Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Book Review: A Merciful Silence by Kendra Elliott

A Merciful Silence by Kendra Elliott




Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, June 19, 2018

Time and setting:  Present Day, Oregon

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Thriller

Book Length:  344 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 
In the fourth book of the Wall Street Journal bestselling series, FBI agent Mercy Kilpatrick must unlock the mystery of a mass murder, and the secrets of its silent witness…
For Mercy Kilpatrick, returning to rural Oregon has meant coming to terms with her roots. Raised as a prepper, Mercy is now relying on her survivalist instincts to defend her town from the people the law can’t reach. But this time, an investigation calling up a dark past for her and police chief Truman Daly may be hitting too close to home.
A rainstorm has uncovered the remains of five people—a reprise of the distinctive slaughter of two families twenty years ago. Except the convicted killer is in prison. Is this the case of a sick copycat, or is the wrong man behind bars? One person might have the answer. The lone survivor of the decades-old crimes has returned to town still claiming that she can’t remember a thing about the night she was left for dead. As the search for the truth becomes more dangerous, Mercy fears that the traumatized woman may not have buried her memories at all. She might be keeping them a secret. And there’s a price to be paid for revealing them.

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Vikki’s Musings

I always know I’m in for a treat with a new release from Kendra Elliott. When I received an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, I eagerly agreed to read and review the fourth book in her Mercy Kilpatrick series. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

As with all of Ms. Elliot’s books, the characters are real and flawed, the plot is intriguing and there’s plenty of emotions running high. One of the things I enjoy most about her books is the suspenseful scenes. She has a way of keeping me on the edge of my seat from the first page until the last.

I love Mercy’s character and in each of these books, it only grows stronger. While she’s complicated and has a lot of pent-up issues, she never lets them hold her back. She’s fierce in her determination to be the best FBI agent possible and protects her niece like a mama bear.

Truman is a drool-worthy hero any woman will love, and I’m one of them. He’s an honorable, caring man, and he’s so patient with Mercy’s trust issues. He never lets anything rattle him, whether it’s a case or Mercy. In this book, Truman’s life is threatened drastically, and his experience is beyond what most men could endure. 

While the romance is secondary in A Merciful Silence, it’s still strong and adds a lot to the story. In A Merciful Silence, Mercy and Truman’s relationship has progressed quite a lot, which pleased me immensely. 

The suspense in this book builds as the tale of mystery and intrigue unfolds. The plot is heartbreaking, so many families killed. Ms. Elliott does a fantastic job of keeping the true villain under the radar until the climax. I never suspected anything and was totally surprised. Clearly, the villain is mentally deranged. While his actions are gruesome, what he witnessed as a child greatly affected his abilities to make sane decisions.

If you enjoy a novel with plenty of high suspense with a great “who-done-it plot,” then you will absolutely love A Merciful Silence. I do recommend reading the other three books in this series before reading this book, so you’ll fully appreciate Mercy and Truman. Happy reading!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Contest Blitz: Reclaimed by Marcella Swann


Contemporary Romance
Date Published: May 30, 2018

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Beyond all else, Samira Foster wanted one thing: Elliot Dowling. He was her passion, her need. They were just kids but she knew it was real. The way he kissed her; the way he held her. Yet he’s the one thing that was denied her. The scion of a powerful and wealthy family, she’s now the head of Foster Acquisitions. But she doesn’t have it all. The pressure, the demands, the wolves. And she’s all alone. She needs someone. She needs him. And she’ll have him … even if it destroys her.



 Excerpt


Elliot slowly began to realize that, despite the adrenaline flooding his system, nothing had truly changed since he had walked away years ago. He had to fight not to reminisce of the days they spent together, whether it was at the park, the lake or hiking the trails while the world waited back in the city. She was still the perfect girl, and now woman, that every man dreamed of, and he knew that she had no business slumming it with the likes of him. Samira’s eyes started to glow in the same way they used to when she looked at him. She could see deep into his soul, all of his feelings, and right now he wondered if she knew the truth.

“I almost gave up hope trying to find you,” she said. “It’s been years since you disappeared. I was beginning to think I would never see you again. Then the name Dowling Holdings came across my desk and I heard you’d returned. Why didn’t you reach out to me?”

“I thought about it, but there’s things…”

“I know.” Samira nodded. Her smile faded slightly, but she suppressed the frustration that Elliot knew she must’ve been feeling. “I had my investigators do a complete work up on Dowling Holdings. The only thing they can’t tell me is why you left. Was it because of what your father did?”

Elliot shook his head, he was certain there were things no one could know, and truthfully said, “My father’s actions might have held something over me at one point, but that doesn’t shadow my decisions anymore.”

Samira looked confused, then sad for a split second. “Was it me? Did you not reach out because of something that I did?”

Elliot once again shook his head. “God no, Sam, you’re amazing!”

He watched something click in her head, and even though he had never told her what happened that night, she figured it out.

“It was my dad then,” she said. “He never approved of us; even if he never told me, I knew that he hated the thought of us together. Did he threaten you? Forbid you from seeing me?”

Elliot could not look at her. Samira’s face flushed with anger as she continued, “Two and a half billion dollars in profit last year from a holding company that you built yourself. If you can’t see how impressive that is, I would be shocked! That was your hard work and determination! If my dad was even alive, he would not have a leg to stand on to keep us apart.”

“Sam, I wanted everything to be just right, or at least, cleaned up…”

Samira stood up. “No, Elliot. I don’t believe you. Everything you’ve gone through, everything you’ve built, doesn’t matter. You’ve let him stand between us for all these years. He was my father, and no matter what he said, I was never afraid of him or let him run my life. You could have everything you want now, but instead you just keep trying to prove yourself to a dead man.”

Samira got up, clearly upset, and headed for the door.

Every part of him wanted to run after her, and take her into his arms again, but where would they go from here? He saw now how crazy it was to bring her back into his dark world again.




About the Author

Marcella Swann has been putting words on paper for as long as she can remember. After working for years in the hard-edged world of journalism, she now devotes her time to writing contemporary romance stories of strong-willed women who win the men of their desires.

As passionate about love as the beauty of a story well told, Marcella is a complete romantic and believes everyone desires their happily ever after.

A small-town girl from Louisiana, Marcella now lives in New York City and starts each day walking her Yorkie in the park. She also swings a mean kettle bell at the gym and loves Karaoke nights with her friends.


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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Promo Blitz: Jane's Baby by Chris Bauer


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Thriller
Date Published: June 1, 2018
Publisher: Intrigue Publishing

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Whatever happened to Jane Roe's baby? Norma McCorvey, of Caddo-Comanche heritage, did not terminate the pregnancy that led her to become the anonymous plaintiff of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court women's rights case Roe v Wade because in 1971, when the motion was first argued, abortion in the U.S. was illegal. The Jane Roe real-life child would now be a woman in her late forties, the potential of her polarizing celebrity unknown to her. A religious rights splinter group has blackmailed its way into learning the identity of the Roe baby, the product of a closed adoption. To what end, only a new Supreme Court case will reveal. Tourette's-afflicted K9 bounty hunter Judge Drury, a Marine, stands in the way of the splinter group's attempt at stacking the Supreme Court via blackmail, murder, arson, sleight of hand, and secret identities.



About the Author

“The thing I write will be the thing I write.” Chris wouldn’t trade his northeast Philadelphia upbringing of street sports played on blacktop and concrete, fistfights, brick and stone row houses, and twelve years of well-intentioned Catholic school discipline for a Philadelphia minute (think New York minute but more fickle and less forgiving). He’s had lengthy stops as an adult in Michigan and Connecticut, thinks Pittsburgh is a great city even though some of his fictional characters don’t, and now lives in Doylestown, PA. He’s married, the father of two, is a grandfather, still does all his own stunts, and he once passed for Chip Douglas of My Three Sons TV fame on a Wildwood, NJ boardwalk. As C.G. Bauer he’s also the author of SCARS ON THE FACE OF GOD, an EPIC Awards runner-up for best in 2010 eBook horror, and the editor of the CRAPPY SHORTS short story collections.



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Book Review: The Girl in the Moss by Loretta Anne White

The Girl in the Moss by Loreth Anne White



Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, June 12, 2018

Time and setting:  Present Day, Washington

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Thriller

Book Length:  398 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

A shallow grave exposes deadly secrets as bestselling author Loreth Anne White brings her thrilling series of romantic suspense to its shocking conclusion…
Disgraced ex-cop Angie Pallorino is determined to make a new start for herself as a private investigator. But first, she and her lover, newly promoted homicide detective James Maddocks, attempt a quiet getaway to rekindle a romance struggling in the shadows of their careers. The peace doesn’t last long when human skeletal remains are found in a nearby mossy grove.
This decades-old mystery is just what Angie needs to establish her new career—even as it thrusts her and Maddocks back into the media spotlight, once again endangering their tenuous relationship.
Then, when Angie’s inquiry into the old crime intersects with a cold case from her own policing past—one that a detective on Maddocks’s new team is working—the investigation takes a startling twist. It puts more than Angie’s last shot at redemption and a future with Maddocks at risk. The mystery of the girl in the moss could kill her.

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Vikki’s Musings

This is Book 3 in the Angie Pollorino series. I have read the other two and found them enthralling. When I received an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, to read and review this latest novel, I eagerly accepted with great anticipation. I was not disappointed. My opinions are my own and are not influenced by anyone.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Girl in the Moss from start to finish. As expected, Ms. White has written another suspense-filled novel with amazing characters and an intriguing plot. The pacing is fast and the writing flows smoothly.

Angie Pollorino’s character has developed over the last three books, growing stronger with each one. Her backstory is expertly interwoven throughout, nudging my memory without rehashing her past. That takes real talent. In this episode, she is licking her wounds from her impetuous actions at the end of the second book. No longer a cop, she is determined to make it as a private investigator with her own agency. When she and Maddocks stumble upon a body, it creates havoc in their relationship and her career goals.

Maddock is a gritty hero who loves his daughter and wants to have Angie completely commit. He put this squarely on her shoulders, leaving it to her to decide if they will move forward. His part in this novel is less than in the other two books, and that was necessary since Angie must at last face all her demons.  

Since the romance has already been established in the previous books, that takes second place in this book, but in no way takes away from the emotions and feelings of either of them. This book delves heavily into Angie’s fears of abandonment. Maddocks clearly communicates his wants and desires to marry her, although he steps back to give her the time she needs. Fortunately, Angie faces her fears and the couple has a very satisfying happy ending.

If you enjoy a novel with plenty of suspense and mystery with an emotionally-charged love story intertwined, then you will love The Girl in the Moss as such as I. Although their love story is complete, I hope Ms. White will do a spin-off series. I would love to see Holgerson’s story. Happy reading!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Book Review: Relentless by Elizabeth Dyer

Relentless by Elizabeth Dyer




Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, June 12, 2018

Time and setting:  Present Day, D.C.

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Thriller

Book Length:  300 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Ethan Somerton doesn’t do safe or easy. He’s all about the challenge. The risk. In order to rescue one of his agents, Ethan must infiltrate the ruthless Vega cartel. One tiny error—just one—and he’s dead. Which means he needs Natalia Vega. Bright, beautiful, and cut sharper than the most lethal blade, she’s finally reached her breaking point. Now Ethan must find a way to make her surrender.
Caught between desperate choices and no-win situations, Natalia has survived the unthinkable by becoming dangerous, relentless, and feared. When it comes to protecting her sister, there’s no line Natalia won’t cross. But when Ethan storms into her life with his cocksure arrogance, stone-cold competence, and seductive promises, Natalia wonders if she’s finally found a way out. But discovering whether Ethan is salvation or destruction is going to require the one thing Natalia doesn’t have—trust.
As the cartel implodes and loved ones are threatened, Ethan and Natalia are going to have to choose between love, loyalty, and the lies they cling to. They could run, knowing they’ll never be safe. They could fight, knowing they’ll probably die. Or they can trust in each other…and do something far more dangerous.

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Relentless is another exciting thriller by Elizabeth Dyer and the second book in her Somerton Security series. When I received an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, I immediately accepted the opportunity to read and review since I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series. My opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

Relentless and a fast-paced romantic thriller and plenty of action scenes that had my heart racing on more than one occasion. The plot is enthralling, pulling me into the story from the first page and kept me engaged to the last.

Natalia Vega’s character is hardened by the actions she’d had to take to protect her younger sister. In the beginning, she doesn’t know how to deal with her unexpected feelings for Ethan, and she fights her emotions with everything in her. Ethan still manages to win her heart.

Ethan Somerton is a great hero. He’s loyal, brave, determined and will do what it takes to win Natalia and save his friend who is being held by the ruthless Vega cartel. When he realizes she is a trained killer, he has to decide whether he can live with that or let her go. Fortunately, he can’t forget her and fights to not only save her but her sister as well.

The romance between Natalia and Ethan is sizzling from start to end. Although there are a great many obstacles in the way, they manage to overcome them and find their happy ending. There is plenty of deep emotional writing that had me rooting for Ethan.

While I was a little disappointed with how the plot played out, that’s because I’m a softie and always want everything to end with a happy conclusion, not just the romance which does end very happy. I look forward to reading future novels by Ms. Dyer. Happy reading!

Promo Blitz: Celebrity Status by Angela Scavone


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Contemporary Romance
Date Published: May 9 2018

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Famous Hollywood actress, Elizabeth Stanfield, has a glamorous lifestyle with a lavish house, glittery parties, a people magazine's fifty most beautiful people fiancé and best friend Billy Stone - Famous actor, producer and secret organized crime enforcer.

Everything is not as it seems...Elizabeth's fiancé cheats on her, a studio head and director are hell bent on making her life miserable and it gets harder to keep her secrets protected.

The only good thing in her life is Billy, their budding romance, and connections that give them freedom to do whatever they want in Hollywood.

Will their connections be enough to keep their secrets hidden and Celebrity Status safe or are they doomed to be torn down?



Excerpt


I had my driver take me back to the hotel. I went straight to the restaurant inside the lobby and ordered spaghetti with meatballs.

“Where’s your boyfriend?” Sonny asked as he sat down next to me.

“Miami.”

“Not that boyfriend,” Benny Micheletti said as he sat on the other side of me.

“Billy is at a meeting, what do you two want?” I asked, in a snarky tone. I was exhausted from the tension on the set and all I wanted to do was wait for my meal in silence.

“We need to speak to Billy and thought you would know where he is,” Sonny said.

“Like you talked to him the night before the hit on Trassari?”

Both men stared at me without saying a word.

“Leave him out of shit like that,” I demanded.

“Mind your own business,” Sonny threatened.

The waitress came over with my meal. I ignored Sonny’s threat and dove into my meal.

“Is there anything else I can help you guys with?” I asked. “If not, I’d like to eat in peace.”

“Hard day on set?” Benny asked as he went to take a meatball off my plate of spaghetti.

I smacked him hard on the hand with my fork.

“Ow,” he yelled.

“All those meatballs are spoken for, get your own, and yes every day is a hard day on set with Antonio Suarez.”

“Need us to take care of anything?” Sonny asked, becoming serious.

“No, but thank you for the offer.” I sarcastically answered.

“Well isn’t this rich.” Elena materialized at the table. “I came to drag you back to the set and here you are with your friends.” She practically spit out the word friends.

“Who is this stunning vision of beauty?” Sonny stood up from the table, taking Elena’s hand in his and kissing it.

I gagged on a mouthful of food.

“I’m the studio head in charge of the film Elizabeth is supposed to be working on right now.” She blushed as he kissed her hand again.

“Well, Bella, you are quite the sight,” Sonny continued to fawn. “But I’ve never heard of a studio head on set.”

“Unfortunately, the director is having a hell of a time with his lead actress.” She glared at me. “So, I have to stick around and babysit.”

“Do you mean Elizabeth?” Sonny asked, as if he was truly concerned.

“Yes, Elizabeth and the director, Antonio, don’t get along.” Elena answered, in a softer tone, no doubt falling for Sonny’s charm.

“Perhaps, Bella, then you need a new director because Elizabeth here is the best in the business.”

Elena ripped her hand out of his grip as I gave her a smug smile with a mouthful of food.

“Yeah, Elena, why don’t we get a new director?” I asked sarcastically.

“My brother Benny and I could help with that if you want?” Sonny propositioned Elena.

She blanched at his words.

“Sonny,” I blurted out. “Seriously?” I couldn’t believe he had offered his services.

“The offer is on the table. Let’s go, Benny.”

“Sorry about that, they’re idiots,” I apologized to Elena after the two men had left.

“Yet you were having lunch with that sort of people. I should’ve known.”

I glared at her in response.

“I expect you back on the set in thirty minutes,” she demanded as she haughtily turned and walked out of the restaurant.



About the Author

Angela Scavone is the author of two Soulmate novels, Love by the book and A Journey Home. As well as,  a contributing author to the Christmas anthology, ‘A Soulmate for Christmas’. Her latest novel Celebrity Status is now available from Pearman Literary Publishers on Amazon. She lives in Ontario, Canada sharing her home with her father and much-loved trio of pups. Apart from her avid love of story telling, she likes to read, spend time with family and friends and concoct dairy free recipes from scratch. Sometimes she wins and sometimes she loses – tofu, banana and peanut butter pudding we are looking at you



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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Book Review: Breathless by Celeste Bradley & Susan Donovan

Breathless by Celeste Bradley & 
Susan Donovan



Publisher & Release: St. Martin’s Press, June 12, 2018

Time and setting:  Present Day & Regency, Spain, England

Genre: Time Travel Romance

Book Length:  384 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

In Breathless, bestselling authors Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan will sweep you away—across continents and centuries, combining the best of all worlds in one unforgettable romantic saga.
She was “the Swan.” London’s premiere courtesan. Men want to be with her. Women loathe her success and yet admire her beauty, her riches, her independence. But when the jealous wife of her lover moves to have the Swan banished from her home on the high seas, she winds up crashed against Spain’s rocky coast with no shoes, no clothes—and no name. Taken in by a tortured, sensuous man known as The Artist, the Swan comes to know the woman she wants to be—her artist’s siren. 
When Art Professor Brenna Anderson is in danger of losing her post at Harvard, the rule-following, prim professor is at a loss of how to salvage the shreds of her life. But when a new painting in the mysterious Siren collection is discovered in a dusty old house in France, Brenna does the unthinkable—hops on a plane to uncover the identity of the beautiful, enigmatic woman who is the subject of the paintings. 
There’s just one hitch—the frustrating, irritating, bold and beautiful art hunter Fitch Wilder is also looking for the Siren. He’s been a thorn in Brenna’s professional side for years, but when their individual quests lead them to team up despite being enemies, a whole new sumptuous world of art and culture opens up for the two of them. And with it, they enter a realm of passion and love…

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Vikki’s Musings

I’ve been a fan of Celeste Bradley’s for many years, so when I received an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, to read and review, I eagerly accepted. The opinions expressed in my review are my own and unbiased in any way.

Breathless is an intriguing story with compelling characters. The pacing is steady and kept my interest from the beginning to the end. As I expected, the authors weave a tale full of mystery and intrigue with a dash of suspense.

The “Swan” is where the mystery lies. She is very intriguing, and her backstory pulled at my heartstrings. I’m glad she found true love; she deserved it! Brenna Anderson’s character was a bit of a challenge for me, but overall, I did like her, and I’m glad she found her happy ending as well.

While I never had a chance to really get into the “Artist’s” head, what I learned of him told me he was a true hero and a romantic. Fitch Wilder’s character came across as a bit shady in the beginning, but he grew on me as the story progressed.

The romance between the “Swan and the “Artist” is poignant and has real depth. I must admit, I teared up several times. Brenna and Fitch definitely have chemistry and raw passion, but their love came across as a bit shaky to me, more a happy for now then everlasting.

While I could not give Breathless 5 Gold Crowns, it is a very strong 4 and is a delight to read. I’m glad I had a chance to read it and highly recommend it to readers who love a good mystery with plenty of intrigue. Happy reading!