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totallyaddictedtoreading

TOTALLY ADDICTED TO READING

I am an avid reader who loves sharing the stories I have read with my fellow readers. I enjoy reading Mystery, Legal and Political thrillers, Horror and all types of romance.

  

 

Currently reading

Red Hot Obsessions
Sky Corgan, Olivia Rigal, Ember Casey, Blair Babylon, Molly McLain, V.J. Chambers, Lacey Silks, Daizie Draper, Clarissa Wild, J.C. Valentine
Progress: 80%

AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: WAR OF HEARTS by KAREN LYNN

A War of Hearts: A Dark Romantic Psychological Thriller: - Karen Lynn

War of Hearts by Karen Lynn is the first novel in the Hearts in Torment series, dubbed a dark romantic suspense. I read/listen to this novel as I was in the mood for something different. I jumped into this one expecting a dark, twisted and suspenseful read.

Dark and suspenseful it was not, but it sure claim the title of being twisted. Here we have two men, (Logan and Jake) in love with the same woman, (Kristen), but was it really love or was it an obsession? 

It took some time for me to get into the story. I put down the book for a while before I finally got the courage to trudge through the end. I have mixed feelings about this story. It was not until the 90% mark that things became interesting. Prior to this there was so much back and forth that, my head spun, but for some strange reason I had to know how it would unfold. I saw the disaster a mile away, but could not look away.

To be honest, the characters got on my nerves. Several times, I wished I could knock some sense into them. I found it difficult to drum up any form of sympathy for Kristen. She knows Logan is not good for her. After twelve years of marriage, she has finally had enough or so she believes. She keeps going back to Logan despite being in a relationship Jake. It is clear she has no clue what she wants. Indecisive, clueless and habitual liar are the words to describe her.

Logan is the ultimate manipulator. He knows which of Kristen’s strings to pull to get what he wants. A narcissistic sociopath by nature

Jake is opposite of Kristen and Logan. Yes, he had issues from his past, but he never allowed to ruin his dreams. He desperately loved Kristen, to where he overlooked her deceitfulness, which was not healthy has it led to him have jealous rages. He struggled with insecurities, which contributed to his acceptance of Kristen’s treatment towards him.

Their behaviour lacked the maturity one would expect from an adult. 

Despite my issues with the characters, I enjoyed the author’s writing style. Her attention to details and her descriptions made each scene come alive. 

The story did not end in the manner I expected. I suspected that tragedy would strike, and it did, but not how I expected. The ending left me with lots of questions, which my curious mind need to know the answers to. The biggest question I have concerns the growth of the characters. Will they act like the adults they are?
I found the story to be quite long. I believe there were many unnecessary details, which contributed the slow pacing of the story.

Narration
Claire Riley did an okay job with the narration; however, she did mispronounce a few words... I borrowed the ebook through KU and I recognized that that a few paragraphs were left out of the narration. She did an ok job with the character s’ voices. There were moments where I believed; she went a bit overboard with the display of emotions.

Conclusion/Recommendation
In the end not a bad listen, but had the potential to be much better.

BOOK REVIEW: MOIRA ASHE: KINDRED SPIRITS

Moira Ashe: Kindred Spirits - Brendon Bertram

After, finishing Moira Ashe: The Enemy Within I was eager to discover what was in store for Moira now that her secret was out. Will she continue her work as a hunter or will she stay below the radar? Moira Ashe: Kindred Spirits gave me the answers I needed to know.

The story continued from where the first book ended. The exposure of her secret forced her to abandon the life she built in Quinn. She arrives in Trident Bay intending to secure passage to Quesius. However, her efforts proved futile, as no one will transport her.  She received a reprieve, when Caspian the man in charge of the Bay offered to transport her in exchange for killing a sea monster dubbed The Terror of Trident Bay. Desperate to get away she accepted the offer. Besides her hunting The Terror, she would find herself caught up in an uprising, which placed her plans of escape and keeping her secret in jeopardy.

I found Moira to be an intriguing character, and the author did a good job fleshing out her role. Her struggles stood out in this installment. Because of her secret, she couldn’t live a normal life. Forging friendships and maintaining relationships was not something she could entertain.

She has great fighting and hunting skills, which had made her the most sought after hunter.  Her desire to protect others regardless of the danger to herself was a testament to her selfless nature.

I loved the characters introduced in this installment. The one that fascinated me most was Caspian. Throughout the story, I kept wondering if Moira could trust him. Did he want to help Moira or was it a ploy to gain more power?

I enjoyed this installment. Intense and action packed, the story engaged my interest from start to finish.  The blurb hinted at a romance, however in my humblest opinion I didn't consider it as such.   It was more of  a satisfying of physical needs.  Honestly, I did not see the need for that thread. The story involving the sea monster was tied up nicely. The ending, however, shows that there is more in store for Moira and I am keen to know what is coming next.

Conclusion/Recommendation
If you enjoy fantasy and kick ass heroines will enjoy this latest offering from Bertram.

BOOK REVIEW: LAYLA'S CHANCE by MIKA JOLIE

Layla's Chance - Mika Jolie

Layla’s Chance by Mika Jolie is a steamy romance with heart. It tells the story of Layla a forty-year-old lawyer and Chance a 27-year-old rock star who found their happily ever after in each other’s arms. Their journey to this point, however, was not without its challenges. 

More than a romance as this story demonstrated what it means to let go of one’s fears and follow one’s dreams. It delved into the older woman and younger man relationships and how society perceives it. Love does not see age, race or physical structure.

Layla lived her life in order to escape pain and heartache. She avoided relationships as much as she possibly can because of her fear of abandonment. Everyone she ever loved ended up leaving her. She threw herself into her work, but that too proved a disappointment when the promotion she had her sights on was given to a younger counterpart. On receiving this devastating news she took a trip to Martha‘s Vineyard to celebrate her fortieth birthday and reevaluate her life. What she never expected was her chance meeting with a hot, young and sexy rock star who would set her body and heart on fire.

Layla’s struggles leapt off the pages. She craved Chance, but he was the embodiment of everything she has avoided for the past 21 years. Her heart and body wanted all Chance offered, but her head kept pulling her in a different direction. 

Although the story was told primarily from Layla’s POV, I gained insight into Chance’s feelings. Without a doubt, he cared for Layla, but he was not the type to push. He had his share of uncertainties, but he is not afraid to go after what he wants.

I thought they made a great couple. Chance was exactly what Layla needed even if she did not recognize it.

This story is about taking a leap of faith, stepping out of your comfort zone and finding love when one least expects it and with the unlikeliest of persons. 

Layla’s Chance is a strong novella. Story and character development was good. Although the relationship started out fast, I enjoyed the romance. It was sweet, hot and refreshing.

Conclusion/Recommendation
This was another great story from this author and I am eager to know what next she has in store for her fans. If you enjoy spicy May/December romance, then take a chance on Layla’s Chance.
 

BOOK REVIEW: YOU CAN'T FORCE LOVE by MARIE DRAKE

You Can't Force Love (Locked Hearts #1) - Marie Drake

There are some stories, from the moment you start reading, you know you will be taken on a heart-wrenching journey. You Can‘t Force Love by Marie Drake was that book for me.

It tells the story of two teens, Jordan and Kimberly, who were broken, battered and abandoned by those responsible for their wellbeing. Their mothers failed to protect them from the men in their lives. I cannot understand how a mother chooses a man over her child; well this was Jordan’s experience. Kimberley’s mom preferred drugs, alcohol and sex to her daughter’s wellbeing. Eventually, she was subjected to physical and sexual abuse at the hands of the many men in her mother’s life.

Tragic circumstances led to their paths crossing when they both ended up in the same foster home.

Their actions showed the effect the abuse had on them. Kimberly turned to sex, as she believed it would keep the demons at bay. She did not believe in love, seduction was her game. She never believed that anyone could love her and that she was not capable of loving anyone. She saw herself as damaged goods.

Jordan tried to be a better person as he believed on doing so his mom would take him home. Unlike Kimberly, he refused to travel the road that led to self-destruction. However, Jordan would learn no matter how hard he tries to walk the straight and narrow, something or someone would set off a trigger and he would go down a path he tried so hard to avoid.

I did not like the path Jordan and Kimberly took, but judging them was not an option. After such a tragic past, their actions were understandable. My heart grieved for them, and I hoped they would be free of their demons.

An engaging story with believable characters, You Can’t Force Love drew me in from the first page. I had a hard time putting it down. I enjoyed the author’s writing style and the way she made me feel, I was a part of the story.

My, only issue with the story was the cliffhanger ending, it took me by surprise and left me feeling disappointed.

Conclusion/Recommendation
You Can’t Force Love is a story that addresses real-life issues. It demonstrates how the actions of selfish parents can cause irreparable damage on their children’s’ emotional stability. Overall, an interesting and thought provoking read. I am eager to learn what is in store for Kimberly and Jordan

BOOK REVIEW: FEAR by JOHN W. MEFFORD

Fear (A Ball & Chain Thriller #2) - John W. Mefford

Fear by John W. Mefford is the second book in the Ball and Chain series. Although it features a different case, it is recommended that the books be read in order of release, as this will allow readers to follow the lives of Willow and Cooper. I enjoyed book one and looked forward to spending more time with the characters. 

I liked this installment, but it did not have the wow factor I expect from the author. The excitement was missing. It took some time for me to get into the story. The first 40% focused on the events in the character’s life since the first installment. There were hints of nefarious things happening but that aspect of the story did not develop until the 40% mark. Just when I thought things would take an exciting turn, the story tapered off, and the focus was on Cooper and Willow’s personal issues, than on their investigation into the missing athlete. There was a moment during these events where I found myself on the edge of my seat. This was because of the loan shark/mobster who wanted to keep Cooper under his thumb. Meanwhile, someone is kidnapping persons whom they perceive to be racists and torturing them, but it was not until 80% into the story that this thread took life. 

Cooper is juggling several things in his life. A nosy neighbor, a loan shark, his feelings for Willow and a cop who wants more than friendship and the investigation. Meanwhile he is trying to revive his career as a sports writer. Willow and Cooper have yet to come to terms with their feelings for each other. 

I loved the interaction between Willow and Cooper. From their cheesy banter to the dangerous situations they find would themselves in. Their chemistry was undeniable, but past and current events proved a hindrance.

The story had several plot threads with an interesting cast of characters. 

Conclusion/Recommendation
Despite this not being my favourite by the author I still liked the story and I am curious to discover what is in store for Willow and Cooper.

BOOK REVIEW TOUR: BAYSIDE ESCAPE by MELISSA FOSTER @Melissa_Foster @beckvalleybook #ContemporaryRomance

Bayside Escape (Bayside Summers, #4) - Melissa Foster

From the first moment I read her work, I became a fan of Melissa Foster’s novels. Her stories of family, love and friendship always leave a lasting impression. Once again, she delivers a gripping and emotional tale about love, family and friendship.

I first met Violet in Bayside Desires and since then I wanted to learn more about her. Secretive and complex in nature, I could not wait to peel away her layers and learnt what made her tick.

Violet has no filter. She says what she feels and makes no apologies. However, behind the feisty exterior lay a heart which had the capacity to love beyond measure. The thing is, few people has seen this side of her. Prickly in nature she allows no one to get close to her, until her sister, whom she never had much of a relationship with, and her crazy friends wormed their way into her heart without her even realising it. Only one other person had accomplished this, but her fears got in the way and she made a decision that would change both their lives. Fate however has a way of stepping in and shaking everything up as Violet would discover when her past collided with her present.

Andre spent three years trying to get over the woman who turned his life inside out, then up, and left him with no warning. All attempts failed, not even his new venture as it reminded him of her. Therefore, an offer from a free spirited woman to spend time in the Cape seems like the perfect solution. Then he came face to face with Violet and all the emotions he thought were buried came bubbling to the surface.

I loved both Violet and Andre. Andre is such a sweet person. Despite being hurt before he is still willing fight for Violet and their love. He saw beyond her tough facade. He knew all her issues, but loved her in spite of them.

My heart went out to Violet. I could not imagine having the life she had has a child. The lack of stability, afraid to get close to anyone, knowing she will not be staying in one place too long.

I loved how Violet found her own and opened herself to family, love and friendship. There is a side to her she did not share with her sister and newfound friends. They saw her as a trash talking biker chick, but there was more to her. She was selfless, artistic and sweet, traits only Andre were privy to.

I could not help but root for them and I hoped they would both get it right the second time around.

Conclusion/Recommendation
Bayside Escape is an emotional story about second chances and coming to terms with the pain of your past. It is about forgiveness, letting go of the pain and hurt and opening up yourself to love. I recommend this latest offering from Ms. Foster to fans of contemporary romance.
 

BOOK REVIEW: VERITY by COLLEEN HOOVER @colleenhoover #thriller #romance #suspense

Verity - Colleen Hoover

Verity:  Something that is true, as a principle, belief, idea or statement.

At what point does one separate fact from fiction? Which, version of the truth is the correct one? These questions came to mind after I finished this latest offering from Colleen Hoover. This is my second time reading her work and I must this woman is brilliant. She knows how to engage her fans and keep them coming back for more.

To say I am in a state of shock is an understatement. Up to this point, I am still not sure what the hell I just read. All I can say is that this is one story I am not sure I will forget anytime soon.  Unpredictable, chilling and suspenseful are the most fitting words to describe this tale.

I have to admit this story elicited varying emotions. There were moments when I had to know what next was coming and there were those instances where I feared knowing what would unfold.
However, my curiosity stomped all over my fears and I found myself devouring every word. 

The complexity of the characters was what made this story so shocking. Their thoughts, decisions and actions were compelling, which made it difficult for me to figure out who was the villain in the story.

Then that ending, OMG!  Who would have thought? I do not consider it a cliff hanger. This an ending where the reader can draw their own conclusion.

Verity depicts an author’s power to make their readers believe their written words, be it fact or fiction. I for one believed what I read until that twist at the end, which had me doubting everything I had originally believed. Now I am left wondering what was the real truth.

Conclusion/Recommendation

Verity is the most disturbing yet entertaining book I have read in a long time. If you enjoy stories that messes with your mind and have you questioning what is real and what is not then you are likely to enjoy Verity.

Today I'm showcasing a fantastic sounding novel, Law and Addiction, by author Mike Papantonio that reviewers call captivating, intriguing, enthralling, suspenseful, page-turning, riveting, unpredictable, and thought-provoking.
 
Jane Wesman Public Relations is sponsoring a #giveaway of this novel, see details below
 
 
 
Title:  Law and Addiction
Author: Mike Papantonio
Publisher: Waterside Productions 
Publication Date:  May 7, 2019
Genre(s): Legal Thriller
Pages: 250 Amazon LAW AND ADDICTION is based on Papantonio's experiences fighting Big Pharma on behalf of hundreds of Americans devastated by the opioid crisis
 
Law and Addiction by [Papantonio, Mike]
One week before Jake Rutledge is scheduled to graduate from law school, he receives the devastating news of the death of his fraternal twin, Blake. What makes this death even more terrible for Jake is that his brother died of a drug overdose. Until hearing of his death, Jake had no idea his brother was even using drugs. When Jake returns home to Oakley, West Virginia, he takes a hard look at the circumstances of his brother's death. In the five years Jake has been away for his schooling, his hometown has drastically changed. Because of the opioid epidemic, and the blight it has brought, many now call Oakley Zombieland. Jake can see how his town's demise parallels his brother's. Undeterred, the newly minted lawyer takes on the entrenched powers by filing two lawsuits. Jake quickly learns what happens when you upset a hornet's nest. The young attorney might be wet behind the ears, but is sure there is no lawyer that could help him more than Nick Deke Deketomis and his law firm of Bergman/Deketomis. Deke is a legendary lawyer. When he was Jake's age he was making his name fighting Big Tobacco. Against all odds, Jake gets Nick and his firm to sign on to his case before it's too late
 
 
 
Walking down the row toward Blake’s grave, his thoughts on the past, Jake saw a figure working in front of a headstone. He paused, not wanting to intrude, and as he did so, she got to her feet and began to move away. 
“Anna?” he said, shocked by the familiar face.
 
She turned. “Jake?” she said, her voice unsure.
 
Anna Fowler looked much the same as she had in high school. Her blue eyes sparkled, and her long chestnut-brown hair swayed against her shoulders. The two of them walked toward each other and then embraced in a big hug. As they disengaged, Anna’s gardening basket hooked on Jake’s shirt. 
“Don’t move,” she said. “I don’t want to tear your shirt.” 
With careful fingers—did Jake imagine it or were her fingers trembling?—she disentangled the shirt from her basket. “Sorry about that,” she said. 
“You could always hook ’em without even trying,” said Jake. He hoped his smile said he was kidding—sort of. 
“Listen to you,” said Anna. “It’s so good to see you. How is it that we both live in the same town and we never run into one another?” 
She seemed to be struggling to speak and smile at the same time; he could see the sweat trickling down from her forehead, though the day wasn’t very hot.
 
“I’ve been gone,” he said. “For a while, actually. And now that I’m back, all I plan to do is work.”
 
“Then nothing has changed,” Anna said. “I knew I never had a chance to be valedictorian with you in the mix.”
 
“That’s not how I remember it,” Jake said, grinning. “I recall you were always matching me grade for grade.”
 
“Blake thought we were both crazy to study like we did.” A cloud passed over her face; then she said, “My kryptonite was Algebra II. You deserved to be valedictorian.” 
“I didn’t have your social demands,” Jake said with a wink. “I was more the nerd while you were doing cheerleading and student council. You even played volleyball, if I remember correctly. Not to mention how you were always working at Fowler’s.” 
She laughed. “Don’t remind me about my misspent youth. See where it got me? Still right here. On the other hand, I hear you’re a lawyer.” 
Jake nodded. “Hard to believe, right?” 
Anna shook her head. “It’s not hard to believe at all. I’m really proud of you, Jake. And even though Blake and I didn’t keep in touch much after high school, I know he would be, too.” 
Jake tried to deflect her praise. He didn’t want to feel like a fraud. “It’s not as glamorous as it sounds,” he said. “I’d probably be making more flipping burgers.” 
“I don’t believe that.” 
“Sadly,” he said, “it’s true. But that’s partly because of my own stubbornness. I’m about to start working on this long-shot case. I hate to think I’m tilting at windmills, but I probably am. You can call me Don Quixote.” 
“It sounds like you’re doing something courageous, Don,” she said. 
That got a smile out of him, along with more head shaking. “I wish I was that noble,” he said, “but the reason I’m pursuing this case is because of Blake’s death.” 
Anna’s voice was unsteady. “I am so sorry about that,” she said. 
Jake nodded. “His death really threw me for a loop. I never saw it coming, so it was a real shock.” 
She didn’t speak for a moment, and he could see that she was blinking away tears. He hadn’t meant to make her sad. 
“What about you?” he asked. “I heard you went off to college but then came back.” 
“A dream deferred,” said Anna, nodding. “My mom got cancer, and I came home to help her fight it. Unfortunately, it was a fight we lost. And right after her death, Daddy had his stroke. I’ve sort of been a recluse myself since Momma died. And for a while there, Daddy needed round-the-clock care. Luckily, he’s better now. That’s allowed me to go out and work a part-time job.” 
“Doing what?” asked Jake. 
“I’ve been modeling.”   
 “That doesn’t surprise me,” he said, “as pretty as you are. What kind of modeling?” 
“I’ve been an art model for Clint Smith for a while now,” she said. “Oakley’s native son made good.” 
Jake nodded. In high school he’d had a crush on Anna, but then again, just about every male in his class had. Back then, he’d thought Anna was out of his league. She was classy, always doing and saying the right thing. Whenever he found himself in her presence, he had the hardest time uttering a complete sentence. In his daydreams he wasn’t tongue-tied; in them, he dared to ask her out. But that never happened. Besides, she’d always been arm candy for Blake. The two of them had looked great together. In fact, the school had voted them homecoming king and queen. They had dated a few times before mutually agreeing they were better off as friends. Jake wondered if Blake had sensed how he felt about Anna, and backed off to give him a chance. He guessed he would never know. 
“This morning I made some floral bouquets to put on gravesites,” Anna said, gesturing to her basket. “I made one for Blake’s stone, assuming that’s okay with you?” 
“Okay? At this very moment, Blake is strutting around the clouds, saying, ‘The prettiest woman in all of West Virginia is leaving me flowers.’ And loud enough for me to hear, he’s saying, ‘What do you think of that, little brother?’” 
“You were the younger twin?” She laughed. “I don’t think I ever knew that.” 
“By only twenty minutes,” said Jake. “But he loved lording that over me.” 
Anna’s hands rose to her face, and a frown creased her expression. 
“Are you all right?” he asked.
 
“I’m afraid I’m not feeling well,” she said. “If you don’t mind, I’ll give you Blake’s bouquet.” 
As Anna passed him the flowers, Jake couldn’t help but notice her shaking hands. Pale red blotches had formed on her fair skin. 
“I better walk you to your car,” he said. 
“That’s not necessary,” Anna said, her voice sharp. Then she softened it. “I’ll feel better after a warm bath and a little rest.” 
She smiled for him and began walking away.
 
“It was great seeing you,” Jake called after her.
 
Anna paused in her escape, waved to him, and said, “It really was. Don’t give up on your dreams, Jake. Or should I say . . . Don? Keep dreaming those impossible dreams. I hope you’ll call me.” 
Her words, and her invitation, made Jake smile. “I will,” he said. 
Anna waved again and kept walking. Jake watched her go. Her illness would give him a reason to call to see how she was doing. 
Maybe he wouldn’t even wait until tomorrow to call her. 
 
Excerpted with permission from LAW AND ADDICTION by Mike Papantionio.  Published by Waterside Productions. Copyright (c) 2019.  All rights reserved. This book is available at all bookstores and online booksellers.
 
 
About The Author
Mike Papantonio
 
Mike Papantonio is a crusader who uses fiction to entertain and inform readers about some of the most pressing issues of our times.  In each of his legal thrillers – from Law and Disorder to Law and Vengence, and now LAW AND ADDICTION – he lays bare the conspiracies and white-collar crimes that hurt ordinary Americans. A senior partner at Levin Papantonio, he’s taken on Big Pharma, tobacco companies, and the automobile industry, among others.  One of the youngest trial lawyers to have been inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, Papantonio is also a distinguished media presence as one of the hosts of the syndicated Ring of Fire radio show and as the host of American Lawyer on RT America network.  A skilled musician and athlete, Papantonio is based in Pensacola, Florida. To learn more, visit: www.mikepapantonio.com
 
 
 
 
 

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BOOK REVIEW: SALVATORE by CECY ROBSON

Salvatore: An In Too Far Novel - Cecy Robson
There are stories, which will break your heart piece by piece and then slowly mend each broken piece until its whole again. Salvatore by Cecy Robson was one such book for me. 

Salvatore works for the mob, but his heart is not in it. He does it to repay a favour. He had a challenging childhood. Left home at 16 to become an MMA fighter so he could help his mom and brothers. However, tragic circumstances forced him to give up his dream, and he had to raise his brothers. However, his need to take care of his brothers was not without its challenges, and to overcome the obstacles he found himself indebted to a mob boss. Hence, his current occupation, bodyguard to said mob boss mistress. All this happened when he was barely 21. 

The battle for his soul would be his biggest challenge yet as his boss is determined to drag him deeper into the belly of the underworld. Then he meets Adrianna, who encompasses sweetness and innocence. He knew he should avoid her, but the pull was too strong. 

Adrianna is a guidance counsellor for an inner-city high school. Her desire is to help students who had potential to succeed, so when the Romero brothers caught her attention she had to stage an intervention. However, nothing could prepare for, Salvatore their big brother and guardian. 

Adrianna grew up in a Christian home. Conservative from head to toe not the kind of person who belongs in Sal’s world, but they cannot stay away from each other. 
She is light in his dark world. He knows he is not the right man for her, but the heart want what it wants. Walking away would prove to a hard task. 

Sal made many mistakes along the way. The secrets and the lies would be too much for any well thinking person to tolerate. I knew the reason he lied. It was out of fear of losing her, but I still did not agree with his actions. He tried separating both his worlds, but eventually they would collide. 

It took a while for Adrianna to recognize he was hiding things from her, but when she did, she had no qualms of letting him know how much she detested his actions. Despite her love for him, there were certain things she could not accept.

I loved his protective nature towards his brothers and Adriana. I enjoyed the interaction between Sal and his brothers. They were not afraid to stand up to him and call him out on his mistakes. 

I must admit I took a while to get on board with an HEA Sal and Adrianna. Their worlds were so far apart. An innocent woman with a Christian upbringing and a man hardened by his past and works for the mob.  I kept wondering how the author would work out this precarious situation. 

The story was not as dark as I had expected. In fact, when compared to other dark stories I have read this one was rather tame.  However, this was darker than the stories the author is known for.

The twist near to the end of the story came so unexpected it took a while for me to come terms with it.  Never once throughout the story did I get a hint that this would transpire. Talk about a mind-blowing moment.  

I felt the events leading up to the HEA could have done with more development. This aspect of the story felt rushed and left me disappointed. Despite this, I enjoyed the story.

Conclusion/Recommendation
This moving story captured the complexities of loving someone whose life is shadowed by pain and darkness.  I am looking forward to the next book in the series. Cecy Robson delivered an emotional read and one I recommend to fans of mafia romance.
 

 

REVIEW: HEART OF THE DEVIL by MEGHAN MARCH @Meghan_March

Heart of the Devil (The Forge Trilogy #3) - Meghan March
Wow! We are at the end of the Forge trilogy and what an ending. As I write this review, I have to say I am still in shock with the story evolved. It is a good shock. It’s just that I never expected it to go the way it did. Throughout the first two books, Meghan had me pointed in one direction, but then she dropped that bombshell in the final book. I still have not lifted my jaw from where it dropped. I kept wondering, how did I not see that?
 
This is not a series you should pick if you have a busy schedule because trust me once you start reading you will be hard-pressed to put it down. So fair warning, proceed with caution.
 
From the moment I began this series, I found myself caught up in the story and the lives of the characters. I could not get enough. The characters oozed sheer awesomeness. I said this before in my review of book two and I have to reiterate Indy and Jericho are hands down my favourite couple for 2019. They are the ultimate power couple.
 
The suspense element of the story was well done.  The story had me literally on the edge of my seat as I anxiously waited to see how it would all play out.
 
The romance is has hot as fire but as sweet as honey. There are scenes that will make you blush and I loved how tender Jericho acted towards Indy. She was the one woman who could bring him to his knees. It was plain as day how much they loved each other, but obstacles kept darkening their path.  I am happy to report that despite the obstacles their love for each other triumphed.
 
 
Conclusion/Recommendation
A wonderful series, with awesome characters and a great ending. Fans of Ms. March will love Jericho and Indy. Want a new series to sink your teeth in then the Forge trilogy should be on your list.

BOOK REVIEW: DEAD RINGER by WAYNE KERR @waynekerrnovels #Mystery

 
 
Title: Dead Ringers
Author:  Wayne Kerr
Series: Black Swann Investigations #1
Publisher: CANUSA Books
Published: November 15, 2017
Genres: Suspense, Mystery
Pages: 271
Format: ebook 
Source: Author via Book Sirens in exchange for a honest review
Reading Challenges: Home Work Assignment.
Purchase: Amazon
 
 
Dead Ringers by Wayne Kerr is the first book in the Black Swann Investigation series.  This book delivered a suspenseful tale with a kick ass, heroine. 
 
Meet Reggie Swan, a former homicide detective framed for murder. She served ten years before it overturned her conviction because of a technicality. The conviction had completely destroyed her life.. Her husband divorced her, and she never got the chance to attend her father’s funeral. With the help of the Christian Advocates for Justice Enterprise (CAJE) and her mother, she was now a free woman, but she still had to clear her name as the killer is still out there.
 
After her release, CAJE asked her to investigate a missing person case. The woman in question went missing and her husband charged as based on the forensic evidence it appears someone has murdered her and it all points to him.
 
Her investigation would not be without its challenges as persons believed she was guilty, and that she was only free because of the technicality. She went into the investigation believing the husband was guilty after all the evidence was damning. I was disappointed with her initial reaction especially given her experience prior to her conviction.
 
Cronus, the villain is a serial killer who targets women who bears a striking resemblance to his mother and frames their husbands/ boyfriends for their murders. Evil definitely has a new name. He has an ugly past, which contributed to his current state of mind.  Figuring out Cronus’ identity proved to an easy task as I managed do so halfway through the story.  The discovery however did not impede the suspense.   
 
The story pulled me in from the beginning. It had me on the edge of my seat.  The current case has similarities to a case she was working on prior to her conviction.  Following the investigation was thrilling. I had to know what Cronus was planning and if Reggie would get answers. There were parts where the story slows down, but this did not take away from my enjoyment. 
 
I enjoyed how the characters were portrayed. I got in-depth information regarding both the protagonist and the antagonist.  The author did a great job with character development. Reggie’s fears shone throughout the story. Despite her tough exterior, she had insecurities, which was to be expected. Cronus demonstrated confidence in everything he did, but he had an underlying vulnerability that made you feel empathy towards him. 
 
Conclusion/Recommendation
This was an enjoyable journey and a great start to the series. I loved how the story came together and how the mystery arc was resolved. I would definitely continue with the series. I would recommend this title to mystery fans.
 
 
 
 
Dead Ringers (Black Swann Investigations #1)Toronto’s newest homicide detective, Reggie Swann, seemed to have it all: great career, handsome husband and plans to start a family, until she was framed for murder… A cop has very few friends in prison. After surviving ten brutal years behind bars, Reggie’s conviction is finally overturned thanks to her tenacious mother, a new forensic test and a very clever lawyer. She quickly discovers that getting her old life back won’t be as easy as she hoped. To many, she was still as the media had dubbed her: ‘Black Swann – murderer and cop-gone-bad’. The Toronto Police Department still considers her to be a suspect, Reggie’s husband has remarried and the real killer is still on the loose. Before Reggie can return to Toronto and solve the crime that ruined her life, she reluctantly agrees to investigate a murder in her home town of Penticton, only to discover the two cases which are separated by ten years and five provinces might somehow be connected. Will anyone believe the wild theories of the disgraced detective? The real murderer does! He framed her once, this time Reggie Swann must die!

BOOK REVIEW: ARRANGE ME by KATY REGNERY @KatyRegnery #ContemporaryRomance

 
 
Title: Arrange Me
Author: Katy Regnery
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Romance
Publisher:  Katy Regnery
Release Date: March 4, 2019
Format: E-Arc
Pages: 186
Source: Author
Reading Challenges: 2019 New Release Challenge
 
 
If you had a choice between an arranged marriage and marrying someone of your own choosing, which method would you choose? Personally, it would have to be someone I choose. I do not see myself marrying someone at first sight. That being said, I am not sure if I should applaud the heroine, of Arrange Me by Katy Regnery, or label her crazy. 
 
I must confess that when I opted to read this book, I did not know what it was about and that it was the first book of a duet. Therefore, I was taken aback by the cliffhanger ending and now I have to wait until May 20 to find out what is in store for Josh and Courtney. Despite my disappointment with the ending, I enjoyed the story. Engaging, sweet, funny and sexy. 
 
Courtney Salinger is a young professional who has fulfilled her dreams except for the one, which involves her having a husband. Tired of dating world and all the bad things that came with it, she decides to take an unconventional route. That of having ‘Experts’ finding her the perfect husband. To that end, she signs up with arrangemetoo.com. 
 
Josh Dalton is a struggling play-writer. In meantime meet while he waits to hit it big, he works as a bartender. He knows Courtney as he has been serving her drinks every Friday night for over a year. Just when he figures out he has feelings for her he discovers that she is determined to marry a complete stranger. 
 
They are both at different stages in their life. Courtney wants a family while Josh is focused on getting his career off the ground. Will he be willing to change his focus and give Courtney what she wants or watch her marry a complete stranger? 
 
Courtney is sweet, kind and smart although there were times she drove me nuts with her actions. She likes Josh, but kept pushing him away, as he could not give her what she wanted.  Her desperation for an HEA made her fail to see that the thing she searched for was right in front of her. 
 
Poor Josh, my heart went out to him. His willingness to meet Courtney halfway was endearing, but she would not budge.  Told from the POVs of the main characters, the story made me privy to their inner thoughts and emotions. Courtney’s emotions leapt off the pages. It was clear this was not an easy decision for her, but one she felt she had to make.
 
Relating to the Josh’s turmoil proved easy. Career or marriage, not an easy decision. 
 
Conclusion/Recommendation 
 
Once again, Regnery has captivated me with her writing. She created an entertaining story. One that kept me turning the pages so I could discover how Courtney and Josh’s journey would evolve.  I wait with great expectancy for the conclusion of their story. Will Courtney get all she desires and will Josh be the one who will help her to attain her dreams of HEA?
 
 
 
Arrange Me (The Arranged Duo, #1)My name is Courtney Jane Salinger... and I'm sick of games. Sick of the Friday night bar-scene-cum-meat-market. Sick of the boy-girl, man-woman, mars-venus, flirtation-without-expectation, game-playing nonsense. Sick of awful dates and one-night stands, booty calls and guys who don’t call back, mixed messages or NO messages and—and—and...I'm sick of all of it. I’m done. I just can't do it anymore. It's too hard, and worse: little by little, it's making me hard. It's breaking my heart. What DO I want? That's easy. I want a house in suburbia with a white picket fence. I want babies to buckle into a minivan. But most of all, I want to be married. I want a husband. So I've made an important decision: I'm making my escape from the dating world and the single life. I've filled out my application on ArrangeMe.com and I'm putting my fate into the hands of experts. Is it a little scary? Sure. I mean, I have no idea who I'll end up with. After all, I'm planning to marry a complete stranger. But between you and me? I can't wait. Being arranged can't possibly be worse than being single. Can it?

BOOK REVIEW: NIGHTCHASER by AMANDA BOUCHET #Scifi #Romance @SourcebooksCasa @AuthorABouchet

 
 
 
Nightchaser
Author:  Amanda Bouchet
Series: Endeavor #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published: January 1, 2019
Genres: Sci-fi Romance 
Pages: 352
Format: ebook 
Source: Netgalley
Reading Challenges: 2019 New Release, Netgalley and Edelweiss.
 
 
One of the hardest things for me in writing reviews is preparing one for a book, which received so many rave reviews. (I wonder what can I say what has not already been said.) What is even harder is writing a review for said book when it does not in your opinion live up to the hype.
I struggled with the story and I took a while to get to the end. For me it was the longest and slowest journey in a fictional world.   
 
 
What I liked
World building:  I enjoyed the world the author created from a fictional perspective.   Living in constant fear and oppression, no freedom of speech and risk going to jail for the simplest of things is are some of what the inhabitants of this world faced.
 
Characters
Tess:  Her loyalty, selflessness and inner strength were her most endearing qualities. Her experiences growing up shaped her into the person she is today. She has no wish for the orphans and her friends to experience the same horrors she did and so she would do anything to protect them.
 
Shade:  Exudes confidence, is observant and have an awesome sense of humour. 
 
The secondary characters proved an interesting bunch. From Tess’s crew members to evil Overseer. 
 
The Not So Much
The Story:  It began on a high note and I had expectations of grandeur for this one. This however was shot to the ground after the first ten percent of the story. I believe there was a lot of unnecessary information and the story lost its engagement factor as a result 
 
I could not fathom the lack of tension and fearful anticipation by Tessa and her crew. They are on the run, granted they knew nothing about the bounty on her head, but they acted as if all was well. 
 
I expected there would be lots of action.  This was not the case. The action scenes appeared at around the seventy percent mark. At this point, the story felt rushed and the appeal this aspect was to emit was lost on me.
 
Romance: I understand her being attracted to Shade and yes, she has not been with a man for seven years. We all have wants, but how do you find time to be thinking about sexual gratification with the threat of recapture hanging over your head. She keeps putting herself out there and he rejects her every attempt at seduction. Her actions reeked of desperation.  Eventually, they got together, but I had a hard time accepting their relationship, especially knowing they were both deceiving each other. 
 
Shade’s deception did not go down well with me.  He had ample time to make Tess aware of the situation, but he failed to warn her. 
 
The ending, although not a cliffhanger indicated that the story will continue.  Despite my disappointment with how this installment developed, I am curious to know how upcoming events will unfold.
 
Conclusion/Recommendations
I know there many readers who raved about this installment, but for me it was just ok. Although it was not a favourite, I would recommend it because there are others who may enjoy it more than I did. Readers who enjoy sci-fi romance can pick up this latest offering by Amanda Bouchet
 
 
 
 
Nightchaser (Endeavor, #1)
Tess Bailey: the galaxy's Most Wanted. Captain Tess Bailey is in deep trouble. She and her crew are on the run, pursued by a tyrant who'll take them dead or alive. Tess's best hope is a tall, dark, and much-too-appealing stranger, Shade Ganavan, who says he can help her. But his motivations are far from clear... Shade Ganavan: arrogance, charm...and that special something that makes you want to kick him. With the dreaded Dark Watch closing in, what Tess and Shade don't know about each other might get them killed...unless they can set aside their differences and learn to trust each other before it's too late. "Amanda Bouchet blasts off with a series that's full of heart, humor, romance, and action."—JENNIFER ESTEP, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Kill the Queen

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: NIGHT REIGNS by DIANNE DUVALL @DianneDuvall, NARRATED by KIRSTEN POTTER #ParanormalRomance

 
 
 
Title: Night Reigns
Author(s):  Dianne Duvall
Series: Immortal Guardians #2
Narrator(s)Kirsten Potter
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Source: Audible Romance Package
Format: Audio Book
Release Date: December 1, 2011
Length :  12 hrs 29 mins
Reading Challenges: 2019 Audio Book Challenge
 
 
Purchase:  AudibleAmazon
 
 
 
 
I got my first taste of Dianne Duvall’s work when I read Darkness Dawns. The story and the characters captivated me and I knew I had to pick up Night Reigns. My experience with book two may not have been great as it was with the previous book, but I still enjoyed it. I enjoyed spending time with the characters and was disappointed when the story ended.
 
This installment tells Marcus and Ami’s story. We were first introduced to Ami and Marcus in book one.  From the outset, Ami piqued my curiosity as to her identity and the role she would play in the series.  Marcus, an 850-year-old immortal is in mourning the loss of the woman he loved. He is not interested in a relationship or working with a second.  Therefore, when Seth, the leader of the Immortal Guardians assigned Ami has his second he was not amused.
 
Ami proved an excellent second for Marcus.  He attempted to push her away, but she stood her ground, never once failing her duty. She took her job as a second serious. The more time Marcus spent in her company he realised she could hold her own and that her fighting abilities were incomparable.
 
Ami’s character was shrouded in mystery. Neither mortal nor human, but she possessed vampire and immortal abilities.  I kept wracking my brain trying to figure what she was, but I never did. The revelation when it came was shocking as I never saw that one coming. Who would have thought? I loved her resilience. She survived months of torture and is slowly reclaiming her life. Despite her deep-seated fears of labs and doctors, she willingly risked her life to protect Marcus.
 
I had hoped to get some more insight into Marcus’s character, but I was disappointed with his portrayal. He did not receive the same amount of attention as Ami’s character. I received a taste of his history, but it did not live up to my expectations. 
 
The story moved at an even pace. I loved the new developments. Now that Bastien was no longer a threat to the Immortal Guardians, there is a new enemy in town. One who is determined to kill all Immortal and reign over the vampires. 
 
 
 
Non- stop action sprinkled with a hot romance and a pinch of humour help to make the story captivating. I received some interesting tit bits about the immortals and I am curious to learn more, especially where the leader is concerned. The ending left me wanting more. The non-romantic element of the story was not resolved leaving me with many questions. 
 
NARRATION
I have limited experience with audio books and I am not acquainted with many narrators. This is my second time listening to Kristen Potter and I would definitely listen to any story she narrates. I enjoyed every moment, and she helped to enhance the story.  She switched between characters effortlessly, making it easy to identify which character was speaking. I enjoyed her sound effects, from the ringing of the doorbell to the vibrating of the cell phone. 
 
Conclusion/Recommendation
I found this to be a great addition to the series. I am curious to learn more about these fantastic characters. If you have not read this series, and are a fan of paranormal romantic suspense, then I recommend that you do so as soon as possible.
 
 
 
STORY 
 
NARRATION
  
 
Ami isn't much for trusting strangers. She has a hard time trusting anyone. But she's no coward, and she's no pushover in the protection department either. So when she comes across a mysterious warrior taking on eight deranged vampires on his own, she doesn't hesitate to save his bacon. Of course, that was before she realized what one little rescue would get her into . . . Marcus Grayden has been an immortal protector of humanity for eight hundred years, and at the moment he's not interested in backup. From the moment Ami arrives in his life, he can't deny that she's strong, smart, and extremely skilled at watching his back. But she's also destroying his protective solitude and stirring desires he can't bear to awaken. After all, whatever her secrets — how can she defeat death itself?

BOOK REVIEW: SCREAM FOR ME by CYNTHIA EDEN @cynthiaeden #RomanticSuspense

 
 
Scream For Me
Author:  Cynthia Eden
Series: Fear Me #3
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Published: February 4, 2014
Genres: Suspense, Romance 
Pages: 380
Format: ebook 
Source: Author
Reading Challenges: COYER Winter,  Blogger Shame
 
 
I received Scream for Me on its release day to review. Unfortunately, due to school and exams it got pushed back until eventually it was forgotten.  I decided at the start of the year to read a few of the forgotten books from my review list and Scream for Me made the cut. I read the first two books (Kill for Me and Fear for Me) in the series years ago. I remembered enjoying them both so I had high expectations for the final book and Ms. Eden did not disappoint.
 
Dr. Cadence Hollow and Kyle McKenzie, FBI agents are the main stars in this romantic suspense. They are partners who have made every attempt to maintain a professional relationship but their attraction to each other made this difficult.
 
Kyle lost his sister 15 years ago, who vanished without a trace. He received a call regarding an abduction, which mirrored his sister’s disappearance.  He and Cadence returned to his hometown to conduct an investigation into the abduction and in the process gather information regarding his sister‘s disappearance. The investigation took a toll on him as he blames himself for her disappearance.
 
Kyle’s turmoil in solving the case leapt off the pages. His sister is a victim and not knowing if she is alive after fifteen years took its toll.  I felt every moment of his stress, which was further intensified when Cadence placed herself in harm’s way to try to trap the villain. I felt for him, it could not be easy not knowing what happened to his sister. This feeling of helplessness proved overwhelming.
 
Cadence and Kyle worked well together and were perfect for each other. She helped keep him calm; However, I didn’t like how she dug into his past without his knowledge but was not willing to share her secrets. She had her share of nightmare, stemming from past trauma.
The prologue intrigued me and had me curious about the rest of the story. The villain is one sick creep. For him it is all about control, which was clear with his latest victim. He thought himself superior, which was evident from the way he chose his victims, who were docile and easy to control. He is always one-step ahead of the FBI; will Kyle and Cadence find her in time?
 
 
The story started out slow, but built up as it progressed. The romance took a back seat, but I had no issues with this as the suspense had me on the edge of my seat.  Figuring out the killer’s identity proved a difficult task, but one thing was clear it was someone Kyle knew.  The perp’s obsession with Kyle bordered on manic.  I do not want to go into much detail regarding the perp, but one thing I can say is, he is smart and had everyone fooled. 
 
Twists and turns within the story made for some interesting moments.  Just when they thought they got a break in the case the investigators are led down another road. 
 
Conclusion/Recommendation
I enjoyed this final installment in the Fear Me series. Exciting and suspenseful, it had me flipping the pages as I had to know who is responsible for the disappearance of these women and if Kyle would get closure. I am glad I finally got the chance to read this installment.
 
I would recommend this series to fans of romantic suspense. Although this can be read as a standalone, I would suggest the series be read in order.
 
 
 
 
 
Scream For Me: A Novel of the Night Hunter (For Me, #3)Nothing is deeper than the desire they can’t fight—or deadlier than the evil they can’t escape. They were only supposed to have a professional relationship, but FBI agent Kyle McKenzie has been fantasizing about his sexy partner, Cadence Hollow, from the moment they first met. It takes the darkest case of their careers to finally bring their hidden desire bubbling to the surface. Once they’re in each other’s arms, though, they swear that nothing short of death will part them. The Night Hunter—a cunning stalker whose four-state, fifteen-year abduction spree began in Paradox, Alabama, with Kyle’s sister—may be only too happy to oblige. In the small town, Kyle must confront the painful past he’s been hiding from Cadence. Kyle vows to put the Hunter behind bars…or in the ground. But the one thing that obsesses Kyle more than his sister’s grim fate—his furious love for Cadence—is the weapon the Hunter will use to lure his pursuers into the mouth of a murderous trap.
 
Title : Forever Rose
Author: Carmen Monica Oprea
Publisher: Indie 
Published : December 9, 2016
Genre: Time Travel Romance
Pages: 302
Format: ebook
Source: Author in exchange for a honest review
Reading Challenges: Blogger Shame, COYER Winter
Purchase: Amazon
 
 
 
Forever Rose is a time travelling romance. Although I love time travel stories, I have not read a lot of books with this theme. Agreeing to read Forever Rose made me see how much I have been missing.
 
 
Alessandro Santini is a 21st century Italian surgeon. He inadvertently stepped into a portal created by the super moon, a phenomenon that occurs every fourteen months. A portal, which took him from 2037 to 1737.
 
Upon his teleportation to 1737, he met Rose who bore an uncanny resemblance to his dead wife. He found himself drawn to her and when he discovered her life was in imminent danger, he determined to do all in his power to protect her.
 
 
Prior to reading this title, I was not familiar with the author’s work, but she proved herself. I enjoyed the story and the characters.  There is not much time travel and the majority of the story took place in 18th century Italy.  
 
I enjoyed the romance. For those who love their romance steamy, I am sorry to disappoint you, for there is no steam between the pages of this book. I loved how their feelings for each other developed. Alessandro had issues with the loss of his wife, so surrendering his heart to another woman did not come easy. 
 
I found the mystery element enjoyable despite the ease m I with figuring who wanted Rose dead and why.  What had me flipping the pages in this regard is my curiosity as to the villain’s next move, and how Alex and Rose would counteract it.
 
I enjoyed spending time with the characters. I thought they did well in their roles.   Rose Estes dreamed of becoming a historical painter, but is being forced into the institution of marriage.  She is determined to choose her own path. She is selfless, determined, outspoken and not afraid to stand up for her beliefs.
 
Alessandro does not know how to keep a low profile. I would have expected that being from the future he would try to be inconspicuous as possible. Instead, he made himself known. His actions involved him revealing gadgets from the future leading to suspicions and questions.  His motives, however, came from the heart.
 
Conclusion/Recommendation
Forever Rose was an entertaining read.  I would definitely read more from this author.
 
 
 
Forever RoseAlessandro Santini, an Italian doctor from the twenty-first century, lives an ordinary life in modern day Florence. But one evening, he passes through a swirling vortex caused by a supermoon and discovers he has stepped three hundred years into the past. Countess Rose Estes is torn between following her dream of becoming a historical painter and her duty toward her family. After Rose's father is wounded during her birthday ball, Alex and Rose burn with questions: Who attacked him with a flying dagger? Why? Forced to go to Siena and spend fourteen months together, Rose and Alex find themselves drawn to each other as they search for answers and discover secrets that go deeper than they ever imagined. As the portal's opening approaches, Alex finds out that Rose has been poisoned through the roses she's been receiving. He has two choices to save her life-take Rose to his time or go by himself and bring the medication she needs.