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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%
Holding the Other - Lyssa Layne

I received this book as part of my October Blind Date with a book.  When I read the blurb, I thought a love triangle would be at the centre of the story. Thankfully, this was not the case.

What the story is about.

Holding the Other tells the story of King of Country Music Lee Maverick and Kyle Kelly aka KK. Lee Maverick was on the top of the world as his career had taken off and he was fan favourite of country music lovers.  When his wife and fellow country music singer Miranda Wallen asked for a divorce after ten years together, he saw all he achieved shattering before his eyes. It did not matter it was something they both wanted as theirs was purely a marriage of convenience.  His biggest fear was his career tanking now that Miranda was no longer a part of his life.


KK dreams of becoming the next Reba McIntyre. However aster several disappointments, which included a broken heart she gave up on her dreams. However, thanks to her meddling best friend she finds herself on tour with the King of Country music. Sparks ignited and after days of fighting their feelings, they decided to explore the attraction between them, but then Miranda returned.

 
The Story
 
You see why I thought this would be a love triangle.  I was preparing myself for boatloads of drama, but it never came. The story which, was told in dual first person POVs on a whole, was good, but my favourite part was the epilogue. It was sweet and emotional. It made me smile and just gave me an all-round happy feeling. I enjoyed the writing, and I loved that it was not overly dramatic. The story depicted that one’s success usually follows their greatest disappointment.
 
The Characters
For most of the story, I had difficulty connecting with Kyle Kelly. I did not know who she was as a person and why she acted the way; she did. At around 45% of the story, I discovered she had a difficult life growing up. A mother who was a junkie and a dad who shut her out of his life after her mom passed, but I still could not connect with her. It was not until around the 80% mark when I began to get a feel for her.  Even though I never had her experience, I connected with her at that point and understood the reasoning behind her actions. I liked that she finally got a chance to fulfil her dreams after so many disappointments.
There was a particular event in her life that the author failed to develop. We all knew a guitarist broke her heart, but no information was provided in relation to this thread.
 
Maverick was a mystery from start to finish. Due to lack of information about him before his current life I had difficulty establishing a connection with him.  Furthermore, I found him to be a weak character.  He relied heavily on his ex-wife to boost his career and now she is gone he became a shell of his former self. It is clear he has the talent, but he lacked the confidence needed to shine on his own.  He felt that no one could replace Miranda until KK.
 A hint was given as it relates to his childhood, bit it was not elaborated on, which was disappointing.
 
Supporting Characters
I was prepared to dislike Miranda, but she surprised me. She proved to be a nice person.  Lee’s manager on the other hand was up to no good. I figured he was up to something, but it took me awhile to figure out his end game.
 
The Romance
Unfortunately, I did not feel the chemistry between the characters.  I had a hard time buying into Lee’s feelings for KK. First, he did not want her on the tour, but when he saw how great a singer, she was and how well she gelled with lead guitarist for the band that fronted for him, he became interested. In no time, they became friends and then we see them moving from friendship to lovers. I believe he was using her to replace his ex-wife.
 
Conclusion
 
Did I enjoy this story? It was ok, but it was not a favourite.

 

Chasing Christmas Eve - Jill Shalvis

I have followed the Heartbreaker Bay series from the beginning.  From that moment I became invested in the lives of the characters featured and was eager for each of them to get their happily ever after. When I discovered this would be Spence’s story I was eager to dive into this one. Having been fascinated by Spence from the previous books and given my experience with the previous books I had high expectations for Chasing Christmas Eve.

 

What the story is about.

Imagine taking an unplanned trip to a city, you never intended to visit, but because of the weather, it proved to be the safest choice. All this was done to escape the stress of your personal and professional life. In the process the one thing you never expected occurred, you found your soul mate and discovered long-lasting and meaningful friendships. 

Well Colbie Albright could tell you all about such an experience. She ended up in San Francisco, because she was fatigued, overwhelmed with family issues and dealing with writer’s block.   Meeting geeky and sexy Spencer Baldwin and falling in love was not on her agenda, but fate had different plans.

 

The last thing on Spencer Baldwin’s mind is being involved in a relationship not that he has had any luck in that department. Besides his latest project consumed all his waking moments.  Therefore, when he came face to face with the beautiful and mysterious Colbie Albright he was taken aback by his reaction to her.  Getting involved with her would not be a wise move as she is only in the city for two weeks, but the heart want what the heart wants. 

 

Will he be able to let her go at the end of the two weeks or will he be able to convince her that what they share is not worth two weeks but a lifetime?

 

I remember the first time I read a book written by Jill Shalvis. Her writing sucked me in and warmed my heart. She creates relatable characters served up with a side of fun and Chasing Christmas Eve was no different.

This was a fun read, and it had everything I expected. Wonderful characters, humour, heat and friendships. The pacing was perfect and the drama low-keyed.  Never once did I experience a dull moment.  There was surprising and interesting development.  It had to do with Eddie, the homeless guy who Spence is always looking to assist.  It was a shocking but pleasant surprise.

 

I fell in love with Spence when I met him in the previous instalments.  However, I was disappointed with his portrayal in this installment.  Yes, he is brilliant, sexy, caring, and humble but I did not like how he allowed his friends to dictate his personal life. I understood the need to want to protect a friend, but he is a big man who can make his own decisions.  Elle was the one I had the issue with in this area.  She need to chill.  I enjoyed seeing taking a break from work and having fun.

 

Colbie cares for her family even though they are the source of her current situation. They are everything to her.   She is delightful and I enjoyed peeling away the layers of her character.  I loved how she blended in with Spencer’s friends.

 

I loved them as a couple. Their chemistry, which was evident from their initial meeting, was off the charts.  Their initialmeeting took place under unfortunate but funny circumstances. They had so much in common, which made them a perfect pair. They both feared commitment when it came to relationships. She was afraid of opening up her heart, while Spence feared he would break it, as he believed he was no good at relationships. However, where Spence was willing to take a chance, Colbie was more interested in running.  Watching, as they overcome these issues and taking a chance on love was delightful and heart-warming. I enjoyed their interaction with each other, which was fun and filled with heat.  

 

Conclusion/Recommendation

Chasing Christmas Eve is an entertaining, witty and heart-warming story that had me smiling from ear to ear.  This is a great addition to the series and I am eager to see what next Jill Shalvis has in store for the gang of Heartbreaker Bay.

Secrets Hidden In The Glass: A Carter Island Novel - Cate Beauman

It takes one simple occurrence to uncover a deeply buried secret from the past.

 

 

I enjoyed the author’s Bodyguards of LA County series. When I discovered she would be releasing a new book with a different series, I was excited to get my hands on a copy.

 

What the story is about.

 

Secrets Hidden in the Glass is the story of Callie Davis and Nate Carter.  Callie is a renowned Stained-Glass artist who is facing a slump in her artistic talents. To combat the pressures and the stress, which contributed to her slump she escaped to Carter Island where she hopes to get peace, rest and her creative juices flowing again.  However, her plans never included meeting the hot and sexy sheriff of Carter Island, a meeting that would change her life in ways she never expected.

 

Sheriff Nate Carter was looking forward to the quiet and peaceful days, which usually accompany the autumn season.  Now that summer was over and the tourists have left the island, life could not get any better. However, the arrival of the mysterious and beautiful Callie Davis would put a kink in his plan. Shrouded by mystery, her presence unknown to them would wake up deadly and deeply buried secrets, which would place them in the cross-hairs of a killer.

 

What I Liked

The beginning of the story, which set the tone for the rest of the book, was intriguing. It peaked my curiosity, making me eager to discover the identity of the child abandonned twenty-two years ago and her connection to Callie Davis.  However, after sometime the story slowed down as the story focused on the life Callie is establishing with Nate.  For a moment I found my interest waning and I was tempted to give up on the story, but I am glad I stuck it out. The story heated up, when Callie made a discovery, which would set her on a path to discovering her true identity.  However, the fallout from this new development would turn her life upside down. Hounded by the media and the emergence of crackpots would prove more stressful than the very thing she came to the island to escape.

 

There were a few tense moments as Nate tries to uncover the secrets from Callie’s past. Some parts of the story was predictable, but there were areas where the author had me guessing the identity of the persons responsible for the tragedy in Callie’s past.

 

Nate proved to be a caring, funny, protective, determined and a loyal hero. The way he stood by Callie was endearing and inspiring. His determination to help her discover the buried secrets of her life was a testament to how much he cared about her.   

 

Kind, warm and brave are the words I would use to describe the heroine.  However, sometimes I was turned off by her indecisiveness as it relates to the investigation. I recognised her propensity to cry when events from her past and present appeared overwhelming has a sign of anxiety, which was a product of the events from her past.

 

Together they made the perfect couple. Their relationship, which I found inspiring was built on two important ingredients love and trust.  It was these ingredients, which helped them survive the chaos, which surfaced because of Callie’s discovery. Callie found her home in Nate's loving arms and Nate discovered what it meant to love and be loved unconditionally.

I enjoyed reading about the secondary characters, both the good and bad ones. I was especially intrigued by Brad and Molly. I would love to know their story.

 

What I did not like.

 

The problem I had with this book had more to do with its length and not the story.  It was quite a lengthy story at 599 pages. Now I rarely have problems with stories that long, but when there a lot of details that does not add value and takes away from the important aspects of the story then that is when I have an issue.  This was the main thing that contributed to the slow pace of Secrets Hidden in the Glass. I skipped pages just so I could get to the important details.

 

Conclusion/Recommendation

Overall, Secrets Hidden the Glass was an intriguing and interesting read and one I would recommend to readers who love romance and mystery and do not mind stories filled will many details.

Holiday Wishes - Jill Shalvis

What the Story is about.
What would you do if you got the chance to right a wrong from your past?


In this installment we are introduced to Lotti Hartford a blast from Sean’s past. Lotti is in charge of the Bed and Breakfast where Pru and Finn’s bachelor/bachelorette is being hosted.

 Sean, Finn’s brother, is in charge of the planning and to everyone’s amazement; he has done an excellent job. However, the one thing he had not planned for was his reunion with the girl whose heart he broke when he was sixteen years old.  

Will he able to convince her he has changed and can she trust him not to break her heart once again?


Holiday Wishes by Jill Shalvis is book #4.5 in the Heartbreaker Bay series. Like the other books in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone. However, if you want to get the full benefit of this fun and adorable series, I would recommend you start at the beginning.


Holiday Wishes features one of my favourite tropes, a second chance romance. Combined with my favourite holiday and a weekend wedding and I knew I would be in for a treat.

 

The Story
A short and sweet Christmas read that allowed me to hang out with the Heartbreaker gang while enjoying the development of the romance between the protagonists.  A well-written story with relateable characters and steady pacing made this a worthwhile read.

The Characters
Sean is a character with whom I am familiar. When I met him in the first book in the series, I found him to be immature and irresponsible. However, in this installment he demonstrated that he was not the irresponsible and immature young man persons perceived him to be. I loved this side of him.

I could not fault Lotti for her initial reaction to seeing Sean again after all these years. It could not have been easy for her to face the one person who had the power to break her heart into tiny pieces.  However, in spite of her fears the one thing she could not deny was the explosive attraction between them, which was as strong as ever.

It was a treat watching them navigate their un-resolved feelings and off the chart chemistry. I loved them together, and I silently hoped that they would get it right this time around.

Conclusion and Recommendation
Fans of the series will enjoy this Christmas themed novella. If you have not started the series, then I recommend that you do so as soon as you can as you are missing out on some fun and awesome stories.  As for me, I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.

Another hit from one of my favourite authors and a great addition to the Heartbreaker Bay series.1

Vampire for Christmas - Felicity E. Heaton
Initially, I had difficulty getting in to the story.  At one point, I thought of giving up on it, but I placed it aside for a while and read other books in the process. Eventually I picked it back up, and realised it was not all bad.
 
When I took up this book, I thought I would be reading about vampires, oh boy was I wrong. The story explored the concept of reincarnation, immortality, curses and time travel.
 
What I liked
 
Fascinating Premise
 
I found the story unique  It is my first time reading a romance where reincarnation combined with time travel and immortality was a major theme.  I thought the author handled the concept well.
 
Supense/Mystery
 
The suspense/mystery thread kept me on my toes. Honestly, I never expected that much intensity, but I found myself on edge as I tried figuring out who was behind the attacks on the island. As the story progressed so did my suspicions about the stalker’s identity. The author tried to throw me off the scent, however another attack happened, which led me to I was correct in my initial assessment.
 
The Story
 
I loved how the story played out for the most part. The writing is exquisite. I was fascinated by the vivid descriptions of the island and the detailed history of the protagonists’ past lives.
 
The Romance
 
At first I thought this would be another insta-love romance, but as the story developed, I realised it was not the case.  Instead their love spanned several centuries, so when Connie came to the island, his soul instantly recognised her.  It was easy to buying into Sylvester’s the instant connection with Connie
 
 
What I did not like
 
The slow start to the story is a challenge. It took me a while to warm up to it.
 
Characters
I did not connect with the characters. They lacked depth, which is surprising given all they went through.  Since her attack, Connie had been looking over shoulder and living in fear.  However, I did not get the feeling she was scared. Her actions were contrary to her experiences.  Sylvester did not fare any better for me. For someone who has lived many lives I did not expect him to get caught off guard by the events on the island.
 
Conclusion/Recommendation
 
This was not a favourite read. There were some enjoyable moments, but it was not enough to wow me. This is my first time reading the author’s work, but I am not averse to giving her another shot.
 
The purpose of this review is not to deter you from picking up this title. It is my perspective and it is possible your experience will be different from mine. That being said if you enjoy suspense, romance, time travel and reincarnation then you may enjoy Immortal Billionaire.
Immortal Billionaire - Jane Godman
Initially, I had difficulty getting in to the story.  At one point, I thought of giving up on it, but I placed it aside for a while and read other books in the process. Eventually I picked it back up, and realised it was not all bad.
 
When I took up this book, I thought I would be reading about vampires, oh boy was I wrong. The story explored the concept of reincarnation, immortality, curses and time travel.
 
What I liked
 
Fascinating Premise
 
I found the story unique  It is my first time reading a romance where reincarnation combined with time travel and immortality was a major theme.  I thought the author handled the concept well.
 
Supense/Mystery
 
The suspense/mystery thread kept me on my toes. Honestly, I never expected that much intensity, but I found myself on edge as I tried figuring out who was behind the attacks on the island. As the story progressed so did my suspicions about the stalker’s identity. The author tried to throw me off the scent, however another attack happened, which led me to I was correct in my initial assessment.
 
The Story
 
I loved how the story played out for the most part. The writing is exquisite. I was fascinated by the vivid descriptions of the island and the detailed history of the protagonists’ past lives.
 
The Romance
 
At first I thought this would be another insta-love romance, but as the story developed, I realised it was not the case.  Instead their love spanned several centuries, so when Connie came to the island, his soul instantly recognised her.  It was easy to buying into Sylvester’s the instant connection with Connie
 
 
What I did not like
 
The slow start to the story is a challenge. It took me a while to warm up to it.
 
Characters
I did not connect with the characters. They lacked depth, which is surprising given all they went through.  Since her attack, Connie had been looking over shoulder and living in fear.  However, I did not get the feeling she was scared. Her actions were contrary to her experiences.  Sylvester did not fare any better for me. For someone who has lived many lives I did not expect him to get caught off guard by the events on the island.
 
Conclusion/Recommendation
 
This was not a favourite read. There were some enjoyable moments, but it was not enough to wow me. This is my first time reading the author’s work, but I am not averse to giving her another shot.
 
The purpose of this review is not to deter you from picking up this title. It is my perspective and it is possible your experience will be different from mine. That being said if you enjoy suspense, romance, time travel and reincarnation then you may enjoy Immortal Billionaire.
Wild Man's Curse (Wilds of the Bayou Book 1) - Susannah Sandlin
This is my first Susannah Sandlin book and I can say without a doubt, it will not be my last. The setting, voodoo priestess and an ancient curse combined with mystery and suspense fuelled my desire to read this book.
 
The Story
Wild Man’s Curse featured rich characters and a well-developed story line.  It was evident the author thoroughly researched police procedures and the voodoo religion. I was curious about the curse which plagued Ceelie’s family. Its origin and the steps she would need to take to put an end to it.   Eager to discover if the killer was Gentry’s brother or someone who bore a close resemblance kept me turning the pages. Uncovering the murderer’s motive was another aspect of the story, which kept me glued to the pages. However, there were moments in between where the story dragged, thus causing the page turning momentum to dwindle, which interfered with my enjoyment to some extent.
 
Characters
Gentry Broussard: He is a Senior Enforcement Agent responsible for capturing poachers.  While on duty and in the process of taking down a poacher, he spots a man who bore an uncanny resemblance to his brother, leaving Eva Savoie’s Cabin. The brother whom he killed three years ago at. Has his worst nightmare come alive or was his mind playing tricks on him?   
 
Gentry is protective by nature, which was evident in his behaviour towards Celestine. He is plagued by guilt from his past, most of which surrounds the death of his brother.
 
Celestine Savoie (Ceelie), an aspiring singer and guitarist is down on her luck. Her endless struggles to accomplish her dream in a competitive world was taking its toll.  Just when she thought things could get no worse, she received a call about the murder of her great grand-aunt.  Forced to return to the place she once called home, to settle her aunt’s estate she finds herself in the middle of a dangerous situation.  She had no plans to stay, but fate had a different plan for her.
Despite the threat to her life, Ceelie had no intention of running.  I loved her bravery and her tenacity.
 
Unfortunately, the villain did not impress me. His actions were haphazard, which made him dangerous. He was unhinged, erratic, and reckless.  His motives were driven by pure greed.
 
The Romance
The romance, which I found unimpressive, took a back seat. The story focused on the murder investigation and the threat on Ceelie’s life. The sparks between the protagonists were evident, but the build up to their relationship lacked intensity, making difficult for me to connect with them as a couple.
 
Conclusion/Recommendation
If you love romantic suspense, (heavy on the suspense and light on the romance), Wild Man’s Curse will be a great addition to your library.
Christmas at Whisper Beach: A Whisper Beach Novella - Shelley Noble

I received an arc courtesy of the publisher. I was in the mood for a Christmas story, so when I was offered a copy by the publisher for review, I decided to try it.  I did not realise it was part of a series, until I was ready to read the book. However, I had no trouble following the story.

Christmas at Whisper Beach is a continuation of Van and Joe’s romance. Van is settling in to her new life with Joe but she has issues, which were a product of her past she needed to overcome. Issues, which had the potential to derail the life she has built with Joe. Thank goodness, for Joe’s family who opened their hearts and home to her. This act of kindness and acceptance helped in her journey towards healing.

Joe’s love for Van shined through the pages of the story.  His actions proved how much he cared for her. He had big plans for her for the Christmas However these plans would be tested when he took in three children, whose mom became ill, for the Christmas holidays.

I enjoyed the camaraderie Joe shared with his family. I loved how they included Van and made her feel liked she belonged.  I loved that family and Christmas traditions were the highlight of the story. It brought back childhood memories of Christmas.

The ending was a huge disappointment.  Not only was it abrupt, but it left me with many questions.

Conclusion and Recommendation

Overall, an ok read. I will be picking up a copy of the first book in the series so I can learn how Joe and Vans’ story began. Looking for a heart-warming Christmas story, Christmas at Whisper Beach will give you all the feels of Christmas.

IN The End (An Ivy Nash Thriller, Book 6) (Redemption Thriller Series 12) - John W. Mefford
IN the End is the final book in Ivy Nash series. I am disappointed that my journey with her has ended, but I was excited to see what new adventure she would embark on. It was indeed a great adventure even though it lacked the level of excitement of the previous books in the series. The one thing I hoped she would have gained in this installment never materialised, but she was not worst off because of it. Instead, it strengthened her and made her realise she had all she needed with her friends.
 
The story began with Mia, a high school student, missing and her parents are seeking Ivy's help. As Ivy’s mission is to help troubled kids, she has no problem accepting the case. However, she would find herself biting off more than she can chew. This case would prove to be nothing like she has even encountered before. In her bid to uncover who or what is responsible for Mia’s disappearance she would find herself embroiled in another investigation of epic proportions.
 
Teenagers were turning up dead and animals were being sacrificed. What connection does these events have to Mia’s disappearance? Once again, Ivy has found herself in the middle of a dangerous situation.
 
Like the earlier books in the series, this story was gritty, nail-biting and suspenseful. However, it was the most gruesome of all the books. It is not for the faint of heart. Ritualistic murders, animal slaughter, abuse and crazed kidnappers featured heavily in this installment. The Catholic Church was at the centre of the story. The author took me on a wild journey which kept me guessing and I could not wait to find out what would happen in the end. 
 
The series wrapped up nicely leaving me satisfied with how the events unfolded.1There were a few loose strings, which paved the way for the start of a new series which I cannot wait to start.
 
The story featured a diverse set of characters, but my favourites were Ivy and her teenage sidekick Christina. They shared a bond that ran deeper than friendship. They both grew throughout the series. Ivy was still the tenacious, impulsive, fearless, perceptive and sassy heroine I met at the beginning of the series. However, she was no longer closed off when it came to expressing her feelings.  Christina also demonstrated growth. I saw her moving beyond her past and embracing her destiny. It was great spending time with Ivy and her friends.

Conclusion/Recommendation
IN the End provided an exciting conclusion to a thrilling and adventurous series.1Fans of thrillers, mysteries and suspense will enjoy this series.

 

No Regrets Book 1 - Aimee Noalane

Now and then, I would come across a story, which tugs at heart, and bring little tears to my eyes. (No ugly crying) Now this is not an easy feat, few books have ever elicited that feeling. When a book leaves me feeling as if I was on an emotional roller coaster, I know I have found a winner. No Regrets by Aimee Noalane was one of those books.

No Regrets is a story about friendship, love and heartbreak.  This story will gut you and leave you raw. The character’s emotions leapt off the pages, pulling me in and allowing me to connect every facet of their lives. What I loved most about this story is that it demonstrated the emotions of the protagonists. I experienced everything they both went through.   The story was honest, poignant and raw.  It delivered a powerful message about love, loss and friendship.

I loved the characters. Oliver and Abbygail have been best friends since they were both eight years old.  I got a glimpse into this part of their lives, which paved the way to a better understanding of the depth of their friendship. Their actions were what one would expect from the typical teenager.  Sometimes I wished I could knock some sense into them.  Of the two, I found Oliver to be the least mature. I understood he had a lot dealing with, but instead of relying on his best friend, he pushed her away.  Then there were the moments where he toyed with her feelings, which was unacceptable.  One moment he made her feel that all would be well and the next he treats her with indifference.

For someone who struggles with abandonment issues, Abbygail proved to be a strong character.  Never did she think to give up on her friendship with Oliver even though she would be justified if she did.  She believed their friendship was worth saving and was determined to keep fanning the dying flames, with the hope it would revive.

I should warn you, the story ended on a cliff-hanger, but rest assured the remaining books are currently available. Therefore, there is no need for a long wait before jumping into the next installment. I cannot wait to see the outcome Oliver and Abbygails’ journey into adulthood.
I have no regret reading this story.  I found the writing enjoyable; the story engaging and the characters relatable.

The Opposite Effect (Enigma Book 8) - Shandi Boyes
I am a big fan of the enemies to lover’s trope—so when I discovered it would be the feature of The Opposite Effect by Shandi Boye I could not wait to dive into the story.  This is the eighth book in The Enigma series, however there is no need to read the previous books prior to reading this installment.
 
The Story
In this installment, readers are introduced to Brax Anderson and Carla McGregor. Brax is a tattoo artist and manager of Inked, the number one tattoo parlour in Ravenshoe. He is a self-claimed bachelor and does not intend to settle down. The only woman who owns a piece of his heart is his grandmother. No other woman has breached the walls surrounding his heart until the day Clara McGregor walked through the doors of Inked.
 
Clara is unlike any woman Brax has ever encountered. She sets his blood on fire; however, she had other things on her agenda, which did not include hooking up with a tattoo artist from a different side of the tracks.
It is said opposites attract, but Brax and Clara not only attract they also sizzled. These two together made for some laugh out loud moments. Their interaction was funny, entertaining and snarky. The story was easy to follow, and I enjoyed how the events unfolded.
 
There was a part of the story which I had an issue.  It had to do with the male protagonist's desire to keep mentioning a particular part of his anatomy throughout the story. If I did not know, better I would  believe it was a character. Every time Clara appeared, he saw it fit to mention its reaction to her. At first, I did not mind, but too much of one thing after a while can become intolerable.
 
The Characters
I enjoyed getting to know Brax. As the story was told solely from his POV, I had no trouble connecting with him. There were moments throughout the story when I felt he was speaking directly to me. I understood what made him tick. If you were to ask me, what kind of man is he my answer would be confident, sexy, protective and caring?
 
The words that first came to mind when I met Clara was snobbish and entitled.  Fortunately, she managed to redeem herself by the time the story concluded.  By this time, the words I would use to describe her were determined, sassy and proud. She challenged Brax and made him feel things no other woman was able to do.
 
Unfortunately. I never connected with her. I believe my disconnection stemmed from the fact I never felt her emotions throughout the course of the story. The author made it known she was down on her luck but I was not feeling her desperation. Clara was a mystery for most of the story. I did not understand why she was desperate for a job but owned expensive things. Everything I learnt about her I learned through Brax’s POV.  Her voice was silent throughout the story.
 
The secondary characters helped to make things interesting. They added to the fun moments in the story.
 
The Romance
I did not connect with the romance, which I contribute to me not connecting with one-half of the couple.  The issues I had with character growth, manifested itself in the development of the romance. Once again, I only got Brax’s perspective. I knew how Brax felt about Clara, but I had no idea how she felt.  While Brax’s feelings were demonstrated throughout the story, hers was told from his POV.
 
Conclusion/Recommendation
Despite my issues, I enjoyed The Opposite Effect, and I would read more from this author.
Christmas is Murder (McKinley Mysteries series Book 7) - Carolyn Arnold
Christmas is Murder by Carolyn Arnold is the seventh book in the Mckinley Mysteries series. It was an entertaining and easy to read cozy mystery. This is the second book from the series I am reading and I have no regrets. I am looking forward to reading the remaining books.
 
Sean and Sara McKinley, fresh from their honeymoon in Europe, is looking forward to sharing their first Christmas as a married couple. Then their neighbours, whom they never had time to, know on a deeper level, died in a house fire on Christmas Eve. Fuelled by the guilt of not taking the time to know her neighbours she decides to investigate the circumstances behind their deaths. She is convinced they were murdered and with Sean by her side; she is determined to prove her theory at all cost. Was it an accident or did someone deliberately set the fire?
 
I found the mystery engaging.  I was keen to discover if Sara was correct in her suspicions. The lovely couple employed a variety of methods to help in solving the case. Some of these methods found them crossing the lines of legality. There were funny moments, which had me laughing aloud. I especially enjoyed the scene where they found themselves cornered by an angry Rottweiler.
 
I loved how the author incorporated the Christmas theme throughout the story. There was no doubt that this was a Christmas story.
 
Conclusion/Recommendation.
 
Christmas is Murder is a light, fun and fluffy read. If you are a reader who loves mysteries that are gritty and intense then this book not for you. However, if you are looking for something light and fun, then it is the perfect book.1  

 

Halloween Is Murder (McKinley Mysteries) - Carolyn Arnold

As a big fan of Carolyn Arnold, after reading Violated from her Brandon Fisher series, I could not wait to read Halloween is Murder. It has been awhile since I read a cozy mystery. The ones I read are those written by Agatha Christie and to be honest I never felt compelled to read any other cozies until now. After all Carolyn Arnold is the author.Halloween is Murder is the eleventh book in the McKinley series. However, it can be read without having to read the previous books.

What the story is about.

Sean and Sara McKinley are former police officers turned private investigators. The name of their firm is Pay It Forward Investigations, which is fitting given their philanthropic nature. They are launching a haunted house charity event, which is covered by the media. Chloe Parsons is the reporter responsible for featuring the event. Unfortunately, after filming the event she was found dead in her apartment. Did she die from natural causes or was she murdered?

The Story

This was a quick and easy read. There was humour and a dash of romance. I found the pacing slow for my tastes, but I still enjoyed the plot, characterisation and development. It held my attention from start to finish.

The Characters

Although this is book eleven, there is sufficient background information, which allowed me to establish a connection with the characters.

I admired Sara for her tenacity. She concluded that the circumstances surrounding the reporter’s death was suspicious, and she was not willing to give up until her suspicions were satisfied. She relies on her gut instinct in conducting investigations. Sean on the other hand relies on hard evidence, but he has learned to trust his wife’s instincts, making them the perfect investigating duo.

They say variety is the spice of life and this was evident from the varying range of characters who brought the story alive. From the grumpy medical examiner to the snarky computer geek, they added their own blend of spice to story.

The Mystery

Due to the lack of danger and conflict, the intense and edge of your seat feeling one would expect from mysteries was absent. I thought the mystery developed nicely. The author created a wide pool of suspects making it difficult to figure out who or what was behind Chloe’s demise. It was not until near the end that all was revealed, but that did not stop me from trying to figure it out on my own.

Conclusion/Recommendation

I had a good time with this installment and I will be looking to read the previous books in the series. If you enjoy cozies, then you may want to give this series a try.


Blood Freed - Traci Douglass

This is one of the few times reading a series out-of-order paid off. If I had read book one first, chances are I would not have continued the series, and I would missed out on two awesome stories. Thankfully, I had an enjoyable experience with the last book in the series, which prompted me to read the earlier books.

What the story is about

BLOOD FREED takes us back into the world of supernatural beings and motorcycle gangs. In this installment we get the 411 on Anna's twin Liz and the werewolf Dexter MacCallahan. Liz is geared to take up her position, along with her sister, as the Oracle for the Blood Ravagers gang, but to do so they need to complete a binding ceremony. Unfortunately, the completion of the ceremony required vital information, which was not readily available. To obtain this information meant going on a dangerous journey. Liz, in a bid to prove she was competent, courageous and committed, volunteered to acquire the information.

To ensure her safety, Dexter was assigned the task of accompanying her. He was not keen about going, but this was a job he could not refuse, as getting this information was vital to security of all supernatural beings. However, there was a major problem: his rut was near, a rare phenomenon that requires werewolves to bond with their chosen mate. Failure to do so meant certain insanity and death.


What I liked:

The Story
Action, suspense, humour and sexual tension permeated the pages of this story. Danger abound as their enemies hunted the information Liz and Dex were seeking. I thoroughly enjoyed the banter between the protagonists, which was filled with humour and sexual innuendoes. The intensity of the action and suspense kept me on my toes and had me eagerly turning the pages. The story was narrated in the third person from both Liz and Dex's perspectives. Usually, I would have a hard time with third person narration, but fortunately this was not the case in this instance. The story came alive, and I felt as if I was involved in every aspect of this tale.

The Characters

Liz acts tough, but she is scared of embracing her destiny as the Oracle. She feared her love for adventure would cause her to fail as the Oracle. Therefore, she believed undertaking the dangerous mission would prove to the gang members and herself that she was more than capable of fulfilling her destiny. I had no problem relating to her. I understood her fears. Being an Oracle was a big deal and not a position to be taken lightly. What I loved most about her was her determination and strength. She was definitely a force to be reckoned with as her enemies would discover.

Dexter is a stoic, moody and gruff wolf shifter. A lone wolf scared of repeating the mistakes of his ancestors. Despite his attraction to Liz he believed he was not worthy of her. The burden of guilt from his past weighed him down, hindered his desire for happiness and caused him to doubt his abilities. His fear of history repeating itself trumped his fear of going on the mission with Liz. This fueled his determination in ensuring the success of the mission. Along the way, he would re-discover himself and learn that things were not always what they seem.

I enjoyed the interaction between Liz and Dex. I thought they were perfect for each. Two damaged souls who helped each other heal. Their feelings for each leapt off the pages and I found myself rooting for them every step of the way.

Conclusion /Recommendation:
This was an improvement to the previous installment. It was fun, exhilarating, adventurous, and suspenseful and filled with heat. I enjoyed every moment spent in the world that the author created.

Overall an exciting read and one which I recommend to readers who enjoy action, suspense and heat and the supernatural world.

The Real Thing (Sugar Lake Book 1) - Melissa Foster


Melissa Foster has created a hit with her latest book ‘The Real Thing’. This is the first book in the new ‘Sugar Lake ‘series. I wholeheartedly enjoyed this sweet contemporary second chance romance. I love these type of stories, so I was eager to dive into this book, and I am glad I did. It was everything I expected and more.

What the story is about.
In ‘The Real Thing’ introduces us to Willow Dalton, the owner of Sweetie Pie Bakery, and Hollywood actor Zane Walker. Zane and Willows’ relationship has been a complicated one, which went as far back as their high school years. For Willow, Zane was the one man she never got over and it did not help to know he was the one she gave her V card.

Zane has returned to Sweetwater to film his latest movie, a romantic suspense, which is very different from the gritty action movies he usually stars. To prove that he could be a romantic hero he had to clean up his playboy image, and this involved being in a steady relationship. To accomplish this task, he approached the one woman he believed he could trust with such a task. He convinced Willow to act his fiancée for the time he would be in Sweetwater filming. Will they be able to maintain the pretence, or will their fake relationship become the real thing?

Willow is one of those characters you will love but at times find her actions frustrating. I did not agree with her behaviour towards Zane over the years when she was the one who had made the rules regarding their relationship the night when she gave up her virginity. She made the rules so why be upset when he did what she wanted? In spite of I enjoyed the role she played in the story. She displayed a level of strength and bravery, but when it came to Zane, she struggled with insecurities. Doubts and insecurities clouded her judgement, and she believed every emotion displayed by Zane was an act.
I could totally see myself with a guy like Zane minus the paparazzi of course. A hunky and famous movie star who cared about others. The way he treated Willow and her family was a testament to his caring nature. Zane thought his current file would provide with his biggest role to date. However, he would come to realise that his biggest role would be convincing Willow that what he felt for her was the real thing. Along the way, he would discover his purpose.
It was good to see them work at resolving the issues from their past and coming to terms with the mistakes they made. Dealing with those issues makes it easy for them to handle their romance on a mature level.
I loved the secondary characters. They helped to make things interesting. The information provided whetted my appetite and I am eager to see what Ms. Foster has in store for them.
I enjoyed the romance, which was hot and sweet. I liked that this was not an instant connection. Their feelings for each other have been building over the years and it only grew stronger as time went by. There were a lot of swoon worthy moments. Family and friendships featured strongly in this book, which came as no surprise. If you are familiar with author’s contemporary romance, you will understand what I mean.

Conclusion/Recommendation
Overall, I enjoyed this installment. I am looking forward to the next book, which centres on one of Willow’s sisters. I would recommend this to fans of sweet romances and second chances.




Beneath These Shadows - Meghan March

Beneath These Shadows (Beneath #6)

Beneath These Shadows is the 6th book in The Beneath series and it can be read as a stand-alone. This book has sat on my kindle since the day it was released, but I kept pushing it back. I am not sure why, especially given the experience I have had with the series. Well, better late than never.

What the story is about.

Beneath These Shadows tells the story of Bishop, a tattoo artist and Eden, the daughter of New York’s notorious mob boss. Running from his past, Bishop came to New Orleans to start over. He kept a low profile and tried not to bring attention to himself. All that changed, the day he rescued a beautiful woman who appeared lost and totally out of her element. In the process, he would discover that the past as an uncanny way of coming back to haunt.

Eden lived a sheltered life. She never experienced the beauty that life offered. Constantly surrounded by bodyguards, her life was a virtual prison. When her father’s business came under attack, he sent her away for her protection. Eden saw this as an opportunity to experience freedom for the first time in her life. Her desires led her to the City of New Orleans where she met a walking sex on stick tattoo artist, who helped her to discover all that life offered.

The Characters.

Bishop is the epitome of an alpha male. He is smart, determined, loyal, understanding and protective. His protective nature became evident in the manner in which he treated Eden. He recognised her innocence and naivete and appointed himself her personal saviour. In doing so he opened himself to the thing he had been running from. He knew the risks, but he willing accepted them to ensure Eden’s safety.

Eden is one of those heroines I had a hard time warming up to. I understood her need to experience freedom, but I had difficulty wrapping my head around the careless risks she took. Being innocent and naïve is not a crime, but when you add stupid behaviour to the mix, then we have a whole new scenario. The unnecessary risks taken put herself and Bishop in danger.

The Supporting Characters.

The story featured characters from the previous instalment. We are given insight into the current events of their lives. I enjoyed the bond that Bishop had developed with them. I also appreciated the manner in which they embraced Eden in their fold, knowing what she meant to Bishop. I loved how they rallied together to help Bishop when they thought Eden may be in danger. The introduction of new characters added to the suspense factor of the story and helped to make things intense and interesting.

The Romance

True to Meghan March style the romance packed heat and sizzle. Their attraction to each other was as clear as day. I appreciated that they took time before giving into the sizzling attraction between them. This helped to make their romance engaging and believable. What started out as an unlikely friendship, slowly grew into an undeniable explosive attraction.

The Story

Aside from my issues with the heroine, I thought the story was well-written. It was a tad bit predictable in some areas, but it did not take away from my enjoyment. There was one aspect of the story that I was hoping that the author would have developed further. This had to do with Eden’s relationship with her father. After all that had transpired, I was expecting to a deeper and loving bond develop between them, but their relationship remained static throughout the story.

There was another aspect of the story that I found annoying and which I believe did not add value to the story. The women who kept throwing themselves at Bishop even when he showed no interest. What I did not get was did he have history with these women or was it a case where they wanted to fulfil a fantasy.

Conclusion/Recommendation.

The story did not deliver all I expected. It was not my favourite of the series, but I still found it enjoyable.