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Friday, June 26, 2015

My Sister's Grave (The Tracy Crosswhite Series #1) by Robert Dugoni


Print Length:410 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (November 1, 2014)

From Goodreads.com: Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House — a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder — is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers.

When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking. As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past — and open the door to deadly danger.

                              
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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I found this author simply by mistake. I am an avid reviewer with an account on Netgalley, and it was actually book #2 in this series that was recommended to me. However, when I saw that the first was also available, I figured I would request that one first and see if this author would be one that I enjoyed.

And I did. A LOT.

Granted, the first half of this novel was a little slow going, and a little hard to get into (mainly because of the constant bouncing back and forth between present day events and events that had taken place in the past), but there was enough mystery and intricate plot details that it kept me reading. Once I made it into the second half of the story, that's when the real action began, and I couldn't put it down! I found myself staying up later and later promising myself "just one more chapter"... and reading two chapters past that. I HAD to know what was going to happen. I had a pretty concrete idea of who had done it, and of who all was involved, but when I got to the last few chapters? I learned that I was not only WRONG, but it had a surprise ending that I for one never thought possible. There were so many twists and turns that I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the epic conclusion to a well developed, and well planned novel. 

I have already put in a recommendation for the second book, and have to say this author has found a new fan in me! 

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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My Sister's Grave (The Tracy Crosswhite Series #1) is available from Amazon.com

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review: Dark Wine by Beth Tashery Shannon


Print Length: 192pages
Publisher: BearCat Press (February 27, 2015)

From Goodreads.com: Catherine has left her career and friends to accompany her artist husband to Egypt, but his work engrosses him, leaving her rootless and lonely in the mystifying city of Cairo. A chance encounter with a stranger plunges her into a dangerous affair. Passion wars with terror when the man who loves her intensely and tenderly claims his love will kill her.
                              
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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

This was one of those stories that I HAD to read based on the premise alone. It sounded like exactly what I needed to change up the pace on the stories I have been reading. And while the descriptions of Egypt were incredible, and the author's take on vampires was new and refreshing, at the end of the story, I was left with not only more questions than answers, but I also felt as though I had been cheated. 

The character of Geoffrey was definitely different. I thoroughly enjoyed the way he became a vampire as it was not a concept that had been done before, and to be honest, it was something that I could almost imagine happening. He was self-loathing, and definitely a tortured soul, which only added to his character and his overall appeal. 

Catherine however annoyed me. She claimed to be in an "open" marriage, and yet she keeps her meetings with Geoffrey a secret even before the actual affair began. She decides on one thing, and then turns around and does the complete opposite of what she knows she should. And while that is a trait that will appeal to some readers, it wasn't for me. 

Perhaps those things alone aren't enough to rate such a low rating, but I have to admit that the story itself seemed to be too drawn out, with not enough action or story-line to hold my interest for long. It seemed to take forever to build up, and then just as things were getting good - it was over (and the ending - while I can't reveal too much as I don't want to spoil it - left me feeling very confused and depressed). There were also entirely way too many typos for my tastes (which I'm sincerely hoping were corrected before the final edit was released). 

All things considered if you want to read a different kind of vampire story with some amazing details about Egypt, then by all means, give this book a shot. If you're like me however, and don't like feeling depressed at the end of a book (or worse like nothing was resolved), then you might want to skip this one. 

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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Dark Wine is available from Amazon.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Review: Saltwater Cowboys by Dayle Furlong



Print Length: 272 pages
Publisher: Dundurn (March 10, 2015)


From Goodreads.com: In the conservative 1980s, the collapse of the mining industry in Newfoundland caused devastating upheaval for thousands of Maritimers, who lost their independence, community, and homes as joblessness forced them to uproot and start anew. Jack and Angela McCarthy, after years of prosperity in the mining town where their families had lived for generations, find themselves among the "Saltwater Cowboys" — Newfoundland transplants to gold mines of Alberta.

Arriving in the town of Foxville, the McCarthys find themselves resented, bullied, and taken advantage of, along with their fellow Newfoundlanders. But when Jack's best friend, Peter, is swindled out of his savings and resorts to stealing from the mine, he sets a heist in motion that throws both families into chaos.

Inspired by actual events in a small mining town in 1988, this novel tells of the trauma of displacement and the enduring strength of family.

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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5
I was really looking forward to the promise this novel had. I tend to find that novels "inspired by actual events" tend to be really good. 

Sadly, this was not the case here. 

To begin with, I didn't feel any connection whatsoever to any of the characters. They had a definite feel of not being as fully fleshed out as they could have been. More often than not, I found myself simply not caring about any of them. The second major problem I had with this book is that I found it to be very confusing with little flow to the story. In fact it took me a lot longer to finish this novel than it should have due to the fact that I had to keep putting it down and coming back to it. It just did not draw me in, nor did it keep my attention for very long.



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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Saltwater Cowboys is available from Amazon.com

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Review: Hero by Samantha Young


Print Length: 414 pages
Publisher: Penguin Group (February 03, 2015)

From Goodreads.com: The emotional and unforgettable new romance from the New York Times bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series.

Alexa Holland’s father was her hero—until her shocking discovery that she and her mother weren't his only family. Ever since, Alexa has worked to turn her life in a different direction and forge her own identity outside of his terrible secrets. But when she meets a man who’s as damaged by her father’s mistakes as she is, Alexa must help him.

Caine Carraway wants nothing to do with Alexa’s efforts at redemption, but it’s not so easy to push her away. Determined to make her hate him, he brings her to the edge of her patience and waits for her to walk away. But his actions only draw them together and, despite the odds, they begin an intense and explosive affair.

Only Caine knows he can never be the white knight that Alexa has always longed for. And when they're on the precipice of danger, he finds he’ll do anything to protect either one of them from being hurt again…
                              
                                                  *******************

My Rating: 1 star out of 5
I've heard a lot of good things about this author's On Dublin Street series, so when I saw this come across my "must read" list I knew I had to have it. The premise was gripping, and I couldn't wait to read something from an author with such a well known reputation. 

However.... this book left me with mixed feelings, most prevalent of which was disturbed. I was completely hooked on the backstory of these two, both damaged by the same individual and that made me curious to see how their story would play out. As the story began to unravel however, one thing became clear to me - Alexa was a weak minded and pathetic excuse for a female lead. I understand that she carried around a lot of baggage, as did Caine, but that is no reason to allow a man to verbally and emotionally abuse you at every turn. Even when she wanted more, she was terrified to push him fearing that he would leave her, even going so far as to enter into a friends with benefits relationship just to keep him in her life. 

And he was just as bad, banging her brains out one minute, and being a total jerk to her the next. Seriously, I don't care how great a guy is in the bedroom when he is as demeaning and insulting to a person as Caine was to Alexa, he deserves to be kicked repeatedly in his family jewels. 

I read books to escape, whether it be romance, mystery, horror, etc. I go into the book wanting to be entertained and taken to a different world, so when I spend the majority of a story wanting to physically slap the main characters, and becoming increasing aggravated when nothing changes - I just can't give it a high rating no matter how good the plot-line or the author's writing. 

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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Hero is available from Amazon.com

Monday, June 1, 2015

Her Husband's Harlot (Mayhem in Mayfair #1) by Grace Callaway


Print Length: 367 pages
Publisher: Amazon Digital (December 23, 2011)

From Goodreads.com: 
Not Quite a Wife . . .
After a disastrous wedding night, proper Lady Helena Harteford fears for the fate of her new marriage. Disguised as a doxy, she tracks her husband down at a bawdy house to reason with him . . . and instead discovers the thrill of forbidden passion. An innocent ruse turns into a risky deception; how far will this once-wallflower go to win her husband's love?

Unfit to be a Husband . . .

Orphaned at an early age, Nicholas Morgan escapes his violent beginnings to become a successful merchant--only to discover that he is the legitimate heir of the Marquess of Harteford. His transition to the ton is rocky and made rockier when he marries above him. Torn between guilt and lust, he tries to protect his sweet, innocent wife from the demons of his past. But can he safeguard her from his own raging desires?

Caught between Past and Present . . .

When a dangerous nemesis rises from Nicholas' past, husband and wife must work together in order to survive. From the drawing rooms to the stews of Regency London, they find themselves caught in a game of passion and seduction. Will true love prevail? Or is Helena destined to remain . . . Her Husband's Harlot?

WARNING: This book is for mature audiences over the age of 18 due to sexual content and language. 


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My Rating: 5 stars out of 5

This was my first novel by this author, and I am very happy to say that it will not be my last! 

The characters were deeply flawed, but still well-written and even like-able when you didn't want to smack them for not seeing what was right in front of them. Helena was a strong woman, who despite her husband's attempts to push her away at times remained true to her marriage and her love for her husband. Nicholas was a complex enough character having grown up in the stews only to become a successful merchant - a profession that made those of the ton turn their noses down at him even after he was declared the legitimate heir of the Marquess of Harteford - but the horrors that he faced in his childhood were enough to make even the coldest of people feel sympathy for him and his plight. 

This was a story that was honest, and while some readers will not finish it simply due to the sexual content and crude language, what I enjoyed most about this story was that it wasn't just about the sex. There were several different threads all inter-woven together that made this story worth reading. From Helena's desperate attempts to win her husband's affections, to his efforts to keep her safe from his past - the interactions between husband and wife outside of the bedroom, as well as the inclusion of all the secondary characters (who were all three-dimensional in their own rights) and perials (both physical and psychological) would have made for a remarkable story on their own.

I will admit that I do NOT believe that those of you who only read "clean" romances will enjoy this story due to the crass language and sexual content, however I do believe it will appeal to a wide variety of other people. And if you are that put off by graphic sex scenes and vulgar language, but are still interested in the overall plot? You can always skip those scenes and still enjoy a beautifully written story. 



Her Husband's Harlot (Mayhem in Mayfair #1) is available from Amazon.com 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Review: A Kiss for Miss Kingsley by Collette Cameron

Print Length: 48 pages
Publisher: Collette Cameron (December 21, 2014)

From Goodreads.com: Olivia Kingsley didn’t expect to fall in love and receive a secret marriage proposal two weeks into her first Season. However, one dance with Allen Wimpleton, heir to a viscountcy, and her fate is sealed. Or so she thinks until her eccentric and ailing father, unaware of Allen’s proposal, announces he’s moving the family to the Caribbean for a year. Unaware of her father’s ill health, Allen demands she choose—him or her father. 

Heartbroken at his callousness, but thankful he’s revealed his true nature before she married him, Olivia turns her back on their love. The year becomes three, enough time for her broken heart to heal, and after her father dies, Olivia returns to England. Coming face to face with Allen, she realizes she never purged him from her heart and once again the flames of love ignite, but is it too late?

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My Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Forty-eight pages is just not long enough! Seriously, the premise of this story is so promising, that even going into it knowing it was a short story, I don't feel as though the story was fully embraced and played out. There was so much more that the author could have done with this story - she could have played out their first meeting and the subsequent fallout, she could have showed what the pair was up to during their time apart, etc. There could (and in my opinion should) have been more back-story played out rather than just briefly touched on. Also, I feel as though once the characters to reunite - the book moves very rapidly towards its close, leaving me feeling unsatisfied. I wanted to see more from them - more about their wedding, more about their future together. I would also have enjoyed seeing a revenge plot from the other girl who had set her cap on Allen.

All of that being said however, what was there was so wonderfully cute that I enjoyed it very much. The author's writing was vivid, allowing me to clearly picture the people and the scenes as they played out before my eyes. I found her characters to be delightful and well thought out. I will definitely be reading more from this author, and I hope to see more of Allen and Olivia in future stories! 


  A Kiss for Miss Kingsley is available from Amazon.com 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Review: Crown Me (Royals Saga #3) by Geneva Lee


Print Length: 248 pages
Publisher: Westminster Press (February 10, 2015)

From Goodreads.com: 
As the world tried to tear us apart, Alexander fought for me, claiming me as his own. I belong to him—body, heart, and soul. I found strength in his dominance. In his control. In his love.

Still I could always feel it: the darkness creeping toward our joy, threatening to overcome us. But I never imagined it would end like this. I thought I knew what marrying Alexander meant to my life. To my independence. To us.

I was wrong.

Ripped apart by tragedy, fighting for love, Clara and Alexander face their darkest hour in the stunning conclusion to their saga…
 

For readers 18 and up due to mature, erotic scenarios.
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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Finally! I am done with this series, which to be honest hasn't been a favorite one mine as it is one that I probably won't ever read again. I gave Command Me one star, and Conquer Me two stars due to their over abundance of repetitive sex and their overall lack of anything of substance. I did mention with book two that I was starting to see more from the writer, a sub-plot that had the potential to be interesting, and a focus on the main couple that wasn't focused on them copulating like rabbits. I had hope for the third book - albeit a small hope - that it would be everything the first two weren't.

And it was. Sort of. 

As with the previous two books in this series, this book also contained an over abundant amount of sex. And while I once again found myself skipping over the majority of the sex scenes, there didn't seem to be quite as many as there were in the prior books. I did become annoyed with Alexander a few times in this one, the first when he showed up on Clara's "girls only" night proving that even when she asked for time alone he couldn't grant it to her, and the other time was when his behavior went back to how it had been previously - as though the other two books and all of their progress as a couple had been for nothing.  


When they aren't having sex, the book moves at a fairly quick pace. There were a lot of details added to this novel that the first two were severely lacking. The characters each had a full story arc, there was action, there was worry - there was even a moment where I thought for sure something different was going to happen (unfortunately due to spoilers I can't say what that was, but I will say it involved Clara and a hospital). I do feel like there were some questions that were still left unanswered at the end of this, however for the most part I felt satisfied by the majority of events and their outcomes. 

In the end, I enjoyed this book more than the other two, however I'm not sure it was enough to warrant me to continue on with this series (as I read that even though their story has come to an end there will be a fourth book in the overall series). 


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 Crown Me (Royals Saga #3) is available from Amazon.com
 
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