Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Book Review: Through the Fire by Katie Ruggle

Through the Fire by Katie Ruggle



Publisher & Release: Sourcebooks Casablanca, August 28, 2018

Time and setting:  Present Day, USA

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

Book Length:   416 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

He's tall.
He's dark.
He's brutally handsome...
And he may be her only hope.
Kit Jernigan despairs of ever fitting in with her new tight-knit K9 unit—they've been through too much to welcome a stranger. So when a killer strikes, it's a fight to convince her fellow officers to trust her long enough to catch the woman she knows is responsible.
She can't do it on her own. What she needs most is a partner: local fire spotter Wesley March.
Wes knows in his heart that Kit is right, and he's willing to leave his lonely tower to help her prove it. But the more time they spend together, the hotter the fire smolders...and the more danger they're in. A member of the K9 unit's inner circle is determined to have her revenge—no matter who gets burned in the process.
This time, it's personal.
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This is the first book I have read by Katie Ruggle, but it will not be the last. Thanks go to the publisher, via Net-Galley, for inviting me to read and review in advance of publication. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

Through the Fire is an exciting romantic suspense with plenty of nail-biting suspenseful scenes. The pacing is good, and the romance is fulfilling. Ms. Ruggle’s writing flows smoothly, giving the reader enough description to still use their own imagination.

Kit’s character resonated with me because I too have experienced not fitting in, so I really identified with her. Her determination to prove herself impressed me. Her tenderness with the children and her faithful bloodhound in this tale touched me.

Wes is the silent, brooding hero with lots of depth. His willingness to step out of his comfort zone stole my heart. He is reserved and shy and his social interactions are awkward except with Kit, making him a character that is easy to fall in love with.

Let’s talk about romance. This couple is perfect for each other and adds greatly to the story. While their chemistry doesn’t burn up the pages, their meeting of minds is very appealing. I was glad they found their happy ending.

The villain in this piece is truly terrifying because her devious mind lends itself to horrific acts. Ms. Ruggle certainly knows how to create highly suspenseful, and at times, graphic scenes, making this novel a thriller.

If you enjoy a book with plenty of action, an interesting array of characters that you’ll want to get to know better, then you will love Through the Fire. I can’t wait to read more by this talented author. Happy reading!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Book and Audio Review: Mr. Darcy's Mail-Order Bride by J. Dawn King

Mr. Darcy’s Mail-Order Bride by J. Dawn King



Publisher & Release: Quiet Mountain Press, November 24, 2016

Time and setting:  1869, Oregon

Genre: Historical Romance/Pioneer Western

Book Length:   354 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Sweetheart

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice meets the Wild, Wild West.

In 1869, females are in short supply in the west while a single man in want of a wife is rare in the east. When lonely Charles Bingley convinces his good friend, Will Darcy, to write a letter offering marriage to Miss Jane Bennet, she likewise convinces her sister, Elizabeth, to pen the reply. Elizabeth is struck by the beauty of the letter and responds by opening her heart to the Oregon wordsmith, who she believes to be Mr. Bingley. It’s love at first letter—for both the couples. Misunderstandings and bad impressions abound as the true identities of the authors are discovered.

In the days following the double wedding, Will and Elizabeth Darcy face challenge after challenge while Mr. and Mrs. Bingley appear to live in wedded bliss. Will Mr. and Mrs. Darcy find their own true love? In this sweet variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, we will see open disdain shift to a wary friendship and the wary friendship grow to the tenderest of emotions—or will we?

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This is the first book I’ve read/listened to by Ms. King, and I thoroughly enjoyed it from the first page to the last. I found this through the romance package on Audible and selected it because I love Wendy Rich Stetson’s narrations. 

Mr. Darcy’s Mail-Order Bride is a Pride and Prejudice variation, and I am normally less than thrilled with those, but Ms. King allowed me to visit the beloved characters from that classic in a completely different setting that works surprisingly well. She caught Lizzy’s optimistic personality and Mr. Darcy irascible one perfectly.

This emotionally-charged romance brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. The pacing is excellent, and the writing flows smoothly. Ms. King gives enough description without giving too much detail. 

Now, for the main reason, I am writing a full review. As I mentioned, I love Wendy Rich Stetson as a narrator. She is amazing. She truly brings all the characters to life, from Lizzy and Darcy to the children in this story, to Lydia and Mr. Wickham. I became totally enmeshed in this story through her astonishing abilities as a narrator. If you have never listened to her, then you are truly missing out!

If you enjoy seeing some of your most favorite characters brought to life in an entirely new setting, yet one where their personality traits are still true, then you will love this book. I highly recommend Mr. Darcy’s Mail-Order Bride by this very talented author. Happy reading/listening!




Monday, August 20, 2018

Book Review: Dagger's Edge by Lora Leigh

Dagger’s Edge by Lora Leigh



Publisher & Release: St. Martin’s Press, August 28, 2018

Time and setting:  Present Day, USA

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

Book Length:   Full Length

Heat Level: 2 Flame

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Ivan Resnova wants nothing more than to escape his hard, brutal past. Starting over is not so easy once you've been a powerful crime boss but now, instead of being punished for his alleged crimes, Ivan fears that the one woman he can't forget is in danger of paying the price.

Crimsyn "Syn" Delaney thought the danger she'd faced was over, and that she could resume her life. She never imagined it would return with a vengeance and throw her back into Ivan's world. But when an attempt is made on her life, she needs Ivan more than ever to keep her safe--even if she is in danger of falling deeply and dangerously in love. . . 

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This is the second book I have read by Lora Leigh, and I enjoyed it for the most part. Thanks go to the publisher, via Net-Galley, for the chance to read and review in advance of publication. Dagger’s Edge is an action-packed romantic suspense novel that walks the edge of erotica.

Ms. Leigh writes fantastic suspense scenes that had me nibbling on my nails, waiting to find out what would happen next. It quickly drew me in, and I had a hard time putting it down. This is a plot-driven story, and for anyone who loves hot, steamy, sexual scenes, there are plenty of those.

Regarding the characters, I never truly became vested in either of them. I would have liked more inner thoughts from both of them. The relationship was all about sex with very little emotional connection between the pair, so as a romance this book didn’t work for me. At times, the sexual scenes seemed out of place. I found myself flipping through them to get onto the action. I’m sure other readers may not agree because reading is very subjective.

What did work for me, is the high suspense and the startling surprise at the end when I found out who the villain was. I could feel the heroine’s pain at this realization. If I were to give two ratings for this book, I’d give 5 Gold Crowns for the suspense and 2 for the romance, hence my 3.5 rating.

If you love high suspense and lots of sexual scenes, then you will enjoy Dagger’s Edge. While the romance didn’t work for me, the suspenseful aspect of this novel kept me engaged and on the edge of my seat and made it a worth-while read. Happy reading!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Book Review: Brave New Earl by Jane Ashford

Brave New Earl by Jane Ashford



Publisher & Release: Sourcebooks Casablanca, July 31, 2018

Time and setting:  Regency, London

Genre: Historical Romance

Book Length:   352 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

An Earl mired in melancholy is no match for a determined woman...
Widower Benjamin Romilly, Earl of Furness, has given up hope of finding happiness. His wife died in childbirth five years ago, leaving him with a broken heart and a child who only reminds him of his loss.
Miss Jean Saunders is a cousin by marriage. She doted on Benjamin's late Countess, and can't bear it when she hears rumors that the Earl is too bereaved to care for his young son. She arrives on the scene to evaluate his fitness as a father, and if necessary, to take his son away. 
Jean's sudden eruption into the Earl's household simultaneously infuriates and invigorates him. She may be the only person who can breathe life into his neglected home—and his aching heart...
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This is another interesting novel by Jane Ashford. Since I had read other books by this author, when I received an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, I eagerly accepted. My opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

Brave New Earl has engaging characters, especially the young boy, Geoffrey. He grabbed my heart from his first scene and held it to the end. That little boy desperately needed a champion, and he got it in Jean Sanders. 

As with all Jane Ashford's books, the writing flows smoothly capturing me early on. As some reviewers have mentioned, there are inaccuracies, but after all, it is fiction so they did not take away from my overall enjoyment.

Jean’s character is a true nurturer, and her determination to help Geoffrey endeared her to me. Her backstory is heartbreaking, and it easily lends itself to her passion to ensure the earl’s son has the emotional care and love he needs.

Benjamin is definitely a tormented hero, but one who is so enmeshed in his grief, he has left the care of his son to others without any thought to the child. That is not a trait I find appealing, so it took me quite some time to warm to his character. In the end, Ms. Ashford did redeem him for the most part.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the aspect of the story that involves Geoffrey, I did not feel a strong chemistry between the hero and heroine, making it difficult to crave a happy ending for them. As another reviewer mentioned, their romance feels rushed at the end.

Nonetheless, I did enjoy this novel. While it isn’t her best work, it still was engaging and I’m glad I had the chance to read it. Happy reading!


Friday, August 10, 2018

Book Review: Heaven Shining Through by Joe Sccardi

Heaven Shining Through by Joe Siccardi


Publisher & Release: Xulon Press, March 27, 2018

Time and setting:  Present Day, USA

Genre: Contemporary Christian Fiction

Book Length:   74 Pages

Heat Level: 1 sweetheart

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Throughout her life, she had a rocky relationship with her mother – and now her mother is all she has left.


Through a nostalgic look back, Samantha recognizes the presence of God in an ordinary life. She learns more about herself as a wife and mother who has had her share of sorrow and blessings.


As her faith increases, she is able to see her mother through new eyes, leading to reconciliation …and is reminded of that every time she sees Heaven Shining Through. 


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Heaven Shining Through is a great premise with likable characters, and an interesting look at a woman’s troubled life, where she rises above her heartaches and relies on God to get her through. Thanks go to the author for sending me an e-copy of Heaven Shining Through to read and review. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

Heaven Shining Through has a great deal of potential, but it's underdeveloped. While I quickly became engrossed with the story, it was like reading on steroids. Everything just moved too quickly, and I didn't have a chance to savor and consider what was going on. It was all a series of flashbacks, and while highly intriguing, it needed more. 

If the book had taken up after those flashbacks with her having meaningful conversations with her mother concerning they're less than loving and caring relationship, that would have worked, I believe. Instead, their issues were brushed up in a pile, much as when one is cleaning house in a hurry for company and toss things into a closet to hide them away from the guests. 

Nonetheless, Heaven Shining Through did grab me; I just would have liked more showing and not as much telling. Happy reading!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Book Review: Deep Cover by Scarlett Cole

Deep Cover by Scarlett Cole


Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, July 31, 2018

Time and setting:  Present Day, USA

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

Book Length:   336 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Ex-Navy SEAL Cabe Moss always comes when called to duty—at all costs. Even though the death of his fiancĂ©e nearly destroyed him, Cabe won’t let his past interfere with any work that has to get done. When his latest task pushes him to team up with FBI operative Amy Murray, a fierce beauty with the undercover skills to match, Cabe must admit that, for the first time in years, he wants to do more than just complete their mission together.
Amy was born ready for this assignment, but working side-by-side with the strong, silent, and frustratingly professional Cabe seems to be the biggest challenge of all. But when the sparks begin to fly—and the stakes rise to dangerous heights—the only thing Amy is left worrying about is how she can resist him. Their lives may be in danger, but their hearts hold the biggest risk of all…

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This is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Cole, and I enjoyed it a great deal. My thanks goes to the publisher, via Net-Galley, for the chance to read and review this book. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

Deep Cover is an exciting romantic suspense with excellent characters and an intriguing plot that kept me engaged throughout the book. The writing flows nicely and the pacing is steady. There is a good bit of suspense as well.

Cabe and Amy are perfect for each other, and I truly wanted them to find their happy ending. The chemistry is strong between the couple and intermingles with the suspense without interfering or slowing down the pacing.

If you are looking for a good romantic suspense with plenty of action and an intriguing plot, then you will enjoy Deep Cover. I hope to go back and read the other books in this series in the near future. Happy reading!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Book Review: The Vixen by Christi Caldwell

The Vixen by Christi Caldwell



Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, August 7, 2018

Time and setting:  Regency, London

Genre: Historical Romance

Book Length:   366 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Set apart by her ethereal beauty and fearless demeanor, Ophelia Killoran has always been a mystery to those around her—and a woman they underestimated. No one would guess that she spends her nights protecting the street urchins of St. Giles. Ophelia knows what horrors these children face. As a young girl, she faced those horrors herself, and she would have died…if not for the orphan boy who saved her life.
A notorious investigator, Connor Steele never expected to encounter Ophelia Killoran on his latest case. It has been years since he sacrificed himself for her. Now, she hires orphans from the street to work in her brother’s gaming hell. But where does she find the children…and what are her intentions?
Ophelia and Connor are at odds. After all, Connor now serves the nobility, and that is a class of people Ophelia knows firsthand not to trust. But if they can set aside their misgivings and work together, they may discover that their purposes—and their hearts—are perfectly aligned.

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I have become a great fan of Christi Caldwell’s delight Regency romances. When I received an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, to read and review The Vixen, I eagerly accepted. My opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

The Vixen is another wonderful Regency with just the right amount of detail, giving me the ability to use my imagination. The pacing is great, moving the story along at the perfect pace. The characters are engaging, and the plot riveting. I thoroughly enjoy suspense and this one has it in abundance.

Ophelia’s character pulled me into the story right away. She has every reason to be filled with negativity, but she isn’t. She is very loyal to her family and is torn between what the feels obligated to do and what her heart tells her. 

Connor makes an interesting character. While he was pulled out of the dismal life of one of Diggory’s gang, he feels great guilt that he left the other children behind, especially Ophelia, and was given a good life as the adopted son of the Earl of Mar. I loved his determination to gain Ophelia’s heart.

I truly enjoyed the romance between Ophelia and Connor. It grows gently into an incredible love story. I always enjoy reunion stories, and this is an amazing one. The couple already had an established relationship, making it easy to believe the love that grows between the pair.

If you enjoy a romance with great characters, an interesting plot with a good bit of suspense and great emotionally-charged writing, then you will love The Vixen. This may very well be the best book she has written thus far. I can’t wait for the next book in this fantastic series. Happy reading!