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Monday, August 13, 2018

Review: All the Hidden Sins by Marian Lanouette


Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Underground (July 31, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: When it comes to crime, homicide detective Jake Carrington plays for high stakes . . .
 
Assigned a missing persons case, Lieutenant Jake Carrington investigates a local Mob boss. The trail goes cold, but the Mafioso isn’t taking any chances, and soon the heat turns up from another quarter. Turns out there’s more than one dangerous suspect . . .
 
Kyra Russell is drop-dead gorgeous and Jake is only human. But despite their mutual attraction, Jake’s suspicion deepens when he learns about her gambling problem—an addiction that cost her both husband and son. Even more disturbing is Kyra’s day job. She runs a crematorium—and it’s tied to the Mob. Now Jake will have to navigate a firestorm of treachery to get to the truth . 


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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Let me begin by saying that I have not read the first book in this series, so I do not know the ins and outs of Jake's previous relationship with Mia. All I can base my opinions on is this novel. 

It was...... meh. I can't classify it as a mystery novel as we all know who is behind what, and I can't really classify it as a thriller as I wasn't thrilled. It tries to have elements of a thriller novel, a police thriller with a dash of romance, but it just missed the mark. 

None of the characters are especially likable except maybe Kyra's son Trevor. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for flawed characters, but there was just something one-dimensional about all of these ones. Kyra is a gambler who is in too deep, and manages to get in deeper. And while she does have a bit of a conscious, its not enough to endear her to anyone. Her soon-to-be-ex-husband Tommy is no better whose character we see go from someone who cares about his son to a jerk that tries to assault his ex. Then we have mobster Phil who is seemingly ever cliche I've ever read drawing more attention to himself when he should know better. And finally good old Jake. Who even though he admits he is still in love with his ex, finds himself with feelings for Kyra too. Even though he knows something doesn't add up with her, and knows she has flat out lied to him. 

There was just too much to overlook, between the characters and the story-line, things were just too unbelievable even for a work of fiction. I do believe there are people who will enjoy this novel (as evidenced by the 4 and 5 star reviews it has accumulated), however this one was just 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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                        All the Hidden Sins is available from Amazon.com

Friday, August 10, 2018

Review: Wedding the Widow (The Widows' Club #2) by Jenna Jaxon




Print Length: 337 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (July 31, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Widowed by the Battle of Waterloo, the ladies of Lyttlefield Park are reentering London society, where they’ll learn how to live—and love—again . . .

Of all the widows of Lyttlefield Park, Elizabeth Easton seems least likely to remarry. Though many gentlemen would love to get to know the charming Mrs. Easton better, she is devoted to the memory of her late husband. Which is why she’s so shocked to be overtaken by passion during a harvest festival, succumbing to an unforgettable interlude with the handsome Lord Brack . . .

After enduring years of war, Jemmy, Lord Brack, plans to defer matrimony in favor of carefree pleasure. But who could resist a lifetime with Elizabeth Easton, a woman as marvelously sensual as she is sweet? Yet despite their mutual desire, she refuses to consider his proposal. With scandal looming, and their families bitterly opposed to the match, Jemmy must find a way to convince Elizabeth to risk her wary heart on him—and turn one infamous night into forever . . .
 


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Let me begin by saying that although book number one introduces the characters (especially the widows), and this book references some of the happenings from the prior novel, you do not need to have read it in order for this one to make sense. 

In fact, I rather enjoyed the first novel more than this one, and that is a shame considering how much I usually enjoy this author and her stories. 

However, this story was such a mess that it was at times hard to get through. The sheer amount of obstacles thrown at this couple was ludicrous, and frankly downright boring at times. We get it, his father holds a grudge for reasons I cannot explain without giving away spoilers. However, the lengths he goes to (kidnapping, forced imprisonment, arranged marriages, blackmail) seemed a bit too extreme ESPECIALLY when he finally gives his blessing for the smallest and stupidest condition ever. 

Don't get me wrong, parts of this story were good. And others seemed like words on the page to increase the overall word count. I also had trouble fathoming how Elizabeth could spend such a great deal of time away from her six year old twins when they were all she had left of her late husband. These were her children, and she had no qualms leaving them for days or weeks at a time. Instead of the ridiculousness of having their nuptials denied and thwarted so many times, I would have instead rather have read about how Jemmy won the affections of her children (especially Colin who was so against his mother re-marrying in the first place).

I do think this story may still appeal to fans of historical romances, and 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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                                 Wedding the Widow is available from Amazon.com

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Review: Baby Teeth Zoje Stage


Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (July 17, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Sweetness can be deceptive. 

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette's husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

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My Rating: 1 star out of 5

I requested to read this novel after seeing countless advertisements which contained a plethora of five star ratings. I thought this was going to be my one great read for the summer.

I thought wrong. 

This novel.. I don't even know where to begin. The characters were unbelievable, the plot line weak and to put it bluntly? It seemed as though this author was more about the "shock value" than they were about putting together a well crafted story. Take Hanna for instance - there is seemingly no reason given for her to act the way she does. For one, her thoughts and actions are better suited to a much older person rather than a seven tear old (I mean come on imagined devil sex and wanting her father in a completely inappropriate way)? There was just nothing that could save this. I barely made it to the end, and I only forced myself to finish because I hate marking a book as a DNF (did not finish).

While there are people to whom I believe this story would appeal, it was definitely not for me. At this point, I am doubtful as to whether or not I would read anything else by 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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                                      Baby Teeth is available from Amazon.com

Monday, August 6, 2018

Review: They Won't Be Hurt by Kevin O'Brien



Print Length pages: 544 pages 
Publisher: Pinnacle (July 31st, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Never take a killer at his word . . . 

ONCE YOU LET THEM IN
The lights are on at the Singleton vacation home on Lopez Island, Washington, illuminating the horror within. Scott Singleton, former NFL star turned television evangelist, lies dead. The bodies of his wife and four of their five children are found on the second floor, bound, gagged, and stabbed repeatedly. The oldest daughter was shot in her boyfriend’s car. And the police’s main suspect—the property caretaker—has disappeared.
 
THEY WILL NEVER
In her secluded vineyard home two hours away, Laura Gretchell is on edge. Her husband is out of town on business, and the children are understandably shaken. Laura tries to tell herself there’s no reason to fear. Then the door handle rattles, and the real terror begins.
 
LET YOU GO
They’re in her house, holding her children hostage, and Laura has only one option: do exactly what the intruders say. But as Laura races to find the information they seek, she realizes that the enemies within her own home are only part of the nightmare. Because someone wants to keep the truth hidden at any cost, no matter how many more must die . . .



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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This book started off really strong, so nuch so that I was convinced I had a 5 star read on my hands, but then things just ..... fell apart. Laura acts and reacts in a way that I could never imagine a mother as doing, not even under the duress she was in. As a mother myself, I could not imagine behaving nor speaking in the manner that she does. 

I will say that this story is full of the unexpected, there were times when I was surprised at the direction the author took when I was so sure the book was heading in a different direction entirely. There was also a lot to this book that I felt could have been condensed or left out altogether - something that I feel would have helped with the flow of the story making it less repetitive, and also that would have helped keep and hold the readers interest. Unlike other books I have read in this genre, I found this one easy to set down and come back to at a later time. 

I do believe this story may appeal to fans of psychological thrillers, and I would read more from this author, however this particular story was just 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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                           They Won't Be Hurt is available from Amazon.com

Friday, August 3, 2018

Review: Watch the Girls Jennifer Wolfe


Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (July 10, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: I've been watched all my life. I'm used to being stared at. Observed. Followed.

Fame and obsession collide in this darkly twisted novel from an incredible new voice in suspense.

SOMEONE IS WATCHING
Washed up teen star Liv Hendricks quit acting after her beloved younger sister inexplicably disappeared following a Hollywood party gone wrong. Liv barely escaped with her life, and her sister was never heard from again. But all this time, someone's been waiting patiently to finish what was started...

FOUR MISSING GIRLS
Now fifteen years later, broke and desperate, Liv is forced to return to the spotlight. She crowdfunds a webseries in which she'll pose as a real-life private detective--a nod to the show she starred on as a teen. When a mysterious donor challenges her to investigate a series of disappearances outside a town made famous by the horror movies filmed there, Liv has no choice but to accept.

FOLLOW THE WHITE WOLF
Liv is given a cryptic first clue: Follow the white wolf. And now a darker game is about to begin. Through social media, someone is leaving breadcrumbs to follow. As Liv makes increasingly disturbing discoveries, her show explodes in popularity. A rapt internet audience is eager to watch it all--perhaps even at the cost of Liv's own life...


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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This book was everything I didn't know I needed! 

To be honest, I didn't know what I expected when I began reading this novel. I had a general idea from the synopsis, but at the same time I've had a run of bad luck where "thriller" novels are concerned having them not live up to my expectations. This one not only lived up to them, it surpassed them. 

Watch the Girls was one of those books that you can't seem to put down. The author has a strong writing style, and weaves together a tale (that yes can get pretty dark and disturbing at times) that just draws you in and keeps you guessing. There were several times I thought I had it figured out, only to find out I was so off base it was laughable! I do wish that ALL the loose ends had been tied up as this book does leave the reader with some questions, but on the whole I would read more from this author! 

I believe this book will appeal to those who love a good psychological 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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                           Watch the Girls is available from Amazon.com

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Review: Nailing Studs: A Contemporary Reverse Harem Romance by Virna DePaul



Print Length: 
Publisher: Virna DePaul (June 3, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: When fantasy becomes reality X 3… 

I’d been doing just fine as a New York food and wine critic, content with books, baking, and my boyfriend. But “content” wasn’t what I was after. Passion and excitement were more like it, but now that I’d gotten royally dumped and unceremoniously fired, “sucked” was the best word to describe my life.

So I moved. To Northern California. To claim my inheritance from my great-aunt: a run-down house in a small town that had yet to recognize the arrival of the twenty-first century.

The house was a wreck and there was no money for repairs. But then the Fix-It Guys arrived, three sexy as sin alpha males who offered their services to fix up the house…and teach me a thing or two about hammering, nailing, and drilling.

Suddenly I had all the passion and excitement I could handle.

Taylor, Dom, and Logan were all about giving me what I wanted, and I was more than happy to cater to their needs as well. But falling in love with three men? That never happens, at least not with a happily ever after, right?

Wrong.

Grab hold—Kayla’s path to love with three hot men will take you on a wild ride.
 

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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Let me begin by saying that this was my very first trip into the Reverse Harem genre. I have read books in the past that have been billed as RH, but they were all missing something. This book had that something. 

It was very much an enjoyable story focusing on Kayla and how she is able to "find herself" after her life in New York came to an end. I enjoyed the fact that this story was told from multiple points of view, nearly as much as I enjoyed these characters and their interactions. Although as a reader, you did have to suspend a certain amount of reality (such as these men coming across as young, but already being wealthy enough they can take on projects such as Kayla's without payment up front). However, I felt that the characters emotions and reactions felt REAL. They had to build that trust up, they had to work on their relationship (both one on one and as a group). Sure, there were some hot sex scenes to be had, but I didn't feel like the focus was ON that particular part of their relationship. I enjoyed seeing these characters interact with each other, I enjoyed watching their story evolve. 

I would definitely read more of this genre if for no other reason than as a pleasant diversion from the usual books that I read. And I would definitely read more from this author! 

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                                  Nailing Studs is available from Amazon.com

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Review: Protecting the Dead by Katherine Gilbert


Print Length: 237 pages
Publisher: EsKape Press (June 17, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: After a childhood filled with demons and her devil-worshiping parents, Lydia longs for a quiet, normal life, a safe haven somewhere blissfully dull. Being the manager at the Roanoke Apartments seems to fit that bill. But Lydia soon learns that you can't leave the past behind so easily. She finds herself faced with unclogging drains for werewolves, conducting nightly vampire counseling sessions, and caring for two talkative cats. Then there's the distraction of Geoffrey, the hottest, and most angelic, boss anyone ever dreamed of. As if that isn't enough, the demon who nearly killed her shows up to finish the job. So much for a peaceful, simple life...


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I'm going to preface this by saying paranormal really isn't my thing. Every now and then I stick a toe in the water as it were, especially when the premise is as interesting as this one was. So yes, I was disappointed that this book didn't come across the way the premise made it seem, but again, that could be just me.

This book was interesting, I will give the author that. And there were a lot of "species" introduced, and story-lines that often boarded less on the paranormal and more a reflection of true human nature, but even that wasn't enough to keep my attention glued to the pages. I will say that I LOVED the cats in this story. Eveningstar and her doughnuts will not soon be forgotten! 

Lydia starts off wanting to "rationalize" everything in the attempt to have a "normal" life, even though she knows all too well what dangers lurk out there. For the things she has had to overcome in her life, I expected her to have more of a backbone than we were presented with. In fact, she seems to spend the majority of her time either being awkward with others, "discovering her voice", or fawning over her boss. It became a little too repetitive. She has the power inside of herself, if only she would posses the self-confidence to show it.

I also wish there was a bit more action all around. There was the potential, especially for the ending, to be absolutely game-changing, but even that fell flat in my opinon. 

All things considered, I do think this story may still appear to fans of the paranormal genre, and 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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                           Protecting the Dead is available from Amazon.com