Jul 232014
 

Loving Rose: The Redemption of Malcolm Sinclair: Number 3 in series (From the Casebook of Barnaby Adair) Miraculously spared from death, Malcolm Sinclair erases the notorious man he once was. Reinventing himself as Thomas Glendower, he strives to make amends for his past, yet he never imagines penance might come via a secretive lady he discovers living in his secluded manor. Rose has a plausible explanation for why she and her children are residing in Thomas’s house, but she quickly realises he’s far too intelligent to fool.

After the disappointment of the previous book in this series, Ms. Laurens has returned to form with this one. The only thing I didn’t like was the confusion over Thomas Glendower/Malcolm Sinclair. I gathered he had appeared as a villain in a previous Cynster book (I later discovered it was the ‘Taste of Innocence’), but as it was not one I’d read I found it a bit confusing over what he had done that was so bad. I therefore started the book feeling like I was missing half the story. It would have been useful if the book blurb had stated where we first met him, so readers could go back to that book if they chose.

Once I put that aside though, it didn’t take me long to get into the story and I really enjoyed it. The first half of the book is very much about Thomas and Rose, their developing relationship and the secrets they both hold. Rose is guarded and unwilling to trust but finds it difficult to resist Thomas, particularly with how he is with the children. Thomas is also surprised at how quickly he feels protective towards them, and seeing his younger self in Homer, he seeks to guide him as he himself never was.  Once Rose trusts Thomas with her problems they move to London, and that is when Barnaby Adair and his (growing) team get involved to solve the mystery. For me this book is a perfect blend of intrigue and romance, and focuses very clearly on the protagonists whereas the previous one didn’t.

Ms. Laurens does not disappoint with her bedroom scenes – steamy as always! But at least this time they focused on the characters that matter.

Overall a great book and having prepared myself for this one to be another thriller with little romance as in The Masterful Mr Montague, I was very pleased to find that was not the case.

Book Information
  • Author: Stephanie Laurens
  • Series: Casebook of Barnaby Adair (3)
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Rating: ★★★★½ 

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Jul 142014
 

Concealed in Death: 38 There is nothing unusual about billionaire Roarke supervising work on his new property – but when he takes a ceremonial swing at the first wall, he uncovers the body of a girl. And then another – in fact twelve dead girls in all. Luckily for Roarke, he is married to the best police Lieutenant in town, Eve Dallas…

Another good story from J.D. Robb,  I am amazed at how she continues to think up different stories 38 books in.  While I don’t think this was as good as some of the other ones in the series, it is still up there. The story was much slower paced than usual and it was clear who the murderer was well before the end of the book – even I guessed it! There were the inevitable parallels with Eve’s childhood when it turns out the building was a centre for delinquent teens, but fortunately this is glossed over rather than made into a mountain.

I love Eve and Roarke, they are one of my favourite fictional couples, they are very settled in their relationship now and this is evidenced by the interactions between them in this book. One thing I did miss though, was the inclusion of the larger cast that we’ve grown to love – very little even with Peabody. On the plus side there were some new characters introduced (both shady and not so shady!) who I think will be featured in later books.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and J.D. Robb remains one of my must read authors, anyone new to the series could easily pick up here with no problems and enjoy it. I would definitely advise making time to read the earlier books in the series however, to truly appreciate the individuals that are Eve and Roarke.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.D. Robb
  • Series: In Death (38)
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Jun 182014
 

Extinction An extraordinary discovery in the Sahara desert will turn history on its head…

A series of unexplained phenomena create shockwaves across the globe – a huge religious statue moves its arm, and there’s a spate of floods and earthquakes. Many think it’s the end of the world…

Investigative journalist Alyssa Durham receives a call from an old friend claiming that these phenomena may not be entirely natural, but when he is assassinated in front of her, she finds herself on the run for her life.

Alyssa teams up with Jack Murray, a scientist from a secretive government research laboratory, to uncover the truth. But who wants them dead, and what are they trying to protect?

As chaos descends, Alyssa and Jack are drawn into a battle against an unknown enemy with the highest possible stakes, because one thing they’ve learnt is that nothing is safe from extinction…

Wow, this is a hard one to review.  On the one hand, it’s an utterly gripping thriller with some extremely clever parts and on the other it has the worst type of ending for me personally and I’m going to put that aside because it shouldn’t take away from the brilliance of this book.  It’s also hard not to spoil things as there are a few elements that I really want to shout excitedly about!

The story is extremely well written, engaging and emotional, and oh yes, very gory!  The characters are exceptional too, I especially loved Alyssa and was glad she wasn’t made out to be a wilting flower, given her job as an investigative journalist.

Apart from the prologue and epilogue, the pace is full on, have to keep turning the pages while on the edge of my seat.  You can easily see it being a blockbuster action film.

The twists.  Oh my goodness the twists.  I can’t talk about them because they really would spoil the book, but there are two that had my jaw on the floor.  One is outstanding, I didn’t see it coming and it had me in shocked tears.  The second manages to be both extremely clever and a little disappointing.  Clever in that it encompasses the entire book, the writing is part of it, and it wasn’t until after I’d reached the epilogue, that I then had to skim through the book again to make sure it was how I thought it was.  That aspect – stunning.  The disappointing part was that it was so improbable but it is a minor part of an otherwise fantastic book that still has me thinking about it, a week or so on from reading it.

The first book by J.T. Brennan I’ve read and it won’t be the last.  Even if he doesn’t cater to my ending preferences ;)

[book rating=4.5/5]

Book Information
  • Author: J.T. Brannan
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Jun 052014
 

The Notting Hill Diaries: Ripped / Burned The Notting Hill Diaries consists of two stories – Ripped and Burned. In Ripped, Hayley is rescued by the very sexy best man, following a major wardrobe malfunction in her bridesmaids dress. In Burned, her sister Rosie has to cope with ‘the one that got away’ becoming her boss – her very sexy new boss.

Whew, what can I say – these are hot! I love Sarah Morgan’s usual romances, and I have to say I also loved these extra spicy ones. It was as much about the anticipation and build up as the actual sex that made these two stories so good. It wasn’t just mindless, graphic sex for no reason other than page filler which is always a relief and there was also laugh out loud humour in both novellas, but particularly in Ripped.

The men in these stories – well, I am totally in love (or is it lust?), either way I was drooling while I was reading. Like the heroes, the women have come through some tough times to be as strong and independent as they are, but they still have their insecurities, as do we all.

My only criticism would be the format of the stories was very similar, probably only an issue because they were in the same volume and I read them one after the other.  Still, as I love the author’s writing, it didn’t really matter much to me and did not spoil my enjoyment.

If you have read and enjoyed Sarah Morgan’s other romances I can guarantee you will love this – go on, live a little and come over to the super spicy and sexy side!

Book Information
  • Author: Sarah Morgan
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Rating: ★★★★½ 

 

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May 222014
 

The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After (Bridgerton Family Book 9) The Bridgerton family stories are told in a series of eight books, all humorous, emotional and above all romantic. They are some of my favourite historical romances ever, and I highly recommend you read them. Once you start you won’t want to stop until they are all done!

The great thing about these books is that every one has an epilogue looking into the future but I always want more. I want to know how the children grew up, and if everything is still going well in Bridgerton land. That is why I was thrilled to discover this collection of ‘second epilogues’, an opportunity to look  further down the line and see what has happened since we last met.

This collection of stories does not disappoint, from the pall mall game (even better than the original scene in The Viscount Who Loved Me) to the elusive jewels and so much more. There is even a short story about the great matriarch of the family Violet. The author has a little note at the beginning of each story to jog your memory, so if you had not read the original books for a while it would not matter.

I would definitely recommend reading the rest of the series first, as it is intended as a follow up and you cannot truly appreciate the characters without that background knowledge. Having said that, you could get away with not having read every single one, as long as you were acquainted with this unconventional and powerful family.

I loved this collection, love the Bridgertons and love Ms. Quinn for writing the stories that I, and I’m sure so many of her readers, were desperate for. Thank you!

The Bridgerton Series in Order :

The Duke and I
The Viscount Who Loved Me
An Offer From a Gentleman
Romancing Mr Bridgerton
To Sir Philip, With Love
When He Was Wicked
It’s In His Kiss
On The Way To The Wedding
The Bridgertons: Happy Ever After

Book Information
  • Author: Julia Quinn
  • Series: Bridgertons (9)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★★ 

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May 072014
 

The Masterful Mr Montague: Number 2 in series (From the Casebook of Barnaby Adair) Montague has devoted his life to managing the wealth of London’s elite, but at a huge cost: a family of his own. Then the enticing Miss Violet Matcham seeks his help, and in the puzzle she presents him, he finds an intriguing new challenge professionally … and personally

Montague is a character who has appeared in most of Ms. Laurens books as a Man of Business for the wealthy, so it was nice to be able to delve a little more into his character and background. This book is part of the Casebook of Barnaby Adair series and was focused much more on the mystery aspect than the romance between Montague and Violet. As you know I’m a big lover of romance and am a bit disappointed there wasn’t more of it between those two throughout the book, however, their relationship followed what I would imagine to be the socially accepted strictures of the time. Fortunately, as far as romance and steamy scenes go, we did get to see more of Barnaby Adair and Penelope.

The mystery aspect of this book is very good, there are red herrings galore and I didn’t guess who the killer was or the reason for him becoming so, until it was all revealed! This is what saved the book for me, from a lower rating. I felt like this was the Adair and Stokes show with Montague and Violet being a side story rather than the main couple.  This wouldn’t have been an issue at all if it hadn’t been billed as Montague’s book, because the story is good.

Anyway enough of that, Montague is a character who has always seemed a bit ‘nerdy’ and unassuming but, as with all the author’s heroes, he has hidden depths and his masterful side does come out towards the end. Violet is no mild miss and throws herself into helping with the investigation along with the wives of Stokes and Adair, much to the consternation of Montague. As characters I liked them, neither of them are in the first flush of youth (Violet is 34, a veritable old maid!) and therefore both of them know their own minds and who they are.

Overall a good story, if you like Ms. Laurens writing and go into this accepting that it’s primarily a mystery with a side order of romance, rather than romance with a side order of mystery (as with most of the Cynster novels),  you will enjoy it. I look forward to the next Casebook of Barnaby Adair story with that in mind.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Stephanie Laurens
  • Series: Casebook of Barnaby Adair (2)
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Apr 242014
 

Fortune's Pawn: Book 1 of Paradox Deviana Morris isn’t your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. One of those is going to get her killed one day – but not just yet.

Not when she just got a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn’t misnamed: it likes to get into trouble. And with a reputation for bad luck that makes one year as security detail on this ship equal to five years everywhere else – Devi knows she’s found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn’t give up its secrets without a fight, and one year might be more than even Devi can handle.

I love space operas, I love science fiction with a twist of romance, I love first person stories where things are grey as the narrator figures things out and makes mistakes and misunderstands.

I love Fortune’s Pawn.

So much so in fact, that it reminded me why I got into reviewing in the first place, because people NEED to know about this book because it is just that good!

I put off reading it because I never seemed to be in the right mood and now I’m kicking myself because this has shot up as one of my favourite sci-fi books of all time – on par with James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series.

Devi is a heroine I can utterly get behind.  She’s an amazing soldier because she’s trained hard to be.  She’s not pretending to be a man and she’s not a helpless female who is supposed to be a tough mercenary.  She’s prepared to go down fighting and doesn’t quit, even though she knows her death may well be approaching.  She is just the ultimate badass and I love her.  Later on we see Devi’s softer side, and rather than detracting from the power of her character, it instead makes her more human and reinforces her strength.

The core crew were brilliant as well, often making me laugh, sometimes wanting to make me smack them – Caldswell in particular! Rupert was a wonderfully enigmatic character and loved the way he was with Devi – as the book progressed, that did NOT go the way I expected and that made me want to cry!  Then there is the mystery of Ren.  Argh!  Just a wonderful mix of alien/human crew on board the Glorious Fool.

I loved the way Rachel Bach wove the story around the characters and just when I thought I had things figured out, it changed and I had to look at a situation in a new light.

The action was extremely well done.  Fast paced, descriptive and emotive.  My heart was in my mouth several times and I even got a bit tearful at certain scenes.

I have the second book waiting here and I can’t wait to dive into it as the end of Fortune’s Pawn demands it! It proves that you can’t know everything from all sides.

Just a phenomenal book and one I highly recommend!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Rachel Bach
  • Series: Paradox (1)
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Apr 222014
 

Opal Fire (A Stacy Justice Mystery Book One) Stacy Justice is an investigative reporter related to the Geraghty Girls, older women who are known around town as the local witches/nutters.  Stacy would rather concentrate on her everyday life than being branded a witch, but her aunts just won’t let up.  Her life takes a turn for the bizarre when her cousin’s bar is torched, seemingly to hide a sinister secret. Stacy’s curiosity gets the better of her and before she knows it dead bodies are turning up everywhere she goes, and her witchy powers just keep poking through.  With the help of her faithful Great Dane, well meaning if irritating relatives and to the annoyance of her chief of police boyfriend, Stacy follows lead after lead in an effort to find out what the hell is going on.

It took me a while to get into this book but once the story took off I enjoyed it. Not a romance which is my preferred genre but it had a good smattering of comedy and suspense so the story line kept me interested. The plot-line kept me guessing although I did suss who did it before the reveal, but not by much!

The female characters were generally good, although some of the decisions they made beggared belief and I found the male characters very irritating at times. Stacy’s boyfriend might be the chief of police but he really seems to have no way of maintaining order and Mario made me want to puke! I think I agree with Stacy in that the only male she can rely on is her dog! I loved the older Geraghty girls who seem totally nuts in their own way and Thor is so cute!

This was an easy read and although a lot seemed to happen it was easy to keep up with the plot, the ending was satisfying and threw up a new mystery that made me want to go get the second book – so I did!

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Barbra Annino
  • Series: A Stacy Justice Mystery (1)
  • Format: Kindle
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)

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Apr 032014
 

Watch Your Back A cold case reopened. A murderer re-emerging more deadly than ever before…
 
Baltimore Homicide Detective Stevie Mazzetti has suffered losses no woman should have to endure. And, despite it all, she’s still a fighter. When she learns that her ex-partner might have miscarried justice, she’s determined to put the past to rights, even when she becomes a target.
 
It’s former Marine Clay Maynard’s job to see the risk in every situation, but he doesn’t have to look hard to find the danger surrounding Stevie. Since the minute he first saw her, Clay has wanted to protect the wounded officer, and he started loving her not long after that. So when Stevie attracts the attention of a vicious psychopath, Clay will do whatever it takes to keep her alive. That is, if he can stay ahead of a killer with everything to lose—and something terrifying to hide…

Wow, this was one breathtaking, heart stopping, gut-wrenching ride!

Stevie is a character I have loved for the longest time and have been both frustrated and tearful both with her and for her.  Clay is just a sweetheart and is no different in this book.  When he does the powerful man thing though, it makes my knees quite weak!

I think this might be the final book focussing on this grouping of characters – I hope I’m wrong because I love them dearly but I’m not sure what direction it would go in now.  Having said that, Karen Rose does have the most amazing ability to connect characters and story-lines across books so there may well be some mention to see how they are doing.  I can only hope!

The story was fast paced and I thought it was extremely well judged to keep me right on the edge of my seat. The plot reveals came thick and fast and I don’t think I could have stopped reading even if I’d wanted to – there was just so much I had to KNOW.  I lost count of the number of times my heart was in my mouth and my husband had to keep checking I was OK, as I would make an audible sound (not that I was aware of it!).

The bad guys were actually really bad and Ms. Rose cleverly wove several elements from previous books into this one and the big reveal at the end – I thought I knew, but wow, I really didn’t.

Just phenomenal and as usual I am desperate for her next book, even if it does involve different characters.  In fact I think I need to read them ALL again!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Karen Rose
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Mar 262014
 

Made in Nashville: HarperImpulse Contemporary Romance 10 years ago Honor Blackwood was Nashville’s brightest country music star until an attack on stage left her with scars both physical and emotional.

Country rebel and rock star, Jared ‘Jed’ Marshall hears Honor singing and wants her on his tour but she hasn’t sung publicly for 10 years and is determined not to start now. Will he wear her down, and is his interest in her, or her voice?

Well at the end of this I was melted in a puddle on the floor and wanted me a Jared of my own!

This story has everything I could wish for – romance, sex, emotions both high and low and of course more romance.  Oh yes, plus a very sexy guy!

Jared and Honor are both flawed emotionally and their development throughout the story is believable and emotional. They seem to get together fairly quickly and all seems to be going well then bam, you get hit from left field with something. There were two moments in the story I didn’t see coming at all (and I’m not going to give them away and spoil it) but I will say that one part was so cleverly done, it had me expecting something totally different.

I love Jared, he is hot, sexy, a total romantic and a bad boy – what’s not to love? Honor could easily have become an irritating character who was a bit of a wuss, but as her self confidence increased, so did her spine and she grows into a great character.

At the heart of Made in Nashville is the romance, but it becomes so much more with the angst and strong emotions running through it. I went through all the emotions you could possibly think of but, importantly for me, I finished the book in a very good state of mind.

Some people might be put off because it’s heavily based in the country music scene in America, and the book blurb talks up the country music angle. Well I am from the UK and know nothing about country music and I loved it.

Overall, this really is a great story – I cried, I laughed, I sighed and I smiled and I could not put it down (I was even reading while cooking tea). This is the first book I’ve read by Mandy Baggot and I need more!

As at 26th March 2014 the Kindle version is only 99p on Amazon – go buy it if you love romance.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Mandy Baggot
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)

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