no, its just round and round these two characters go. Even when they finally do get their happily-ever-after, I just rolled my eyes. 

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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                The Earl's Countess of Convenience is available from Amazon.com

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Review: Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Dexter, #1) by Jeff Lindsay



Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Vintage Books (June 28, 2005)

From Goodreads.com: Meet Dexter Morgan, a polite wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s handsome and charming, but something in his past has made him abide by a different set of rules. He’s a serial killer whose one golden rule makes him immensely likeable: he only kills bad people. And his job as a blood splatter expert for the Miami police department puts him in the perfect position to identify his victims. But when a series of brutal murders bearing a striking similarity to his own style start turning up, Dexter is caught between being flattered and being frightened–of himself or some other fiend.
         
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My Rating: 1 star out of 5

I remember reading this book sometime before the show premiered, so when I found the entire set for kindle, I was super excited.

Unfortunately, after reading this one, I can't remember what I first enjoyed about it. Perhaps its just that I have grown as a reader and the things that once appealed to me no longer do. This time around, I found the story to really be rather juvenile. The characters are all exceedingly one-dimensional (especially the characters of Deborah Morgan and Detectice LaGurta - honestly I wondered who tied their shoelaces for them). And then we have dear, demented Dexter. 

Gone was the suave anti-hero that I remembered. The serial killer with a code. Time and again we are subjected to his inner musing (mostly being reminded about how he is incapable of human emotions, and how much smarter he is than everyone else, which considering his coworkers doesn't take much). 

Even the killings were not as I remembered, overshadowed by too much "telling" and not enough "showing". On the whole, the entire thing felt rushed and more than a little choppy. 

I will continue with the rest of the series, just so I can see how it differs from what I remember of the show. Hopefully it improves and I find that spark again.


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                          Darkly Dreaming Dexter is available from Amazon.com

   
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