Thursday, May 31, 2018

Review: Must Love Babies

Must Love Babies by Lynette Austin

My rating: 5 Stars

Brant Wylder is quite successful in his business of restoring vintage cars with his brothers. His life is interrupted, when their sister Lainey is badly injured in a car accident. As his mother has recently had a stroke, Brent is number two on the emergency contact list to care for seven-month-old Jax. Brant may not know a thing about caring for such a young baby, but one look in his eyes and Brant knows that he would do just about anything for the beautiful little boy, including caring for him full-time while Lainey heals.

Molly Stiles really liked Brant when she met him at a wedding. They seemed to hit it off, but he had to rush off when his sister was hurt. Running into Brant at her local grocery store should be a very good thing for Molly. However, she has a life plan, and despite her attraction to Brant, he does not fit into her tightly constructed future. Despite her misgivings, she realizes that Brant needs help with Jax. She can't say no to the handsome hunk, even though the possibility of spending copious amounts of time with Brant just might weaken her resolve.

I found this to be a sweet story on many levels. Quite naturally, any story with a big man tenderly loving a little baby is quite affecting. I also enjoyed the repertoire between Molly and Brant, especially while Brant works effectively to saw through Molly's life plans. Also, Brant is a true family man, down to the bone, and his relationship with his nephew, brothers and sister makes for a great character. Molly was relatively easy to understand and to like. Her past molded her into the person she has become, and watching her warm up to Brant was quite enjoyable. One other factor I enjoyed about this book is how gently Lainey's problems were handled. Without offering spoilers, this was not rushed, and I found that to be quite refreshing.

Although this is the first book I've read by Lynette Austin, I had a sense of familiarity with several characters. It was easy to see that many of them are mentioned in this author's previous series, The Magnolia Bides. This is book one in the Must Love Babies series. I look forward to the next two books, no doubt they will be about Brant's brothers Tucker and Gaven.

Many thanks to SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Date of publication: June 5, 2018

Review: The Ex-Wife

My rating: 5 Stars

Natasha is happily married, with a loving husband and a beautiful baby girl. The problem is that her husband's ex-wife Jen is still part of his life. Natasha is coping with that difficult dynamic well enough, but truly falls apart when her husband and daughter are suddenly  gone without a trace. Needless to say, her entire life falls apart. Her resources are now quite limited, and with no one to trust and to rely on, she enlists the aid of Jen.

This story is told from multiple viewpoints, including "then and now". While ordinarily this would bother me in a book, it was done excellently here, and lent quite well to covering the twists and turns in this captivating story. Ultimately, this is a story about secrets. This dark, chilling story truly kept me on the edge of my seat. This is a true psychological thriller. The ending was truly a shock. I definitely am looking forward to reading more by this author.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Date of publication: June 5, 2018

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Review: Mulberry Lane Babies

Mulberry Lane Babies by Rosie Clarke

My rating: 4 Stars

This story in the Mulberry Lane series continues with a group of women in war-torn times in England. Despite such a ravaged time in history, new life is on the horizon as some of the women are now pregnant. This is a touching read, one that handles sensitive issues such as the aftermath of rape and domestic violence well. I look forward to reading the next in this series.

Many thanks to Aria and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Date of publication: June 1, 2018

Review: Liar, Liar

Liar, Liar by Lisa Jackson

My rating: 4 Stars

A man burned to death in his car in the middle of the desert. A teen boy is shot. Disappearing babies. The fact that Remmi Storm witnesses the apparent suicide of her mother, a woman she hadn't seen in twenty years. Remmi's mother was Didi Storm, a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, someone whose career never quite reached its stride. This is all tied together, but how?

What's more is that Remmi's life is at stake. What really happened twenty years ago and why is it trailing closely behind her now? With the help of Noah Scott, someone from Remmi's past, things begin to reveal themselves. However, Remmi is not even sure that she can trust him.

Liar Liar is a story of  deceit, murder and duplicity. This was an easy read, easily devoured in one sitting, and one that I read with a sense of urgency. I am relatively new to Lisa Jackson's work, but am definitely a new fan.

Many thanks to Kensington Books and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Date of publication: June 26, 2018

Monday, May 28, 2018

Review: The Whispering Room

The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz

My rating: 5 Stars

The Whispering Room has Jane Hawk still on the run. Her options are running thin while she hopes to find the people responsible for the death of her husband and for the threat to her young son. It hasn’t taken her much time to realize that many, many more people are affected. While first on leave from the FBI, she is now on their most wanted list, and is also being chased by ruthless killers. She finally finds a man that she is certain can help her and her cause, but that ends up not panning out either.

Jane is determined to find someone to help her to get to the bottom of this incredible conspiracy where mind control is at play. The picture is huge, as the bad guys are equally mixed in with the supposedly good in Koontz's second book in this series. The action begins on page one and anxiously carried me right through to the end.

Review: The Silent Corner

The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz

My rating: 5 Stars

Following the devastating suicide of her husband, Jane Hawk has been granted leave from the FBI. She begins an unofficial investigation of his suicide, but she discovers several things right away, including the fact that there is a huge conspiracy at play. Getting to the bottom of this is critical to Jane, especially because they have threatened her young son and now she has him in hiding.

Why are so many people suddenly taking their own lives? Jane quickly uncovers a conspiracy of unimaginable proportions. What is this nefarious, apparent mind control going on? Who will listen to Jane? How many lives have to be lost while she is trying to stay one step ahead of government agencies and the ruthless people that will stop at nothing to put an end to Jane's search for the truth?

So many questions, so little time. This book caused me to lose a night's sleep because I could not put it down. I literally read this book from cover to cover in one sitting. Dean Koontz has outdone himself with this first book in his Jane Hawk series. I am currently reading The Whispering Room with the same eagerness.

Review: Dark Game

My rating: 5 Stars

Debut author Rachel Lynch opens with an exciting detective series! In Dark Game, DI Kelly Porter is back in her home town handling rather mundane cases. But then, she begins to investigate the cold case of the murder of ten-year-old Lottie Davis. She is also assigned another two cases which also sparks her interest. One involving an illegal immigrant and the other, the death of an old man found in a hotel. Kelly quickly learns that his death is part of a huge puzzle, These are no open and shut cases. What Kelly discovers is a dark net of criminal activity. Her quiet home town has deep dark secrets.

What a thrilling book! I was pleased to read this in one sitting. It is a great read, with an excellent theme, especially watching the quiet little town exposed as hiding dark and dangerous criminal behavior. I am looking forward to reading Deep Fear, Book 2 in this series.

Review: Now She's Gone

My rating: 4 Stars

Rachel Prince is a child protection detective whose current case is that of investigating the apparently accidental death of a teen girl. Working alongside DS Mark Brickall, she leaves no stone unturned while struggling to prevent another murder from happening, especially once she unearths the true circumstances behind. After being approved for this title to review, I bought book one in this series, Lola is Missing, and read it just prior to reading this. Having done so familiarized me with some of the characters,

There are more twists and turn than in Lola is Missing, especially concerning Rachel's personal life. As a matter of fact, things almost hit too close to home for Rachel. If you read as many of these suspense thrillers as I do, it can occasionally become quite easy to ascertain the perpetrator. Although my assumptions were correct, this in no way diminished the effectiveness of this book. Despite the darkly and often disturbing nature of the crimes at hand, the book is quite compelling. I nearly read it in one sitting, only taking a brief nap overnight just to complete it. Definitely looking forward to book three in this series.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Release date: May 31, 2018

Review: Lola is Missing

Lola is Missing by Alison James

My Rating: 3 Stars

Rachel Prince, of the major case squad, is desperately trying to find the whereabouts of a missing six-year-old girl, Lola Jade. Working alongside DS Mark Brickall, the stubborn Rachel finds no clue too small to investigate. Just when Rachel is sure she is onto the girl's father, another little girl is taken, and the body of a dead woman is found. Seemingly unconnected upon first glance, things prove otherwise. While working hard on these cases, Rachel is being haunted by her past, and she is also living with a painful injury to her knee. Despite this, Rachel remains tough as nails.

Debut author makes her mark in this new series. While certainly not a thrill a minute read, this story was able to keep my attention. I will give book two, Now She's Gone, a shot, as I enjoy connected series as well as character development.

Review: Summer at the Little Cottage on the Hill

Summer at the Cottage of the Hill
Summer at the Little Cottage of the Hill
by Emma Davies

My rating: 5 Stars

Isobel has is the first to have rented a cottage at Joy Acre for six weeks. She is working on a music composition with plans of possibly jumpstarting her career as a violinist. She has a lot angst resulting from a troubled past. Tom is a thatcher who is working on the cottages at the farm. Isobel is quite uncomfortable around the affable Tom, who is quite drawn to her. Meanwhile, the rest of the folks there, Seth, Maddie, Clara and Trixie, as well as Tom, are quite like a family, one where Isobel doesn't fit in. These relationships are all important, however, and in time, Isobel begins to relax.

Tom has his own demons. He is finally overcoming them as he gets deeper involved in his work on the farm. Meeting Isobel is truly a balm to his soul. Not only does his music affect him in a powerful way, her beauty, as well as her reticence makes her quite desirable to him. Their relationship begins to build as they develop trust in one another's feelings. At one point Tom is asked by Clara if he believes he has found a kindred spirit in Isobel. Indeed, they are perfect for one another, as they  can read each other quite well, despite Isobel's initial reluctance to draw close to Tom.

Summer at the Little Cottage on the Hill is the second in a four-part series. I read and reviewed the first book immediately before reading this one. This helped me to feel strongly connected to all of the characters. Continuity in stories is highly favorable to me. Just as Tom, I was a strong fan of Isobel's violin playing. I sensed that I could hear the plaintive notes playing! I was also drawn to the intensity of emotion shared between Isobel and Tom. Kudos to Emma Davies for delivering such a powerful connection to her readers. Quite well done! This is truly a feel-good story. I so look forward, not only to the other books in this series, but to the rest of this author's work.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Review: The Naked Nuns

The Naked Nuns by Colin Watson

My rating: 4 Stars

There is a rivalry between businessmen  Henry Crispin and Arnold Hatch. Nothing too outstanding, however, until a dead body is found. On the job are DI Purbright and Sergeant Love. Whether or not the murder has to do with the gentlemen, or the new man on the town. Then there is the curious telegram from America referring to naked nuns. DI Purbright and DS Love are feverishly struggling to expose the nefarious acts while trying to restore calm to the what should be the lovely town of Flaxborough.

With an excellent cast of characters, a terrific mystery and an excellent bite of British humor, this is an excellent part of the series.  It may seem odd to mention, but when reading English authors like Watson, who have a powerful control of language, it makes the books more enjoyable. Especially since I am reading these review titles on my Kindle and can simply click unfamiliar words that I can add to my own vocabulary.

Many thanks to Farrago and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Date of publication:  May 31, 2018

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Review: The Little Cottage on the Hill

 The Little Cottage on the Hill by Emma Davies

My rating: 4.5 Stars

Every now and again you pick up just the perfect book. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that The Little Cottage on the Hill by Emma Davies was just that book.

Maddie has fled what was a successful job in London for a chance of a new job. Will she get the fresh start that she desperately needs? Upon meeting her new boss Seth, she is not so sure. On more than one occasion, her future is looking very bleak. She is quite indomitable however. Seth just doesn't know what to do with Maddie. Her ideas for restoring his home and property, Joy's Acre,  clash with his at just about every turn. The question is whether or not the two of them can agree as to what needs to be done.

Meanwhile, there are other characters in this story - Agatha and Clara, for starters.  Agatha is grating and, while her relationship to Seth is unclear at first, has an important role in the restoration project. Clara is a woman who Maddie finds herself quite drawn to. But, truly, what is she to Seth? Why does Maddie care so much anyway? She is there to do a good job, and that is it. At least that is her original goal.

This story is truly heartwarming. There was a place in the story when Maddie realized that she has found home and I was truly moved. Also, the romance that develops between Maddie and Seth is quite touching. That was developed at a very nice pace. If I have any qualms with this story it would be that I just didn't know what was driving most of the characters at first. As the story developed, however, I was able to be satisfied enough. My questions were answered. Everything made sense.

There is a strong factor that I enjoyed in this book too. It was a true sweet romance. I absolutely love a clean, non-explicit love story that can pull at your heartstrings. This story  is part of a four-book series, one which I will happily gobble up book after book.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Review: What Holly's Husband Did

What Holly's Husband Did by Debbie Viggiano

My rating: 2 Stars

There have been fifteen years of relatively happy marriage between Holly and Alex. Her bubble is burst when she accidently happens upon a series of sexts aimed at Alex. He convincingly tells her that it was all a misunderstanding. She believes him, albeit reluctantly. Inevitably, Holly has reasons for doubt yet again.

Hoping this to be the laugh out loud book it was purported to be, I was rather disappointed on many levels. In part, due to factors like her relationship with her best friends. Also, while there was sort of a happy ending, it was completely not what I was expecting. Unfortunately, I had difficulty in staying present when reading this book.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Publication Date: May 29, 2018

Monday, May 21, 2018

Review: The Little Brooklyn Bakery

The Little Brooklyn Bakery by Julie Caplin

My rating: 4 Stars

After a nasty breakup, Sophie Jennings makes the snap decision to leave London to accept a six-month position as a food editor for a top-notch magazine in New York. When she meets fellow worker Todd McLennan, she is amazed at her reaction to him because of her recently ended relationship. Todd likes he just as much but is quite clear that he doesn’t at want anything serious.

It was rather enjoyable to read of the yummy food and treats. It was also quite easy to understand the limitations that Sophie and Todd set on their budding romance. I kept saying to myself how sweet the romance, as well as the other relationships in this book were. What a touching read. Well done, Ms. Caplin. The Little Brooklyn Bakery is part of a three-book series. I look forward to reading the other two stories.

Many thanks to HarperCollins UK and to NetGalley for this ARC for review.

Date of Publication: May 25, 2018

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Review: Painting of Sorrow

My rating: 3 Stars

Sarah Downing is currently restoring a painting, one that she is fairly certain is an original, She is more than distracted, however, as she can't keep her mind off the impending prison release of her ex-husband, Jimmy; he swore that he would one day kill her. Meanwhile, Sarah hopes to convince the painting’s owner, Simon Wolfe, to invest more funds into the restoration project to further the proof of its provenance.

Things begin to move swiftly as Jimmy has found her, although Sarah has been a part of the Witness Protection Program for over a decade. Meanwhile, Sarah discovers something shocking out about her bosses, and that is connected to her current job at hand. So she flees from Jimmy, all the while desperately trying to get the painting back into the hands of Simon. Sarah and Simon felt sparks from the beginning, but the element of danger was just too high to do anything about it.

As a reader, it was quite easy to see that for Sarah to get her life back, there could only be one outcome. Despite being a rather slow read, the mystery in which Sarah's past and present become tightly interwoven was quite intriguing.

Many thanks to BooksGoSocial and to NetGalley for this book to review.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Review: Tell Me a Secret

My rating: 3 Stars

Lorna has a secret, one so huge that, if discovered, will ruin her marriage and family Even more is at stake – that of her career. She is a therapist and her secret is that she had an affair with one of her patients, Andrew. Although she ended things nearly a year ago, she knows that her life will be destroyed if she were to be ever found out. In order to function, she has tightly constructed her daily life. She is also suffering extreme angst due to the death of her father when she was a child.

Everything spins out of control when Andrew contacts her again, determined to pick up where they left off. Almost unable to help herself, Lorna begins taking risks, putting all she holds dear in jeopardy. But then, Andrew is found dead and her world is truly turned upside down.

Told from varying points of view, this book held my attention fairly well. While it was often painful to read how Lorna made one bad choice after another, there were enough twists and turns that were just enough to keep me riveted to the story. The ending was a complete shocker.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Review: Game Players

My rating: 4 Stars

Six children have formed a small gang and have been meeting at a den they created in the woods. One day, they witnessed a man burying what appears to be drugs. They devised a plan to get rid of the drugs, but this was easier said than done. Then they made the unfortunate discovery of the body of the man that had buried the drugs. From this moment on, the children and even their families are not safe.

Game Players is dark story that is very well-written and was a one-sitting read. I look forward to reading more of Anita Waller's books in the future.

Many thanks to Bloodhound Books and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Review: Dying Truth

Dying Truth by Angela Marsons

My rating: 4 Stars

D.I. Kim Stone is now responsible for the case at hand, that of the apparent suicide of a teenager. The sharp-witted Kim quickly realizes that it was not a suicide at all. Her instincts are spot-on and she fights vigorously to get to the bottom of this brutal act. Her fight becomes incredibly challenging right after another child is found dead. This takes place at the exclusive Heathcrest Academy.

What a series of twists this story takes! For starters, Kim and her team discover secret clubs at the school. How far-reaching these clubs are is beyond the scope of anything they could have ever expected. The more I read this story, the more I became truly engaged because of the different roads the investigation took in the course of identifying the killer.

When I picked Dying Truth for review I had no idea that this book would be utterly impossible to put down. There aren’t enough hours in the day, but I will make time to read Angela Marsons' backlist because her writing is absolutely stellar. Although I am quite eager to read the previous books in this series, I think this book serves well as a standalone read. Despite suffering a shock at the conclusion of this book, I quickly turned the pages hoping to see an excerpt from the next book in the series! Yes, I was that impressed.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Review: The Flaxborough Crab

The Flaxborough Crab by Colin Watson

My rating: 4 Stars

DI Purbright is back in this sixth book in the Flaxborough series. This time he is after a man referred to as the Flaxborough Crab. The man has attempted to accost several women, who are sharp-witted enough to have escaped his clutches. By a surprising turn of events, the case seems to have suddenly solved itself. However, there is much more to be discovered.

What a quick and smartly humorous book! I look forward to reading all of the books in this series by Colin Watson.

Many thanks to Farrago Books and to NetGalley for this book for review.

Review: It Ends With Her

My rating: 4 Stars

FBI agent Clarke Sinclair has been tracking serial killer Simon Cross for years. Simon has been providing her with clues that have been haunting her to the depths of her soul. However, he always succeeds in the murders, breaking Clarke more and more with each victim. Simon has a pattern. This time, however, he has broken it and has changed his timetable. This break in pattern is leading Clarke into a trap. Will she be able to save the latest victim – and herself?

I was so touched by Clarke. She is one tough agent, despite a troubled past. Working alongside her mentor Sam allowed the true depth of her pain become all too real to me. However, it was the connection between all of the characters and the timelines played out that really astounded me. It Ends With Her is truly a truly dark thriller that captivated my attention, and yanked on my heartstrings more than once.

Many thanks to Thomas & Mercer and to NetGalley for this book to book to review.

Review: Ruff Cut

Ruff Cut by Kasey Riley

My rating: 4 Stars

Sheriff Megan Holloway has suddenly become quite busy. In short order, she discovers an injured dog on her way in from work one day. Upon taking him to the town's vet, it is quickly discovered that the dog has a stomach full of diamonds. Also, through the town's gossips, she learns of a terrified woman hiding out. Further, there are mysterious cars seen driving through the town. In short order, Megan realizes that everything is somehow connected. Meanwhile, Megan has some personal issues of her own, including recurring nightmares of when she was critically injured in Afghanistan. She does, however, have her boyfriend Aaron in her corner.

I enjoyed the scheme Megan came with to bring everything to a head and to resolve the peace she's come to love in her town. Ruff Cut is a quick, delightful read. Although this is a fine stand-alone novel, it is part of the Riverview Mystery series.

Many thanks to BooksGoSocial and to NetGalley for this book to review.

Review: A Mother's Goodbye

A Mother's Goodbye by Kate Hewitt

My rating: 5 Stars

When Heather discovers she is pregnant, she knows that she cannot keep the baby. Her husband has been out of work for years due to a back injury, they already have three girls, and their apartment is too small. Add to that their financial worries, and it becomes clear why they make the decision to give the baby up for adoption – to give it a better future than they feel they can offer. The decision doesn’t come easy. As a matter of fact, it is an agonizing one.

Grace can’t believe that Heather has chosen her to mother her child. There is no doubt of the love Grace felt from the very start. She has the circumstances to make a wonderful life for the child and will do anything to prove that to Heather.

A Mother's Goodbye is a riveting story. It is indeed very touching. I thought the story was already pulling at my heartstrings, but then there was a twist, one so tragic, that I read much of the story with a lump in my throat.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Date of publication: June 13, 2018.

Review: Stench

Stench by A. B. Morgan

My rating:  5 Stars

Something really stinks. There is a dead body underneath Rory Norton's floor, but the Stench goes far, far deeper. Meanwhile, Anna Chamberlain is missing. It turns out that there are several reasons behind her explain her disappearance.

As expected, there are several twists and turns. But, it is the first one in Stench that kept me turning pages at breakneck speed! As things progressed, I was positive that I figured everything out, and that A B Morgan wrote a great psychological thriller. I was ready to give this book four stars. However, I was so enthralled with the final twist that I gave this five stars!

Many thanks to Bloodhound Books and NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Review: Speechless

Speechless by Paris Hansen

My rating: 4 Stars

Oliver Brooks has been trying to take his relationship with Meghan Crosby to the next level. However, Meghan's life experiences have made her a live in the now kind of woman, one who never intended on settling down. On the other hand, Oliver has every intention of doing just that. The question is whether or not he can win Meghan over before she shuts him out completely.

After a weekend in Vegas with friends, the very drunk couple end up getting married. This may just give Oliver the chance to win her over. He hatches a plan that Meghan, albeit a bit reluctantly, agrees to.

When approaching Speechless, I anticipated a light-hearted romance, instead, it quickly became heart-wrenching! Paris Hansen does a fantastic job with her characters and their angst. Although this is the third in the Finding Love series, it does quite well as a standalone. Even so, I already downloaded the first two and will go back and read them at another time.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Weapenry Co-op for this book to review.

Review: The Adulterer's Wife

The Adulterer's Wife by Leigh Russell

My rating: 3 Stars

Not too long after discovering that her husband has been having an affair, Julie Barrett discovers his dead body in their bed. Although she immediately becomes the primary suspect, Julie decides to pursue her own investigation. After all, she is innocent. The question is, to what lengths will she go to prove it?

This makes this book sound promising enough. However, this was rather a slow read to me. For one thing, I felt a disconnect with Julie. I also felt that there a couple of inconsistencies, like how can her friend phone her while she is hiding out? After all, the police confiscated her cell phone, unless the investigators released her personal property and I just somehow missed it. This book just didn’t draw me in like most thrillers that I read and enjoy. It read very slow most of the time. However, I will give this author at least one more read because I truly enjoy psychological thrillers.

Many thanks to Bloodhound Books and NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Review: Pressure

Pressure by Betsy Reavley

My rating: 5 Stars

The Pica Explorer, a submerged submarine, has lost power and has sunk to the ocean floor. With ten people on the sub, time is of the essence because oxygen will run out – and soon. As if that alone isn’t terrifying enough, murders are being committed, one by one. I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie’s work, and immediately sensed a parallel to her book And Then There Were None.

Here the story is told in two different ways, from several first-person points of view to a mysterious telling from one of their pasts. This allows the reader to get into the minds of those aboard. However, despite all of the individual stories, I was consistently kept guessing. From beginning to end, the story runs at breakneck speed. You just know someone else will be next, but who, and why? Equally thrilling and horrifying, Pressure was an excellent read.

Many thanks to Bloodhound Books and NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Review: Desperate Ground

Desperate Ground by L J Morris

My rating: 4 Stars

After being wrongly convicted, former intelligence operative Ali Sinclair has been hiding out ever since her escape from a Mexican jail. Only good friend and ex-Marine Frank McGill knows her whereabouts. Meanwhile, Ali's friend Jo Quinn was seen with an arms dealer apparently connected to a nuclear weapons agreement. MI6 recruits Ali to spy on her friend for what could ultimately lead to saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Ali is skating on thin ice while McGill works closely with her and does his best to protect her.

What I hated about this book: it was not my cup of tea. What I loved about this book: it was not my cup of tea. Forgive the dichotomy, because I’m ecstatic that I read this book! Desperate Ground is wickedly fast-paced. A truly exciting change of pace from my usual fare. It was a thrilling, engrossing, edge-of-your-seat read!

Many thanks to Bloodhound Books and NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Review: The Chosen Ones

The Chosen Ones by Carol Wyer

My rating: 5 Stars

Starting with the gruesome murder of Jordan Kilby, whose body was discovered in a field, there are other equally heinous murders that follow soon thereafter. There is a common thread, definite connections. But what? Can DI Robyn Carter solve this case before she is removed from this investigation? Robyn clearly senses powerful links to the murders, and follows every lead possible to identify the murderer. In so doing, she develops a bond of sorts to Jordan's girlfriend.

Hand over mouth! Yes, that was my reaction! There are two shockingly specific twists that raised the hairs on the back of my neck. Oh my! Most of the time with thrillers the twists come so fast and hard that I am shocked as to who the killer is. However, in The Chosen Ones, I knew for quite some time. Even so, I had loads of fun rooting out the motive while Robyn and team raced to find out. Well done Carol Wyer.

Also, during the progression of this series, there have been clues of a different sort involving the death of Robyn's fiancĂ© Davies. Is he really dead after all? Then there is Ross, a private investigator and Robyn’s cousin. It was great to see a bit more of Ross in this book.

When I received this for review, I purchased, read and reviewed the first four books in this series. I generally do this with any new authors or series that I learn about. Doing so allows me to enjoy familiarity with the characters in the books that I read. Having done so here really pleased me. For one thing, I have discovered a new favorite author! I not only recommend this book, but the entire series as well. Oh do I ever hope we will be seeing more of Robyn.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Review: Lead Me Home

Lead Me Home by CS Savage

My rating:  3 Stars

Clancy is a psychiatrist dealing with truly disturbed patients. At the same time, she has a difficult relationship with her daughter Rowan, unaware that Rowan's boyfriend has become abusive. Meanwhile, Clancy takes a strong interest in a new patient of hers, Beth, who has been off of her meds and is convinced that she is being stalked.

I am annoyed – at the characters and their actions. The circumstances that they’ve wrapped themselves up in truly was often short-sighted, yet it was if they just couldn’t help themselves. Some of the scenarios were difficult to read and the conclusion was even more unsettling. For a debut author, CS Savage does a terrific job at leaving me in this state.

Many thanks to Bloodhound Books and NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Review: The Portrait of Lady Wycliff

The Portrait of Lady Wycliff by Cheryl Bolan

My rating:  3 Stars

Harry, Earl of Wycliff, is not only seeking to reclaim his family home and its lost possessions, he especially needs to find a portrait of his deceased mother. He wins the current resident, the widow Mrs. Phillips over in order to persuade her into helping him. So, not only are his intentions less than honorable, she has her secrets as well. Although a quick read, it was rather staid. This is the first of three books in the Lords of Eton series.

Many thanks to Laurie White and NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Review: Cross Your Heart

Cross Your Heart by Kierney Scott

My rating: 5 Stars

While on medical leave, FBI Special Agent Jess Bishop has started an unofficial investigation on a cold case. A serial killer has been targeting little girls. When she is reinstated, the case takes on an official nature. More critical details are now available to Jess, but then another little girl is abducted. Time is of the essence, as they are desperate to locate her, especially since they do not have many leads. The only thing that they do have is a common link between all of the girls.

Meanwhile, Jess is still running from her own personal demons. In Kierney Scott’s first book in the series, Forget Me Not, we learned much about Jess and what makes her tick. In the first book we learned about what Jess experienced and how it has affected who she is now. However, if she was already a dark, disconnected soul, then she is ever more so now. This is due to her last case where she was injured and almost lost her partner Jamison – who is extremely special to her. So she must now struggle with her personal traumas while racing against time to prevent another little girl from being snatched.

Cross Your Heart is an excellent one-sitting read! When I got this book for review, I decided to read the first in the series. This is a habit of mine really. I like connecting with the characters and by reading these two titles back-to-back I felt as if I knew all of the players really well, especially Jess. This characterization, as well as a fast-moving plot, kept me riveted to the story. This book has a sharp twist and incredible sadness to it also. I kept wishing, obviously, for the perpetrator to be stopped, but also for Jess and Jamison. I have a strong feeling that as the series progresses, that they can heal, even just to be able to be friends again. Only time will tell. One thing is for sure, Kierney Scott has a new fan in me.

Many thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Review: The Journey

The Journey by Conrad Jones

My rating: 5 Stars

The Journey is about a loving family of six comfortably living in the town Monguno in Nigeria and their harrowing trek. This Five Starzincredible story begins with a 10-year old boy, Beb, as he is walking with two of his friends. He recognizes a convoy approaching and warns his friends to run, as he knows from his father that it could mean only one thing. It is right here in this story when my heart jumped. The first chapter quickly identifies the rest of his family, and where they are at when the extremists enter their town. The father, Kalu, knew this day was coming. He does his best to quickly round up his family to try to get them to safety.

As a doctor Kalu is torn between the self-preservation necessary to protect his family, and trying to help others as they become injured during this horrific time. Kalu desperately tries to get his family to Morocco, and then Europe, as he has been preparing for this eventuality. The journey is not easy, and is fraught with unimaginable tragedy. As I read this book, the atrocities that took place created such intense sadness and pain in me for these people who were driven from their homes, knowing that their futures offered very little hope. Nothing I have ever read or watched about a great exodus such as this could have prepared me for what the writer conveys in the story.

As described in the blurb, this is an emotional thriller. It is written as realistic as I’ve ever experienced for a fictional tale. This is a book that kept me up until all hours because I just could not put it down! It really made me think of my life and of how easy it is. It also made me sad because of the grittiness in which the tragedies occurred. However, I did not want the book to end. I wanted more for this family. This fact alone proved to me the realism conveyed by Conrad Jones. The book finished with a twist that truly shook me. I won't be forgetting about The Journey anytime soon. Kudos to Mr. Jones.

Many thanks to Bloodhound Books and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Review: Don't You Dare

Don't You Dare by A. J. Waines

My Rating: 3 Stars

Both mother and daughter, Rachel and Beth, share a secret that, if found out, will cost them everything. Rachel finds Beth pinned down by a stranger and assumes the worst. She strikes him, and he ends up dead. They each have their own reasons for keeping this a secret between them, even disposing of the body. For one thing, Beth is getting married in about a month, and Rachel it’s not about to let what happened get in the way of that wedding.

As they go through wedding preparations, something that slowly disillusions Beth, their secret is in danger of being discovered. Things begin falling into place, but definitely not in a good way. But then, there is a twist. And, Wow! What a twist! I couldn’t flick my screen fast enough! This incredible psychological thriller has a conclusion that truly shocked and surprised me.

Many thanks for Bloodhound Books and NetGalley for this ARC for review.

Review: The Family at No. 13

The Family at No. 13 by S. D. Monaghan

Review: 2 Stars

Ordinarily, when I write a review, I first write a summary of the story. I am reluctant to do that, and just want to get my feelings about this book out. I was on the fence about this book the whole way through. What should have been a very quick read for me ended up being a long one, because it was rather dreadful. There were times that I felt like it had redeeming qualities, but as soon as I felt that, I was really thrown.

The murder at the outset just did not seem necessary, especially for the character involved, I found to be tragic. As an animal lover, I was also appalled at the insertion of animal abuse into the story. Was this to connect the characters? If so, I feel that the inclusion of it was done in very poor taste. Yes this book is about a family with secrets, deep dark secrets, and plots have to be developed. With all said, I honestly don’t know if I would read a book by this author again.

Thank you Bookouture and NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Review: What Did I Do?

What Did I Do? by Jessica Jarlvi

My rating: 4 Stars

The title of the book, What Did I Do? plainly sets the plot. Her husband is dead. Her brother is dead. She is responsible, isn't she? Oh, and her mother has been crippled by being pushed down the stairs. She was there on all three occasions. She did it, didn’t she? Why doesn’t she clearly remember? I was curious from page one. I kept wondering had she actually done these criminal acts. Beyond the obvious questions, there were things about Kristin that kept me reading this book.

Meanwhile, there are other stories, other characters, and these include memories that are intriguingly connected. They are extremely mysterious. What do these other stories have to do with Kristin? Not only is she haunted by unclear memories, she is being stalked by someone. Her new life, such as it is, could be ruined forever. All Kristen wanted was a new beginning, yet that seems highly unlikely for her.

I found this dark psychological thriller to be truly captivating. After all, was I rooting for a murderer? The twists and turns in What Did I Do? will definitely throw you off! That is how well-written this book by Jessica Jarlvi is! She is definitely an author to watch.

Many thanks to Aria and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Review: The Sixth Day

The Sixth Day by Catherine Coulter

My rating: 5 Stars

Nicholas Drummond and Michaela “Mike” Caine are at his London estate for brief vacation. When a high-ranking political figure dies mysteriously, they are charged with the investigation. Meanwhile, there is a soon-to-be-connected mystery regarding the historical Voynich Manuscript. Dr. Isabella Marin becomes embroiled as she is an expert at the twin language associated with the Manuscript. At the bottom of all of this, is Roman Arderlean, wealthy cyber-security genius, who has a very ill twin brother. He is hoping that the secrets of this Manuscript will cure his twin.

Roman is also creating an army of drones, and he is hell-bent on using those drones to achieve whatever purpose he sets out. Anyone that will get in the way of this goal is collateral damage. This includes Nicholas and Mike, as their investigation proves fruitful from the start.

In this thrilling story, quite a bit of lore is interjected. For starters, Roman is a descendent of Romanian Vlad the Impaler, know as Count Dracula. Also, Roman is a falconer, one who artfully trains falcons. Add this to his work with drones and he is more than lethal.

This story hits the ground running, and hardly leaves you with a moment to catch your breath. I love the twists and turns that this fifth entry in A Brit in the FBI series has taken.

Many thanks to Gallery Books and to NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Review: Reunited with the Sheriff

Reunited with the Sheriff by Lynne Marshall

My rating: 5 Stars

Conor Delaney and Shelby Brookes made a promise to rekindle their amazing romance in four years. She was going away to pursue her dreams as a sous-chef in New York, knowing that it could lead to an illustrious career. It was Shelby’s biggest dream to become a chef. It is now six years later. Not only has she broken Conor's heart, she is back in their hometown of Sandpiper Beach, with a toddler in tow. However, she doesn’t have forever in mind. Or does she?

What a sweet romance! While it is patently obvious to understand Shelby's actions, it is equally difficult to deal with Conor's pain. This is an excellent read from the Delaneys of Sandpiper Beach trilogy.

Many thanks to HQ and NetGalley for this book for review.

Review: A Year of Taking Chances

A Year of Taking Chances by Jennifer Bohnet

My rating: 4 Stars

A Year of Taking Chances opens with the very drunk Tina Matthews and Jodie Saville on New Year's Eve ordering the Cosmos to forever change their lives. They will be thirty in less than two years and do not want to be single any longer. Fast forward and Jodie is now happily married to Ben. Living in France now, Jodie makes a whole new life. However, with no love life to speak of, Tina has decided to focus as a literary agent, even making career changes to that end.

As happy as I was to see Jodie’s life evolve, being the hopeless romantic that I am, well, I wanted the same kind of happiness for Tina. She has a great heart and deserves a great future as well. Jennifer Bohnet definitely kept me engaged in rooting for Tina. There were also some other elements to this story that kept my interest as well, including good character development. The only thing I would have liked to see changed is things expounded upon in Tina's budding relationship.

Thank you to HQ Digital and NetGalley for the ARC to review.