Sophia’s Secret by Julie Ryan

Sometimes the most seemingly idyllic of small towns are the ones that hide the most tantalizing secrets.

What’s it About?

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This is the second book in the Greek Island Mystery series. Although each book is intended to be read as a standalone, some of the characters from the first book, ‘Jenna’s Journey’, do make an appearance.

Kat has never understood why she was sent at the age of seven from Greece to live in England with her Aunt Tigi. When she receives an email from her grandmother, the first contact in over twenty years, informing her of her mother’s death, she knows this could be her last chance to find out the truth. Little by little she finds out the shocking facts as her grandmother opens her heart. It seems everyone has a secret to tell, not only her grandmother, as Manoli, her school friend, also harbours a guilty secret. Then there’s a twenty year old mystery to solve as well as a murder and what happened to the missing Church treasure?

First Impressions

Sophia isn’t the only one with a secret on this small Greek Island! There’s a lot going on in this novel, with multiple mysteries and dramatic plot points taking place over several decades. The book itself is divided into four parts, which definitely helped to keep a sense of order to how the story was told. We start off with Kat traveling back to her childhood home after the death of her mother, who she hasn’t seen since she was just a little girl. As a matter of fact, she hasn’t seen her father or grandmother since then either, as she was sent off to live in another country with her Aunt when she was only seven. Since then she’s received no word from the rest of her family. Now that she’s back on the island, her grandmother, Sophia, is prepared to reveal the true and troubled history of why Kat was sent away so many years before. This is when we enter part 2 of the novel.

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A Blast to the Past

Little did I know that in order to figure out the events of twenty years ago, we’d actually be traveling back even further in time, going all the way back to when Sophia herself was just a teenager. This time jump definitely holds your interest, as you’re constantly wondering how the story will evolve to ultimately explain the reason why Kat was sent away. However, you also sort of have to force your way through a large chunk of the novel, as it’s a rather depressing read. Through Sophia’s eyes we see her tale of woe, forced marriage, rape, pining for a lost love, jealousy, and even murder. Quite a bit of murder actually. As if that wasn’t enough of a downer, throughout the read we’re constantly getting moments which foreshadow even more doom and gloom to come, such as “little did I know how much worse things were about to get.” At times it felt like I needed a shot of tequila before I could proceed to the next chapter!

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Back to the Future

Sophia’s memories in part 2 take up a rather significant portion of the book, and by the time we’ve made our way back up to the present in part 3, I must admit it took me a while to remember what all was going on and who the key players were. Not only have we just reviewed all of Sophia’s secrets revolving around her forced marriage, forbidden love, and the mystery of her husband’s death, but now we have a lost Church treasure, a missing boy from years ago, a dead Jane Doe, Kat’s husband and step daughter having their own problems, a kidnapping, a dead antiques smuggler, and Kat trying to deal with the new information she’s learned about her parents. Again, there’s a lot going on here!

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Bringing it All Together

On the one hand, it definitely seemed like there was too much going on. Some of these mysterious story lines held more prominence in the overall telling of the book, while others seemed to get just a little bit of attention before being quickly put to rest. I was particularly surprised to find that at the very end of the book we even get a link back to an unsolved mystery from the first book that is finally resolved. That being said, I must say it was truly commendable that the author managed to bring every single mystery full circle by the end of the book.

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No stone is left unturned, and every loose end is tied up perfectly. Quite a feat worth mentioning considering there were so many moving pieces at work here. Personally I do think the book as a whole would have benefited from removing some of the more minor side plot distractions, and instead have the drama surrounding Kat’s relationships with her mother, father and grandmother be the sole focus. It just would have pulled the story together more tightly into one cohesive thread.

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: A Greek Island Mystery, book 2. I did enjoy this sequel better than the first novel in the series! With book one I was kind of disappointed that some elements surrounding the downfall of our main villain were left unresolved. Imagine my surprise to discover that we finally get a resolution to that plot point at the very end of this second book!

Final Impressions: While this mystery certainly kept me guessing, and managed to hold my interest throughout, it was also kind of hard to want to pick it up and read sometimes considering the subject matter. Sophia had a tough life, and it was disheartening to read about her trials and tribulations in such detail. That being said, it was nice to see that she was eventually rewarded for her hardships later in life. As far as the mystery of why Kat was sent away all those years before, it was definitely an interesting and surprising reason, but I can’t say I ever fully understood why all communication was cut off from her until now. A bit more explanation as to why Sophia in particular, as well as Kat’s father, never chose to visit her throughout the years would have been nice.

Smut Level: None really.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.25 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 331 Pages.

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Vengeance by Shana Figueroa

What makes this female private investigator different than any other? Well…her magical vagina for one.

What’s it About? 

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Corruption. Greed. Illicit sex. Murder. Private investigator Valentine Shepherd thinks she’s seen it all, and her strange ability to glimpse the future gives her an edge no one else in the world has. But when her fiancé is killed trying to exonerate his client, billionaire Max Carressa, Val makes it her personal mission to bring the people responsible to justice, no matter the cost. Convinced the two men are linked by more than attorney-client privilege, she enlists Max’s help in her investigation and gets more than she bargained for. On the run, Val and Max must uncover who wants them dead and why. The answer leads them to a conspiracy that has Val herself at its center. She doesn’t understand how or why, but time is running out to expose the truth and escape the danger she knows is coming . . .

First Impressions

Mkay, you just know that when a book starts off with a magical vagina it’s gonna be unique. And when we find out that Val isn’t the only with supernatural genitals? Well, stand back ladies and gentlemen. How exactly are Val’s lady bits special? She has visions of the future whilst getting it on. Definitely a party trick you don’t see very often. The one downside to this “gift” is that Val never really gets to experience the pleasure of an orgasm. She gets the build up, and the aftermath, but the boom moment causes her to pass out in a vision. Not sure how I’d feel about that to be honest. Especially considering her visions usually involve seeing someone’s death.

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On the Run

While Val’s visions can sometimes prove useful, she discovers they aren’t always accurate. Case in point, when she envisions her lawyer fiancé question a possible witness who could help with one of his cases, she never saw him get run down and killed by an unknown assailant. In an effort to uncover the truth about his death, she eventually crosses paths with Max Carressa, a mysterious billionaire accused of murdering his own father.

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Needless to say, it’s been a rather stressful week for Val Shepherd! Not only is she witness to her fiancé’s murder, but she’s trying to avoid being killed herself as she attempts to solve his murder. All of this is further complicated by the fact that, in a way, Max is someone she’s been searching for for a large portion of her life. Or someone like him anyway. He’s the first person she’s ever met who has the same abilities that she does. Val does put up a valiant effort to fight her growing attraction to Max, but when they discover they both share the same sexual gift, we know it’s just a matter of time before they get busy seeing visions together. With an ability grounded in sex, it seems meeting someone else with the same gift heightens their feelings of arousal. Poor girl didn’t stand a chance!

Magical Genitals Collide

As the novel progresses I was curious to find out if Max and Val’s eventual first time together would be out of necessity to find out key information in a vision, or from a development of real feelings for each other. Interestingly enough, it’s sort of a combination of both. Val senses a growing attraction to Max that can no longer be ignored, so she kind of uses her gift as an excuse to finally get physically close to him.

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Something I did find particularly interesting about their supernatural power is how it influenced their sexual dynamic. In most romance novels, we often see a male lead who wants to make himself last as long as possible, while giving his woman as many orgasms as possible. However, for Max and Val they both try to delay the inevitable in order to prolong their pleasure. The fact is, they each only have one shot before they literally pass out in a vision. In their efforts to make it last, they often talk about other topics to keep their mind off it. In addition, they can’t necessarily come together, or else risk passing out on top of each other and squishing some rather important bits and pieces. Like a true gentleman, Max lets Val come first before taking his own pleasure with a desperate attempt to try and pass out beside her.

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One benefit to their strong libido is that although they can only come once at a time, they can quickly regroup after their visions and go at it again. Seeing as Val often foresees death of some kind you’d think it would kind of spoil the mood, but nope! They are ready and raring to go pretty quickly.

Building Suspense and Leading Characters

While Val and Max explore their visions together we also have the underlying story line of her fiancé’s murder, and uncovering a conspiracy rooted in politics and greed. There’s quite a lot of suspense towards the end which lasts for a good chunk of the novel. Definitely nice that it wasn’t a wam, bam, thank you ma’am kind of deal. I was also initially worried that their ability to see the future might make the end of the book less exciting, but that wasn’t the case either as both Val and Max desperately try to alter the course of events which could lead to their deaths.

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I will say there are a LOT of moving pieces in this novel, including a plethora of different characters, motives, and a seemingly endless number of interconnecting story lines. At times it was tricky to keep everything straight, and you can tell some aspects weren’t fully explored so that they can be featured more prominently in a future novel. While I definitely understand the appeal of this for certain plot points, I felt it sort of detracted from us getting to know our main leading lady on a deeper level.

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Considering Val was a former sergeant in the army it means she’s literally a bad ass, and one woman I would never want to cross. Unfortunately, it was also a smidge difficult to like her at times, or connect with her on an emotional level. After mourning the loss of her fiancé it seemed like Val sort of shut off her emotions in order to move on and focus on finding his killer. In a way this also closes herself off to us as the audience. Honestly, I couldn’t help but see Max as a more compelling character due to the fact that we uncover a significant portion of his back story, and get a good glimpse of his hardships and inner turmoil. I wish we had been offered the same for Val, specifically in relation to the impact of her sister’s untimely death, and her developing relationship with Max. It’s definitely possible we’ll see more of this in future novels, but I think a brief window into her personality would have helped us connect with her.

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

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Series: Valentine Shepherd, book 1. There’s an unexpected twist at the end which sets things up for a sequel. Not a cliffhanger per se, but it will leave you wondering what happens next.

Should you read it? The ending of the novel was definitely my favorite, as we see all the various plot points come together for one climactic finish. It does take a while for the story to develop, and with there being so many different characters and interwoven plots it sort of feels like you’re being unwillingly pulled in a multitude of different directions. In addition to the magical genitals, there is also a larger supernatural connection which is briefly touched upon towards the end of the novel. Not really sure how I feel about it at this point.

Smut Level: This book has pretty much every combination you can imagine under the sun. We’ve got m/f, f/f, m/m and m/m/f. I guess the only version missing is f/f/m?

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Forever Yours Publishing. 336 Pages.

 

Nowhere to Hide by Louise Lyndon

This has got to be, hands down, one of the most intense and thrilling books I’ve read so far this year. Simply amazing!

What’s it About?

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Forty years ago the Australian rural town of Burrawang Bend was the scene of a brutal murder, and the townspeople are still calling for justice. Marlee Moore, the suspect’s and victim’s granddaughter, is fighting to clear her grandfather’s name. And no one is going to stand in her way. But when things take a dangerous and deadly turn, Marlee must turn to the one man she was determined to run out of town.

Devon Reilly, investigative journalist for his hit TV show, Justice Served, is in Burrawang Bend to solve the forty-year-old cold case murder. But, he didn’t bargain on Marlee keeping him from investigating the case and he soon questions where her loyalties lie. With the living? Or with the dead? But when Marlee and her son’s life are put in danger, Devon knows he is the only man who can keep them alive. But what happens when he soon realizes he is the bigger threat to the woman and kid he loves?

First Impressions

Goodness gracious, where to begin?! I don’t really know what I was expecting from this book before going into it, but let’s just say I got a whole hell of a lot more than I bargained for. Before you know it the plot takes on a life of its own, sucks you in, and I found myself having to remember to breathe a few times from holding my breath in anticipation. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’ve found it really does take a lot to surprise me when it comes to romance novel plot lines. This one? Left me absolutely floored and took off in a direction I never saw coming.

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Small Towns Can Be Deceiving

Marlee lives in a small town in the middle of nowhere Australia. It’s a quiet town, and nothing ever happens there. Except of course the murder of Marlee’s grandma 40 years ago. The prime suspect? Marlee’s own grandfather. But it’s now a cold case, and her grandpa was never arrested for any crime. Marlee has spent the last few years trying to sway public opinion and convince the town that her caring grandpa is truly innocent. Just when she feels like she’s starting to make some progress, Devon comes rolling in. He’s the host of a crime TV show, and he’s intent on finding out who the real killer is behind this cold case.

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You Can’t Fight Chemistry

Marlee is determined to hate Devon with every fiber of her being. Here is this outsider, dredging up painful memories and accusing her grandfather of the most heinous of sins. But, she’s inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. I’ll admit, it did seem kind of strange how often these two would blatantly check each other out when having such intense arguments about her grandfather’s innocence. But on the other hand? Hell, we’re all human! Sometimes you can’t easily tell your body to simmer down!

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Who Do You Trust?

This novel was like a psychological puzzle of mayhem. Marlee is convinced of her grandfather’s innocence, but when Devon arrives he presents her with some other possible scenarios of what went down 40 years ago. Could it be possible her grandfather isn’t as harmless as he appears? Who should she trust? A good looking stranger, or her beloved relative who took her and her son in when nobody else would? Has she been blinded by family loyalty, or is Devon merely presenting her with false information that would make for a good TV episode? So…freaking…amazing! You’ll question everything and everyone!!

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Mr. Protector

And then there’s Devon, a TV personality who’s drive for success links back to his past, and the unsolved murder of his twin brother. He still hasn’t brought his brother’s killer to justice, so he strives to help other families find peace where his could not. Then he meets Marlee. He’s trying to find justice for her grandma, but his main suspect is also her own flesh and blood. He finds himself being drawn closer and closer to the enchanting Marlee, as well as her young son Max, who by the way is the most adorable freakin’ character everrrr. Anyway, Devon is drawn to them, but believes if he gets too close he’ll fail to keep them safe, since he failed to keep his brother safe as well. Such depth! Such inner struggle! Such awesomeness!!

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Getting Down and Dirty

Alright, let’s talk whoopie. Believe it or not, this was the one part of the novel which kind of…confused me. You see, Devon likes to walk on the wilder side. Apparently, Marlee was aware of some of his secret desires because of a magazine article published by his ex. Hey, as long as we’re dealing with consenting adults, I’ve got no problem.

My confusion however was two-fold. One: for pretty much the first half of the novel, Devon is extremely hesitant to start anything physical with Marlee, believing it could compromise his investigation. He’s constantly pushing her away, yet when they finally cave to their baser desires, it was like, well holy hello Mr. Dirty Talker!! You wanna put what where exactly?! I guess it was just a rather jarring switch to go from 0 to 120 mph in the span of a page.

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Then there’s Marlee’s reaction to it all, which was my second area of minor confusion. She craves more. She wants him to be even rougher, and delights when he tugs her hair, and even grasps her neck. Marlee claims it’s because in those moments she can live in oblivion and find peace from all the drama and craziness going on with her grandpa’s investigation. Ok, I kind of get it, but considering how much was actually going on in her life I probably would have settled for a bubble bath and a good back rub.

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*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Justice Served, book 1. What’s next?! Gimme, gimme!

Should you read it? I just loved this one, and had trouble putting it down! You can feel Marla’s inner dilemma at how she should view her grandpa. Loving caregiver, or sick killer? Then we have Devon, who feels like he has to protect everybody, and solve every case to make up for failing his brother. A thrilling read with some sexy times thrown in too.

Smut Level: The primary focus of the novel is on the cold case, so actual romps don’t come until after the halfway point, but there are quite a few smoldering looks beforehand. They both like it rough, yet nothing too outlandish. Most out there thing they do is anal, and there’s quite a bit of description involved.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Loose Id LLC.

A Deep Thing by A.K. Smith

This book is sort of like Indiana Jones meets Jason Bourne, meets…Jacques Cousteau?

What’s it About?

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What was her husband hiding in the jungles of Mexico? Rocked by her husband’s tragic death, Kendall Jackson strives to put her life back together. But Ryder, her nineteen-year-old stepson, is bitter and wants nothing to do with her. And she can’t keep the grief at bay. Sometimes, it’s so strong, she wonders if life is worth living.

A call from a cave diver in Mexico gives her hope of mending the relationship with her stepson. Before his death, her husband arranged a diving expedition as a birthday gift for his son. Kendall persuades Ryder to honor his father’s last wish.

From the campus of Western Maryland College to the woods of Camp David and the caves of the Yucatán, Kendall and Ryder take a journey to discover what her husband worked so hard to hide, and to protect his treasured secrets from falling into the wrong hands. The choices they make will decide their fate and the future of others. Will they risk everything for the truth?

First Impressions

This novel really focuses on exploring cenotes, which translates into “a deep thing”. Pretty appropriate title, all things considered! While most of the characters in this book look upon these deep pools of water as mysteriously beautiful holes of a multitude of gloriously blue colors, I like to think of them as endless dark depths which could contain any plethora of deadly sharp-toothed and fanged creatures who could kill you in one fell swoop.

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Who is to Blame?

To be fair, there is one person to blame for this fear of the dark blue cenotes, and that would be Jeremy Wade, host of River Monsters. One of his episodes from this last season featured treacherous cenote-dwelling octopuses who can pull unsuspecting swimmers into the endless cave systems deep below, ne’er to be seen or heard from again. Sorry to say, it freaked me out just a smidge. Every time our characters would willingly go diving I would just think to myself, “No good can come of this. Swim away!!”

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A Little Bit of Everything

A mix of adventure, government cover-ups, and moving on after the death of a loved one. A lot is going on in this novel, yet for the most part I felt like this book was sort of out of my wheelhouse, as there wasn’t a whole ton of romance involved. At the start of the novel, Kendall is still reeling from the death  of her husband, Tim, in a tragic cenote diving accident. See, nothing good comes from those places!

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As the novel progresses, we find out there was more to Tim’s death than we originally thought, and in more ways than one. Kendall proceeds to join her stepson on a diving expedition Tim planned before his untimely death. It’s when they return from this trip that a government conspiracy and historical/mystical legends come to the forefront.

Draw You In

I will say, I thought it took too long for the story to really get going. I understand that the goal was to make it appear as though Tim’s life was nothing like it seemed, but there was almost too much build-up and a lot of focus on the initial dive trip between Kendall and her stepson, Ryder. I would have liked more to happen earlier on to really draw you into the mystery. As it stands it almost felt like a cenote travel guide at the beginning.

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Once the intrigue did come into play, the story went in two different directions. One was with the government connection that I felt didn’t completely come full circle. Then there was the historical aspect tied into that story as well, but that didn’t come into play until the very last chapter of the book. Everything sort of builds to one huge twist that I thought seemed kind of rushed, and therefore almost out of place because there was so much focus on the government side of things beforehand.

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Stand-alone

Should you read it? Definitely an interesting twist at the end, but I think it almost took too long to come about. The entire novel sort of takes place in three major sections: the initial dive trip, the government hoopla, and the big twist. I wish things would have flowed a bit more smoothly between them all. The last part of the novel could have used more focus and attention in my opinion.

Smut Level: Kendall is experiencing a lot of difficulty after the death of her husband, so there’s not really any sex or smut. More focus is placed on the adventurous side of the plot.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 278 Pages.

 

Tall, Dark and Damaged by Sarah Andre

Gott im Himmel! I felt like this book was one continual rolling ball of anxiety. You never really got a chance to breathe until the last page. And even then you think back on everything that just happened, and you feel an overwhelming need for a glass of wine and a bubble bath.

What’s it About?

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His Life Changed in a Heartbeat
Disinherited as a teen, Devon Ashby returns home twelve years later as a ruthless CEO, brilliant at negotiating deals, but emotionally stunted. In an instant all he’s struggled to build implodes. Amid the turmoil of saving his company from a hostile takeover, his engagement to a business partner’s high-society daughter hits the rocks. Compounding his troubles, he encounters his high school sweetheart, whose heart he smashed. The vulnerability she awakens leaves him at greater risk than all the crises he faces.

Her Dream Job May Get Her Killed
While restoring art in a billionaire’s private gallery, Hannah Moore is unwittingly drawn into the dysfunctional family’s confidences. When she discovers the rich developer behind her and her sick aunt’s eviction is the family’s black-sheep son—the lover she’s never gotten over—her desire turns to fury. Always one to avoid conflict, Hannah must stand up to Devon and the growing menace of someone who thinks she knows too much.

A Decades-Old Secret Turns Deadly
When a family member is murdered, Devon and Hannah become ensnared in sibling greed, festering jealousy, and a tragic secret that’s divided the family. Amid their reigniting passion they race to expose the killer before they become the next victims in this cat-and-mouse game of survival.

First Impressions

In a word, this book was intense. There’s a ton of intrigue, from start to finish, and a whole hell of a lot happening in between. Devon is on the verge of losing his business to his father via hostile takeover, he’s about to get married, and he just ran into his high school sweetheart. Oh, and then there’s the matter of his mother’s apparent suicide years beforehand which he assumes was murder, not to mention a new murder which takes place on his family’s estate, and he just happens to be a suspect. And that’s just what’s going on with Devon! I haven’t even gotten around to all the drama that’s happening with Hannah!

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Squirming Ball of Nerves

Now, I know this is going to sound really really weird, but sometimes books like this almost make me too anxious and fidgety. Something about the fact that everything which could possibly go wrong does go wrong makes it seem like the entire world is crashing down on our characters. That being said, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a weirdo. Although this kind of plot turns me into a squirming ball of nerves, I realize that most normal people out there like when a book is jam packed full of this many twists and turns.

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It Comes Together Nicely!

Although the build-up pretty much had me rocking back and forth in the fetal position, the ending was fantasmically awesome! It really plays out like a movie, with every scene described in such vivid detail that you could really picture everything playing out with absolute clarity. Another unique feather of this ending is that although it ends happily, it in no way ends perfectly.

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Stuff goes down! Not every character meets a happy end, and not every plot twist is wrapped up in a nice, neat little bow. Normally, I’m not a huge fan when this happens, but in this case I think it actually worked! The aspects which aren’t resolved tie into the overall moral of the story of identifying what truly matters in life. If it’s not important, there’s no need to focus so much attention on resolving it now. Focus on what really counts instead.

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Dramatic stand-alone to bring to the beach.

Should you read it? This one will certainly keep you on your toes, and bouncing in your chair until the very end. Even I was surprised by how it ended! Usually I can guess our “who done it” pretty early on, but this one threw me for a loop. At times, I felt it was a tad too heavy on the business side of the plot dealing with stakeholders, shareholders, SEC stuff, trusts, and other jargon I’m not going to pretend to understand.

Smut Level: There is only one sex scene in this book, and you definitely have to wait around for it, but good God is it a good one! It’s got everything I love: a thunderstorm, a library, and some delightful dirty talk. Yummmmmy.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Beach Reads Publishing. 297 Pages.

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Fatal Affair by Marie Force

A murder mystery that’ll have you guessing until the very end, and suspecting almost every single character at one point to committing the grisly crime. Throw in a little sex up against a wall and you’ve got yourself a keeper.

What’s it About? 

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Washington, D.C., Metro Police Detective Sergeant Sam Holland needs a big win to salvage her career–and her confidence–after a disastrous investigation. The perfect opportunity arises when Senator John O’Connor is found brutally murdered in his bed, and Sam is assigned to the case. Matters get complicated when Sam has to team up with Nick Cappuano, O’Connor’s friend and chief of staff…and the man Sam had a memorable one-night stand with years earlier. Their sexual chemistry still sizzles, and Sam has to fight to stay focused on the case. Sleeping with a material witness is another mistake she can’t afford–especially when the bodies keep piling up.

First Impressions

This story grabs you right from the get-go with Nick’s discovery of a tragic murder. The detective assigned to the case is Sam Holland, who he had a one-night stand with about six years ago. The two have always wondered what might have been. The brilliance of this book is that it’s the perfect blend of mystery and romance. There’s also a decent amount of sexual tension involved between Nick and Sam. They try to control their urges, seeing as Nick is a material witness in this murder case, but neither wants to let this opportunity pass them by. So they don’t!

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The Murder 

The connection between Nick and the murder victim, John, really made this murder more personal. The two have been friends for years, and I think it’s this connection that is often missing in other mystery novels with a romantic aspect. Oftentimes the victim is a stranger, so the characters don’t really have an emotional link to the case. The fact that Nick and John were friends makes this murder mystery even more imperative to solve.

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At times I do think there may have been some liberties with the information that Sam disclosed to Nick about the case. I mean, she even brings him along to some interviews she has with potential suspects. Seems like something he should have stayed in the car for seeing as he knew the victim? Meh, what do I know about criminal proceedings?

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: The Fatal series, book 1. I’ll definitely be a reader of this series, especially seeing as it’s set where I live!

Should you read it? It’s a good mystery romance. I did guess the identity of our killer a little over halfway through, but it still manages to be surprising and keep your interest.

Smut Level: Throughout the book I kept hoping we would have had more insight into their one night stand years before. Well, ask and you shall receive! There’s a prequel novella at the end which discloses all the flirtatious details.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Carina Press. 416 Pages.

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A Legacy of Love and Murder by Brenda Whiteside

Our female lead, August, makes multiple references throughout this book that Tobias smells like cardamom, and I’m telling ya it’s like a moth to a flame. Unfortunately, my spice rack is lacking in this aphrodisiatic scent, so I have to ask, is it really all that intoxicating?

What’s it About? 

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In Austria to meet her great-grandfather and explore his castle estate filled with priceless art, August Myer arrives to find he’s died suspiciously. As one of the heirs, her life is in danger, turning this fairytale Alpine adventure into a nightmare of unexplained accidents, neo-Nazi threats, and murder.

Inspector Tobias Wolf splits his time between his profession and fighting the spread of neo-Nazism. But when the beautiful, intriguing American crosses his path during a murder investigation, ensuring her safety challenges his priorities…and his heart.

When August learns the handsome inspector’s involvement with a major female Nazi is more than he’s admitted, and the death of her great-grandfather is somehow connected, she takes the investigation into her own hands. The outcome could be the death of both of them.

First Impressions

Alright, so I’m not judging the book by its cover, believe me. I’m just making some observations. This novel revolves around an Austrian castle that’s at the center of a new Nazi uprising. In my small and uneducated opinion, if you’re going to put an Austrian castle on the cover, maybe use one that is situated in Austria? And maybe one that is a little less well-known than the infamous Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany? To be fair, I am slightly biased when it comes to this, having toured the castle myself, and being half German. Just a little observation, seeing as the cover is basically the most initial of first impressions we all have when picking up a book.

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Frankly, I was hoping for a tad more intrigue when it came to the murderous Nazi plot. Which sounds really weird in retrospect, but let me explain. SPOILER ALERT: Basically, August’s great-grandfather was killed because his young wife, Eike, wanted to use Castle Luschin as the headquarters for the new Nazi movement in Austria.

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Couldn’t Eike and her Nazi cohorts just like, pool their resources together and go buy a nice secluded villa somewhere in the Alps? I mean, they go to some extreme lengths and quite a few murder attempts, both successful and failed, for this pile of bricks. Although, these are Nazis we’re dealing with here, so I guess you can’t assume much reasoning would be involved when it comes to their line of thinking.

Backstory 

Eike’s mission to revive the Nazi cause in Austria, and Tobias’s attempts to thwart her made for some very interesting subject matter, especially if you’re a history buff like me. That being said, I would have liked some more backstory surrounding both characters in order to get a really well-rounded view of their motives. In regards to Eike, yes her family took ownership of the castle during WWII, but is that the only reason she’s going to such great lengths to get it back? Why was she the one chosen to lead this Nazi movement?

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Unnecessary Drama? 

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Now, I totally understand the need sometimes to have a sprig of tension pop up between our lovers to create suspense, but even I had to admit that it was a bit of a stretch in this novel. August comes across some old newspaper clippings online with photos of Tobias and Eike attending an event together. It’s all in German, which believe me is a hard ass language in and of itself, and all August can understand from the text are Tobias and Eike’s names.

She assumes through these photos that Tobias was lying all along about how well he knew Eike, that they had a long love affair which is why he isn’t arresting her, and August proceeds to cut off all communication from Tobias. She then goes off sleuthing at Castle Luschin all alone at night. Well…this can only end well! And all because she didn’t stop to get a German newspaper article translated, or ask Tobias about it directly! Hurensohn!

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: The Love and Murder series, book 3. Probably a good idea to at least read book 1 before this one.

Should you read it? Something I really enjoyed in this book was that we got to see the various points of view of the different characters, from August and Tobias, to the villainous Eike. This really helped to follow along with the plot and some of the reasoning behind Eike’s murderous actions, but I still think some more backstory as to why she was so desperate to get this castle back in the first place would have benefited the overall flow of the story.

Smut Level: August and Tobias do have chemistry, and manage to get it on a few times in between the multiple attempts on her life. Will their relationship last forever? I highly doubt it seeing as they barely know each other, but he’s basically an Austrian James Bond. Enjoy it while you can!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 251 Pages.

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