Review: The Killer You Know by A.M. Taylor



Print Length: 221 pages
Publisher: Harper's Impulse (July 12, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: One morning ten years ago, the town of Twin Rivers changed forever when the body of Tyler Washington was found in the woods. Son of the mayor, star of the high school basketball team – his death struck right at the heart of this tight-knit community.

For Olivia Hall, Tyler’s death heralded the start of her own personal nightmare – her twin brother, Ethan, was arrested for Tyler’s murder. Ten years later, Ethan is still in jail. Olivia is convinced he is innocent, and now, a true crime podcast has taken up his case.

As the podcast digs deeper, secrets, lies and shocking revelations are all uncovered. For the first time, Olivia dares to hope that Ethan may be set free. But if he didn’t kill Tyler, who did? And how far will they go to keep their secrets safe?
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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

When I originally requested this book, it was under the title The Killer You Know, and was set to be released on July 12, 2019. But at time of this posting, it appears the publishing company has not only changed the name to Innocent or Guilty, but the publication date has also been pushed back to September. 

Hopefully, the pushed back publication date means that this book is in the process of getting an overhaul. This book was almost painfully predictable with characters that seemed one dimensional, and a plot that was frankly, full of holes. Honestly, I am all for a well written novel with believable police cover-ups, but this contained none of that. 

Witnesses withholding important information, evidence that was hearsay and circumstantial at best, entire chunks of pertinent information withheld - and it took someone a decade to realize it? I just wasn't buying this. Nor did I care for the sudden way that the book ended. There was no closure, and as a reader I was left with more questions than answers. 

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 Killer You Know is available from Amazon.com

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Review: Truth or Die (D.S. Imogen Grey, #5) by Katerina Diamond


Print Length: 221 pages
Publisher: Avon (July 11, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: Their darkest secrets won’t stay buried forever…

The butchered body of a professor is found in a private office of Exeter University. It is the first in a spate of horrific murders that shakes the city to its core.

Who would target a seemingly innocent man, and why? DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles turn to his students for answers, but their investigation turns up no leads. Someone must know more than they’re letting on…

As the body count rises, the police have to look into the past to uncover the person responsible before it’s too late.

But are they brave enough to face up to the truth?


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This was my first time reading a book in this series, so I will admit there were a couple of times that I felt like I missed out on something by not reading the prior stories. It wasn't enough to take away from my overall enjoyment of this one, but it was enough to make me think I would have enjoyed this one maybe just a little bit more had I read them. 

There was definitely an element of cat and mouse to this one, with the killer staying a step ahead of the investigation until it came together with a surprise twist that I didn't see coming. One thing that I felt seemed lacking was with the return of a "villain" from a prior novel. What was lacking wasn't that they brought this person back as I enjoyed the insights to this dark mind, but the fact that someone who was so intelligent and so careful managed to get caught up in the way that he did. I found it hard to believe the way things went down in that regard as he seemed to have covered his tracks too well for that to have happened. 

Despite that, I did enjoy watching the romance bloom between Imogen and Adrian. It came across as though this is something that had been building for awhile now, so it was nice to see them finally lay their cards on the table so to speak (and somehow even more fun for the awkwardness that ensued). 

Overall, I do believe this story will appeal not only to those who are established fans of this series, but to those who enjoy interesting characters who are being set up against some pretty insurmountable odds.

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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                                   Truth or Die is available from Amazon.com

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Review: Blindsided by Kate Watterson


Print Length: 221 pages
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (July 9, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: A decade after Cadence Lawrence accused the perpetrator in the brutal murder of her high school friend, she’s finally put the nightmare to rest. But the ghosts of her past won’t rest, and an unexpected encounter with the killer reawakens demons she thought were long dead. Gripped by paranoia, Cadence fears she’s being stalked, and suspects that the murderer has invaded the sanctity of her home. Could her chance encounter have rekindled the savage rage that claimed the life of her friend and now threatens Cadence herself? 

Half-crazed with fear, Cadence takes flight, but instead of finding sanctuary, she runs headlong into one of the worst snowstorms to blast northern Wisconsin in years. Stranded, freezing, and alone, Cadence confronts her worst nightmare—until deliverance comes in the form of a stranger who rescues her and offers shelter from the blinding storm. But something is not altogether right with her savior, and Cadence is faced with another impossible dilemma. Should she trust this enigmatic stranger, or once again flee for her life? In the midst of an unrelenting storm, the walls are closing in on Cadence.


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I was originally drawn to this novel by the blub. The first chapter pulled me in. And then... I don't know what happened. Perhaps it was the fact that I was not expecting there to be a romantic aspect to this story (or that said romance would overshadow everything else), but that's what happened. I could have overlooked this, had the book been more suspenseful, but it wasn't. In fact I never even felt connected to the characters. I just didn't care about them or what happened to them. There were times when the plot boarded on unrealistic, when the characters seemed super human, and when overall, it just couldn't get out of its own way. There was no real build up to the story, it just sort of plodded along until it ended. 

That being considered, I'm sure there are people out there to whom this book will appeal, it just wasn't 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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                                   Blindsided is available from Amazon.com

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Review: One Night of Temptation (Wicked Dukes Club #6) by Darcy Burke


Print Length: 174 pages
Publisher: Darcy Burke Publishing (June 25, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: Faced with a marriage she can’t abide, Lady Penelope Wakefield takes drastic measures to preserve her freedom. Her brilliant plan is foolproof until a sexy but imperious rector “rescues” her.

Rector Hugh Tarleton has no patience for the Society philanthropists who seek to bestow their pity—and not much else—on his oppressed flock in one of London’s worst neighborhoods. When the daughter of a marquess is kidnapped and brought to the rookery, he vows to protect her, but the temptation to surrender to their mutual desire will certainly ruin them both.


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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

This is the last book in the Wicked Dukes series, and unfortunately for me, it was the one I liked the least. 

Let me back up a bit. Each book in this series can be read as a stand alone. There are some mentions of prior characters, but its nothing that takes away from the current story, or makes it hard to understand. That wasn't the problem.

The problem is I loathe "insta" romances. The kind where two people meet and all of the sudden they are thinking about ripping each others clothes off, and hearing wedding bells. They know nothing about each other. When you add to it that one of these characters is a rector for crying out loud?  A man who should have known better, but still agrees to go along with a lie? And sleep in the same bed as an unmarried woman that he's just met?Yeah. It just didn't sit right with me. It was too "sudden" and read more like she was trying to find inappropriate ways to show how thankful she was for his rescue. 

I think this story could have been made more enjoyable with a couple of additions and maybe one minor change. From the start we are told that Penelope is trying to fake her own kidnapping in order to appeared ruined so that she can get out of marrying a man old enough to be her Grandfather. When she meets Hugh, she goes on to tell him how horrible her family is to her, but with the exception of two small scenes, we don't get to see that. There is no interaction with her family at all. She doesn't even appear to have any friends either, up until the last few chapters of the book. Why is she so sheltered? I definitely needed more background on her to help her make sense. Especially when I am expected to believe that a girl so sheltered suddenly becomes so flirtatious with a man she just met.

With Hugh, I definitely would have liked to have seen more self-control and resistance from him. And while I definitely enjoyed watching the man her parents picked for her firmly put in his place, I found it hard to believe that Hugh would be the one to do it himself considering all he stood to lose. 

Even then, this was a quick read, and I am sure there is still a wide audience who enjoys fast romances with unconventional characters. 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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                         One Night of Temptation is available from Amazon.com


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Review: The Baby Bargain by Crystal Kaswell

Print Length: 455 pages
Publisher: Amazon (June 26, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: My best friend's kid sister wants me to get her pregnant--the old fashioned way.

I've looked out for Ariel since she was in pigtails. I took her trick or treating, told off the jerk who dumped her, picked her up from Prom.
When she needs my help, I'm there. Only she doesn't need a ride, a study partner, a new tattoo.
Ariel wants me to get her pregnant. The old fashioned way.
Three months of trying. Then we go back to our lives.
It's a terrible idea. I should say no. I should convince her to wait for Mr. Right.
But the geeky grad student is sure it's now or never.
And I'm sure as hell not going to let her find someone else.


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My Rating: 1 star out of 5

*sighs* I had read a book from this author previously, and didn't care for it, but the premise of this one sounded so promising, that I decided to give them another chance. 

Do you see how the blurb is written? That is how the entire book is written. Along with such wonderful prose such as 

"Want. Baby. Now. 
Terrified. Of. Motherhood."

And that while that can be overlooked by some people, it got old for me rather quickly. But I was even willing to look beyond that because honestly, it seemed like nitpicking. So I decided to focus on the content and not how it was written. So I muddled through. 

And... for me? It was a mess. Although, there are enough four and five star reviews that show I'm in the minority. I just... not only could I not connect with these characters, but the entire thing (even when dealing with some pretty heavy topics), just came across as juvenile. There was no real depth to anything, with parts of this reading more like the rough draft of a pornographic video than a romance novel.

This time, I feel more comfortable saying that I doubt I will 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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                             The Baby Bargain is available from Amazon.com


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Review: One Night to Remember by Erica Ridley


Print Length: 200 pages
Publisher: WebMotion (June 11, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: Notorious whip Giles Langford is surprised to learn his blacksmith is a girl, shocked to realize she’s the out-of-his-league sister of a duke, and horrified to discover he’s fallen in love with the impossible-to-tame woman anyway. With no money and no title, Giles has nothing to offer but his heart...

Felicity Sutton knows poverty firsthand, and she’s never going back. She might miss the smithy, but not the relentless desperation of no home and an empty belly. Of course she’ll accept the stability of a wealthy ton suitor. As for the penniless daredevil she loves, well... At least they’ll have one night to remember.
 



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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is technically book number five in the Wicked Dukes series, however, as with all the others, it can be read as a stand alone. Each book in the series focuses on a different couple, with very little cross-over, and no cliff-hanger endings. 

I enjoyed this story very much.  Giles is one of those characters you can't help but enjoy. He has taken the smithy that he worked in with his father and tripled the size of it becoming one of the most soft after carriage makers around. Add in the fact that he's never lost a race, and he makes for quite an interesting (and refreshing hero). I will admit to having a harder time connecting with Lady Felicity. While we are reminded in this story that she came from once having nothing, living in poverty before her brother unexpectedly became a Duke, she still comes across as bit mercenary in her quest for the richest husband whose money she can use to help other impoverished children. A noble cause for certain, but it takes time for the reader to warm up to her especially when she's being so pig headed about things right in front of her. 

There was some definite chemistry between these two, and I enjoyed getting a glimpse of them as they worked side by side on the Duke of Colehaven's racing equipment. The fact that Giles valued not only her, but her thoughts and the changes she proposed gave a great insight to the type of person that he was. 

As to the ending, I will say while there are things I wish had been done differently, I do think these two got an ending that was fitting to them and the journey they had taken together.

Overall, I would recommend this novel to those who enjoy sweet romances with unconventional characters. 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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                         One Night to Remember is available from Amazon.com


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Review: Double Dexter (Dexter #6) by Jeff Lindsay


Print Length: 330 pages
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (October 18, 2011)

From Goodreads.com: A witness. Such a simple concept - and yet for Dexter Morgan, the perfectly well-disguised monster, the possibility of a witness is unthinkable. But when Dexter is on a very private, very satisfying excursion one evening with a wretchedly deserving playmate, the unthinkable happens: someone sees him.

Dexter is not at all pleased. As an upstanding blood-spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department, he has always managed to keep the darker side of his life out of the spotlight...the fun part, where he finds truly bad people - murderers who have escaped the reach of the justice system - and quietly gives them his very special attentions. But now that he's been seen and identified by his witness, Dexter must launch himself into a different kind of hunt.

Making matters worse, a brutal cop killer is targeting Miami's police detectives, leaving behind bodies that are battered beyond recognition...and completely bloodless. As the department grows more fearful of the psychotic killer in their midst, Dexter must handle his own crisis and come to terms with the fact that his witness is not only circling him but determined to expose him. Dexter is being followed, manipulated, and mimicked...leading him to realize that no one likes to have a double, especially when his double's goal is to kill him.

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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

I'm trying to figure out what on Earth has made these books so popular. I can only assume that people (like myself) remember the television series and were hoping to get reacquainted with our deliciously dark anti-hero. Unfortunately, the Dexter in print is so far removed from the Dexter on the small screen that they could be two separate people entirely. 


Even when television Dexter became a father, he didn't suddenly declare to have become a "real boy" with "real emotions", nor did he lose his common sense and sense of self-preservation. I am seriously amazed that not only is Dexter still alive, but that he hasn't been jailed yet. 

I mean seriously? You have no idea that you have been seen until its too late (and by seen I mean there is a paragraph later on in the book where this witness goes into detail). Then even though you have one small clue to go on, you take your sweet time tracking said witness down? Let's not forget that Dexter seems to have lost every shred of intelligence he ever proclaimed to possess. He becomes a person of interest in a murder investigation and it doesn't dawn on him that the police (and his old buddy Sgt.Doakes in particular) are going to be keeping an extra close eye on him? I am still utterly flabbergasted at how a "brand new" killer can run circles around Dexter for so long without him being any the wiser. It seemed nothing short of insulting to all the things Dexter is supposed to be.

Six books down. And because I got them all at once, two more to go. There is finally a light at the end of this tunnel that has become dull and predictable Dexter. 

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                                  Double Dexter is available from Amazon.com


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Review: Life Blood, Book 1: A Reverse Harem Immortal Devotion Series (Immortal Devotion #1) by Raylin Marks


Print Length: 290 pages
Publisher: Amazon Digital (December 9, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: I will sacrifice my blood for them.
They will lavish me with their love.
Forever.
Just when Elle thought her life couldn't suck more, she met them.
Vampires.
Four extremely hot and mysterious cousins that had a supernatural pull she couldn't explain. Life gets flipped upside down and turned inside out when the secret of who she is and what she can do is revealed.
Braden, Logan, Cole, and Zac develop an unbreakable bond with Elle. They won't let go. They can't. She is a Life Blood.
These four cousins will do anything to protect her from the danger of a psychopathic vampire who will stop at nothing to get to her. Elle will never be the same again. But does she even want to be?
Because love bites. In a good way.
The Banner cousins and their appetite for more than just Elle's blood will have you flipping pages to experience their story of unyielding love and devotion.
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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This is a quick read that is as interesting as it is, occasionally, predictable. The author did  good job of setting the stage for future novels, and I really enjoyed some of the interesting twists she put on vampires. For something that has been around for so long, it is always refreshing to see an author do something different. I was intrigued not only by the idea of vampires getting stronger by feeding off of other vampires, but also by the fact that in this world, vampires can either be bitten, or born. 

Ellie is what they call a life blood. Meaning, her blood is made for them. But she is also, more than just a human. Her special blood replenishes itself quicker than a humans meaning that she can feed them without the fear of them draining her. 

Now, because this is not a slow burn romance, there is a feeling of "insta love" that goes on between these characters which can get quite annoying, but at the same time there are also some feelings of confusion and disbelief from Ellie, as well as some jealousy from her men. I found these little additions to make this story feel more real. Yes, they are all bonded together. But that doesn't mean that this will be easy for any of them. 

Where this book loses some of its magic for me is the men constantly making decisions for her and each other and not explaining why (or when they do the explanations are so weak its easy to see why she doesn't listen). We understand that Ellie is in danger and needs their protection, but they also need to understand that her life as she knew it was over. They moved her into their house to keep her safe, but then they tell her she can't go back to work? And when she gets the chance to visit her mom they simply forbid her from doing so by saying it "seems dangerous", but without telling her why. Of course she doesn't listen. 

And of course some predictable story-lines follow. Although even with this there were some twists thrown in that evened it out somewhat.

Overall, those who enjoy supernatural reverse harem novels where the characters experience an instant attraction (and some do engage in naughty fun times), then you will most likely enjoy this one. I would read more from this author (and will most likely finish this series or at least the next book to see where this goes).

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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                                Life Blood is available from Amazon.com


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