Saturday, May 28, 2016

Review: Gifting the Billionaire Boxed Set by Sophie Stern


Print Length: 92 pages
Published: December 24, 2014

From Goodreads.com: Ellie has been married to billionaire Zack Carson for almost a year when she realizes that she doesn't know what to get him for their anniversary. Fortunately, her best friend, Kim, offers up more than one way Ellie can keep Zack on his toes. 

Enjoy this 3-book bundle by erotic romance writer Sophie Stern and follow Ellie and Zack on their erotic adventures.
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My Rating: 1 star out of 5

Let me begin by saying that I thankfully managed to catch this while it was a kindle freebie. Because there is no way I would pay $3.99 for only 92 pages. Especially when it is listed as a "boxed set". 

Now this novel is straight smut. There is no plot. There is no character development. There is nothing but straight sex. And if that is your cup of tea, then you will enjoy this. However, I need more with my erotica. Now if the scenes included in this "boxed set" were parts of a whole - I may have been more interested. On the plus side, it took me less than an hour to finish it all. 


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Gifting the Billionaire Boxed Set is available from Amazon.com

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Review: Rite of Wrongs by Mica Stone


Print Length: 360 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (May 24, 2016)

From Goodreads.com: Honor thy father and thy mother.

Stress is a constant in Detective Miriam Rome’s life due to her heavy caseload. Now she’s facing an especially gruesome crime: a pediatrician’s wife has been brutally murdered, and a Bible verse written in her blood is found at the scene. As the tranquil city of Union Park, Texas, is left reeling, Detective Rome pursues every possible lead in her search for the murderer.

When a second slaying—and second bloody quote—seems to confirm that a serial killer is at large, Rome is forced to turn to her former partner for his particular insight. Father Augustine Treece had walked away from police work, but now Rome’s request has drawn him back into the grisly world he thought he’d left behind.

Working to stay ahead of the murders, Detective Rome and Father Treece must forgive their past to protect the next victim…a task that tests Rome’s limits when the killer hits too close to home.



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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is the first novel I've read by this novel (under her real name anyway - I'm not sure what her pseudonym names are) - however it will certainly NOT be my last!  

This was one of those stories that not only started off strong, but managed to keep that steam going all of the way until the end. Added to it - the main character is so involved in her work that it interferes with her personal life (which I would think would be the case for people as involved in homicide cases as this character is). That aspect was probably one of the ones I enjoyed most about this story - that Miriam wasn't the kind of person to come home to a functional life. She lived and breathed her work, and of course that would take its toll on anyone. Added to that, she seems to be the "black sheep" of her family while her siblings and mother come across as flighty and self-centered. 

As for the murder aspect - I felt that this story approached it in a way that ended up making sense. Even though I had a feeling who the culprit was half-way into the story, it was still enjoyable to see the way in which the author wrapped all the details up at the end. There were so many little details added throughout the story that in the end, added up to the big picture, which is something a lot of authors neglect to do. 

Overall, I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a well-written thriller novel. 

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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 Rite of Wrongs is available from Amazon.com


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Review: Wicked Whispers (Dangerous Desires #2) by Tina Donahue


Print Length: 300 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (May 24, 2016)

From Goodreads.com: As the Inquisition gains force, even the faintest rumor can brand one a heretic. In this world it is Sancha's gift--or curse--to be blessed with the gift of healing. But the villagers are in need of her arts more than ever, and she feels it is her duty to help them at the risk of losing her life. And at the sacrifice of her heart . . .

Enrique has never wanted a woman as he does Sancha. Determined to have her love, he woos her with exquisite passion, giving her refuge to pursue her healing in secret. But their very desire and escape from the ruthless forces of the world may be their undoing. And together, they must pit themselves against a jealous rival and archaic tradition to secure their place in a hopeful new dawn . . .



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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I have to say that I enjoyed this story A LOT more than I enjoyed the first in this series. When reading the first story - Loving Lies -  I found nothing to endear me to either of the main characters - and this story was just the opposite; I loved Enrique and Sancha! 

To begin with Sancha was everything that I love in a strong female lead. She knew her utmost desire, and she was not willing to conform to society's rules and sacrifice what she wanted no matter whom her heart loved. She was always willing to look past the wealth of her station in life and see the waste, in fact this was mentioned in the story. As for Enrique, he managed to be both the "lord" of his lifestyle while still considering Sancha and what would make her happy. More than once he allowed her to use her gift of healing, even going so far as to help her, during a time in which some things (especially for women) were equated with witchcraft. Even the villain of this story was well done - you couldn't help but hate her and smile when she got her just desserts. 

The plot was well thought out, and easily allowed the reader to become immersed in this world, seeing the scenes as they played out instead of simply reading the words on the page. I finished this novel in a day and a half simply because I couldn't put it down. 

I will admit that there are scenes of a sexual nature that occur before marriage. And these scenes do at times seem to take away from the overall plot rather than add to it, however these scenes are easily skipped without losing any of the story.  

Overall,  I would recommend this story. It is absolutely a stand alone story (meaning you need not have read the first one in order to be able to understand and enjoy this one).  It brings to life a world that wasn't kind, but presents it in a way that makes it not only believable, but enjoyable as well. 

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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Wicked Whispers (Dangerous Desires #2) is available from Amazon.com

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Review: Dark Houses (DI Greco #2) by Helen H. Durrant


Print Length: 214 pages
Publisher: Joffe Books Mystery, Crime & Suspense (April 8, 2016)

From Goodreads.com: A young woman is found brutally murdered in an empty house 
Detective Stephen Greco and his team must piece together her life as quickly as possible. Within twenty-four hours there is another killing using the same method. The detectives realise that the victims are random but the locations are not. The killer is more concerned with finding the right house – somewhere he won’t be disturbed. 

When a man walks into the station and confesses, it looks like the case is closed. But Greco’s not convinced and soon he’ll be fighting to save the woman who’s most important to him in a stunningly tense conclusion. 


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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Wow. That is my first reaction at having finished this novel. It was a gripping thrill ride that kept you guessing right up until the thoroughly surprising ending. Unlike the first novel in this series (that I admit I had my doubts about at first), it seems as though everything came together with this one - the characters worked well together, the story is fast paced, and the plot-line is believable. 

One of the things that I enjoyed most about this book is that the killer seemed so obvious - right up until they weren't. There were so many surprises in this novel that it kept me up at night wondering just how things were going to play out. I also loved the new relationships (for lack of a better word) between Greco and his co-workers. He didn't come off as standoffish in this novel as he did in the first, and that only added to my enjoyment. Because of the way he found himself opening up to them - I am very curious as to how those relationships are going to come into play with the next book. 

Even though this is book number two in a new series, both stories are stand alone novels - meaning that the crime is solved before the end of the story, but at the same time the ending leaves room for the next story. 

Overall, I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a well written thriller.

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 Houses (DI Greco #2) is available from Amazon.com

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Review: Alpha (Alpha #1) by Jasinda Wilder


Print Length: 450 pages
Publisher: NLA Digital LLC (April 29. 2014)

From Goodreads.com: The first time it happened, it seemed like an impossible miracle. Bills were piling up, adding up to more money than I could ever make. Mom's hospital bills. My baby brother's tuition. My tuition. Rent. Electricity. All of it on my shoulders. And I had just lost my job. There was no hope, no money in my account, no work to be found. And then, just when I thought all hope was lost, I found an envelope in the mail. No return address. My name on the front, my address. Inside was a check, made out to me, in the amount of ten thousand dollars. Enough to pay the bills and leave me some left over to live on until I found a job. Enough to let me focus on classes. There was no name on the check, just "VRI Inc.," and a post office box address for somewhere in the city. No hint of identity or reason for the check or anything. No mention of repayment, interest, nothing…except a single word, on the notes line: "You." Just those three letters.

If you receive a mysterious check, for enough money to erase all your worries, would you cash it?

I did.

The next month, I received another check, again from VRI Incorporated. It too contained a single word: "belong."

A third check, the next month. This time, two words. Four letters. "To me."

The checks kept coming. The notes stopped. Ten thousand dollars, every month. A girl gets used to that, real quick. It let me pay the bills without going into debt. Let me keep my baby brother in school and Mom's hospice care paid for. How do you turn down what seems like free money, when you're desperate? You don't. I didn't.

And then, after a year, there was a knock on my door. A sleek black limousine sat on the curb in front of my house. A driver stood in front of me, and he spoke six words: "It's time to pay your debt."

Would you have gotten in?
I did.

It turns out $120,000 doesn't come free.


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My Rating: 1 star out of 5

The synopsis of this story captured my attention immediately. I thought as though I had finally found another erotica series that I could love just as much as The Original Sinners series. I was curious as to how the author would go about this story-line without it coming across like glorified prostitution. When I began this book, I was hooked. It started off so intensely giving us a strong female lead that wasn't afraid to stand up for herself.

And then it just fell apart. 

It's a shame really when someone has such high hopes for a book just to watch it bomb as terribly as this one did. The characters don't present much to make them likable (seriously - the Alpha male is nothing short of a stalker, and his second-in-command admits to committing murder to which the female lead doesn't even bat an eye). Even the sex scenes (of which there were plenty) became boring after awhile. And the life-altering secret? I call shenanigans. I found it very hard to believe that this would have happened with no consequence, much less that it would be something that could be forgiven. 

Perhaps this book could have been salvaged if the author wasn't so repetitive in her choice of words. Then again - considering it followed the same cookie cutter story-line that so many others of this ilk followed - maybe not. 

Overall, I am sure there are others that will enjoy this story. It just wasn't for me - and chances are high that I won't be continuing with this series. 


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Alpha (Alpha #1) is available from Amazon.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Review: In the Clearing (Tracy Crosswhite #3) by Robert Dugoni


Print Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (May 17, 2016)

From Goodreads.com: Detective Tracy Crosswhite has a skill, and a soft spot, for tackling unsolved crimes. Having lost her own sister to murder at a young age, Tracy has dedicated her career to bringing justice and closure to the families and friends of victims of crime.
So when Jenny, a former police academy classmate and protégé, asks Tracy to help solve a cold case that involves the suspicious suicide of a Native American high school girl forty years earlier, Tracy agrees. Following up on evidence Jenny’s detective father collected when he was the investigating deputy, Tracy probes one small town’s memory and finds dark, well-concealed secrets hidden within the community’s fabric. Can Tracy uphold the promise she’s made to the dead girl’s family and deliver the truth of what happened to their daughter? Or will she become the next victim?
                              
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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is the third book in the Tracy Crosswhite series, however it is a stand-alone novel that can be read prior to the other two. Although - if you do read this before My Sister's Grave and Her Final Breath - I hope you will enjoy it enough to check out the other two as well. Mr.Dugoni was an author that I had actually never heard of before, but once I read his first novel in this series, I was completely hooked! 


Unlike the first two novels in this series, the plot of In the Clearing seems to take off at once - taking you on an intensified journey that is full of twists, turns and more than a few unexpected surprises. I was utterly amazed at the way Tracy was able to take a file containing information about a supposed suicide that happened forty years prior and still manage to piece together the clues that would lead to ultimately solving what was in fact a murder. Although the story does switch back and forth between present day and when the case originally happened, it was done in such a way that it was not only easy to follow, but that it added to the overall plot instead of taking anything away from it. 


The characters are what I have come to expect when reading a novel in this series - they are not only complex and well-developed, but for the most part - completely not what you expect. Just the minute you think you have everything figured out, the author manages to throw a surprise twist in the story that no one saw coming! 

I would definitely recommend this novel and I look forward to reading more of Tracy's adventures! 


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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 In the Clearing (The Tracy Crosswhite Series #3) is available from Amazon.com

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Review: Rivals of Fortune / The Impetuous Heiress by Jane Ashford


Print Length: 480 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (May 3, 2016)

From Goodreads.com: Two classic Regency romances from beloved bestselling author Jane Ashford

When London society debarks to their country estates, the courtships are no less heated...

RIVALS OF FORTUNE - Joanna Rowntree thought she would die of a broken heart when her one true love married another-until not one but two fascinating newcomers appear on neighboring estates. As the roughhewn Jonathan Erland and the polished Sir Rollin Denby engage in a heated competition for her hand, Joanna realizes her heart is alive and well-but to whom will she give it?

THE IMPETUOUS HEIRESS - When spoiled Lady Alicia Alston, privileged daughter of a duke, is accidentally tossed into a ravine after a wild gallop with Ian MacClain, Earl of Cairnyllan, she expects a proposal as soon as is convenient. The stubborn Scot has other ideas. It takes a headlong journey to prevent an elopement to give Alicia and Ian a chance to clear up misunderstandings and figure out what they find so damnably passion-inducing about one another...


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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

To start with, I did not realize when I requested to read these novels that they are considered "vintage regencies" having first been published back in the early 1980's. Its easy when reading these stories to see how far the genre has progressed as these novels were not what I was expecting at all. 


The characters are under-developed (to the point of annoying), the plots are transparent, and I was most annoyed with the way the writing jumped. For instance, one paragraph in Rivals of Fortune goes like this "Frederick, whatever are you doing here?" cried the girl. Unfortunately there were numerous instances of the author switching back and forth between calling the main character by their given names, and then reverting back to calling them "the girl" or in some cases "the other". It made parts of this story hard to follow when trying to determine who was speaking what. 

Overall, these are clean romances, and those who enjoy an older style regency will certainly enjoy these two tales, they just were not for 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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 Rivals of Fortune / The Impetuous Heiress is available from Amazon.com