Review: A Perfect Match by Sabrina Jeffries


Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Kensington Books (September 24, 2019)

From Goodreads.com:  Whisked away from a wintry ball by a commanding colonel, Cassandra Isles struggles with her feelings for Lord Heywood. For he is a man sworn to marry only for money—and Cass is an heiress who will accept nothing less than love.


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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

DISCLAIMER 1: At this time, this novella is only available as part of the Seduction on a Snowy Night anthology. However, I felt it would only be fair to give each story their own post on my blog in order to highlight them individually. 

This started off as such an enjoyable read. Sure, the fact that Lord Heywood absconded with two unmarried women was a surefire way to ruin their reputations regardless of his well-meaning intentions, however for this story it worked. I enjoyed watching Cass and Kitty as they interacted with Heywood's family as they prepared to enjoy the Christmas season. 

However, this story started to fall apart as the ending neared. First, there was Kitty and her "surprise". I find it nearly impossible to believe that not only did no one see it coming, but that she was also able to do what she did without anyone seeing ger. I could have overlooked that. After all, with all the preparations happening around them, perhaps it was possible. 

Where I lost all respect for Heywood is when he turned into a raging asshole for no reason. After deciding that he loved Cass enough to marry her, even if it meant not having the funds needed to fix his crumbling estate. He takes her to bed, telling her of his decision. Unbeknownst to him,  Cass is an heiress in her own right, however, no one knows of her circumstances as she will only marry for love. Bolstered by the fact that Heywood has just admitted to loving her enough that he wants to marry her, she tells him the truth. They can be married AND he will have the funds he needs. 

Instead of being overjoyed, he turns on her. Accusing her of keeping things from him. Of pretending. Of not being who he thought she was. Excuse me? This seemed like just a bunch of unneeded and unnecessary drama to up the word count before the happily ever after was allowed to happen. 

Aside from that, this was a cute and enjoyable read. I would read more from this author! 

DISCLAIMER 2: 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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This novel is available in the Seduction on a Snowy Night anthology  available from Amazon.com

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Review: What Happened That Night by Deanna Cameron


Print Length: 328 pages
Publisher: Wattpad Books (September 17, 2019)

From Goodreads.com:Griffin Tomlin is dead. And Clara’s sister killed him . . . 

Four months after the murder, the entire town of Shiloh is still in shock. For Clara Porterfield, the normal world has crumbled around her in a million chaotic pieces. Now Clara lives in a new reality, where her sister awaits trial for murder, her mother obsessively digs in a dead, frozen garden, and her father lives and breathes denial. At school, Clara is haunted by her classmates' morbid curiosity—and all of the unspoken questions they won’t ask.

But none of them knows what she knows . . .
Now Clara's sister wants something from her—the one thing in all of this that Clara isn't ready to face: the truth about what really happened that night. Because this story didn't die with Griffin Tomlin. There's another story that needs to be told. And sometimes, the lies we're told are nowhere near as deadly as the lies we tell ourselves . . .
 


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This was one of those stories that with a few more rounds of editing could easily be four or five stars. The story was interesting enough, although I believe the synopsis should come with a trigger warning and not just the forward once you begin reading. 

Part of the problem with this story is that it jumps not only from place to place but also between what is happening and what happened before. While the "now" and "before" passages are clearly marked, it's the going from place to place that got to me. One minute they are in school, and the next they are somewhere else entirely. 

Then you get into characters. None of them felt as fleshed out as they could be. Clara understandably has issues. There were parts of her that felt real. And then there were parts that had me going REALLY? She seemed to want people to believe her without question when she finally told the truth, but couldn't give them the same courtesy. 

I wanted to like Aniston. Her over the top personality coupled with the fact that she was like a dog with a bone was intriguing. However, the fact that she somehow managed to solve a crime that didn't even happen near where she lived? It was a bit out there. The same could be said for the fact that Kolby. Griffin's BEST FRIEND, couldn't when it counted, recognize not only that is wasn't Gryffin's brother he saw, but that the girl he was with was the girl that Kolby claimed to have been in love with? 

Overall, there is a lot of potential in this story. And I do think that it will appeal to people who enjoy novels that don't pull any punches when it comes to describing things most people find unappealing, however, for me, this one just fell short of where I think the author was trying to go.

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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                What Happened That Night is available from Amazon.com



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Review: A Christmas Abduction by Madeline Hunter


Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Kensington Books (September 24, 2019)

From Goodreads.com:  Caroline Dunham has a bone to pick with notorious rake Baron Thornhill—and a creative plan to ensure his undivided attention. Yet once in close quarters, she finds herself beholden to their smoldering connection.


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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

DISCLAIMER 1: At this time, this novella is only available as part of the Seduction on a Snowy Night anthology. However, I felt it would only be fair to give each story their own post on my blog in order to highlight them individually. 

I had a very hard time getting into this story. It started off well enough, even if kidnapping a Baron at gunpoint and holding him hostage was a bit far-fetched. It continued to be interesting, even when said Baron managed to escape his "prison" (in reality an attic room) and yet decided to remain there any way instead of traveling on to his destination. 

I even enjoyed the banter between Caroline and Adam. In fact, I admired both her courage and her loyalty to her sister. Until she allowed Adam to kiss her. This was the man she believed not only ruined her sister and got her with child, yet she allows him to take liberties with her person as well? 

I will say that for a novella, this one moved along at a fairly steady pace, although it seemed that all the loose ends were tied up a little too neatly. I would have expected more of a fight from the true father of the child considering what we were led to believe about him.

On the whole, it was an okay read. Maybe not the book I would have put first in the anthology, but it wasn't bad by any means. I would read more both from this author and from this series if she chooses to continue it. 

DISCLAIMER 2: 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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This novel is available in the Seduction on a Snowy Night anthology  available from Amazon.com

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Review: Don't Even Breathe by Keith Houghton


Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (April 18, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: Florida homicide detective Maggie Novak has seen hundreds of brutal murder cases, but when she is called out to investigate the charred remains of a young woman, in what appears to be a Halloween prank gone wrong, she is confronted with a twenty-year-old secret. The body is formally identified as that of school counselor Dana Cullen, but a distinguishing mark makes Maggie look again. She believes it is the body of her school friend Rita, who perished in a fire twenty years ago.

Maggie’s hunt for the truth behind the murder takes her back to a cruel high school trick she’s desperate to forget. And when another body turns up, Maggie realizes she too may be the target of a sinister plot creeping toward its final act.

Maggie needs emotional distance to do her job, but she’s so close to this case that she can’t even breathe. Will Maggie be able to uncover the truth of who wanted Rita dead? Or will her past mistakes catch up with her first?
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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

I'm still wondering why I kept reading this book when it was so improbable that while I was reading it, I kept shaking my head. Don't get me wrong, there were times when I thought this had the makings of a good story, but then the author went in a different direction (maybe trying to go for a shock and awe factor), and failed. 

To begin with, Maggie somehow immediately realizes that a burned beyond recognition body is that of her presumed dead best friend? The best friend who ironically died in a fire twenty years ago. She bases this fact of a missing part of a pinky, a driver's license photo (even though there is a different name on it), and an old photo of the two of them together taken when they were teenagers. Ok fine. But shouldn't you still follow procedure and obtain dental records? Do something to confirm the ID one hundred percent? And following that train of thought, if it IS your best friend, then just who (or what) is buried in her coffin? These are questions that are overlooked completely which honestly, I would have rather seen these plot-lines developed than to read about every little detail the characters do that add nothing to the story. 

The pace of this story is something else that I had an issue with. As I mentioned above, there was a lot of attention to detail paid to things that as a reader, I didn't care about. I don't care about her relationship with Steve at least to the extent that Maggie likes to analyze it. Even the information we get about events that had happened in the past come across as tedious as best. Honestly, I think this novel could have been trimmed down by at least 50-75 pages or more and still gotten the point across. 

This being the first novel in a series, I am at this time, unsure if I will continue on with it. If another happens to catch my interest, I may give this author another chance, but at this point, it is doubtful.

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                              Don't Even Breathe is available from Amazon.com

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Review: Dead End Girl (Violet Darger #1) by L.T. Vargus


Print Length: 495 pages
Publisher: Smarmy Press (April 12, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: Her body is broken. Wrapped in plastic. Dumped on the side of the road. She is the first. There will be more.

The serial killer thriller that "refuses to let go until you've read the last sentence."

The most recent body was discovered in the grease dumpster behind a Burger King. Dismembered. Shoved into two garbage bags and lowered into the murky oil.

Now rookie agent Violet Darger gets the most important assignment of her career. She travels to the Midwest to face a killer unlike anything she's seen. Aggressive. Territorial. Deranged and driven.

Another mutilated corpse was found next to a roller rink. A third in the gutter in a residential neighborhood.

These bold displays of violence shock the rural community and rattle local law enforcement. 

Who could carry out such brutality? And why?

Unfortunately for Agent Darger, there's little physical evidence to work with, and the only witnesses prove to be unreliable. The case seems hopeless.

If she fails, more will die. He will kill again and again.

The victims harbor dark secrets. The clues twist and writhe and refuse to keep still. And the killer watches the investigation on the nightly news, gleeful to relive the violence, knowing that he can't be stopped.



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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

You know one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to choosing novels to read? When the premise is better written and more engaging than the actual novel.

Unfortunately, that was the case with Dead End Girl. What started off as a story with the potential to be the gripping thriller it claimed to be, it quickly went downhill after the introduction of .... the main character. Special Agent Violet Darger. For a woman who was supposedly smart enough to be a member of the FBI, this woman sure did make some rookie mistakes. From leaving her wallet and car keys alone with a potential witness who was also a known addict and thief, to leaving crime scene photos (that she had taken on her cell phone) open on her computer unguarded with a victim's mother, the stupidity of this woman knew no bounds. And then, she had the nerve to further alienate herself from the local officers that she was supposed to be helping by essentially calling them unqualified to deal with the murders. 

It might have been possible to overlook these character flaws as annoying as they were if it hadn't been for all the unnecessary drivel that made up more than fifty percent of this story.  From entire chapters that did nothing to move the plot along, to prolonging a "medical condition" of another character (that in the end, again, did nothing to enhance the narrative).. this story was, unfortunately, neither gripping nor fast-paced. 

As it stands right now, there was not enough presented in this novel that would entice me to continue on with the series at this time.

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                            Dead End Girl is available from Amazon.com

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Review: Dexter Is Dead (Dexter #8) by Jeff Lindsay


Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (July 7, 2015)

From Goodreads.com: Dexter Morgan has burned the candle at both ends for many years. Blood spatter analyst . . . husband . . . father . . . serial killer. And now, for the first time, his world has truly collapsed. Dexter is arrested on charges of murder. He has lost everything—including his wife, his kids, and the loyalty of his sister. Now completely alone, Dexter faces a murder charge (for a crime . . . ironically . . . he did not actually commit). His only chance for freedom lies with his brother, Brian, who has a dark plan to prove Dexter's innocence. But the stakes are deadly, and the epic showdown that lies in Dexter's path may lead, once and for all, to his demise. 

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My Rating: 1 star out of 5

You know it's pretty bad when you get excited to finish a story simply because you know it's the last one. No more dull and disappointing Dexter. No more, wondering to yourself, just how in the hell a television show managed to be BETTER than the books it was supposedly based on. 


To say I hated how Dexter the television show ended is quite an understatement. But I LOATHED this entire book. 

Let's begin with the bumbling Detective Anderson. There is no way that his superiors (up to and including the State Attorney) would have allowed what he did. The fact that he even managed to make detective considering he couldn't find a killer if the killer confessed non withstanding, he doctored evidence. He made stuff up. Sure, bad cops do exist, but when a good one brings PROOF to his superiors? It would not have been swept under the rug the way it was in this book. 

And okay, so Dexter is in jail. Where admittedly, he belongs, but not for the reasons he has found himself incarcerated. But considering his innocence, when he gets out we are going to get to see a new Dexter right? One who has to deal with the aftermath of not only his girlfriend dying and thus crushing his hope of a "way out of the tedium of his life", but then his wife had to go and die as well. Leaving him with one biological child and two step-children, who for reasons known only to the author, have dark passengers of their own. That would have been interesting.

But nope. Deborah insists he sign his rights over to her (which he happily does after spending how many books fighting for what he calls his kids)? And then they disappear. Until the ending when they are ONCE AGAIN kidnapped. Only this time, between the pair of them, they can't put their dark passengers together to find a way not only out of the predicament but to save their sister and cousin as well. 

Nope. That honor falls to is he even trying to think Dexter, his fake as hell brother Brian (and really you want me to believe someone who had been that heavily involved with a drug lords operations didn't know Dexter's own lawyer was involved? He just hires him)? And of course, the I hate you and everything about you adopted sister Deborah. But of course, you know, her son is involved as well, so she must act too. Even though she's spent the entire novel not only disowning poor innocent this time Dexter, but making it a point not to speak to him. Honestly? I can see why he debated letting the kids die. 

At least my disappointing journey with Dexter has come to an end. I mean I think he died? It kind of seemed like he did, but the story ended somewhat abruptly without even an epilogue to show us how the children ended up having Dexter die while saving them. Then again, I suppose I should be thankful it ended the way that it did before the author had a chance to run Astor and Cody even more than he already had. Or heaven forbid give Lily Anne and Nicholas their own dark passengers. 

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                                  Dexter is Dead is available from Amazon.com

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Review: Dexter's Final Cut (Dexter #7) by Jeff Lindsay


Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (September 17, 2013)

From Goodreads.com:  Hollywood gets more than it bargained for when television's hottest star arrives at the Miami Police Department and develops an intense, professional interest in a camera-shy blood spatter analyst named Dexter Morgan.

Mega-star Robert Chase is famous for losing himself in his characters. When he and a group of actors descend on the Miami Police Department for "research," Chase becomes fixated on Dexter Morgan, the blood spatter analyst with a sweet tooth for doughnuts and a seemingly average life. To perfect his role, Chase is obsessed with shadowing Dexter's every move and learning what really makes him tick. There is just one tiny problem . . . Dexter's favorite hobby involves hunting down the worst killers to escape legal justice, and introducing them to his special brand of playtime. It's a secret best kept out of the spotlight and away from the prying eyes of bloated Hollywood egos if Dexter wants to stay out of the electric chair. The last thing he needs is bright lights and the paparazzi. . . but even Dexter isn't immune to the call of fame.


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

On the whole, this story was better than some of the other ones. This one kept me engaged until the end, and I enjoyed the fact that Dexter at first seemed to be more the socially acceptable serial killer than he was supposed to be. 

Until he went stupid. Again. 

How does one predator NOT recognize another one? How, when the details were spelled out so clearly they might as well have been a flashing neon sign, did he miss what was going on? For that matter how to Deborah, a trained professional, miss them? 

And then Rita. Poor, dumber than a box of rocks Rita. I never liked her book persona. I couldn't understand her half the time, and I wished that the author had at least let that poor woman finish a sentence, but even she didn't deserve what she got. A cheating husband. And just when she proved that she could be smarter than he was? 

It just doesn't make sense. It's like at some point along the way, the author just gave up. And yet, I still have one book left until I'm done with this series. And if I've suffered along this far, I may as well finish.

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                                  Dexter's Final Cut is available from Amazon.com

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Review: Two Victims (DCI Rachel King #2) by Helen H. Durrant


Print Length: 244 pages
Publisher: Joffe Books (July 31, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: A murdered woman found on a building site. Executed by a single gun shot. 

But worse is to come, Another body is found buried in the same place. 

Detective Rachel King has two victims to deal with. The first woman was local nurse, Agnes Moore. One of the victim’s friends makes contact but then disappears.

Does Rachel have a serial killer on her hands? And what was Agnes really helping local girls with?

Will Rachel’s former lover, well-known villain Jed McAteer come back to haunt her with his connections to the victims. Who will pay the ultimate price next?

A mystery with a stunning twist and a race against time to save her career and stop a murder spree.



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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

While you do not have to have read the first book in this series in order to enjoy this one, there are references made that would spoil certain aspects of the first story if you do decide to read this one first. 

Much like with the first novel in this series, Rachel makes it very hard to like her. Or even connect with her on any level. She's a very headstrong woman, which might be a good thing considering her profession; if she wasn't constantly doing just whatever the heck she pleased. And not only is she doing it, but she's asking other members of her team to go against orders or withhold certain information about her in order to help her. It quickly became tiring watching her shoot off at the mouth (whether it be literally or inside of her own head, both happened far too often).

And don't get me started on her as a mother. Even when faced with her eldest daughter finding herself in a potentially dangerous situation, Rachel still can't focus. In fact, it seems like the only time she can be counted on to actually be a parent to her two daughters is when there is trouble. I guess its a good thing after all that her ex-husband lives next door. That way those poor girls aren't left completely parentless. 

Also, while I understand that by doing what she did the author managed to set up the next novel in this series, on the whole, not only did it make this novel feel unfinished, but I find it impossible to believe that the police would just be satisfied with the work they did when the supposed "head' of the trafficking ring is still wandering about free. 

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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                                   Two Victims is available from Amazon.com


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