The Therapist by B.A. Paris

Book Cover

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of Publication: July 13th, 2021

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Recieved From: Publisher


Goodreads Synopsis:

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…

As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before.

Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbors are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem…


First Line:

My office is small, perfect and minimalist.

The Therapist by B.A. Paris

B.A. Paris is one of my favorite suspense/psychological thriller writers to read. So, when I got the invite to read/review The Therapist, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I am glad I did because The Therapist was a fantastic book!!

The plotline for The Therapist is simple. Alice and Leo move into a gated community. Alice soon finds out that the previous owner, Nina, was murdered by her husband there a little over a year before. Alice finds herself drawn to Nina’s case and starts investigating it. She discovers that Nina’s murder might not have been so cut and dry. Alice also realizes that there are secrets in this community. What had Alice stumbled upon, and can she prove that Nina’s husband wasn’t the killer?

The Therapist starts slowly. The first few chapters build up Alice’s backstory and the relationships with her neighbors/Leo/other friends. The author also chose to introduce The Therapist right from the beginning, which caught my interest. Once those introductory chapters were over, then the book picked up speed. There was some lag right around when Alice was trying to decide if she would leave or not, but it wasn’t enough to slow the book down. It was more of a speed bump if that makes sense.

I was not too fond of Alice during the first half of the book. While I agreed with her reaction to finding out about Nina’s murder (which was in her house), I didn’t agree with how she dealt with it. She also came across as stalkerish during certain parts of the book (going in Tamzin’s house and eavesdropping was a huge one for me). But, my opinion of her changed after some critical events in the book. I felt terrible for her (considering everything she went and was going through). I also came to like her, which surprised me.

The Therapist was an interesting person. At first, I did think it was Nina meeting with people in her house. But when the locations started changing, I changed my mind on that. I will say that I was surprised at who The Therapist ended up being.

The mystery angle of the book was perfectly written. I couldn’t figure out who The Therapist was and how this person was connected to Alice. The author kept throwing out red herrings, which in turn kept me guessing. I didn’t figure out who this person was and was completely surprised when it was revealed at the end of the book. That was a huge plot twist in itself!!

The end of The Therapist was action-packed and filled with surprises. Not because of who killed Nina and why but because of a huge plot twist involving Alice. Again, I was taken by surprise. I was also a little irritated by it. She kept railing about Leo, but she wasn’t perfect…not by a long shot.


I enjoyed reading The Therapist. I would reread it!! It was a fantastic thriller/mystery that kept me guessing throughout the entire book.

I would recommend The Therapist for anyone over the age of 21. There is violence. There is language.

A Duke in Time (The Widow Rules: Book 1) by Janna MacGregor

Book Cover

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Date of publication: June 29th, 2021

Genre: Romance, Historical Romance

Series: The Widow Rules

Where There’s a Will—Book 0.5

A Duke in Time—Book 1

Rules of Engagement—Book 2 (publication date TBA)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher


Goodreads Synopsis:

Get ready for lost wills, broody dukes, and scorching hot kissing all over London in A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor.

Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri’s accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she’s been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.

Meri’s far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she’s Meri’s widow. Or can he?

With a textile business to run and a strong friendship forming with Meri’s two other wives, Katherine doesn’t have time for much else. But there’s something about the warm, but compellingly taciturn Christian that draws her to him. When an opportunity to partner in a business venture brings them even closer, they’ll have to face their pasts if they want to share each other’s hearts and futures.


First Line:

“He was a good man.” Katherine patted the family solicitor’s arm while the poor man hung his head in grief.

A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor

When I saw that Janna MacGregor had a new series out, I was pretty pumped about it. I had read (and loved) The Cavensham Heiress series. My expectations were set high for this book because of that. I am happy to say that A Duke in Time did not disappoint me at all.

A Duke in Time takes place in 1815 London, England. Katherine’s husband, Meri, has passed away, and she is attending the reading of the will. To her surprise, two other women, both claiming to be Meri’s wife, also show up. Katherine, being a much better person, allows both women to move into their house while deciding who the legal wife is. Aiding her in this is her husband’s half-brother, The Duke of Randford. Unfortunately, Katherine is also hiding secrets. These secrets could destroy everything that she has come to hold dear, including her growing love for Christian.

I liked Katherine. She dealt with everything that life threw at her with grace. I mean, if I found out my husband married two other ladies, I would have flipped my lid. But, instead, she took them (and their companions) into her house and made them family. But she was also tough. She forced Christian to help her with untangled the mess that Meri left. She also dealt with business rivals with that same toughness.

Christian, I was a little more on the fence about. At the beginning of the book, he came across as kind of a jerk. He wanted nothing to do with Katherine (or Meri’s other wives). But, as the book went on, my initial first impression of him changed. He was a war hero and was dedicated to helping the soldiers that served under him. But, he also became dedicated to helping Meri’s wives, seeing who was the legal 1st wife, and keeping the other two from becoming “ruined.”

The main storyline was well written, and it kept my attention. I got involved in the plotline and couldn’t wait to see how everything turned out. There were a few twists and turns in the plotline, but I was delighted with how it turned out.

The romance angle of the book was terrific. Instead of having Katherine and Christian fall immediately in love, the author chose to have their love grow over time. It made me feel that their romance was true.

There is sex in A Duke in Time. For a Regency novel, the sex is explicit. There is a very hot mutual masturbation scene that made me fan myself. The author kept up that sexual tension until Katherine and Christian had sex.

The storyline with the secrets (both Christian and Katherine) was hard to read. Christian was just sad, and I couldn’t wrap my head around what his father asked him to do. Katherine’s was heartbreaking, and I couldn’t believe that it was used against her. But, how her’s was resolved left me shaking my head in disbelief.

The end of the book was terrific. The connection that Christian and Katherine have came across the pages. I had tears in my eyes. But the epilogue made the book!!


A Duke in Time was a great romance to read. I connected with both main characters, as well as the secondary characters.

I would recommend A Duke in Time to anyone over the age of 21. There is explicit sex and mild violence.

Legacy by Nora Roberts

Book Cover
Legacy by Nora Roberts

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: May 25th, 2021

Genre: Romance, Suspense, Contemporary, Mystery, Women’s Fiction, Thriller

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | Barnes and Noble | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher

Trigger Warnings: Violence


Goodreads Synopsis:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author presents a new novel of a mother and a daughter, of ambition and romance, and of a traumatic past reawakened by a terrifying threat…

Adrian Rizzo was seven when she met her father for the first time. That was the day he nearly killed her—before her mother, Lina, stepped in.

Soon after, Adrian was dropped off at her grandparents’ house in Maryland, where she spent a long summer drinking lemonade, playing with dogs, making a new best friend—and developing the stirrings of a crush on her friend’s ten-year-old brother. Lina, meanwhile, traveled the country promoting her fitness brand and turning it into a billion-dollar business. There was no point in dwelling on the past.

A decade later, Adrian has created her own line of yoga and workout videos, following in Lina’s footsteps but intent on maintaining creative control. And she’s just as cool-headed and ambitious as her mother. They aren’t close, but they’re cordial—as long as neither crosses the other.

But while Lina dismisses the death threats that Adrian starts getting as a routine part of her daughter’s growing celebrity, Adrian can’t help but find the vicious rhymes unsettling. Year after year, they keep arriving—the postmarks changing, but the menacing tone the same. They continue after she returns to Maryland and becomes reacquainted with Raylan, her childhood crush, all grown up and as gorgeously green-eyed as ever. Sometimes it even seems like the terrifying messages are indeed routine, like nothing will come of them. Until the murders start, and the escalation begins…


First Line:

The first time Adrian Rizzo met her father, he tried to kill her.

legacy by nora roberts

Review:

Nora Roberts is one of my favorite romance authors to read. I was first introduced to her work when I was in middle school, and the library had one of her books in stock (I don’t remember which one, that was thirty years ago). When my oldest daughter was born fifteen years ago, I stopped reading and didn’t pick up a book until she was four and my son was two. But, it took me until mid-March to pick up a Nora Roberts book. I am glad I did. I enjoyed reading Legacy!!

Legacy is a medium-paced book. The book’s pacing was medium-paced, but it ramped up quickly during the last few chapters of the book. There was some lag in the book’s middle (when Adrian and Raylan’s storyline came together), but it didn’t last for long.

There were two main points of view, with a third point of view added later in the book. I am not a big fan when an unexpected POV is added late in the book. But, in this case, considering who the POV belonged to, it made perfect sense.

I adored Adrian in Legacy. She was one of the more grounded characters that I have read in awhile. But, I did find it hard to connect to her during certain scenes. But overall, I read her scenes with a smile.

I liked and sympathized with Raylan’s character. His loss was one of the saddest that I have read. I liked that the author showed a realistic view of someone’s grieving process. I thought that he was a great father also. Plus, I like his dog…lol.

Speaking of the dogs in Legacy, they were fantastic. Sadie and Jasper made the book whenever they appeared. Sadie proved herself to be the true MVP at the end of the book (Jasper too).

I loved Raylan’s children, but I did think that they talked a little too grownup for a six and eight-year-old. I have a seven-year-old, and she doesn’t have the vocabulary that Mo did. But, that aside, they were adorable.

I was surprised at who The Poet was. For some reason, I thought it was going to someone else (the PI had mentioned another person).

The author built up the romance angle of the book slowly. Of course, I knew that Raylan and Adrian were going to get together. It was just a matter of when/where. When they did end up getting together, there was a feeling of “Finally.” I liked that the author had them dating before the events that led up to the end of the book. It made the ending so much better!!

The thriller/suspense angle of the book kept me on edge. I liked the mini-chapters where The Poet was featured. I got a better understanding of how this person was spiraling. When that person started escalating, I couldn’t read the book fast enough. I needed to see how this book played out with Adrian. And once the author revealed the connection to her, I was even more eager. Of course, there was poetic justice with how those scenes played out too!!

The end of Legacy was good. The author was able to wrap up the storylines in a way that satisfied me as a reader. There were no storylines left open/hanging. There were no questions about specific events that happened in the book.


Legacy was a great romantic suspense novel. The plotline was great and the characters made the book. Plus, I didn’t figure out who The Poet was until the reveal which surprised me.

I would recommend Legacy to everyone over the age of 21. There is sex, but it is not graphic. There is somewhat graphic violence. At the beginning of the book, Adrian’s father attacked Adrian, her mother, and her mother’s best friend/nanny.

How To Train Your Earl (First Comes Love: Book 3) by Amelia Grey

How to Train Your Earl (First Comes Love, #3)
How To Train Your Earl by Amelia Grey

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Date of publication: April 27th, 2021

Genre: Romance

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Alibris | Powells | IndieBound | Indigo

Format read: Unedited ARC

Got book from: Saint Martin’s Press

Trigger Warnings: Grief


Goodreads Synopsis:

A roguish earl must fight using his honor and not his sword to win his lady’s hand in How To Train Your Earl, the third book in the First Comes Love trilogy from bestseller Amelia Grey.

Brina Feld has settled into a life devoted to helping others since the sinking of the Salty Dove left her widowed. She has no need for a man in her contented life. But when the notorious and handsome Lord Blacknight returns and awakens her desires, her peace and serenity vanish. If she agrees to an alliance with him, she knows she will have to battle her heart to keep from being snared under his spell.

Zane, the Earl of Blacknight, was never supposed to inherit the earldom, so he didn’t much care to lead a respectable life before then. Fistfights, card games, and drinking are the order of the day. Now he’s determined to change his rakish ways and he knows the proper lady who can help him. There’s just one problem: He’s already bet he’ll win her hand before the Season is over. With her resolve to out-scheme him, how can he show her that his love is true? 


First Line:

Brina Feld should have known a lady wasn’t safe from rakes, rogues, and scoundrels at a masked ball in Paris.

How to train your earl by amelia grey

Review:

I was excited to read How to Train Your Earl. I had read the first book in the series and enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I did miss the second book but figured that I didn’t need to read it (I was right). So, I jumped right into reading this book.

From the beginning, the flow of How to Train Your Earl was great. The chapters were well organized, and I could tell when the author shifted from one person to another (mainly Zane and Brina). That made it pleasurable to read the book.

The plotline for How to Train Your Earl was medium paced. There was some build-up at the beginning of the book, plateauing in the middle and then having a gradual wrap up towards the end of the book. Again, it was perfect for the book.

I wasn’t a massive fan of the storyline. Something about a woman forcing a man to do what she wanted (and vice versa) made me go, “eh. “ I did like the secondary plotlines with Brina’s cousin/Zane’s cousin and the gambling. It added a bit of zip to the plotline.

I was not too fond of Brina. During various points in the book, I found her to be controlling, immature, unwilling to bend, and naive. She was passive-aggressive too. Looking back on the book, I still don’t know what Zane saw in her, other than she saved him and he needed a wife. She was also almost too independent for the era. Some of the things she did with Zane were appropriate for the period. But others (having him in her house alone, hosting a dinner at his home were two) were borderline “eh. “ I also wish that there were some flashback to when she was grieving over her husband’s death. She kept saying how badly she hurt and how long it took for her to recover.

I felt terrible for Zane. He inherited the earldom when his cousins died. On top of that, his family had treated him terribly growing up, and they expected him to be OK with them acting like he was the best thing since sliced bread. So, I understood why he latched onto Brina when he saw her, and I understood why he agreed to her ridiculous rules. It was nice to see his character grow throughout the book. I liked who he became.

As much as I didn’t like Zane and Brina together, they had chemistry. Their attraction zinged off the pages, and when they finally ended up in bed, it was terrific.

The secondary storyline involving Brina and Zane’s cousins was interesting. It added a little extra oomph to the story. It also set up, I think, for the next book in the series.

The end of How to Train Your Earl was interesting. Mainly because of how Brina acted. I won’t get into it, but I had my mouth opened the entire time during that scene with Zane. She didn’t let him get a word in edgewise. Of course, this being a romance, there is a HEA, but man, I don’t know. I don’t think that they could have a HEA in real life.


How to Train Your Earl was an OK romance. The plotline and pacing of the book were good. The flow of the book was fantastic. But there were things that I didn’t like. I was not too fond of the characters, which is a massive thing for me. The characters make or break a book. There was great sexual chemistry up to when they had sex. Then it went away.

I would recommend How to Train Your Earl to anyone over 21. There are sexual situations in the book with slightly graphic sex. There is some mild violence along with some gambling scenes.

The New Husband by D.J. Palmer

The New Husband by [Palmer, D.J.]

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of Publication: April 14th, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find The New Husband: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you know them.

Nina Garrity learned that the hard way after discovering that her missing husband, Glen, had been leading a double life with another woman. But Glen’s gone–presumably drowned while fishing on his boat–so she can’t confront him about the affair or any of his other misdeeds. A year and a half after the accident, Nina considers herself a widow, even though the police never found a body. Following a chance encounter with Simon Fitch, a teacher from her daughter Maggie’s middle school, Nina finds love again and has hopes of putting her shattered life back together.

Simon, a widower still grieving the suicide of his first wife, has found his dream girl in Nina. His charm and affections help break through to a heart hardened by betrayal. Nina’s teenage son, Connor, embraces Simon as the father he wishes his dad could have been, but Maggie sees a far darker side to this new man in their lives. Even Nina’s good friends wonder if Simon is supremely devoted–or dangerously possessive.

But Nina is committed, not only to her soon-to-be new husband but also to resuming her former career as a social worker. Before she can move forward, however, Nina must first clear her conscience that she’s not making another terrible choice in a man. In doing so, she will uncover the shocking truth: the greatest danger to her, and her children, are the lies people tell themselves.


First Line:

It was a chilly predawn morning when Anthony Strauss eased Sweet Caroline, his seventeen-foot Boston Whaler, from the trailer into the water so dark it was indistinguishable from the sky.

The New Husband by D.J. Palmer

My Review:

I am going to be in the minority for this review, but I wasn’t a fan of The New Husband. I love psychological thrillers. Honestly, I can’t read enough of them. While The New Husband hit all the markers for what I like in psychological thrillers, it fell flat.

The New Husband’s plotline was medium paced. The author did attempt to ramp up the speed at the end, but it didn’t quite get there. There was a significant amount of lag towards the end of the book. The author did try to get the book back on track, but it didn’t quite get there. There weren’t dropped storylines or characters.

Except for Maggie and Ben, I found the characters in The New Husband fell flat. I had no connection with Nina or Simon. Their interactions annoyed me. Nina came across as too needy and desperate to keep her man. I mean, that whole hair cutting scene and the follow up when she went to get it touched up, made me roll my eyes. Simon and Maggie’s interactions were scary, but what scared me more was Nina’s total disregard for what Maggie was telling her. I wanted to reach in the book and tell Nina that no man should come before her kid. But, then again, Nina did learn that the hard way.

I do wish that the author labeled who the chapters belonged to. The first time that I read Maggie’s chapters (from her POV), I was confused. I had no idea that it was Maggie until I reread the first few paragraphs in that chapter. I don’t particularly appreciate having to do that.

With my complaining about the characters, I did think that the thriller angle of the book was well written. It also kept this book from being a lower rating than what it was. The author did keep me guessing about Simon and his intentions. She also kept me guessing about Glen.

There was a massive twist in Glen’s plotline that made me drop my jaw and say “No way” when I read it. Of course, there was a smaller twist towards the end of the book, but it didn’t pack the punch that the first one did.

The storyline with Nina looking into Simon’s past was fascinating. I liked seeing a pattern emerge from what she found out. I also liked how the author connected Simon’s history to the future.

The end of The New Husband was interesting. I say interesting because of who wrote it and to where it was written. I liked the update, but I can’t say that it surprised me.


I would give The New Husband an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I am on the fence if I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread The New Husband. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram: Book 1) by Darynda Jones

A Bad Day for Sunshine: A Novel (Sunshine Vicram Series Book 1) by [Jones, Darynda]

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: April 7th, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Sunshine Vicram

A Bad Day for Sunshine—Book 1

Where you can find A Bad Day for Sunshine: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Sheriff Sunshine Vicram finds her cup o’ joe more than half full when the small village of Del Sol, New Mexico, becomes the center of national attention for a kidnapper on the loose.

Del Sol, New Mexico is known for three things: its fry-an-egg-on-the-cement summers, its strong cups of coffee—and a nationwide manhunt? Del Sol native Sunshine Vicram has returned to town as the elected sheriff–an election her adorably meddlesome parents entered her in–and she expects her biggest crime wave to involve an elderly flasher named Doug. But a teenage girl is missing, a kidnapper is on the loose, and all of it’s reminding Sunny why she left Del Sol in the first place. Add to that trouble at her daughter’s new school and a kidnapped prized rooster named Puff Daddy, and Sunshine has her hands full.

Enter sexy almost-old-flame Levi Ravinder and a hunky US Marshall, both elevens on a scale of one to blazing inferno, and the normally savvy sheriff is quickly in over her head. Now it’s up to Sunshine to juggle a few good hunky men, a not-so-nice kidnapping miscreant, and Doug the ever-pesky flasher. And they said coming home would be drama-free.


First Line:

Sunshine Vicram pushed down the dread and sticky knot of angst in her chest and wondered, yet again, if she were ready to be sheriff of a town even the locals called the Psych Ward.

A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones

My Review:

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read A Bad Day for Sunshine. It kept popping up on my NetGalley homepage. Then I got a Read Now email from them and decided to bite the bullet.

I was surprised at how I felt about the book while reading it. Usually, I either like it or hate it right from the beginning. But in this case, I was neither about it. That “meh” feeling continued throughout the book, and it did play a massive part in why I gave the book a 3-star rating.

I felt that the plotline was dragged down by too many secondary storylines (no matter how brief). I wanted full attention on Sybil’s kidnapping and Sunshine’s past kidnapping. I kept getting overwhelmed with information while I read. I also felt that I should have kept notes because there was a point in the book where I couldn’t keep track of everything.

Saying that I did like the characters. They were all well written, and each had an individual personality, which appealed to me. Sunshine was amazingly strong in overcoming what she did. I also liked that she wasn’t stupid, and she was able to piece together clues fast. She did have a weak spot for attractive men (her BFF, Levi, the other agent), but I didn’t hold it against her. It made her more human in my eyes.

I thought Auri was adorable. She was determined to find out what happened to her friend, Sybil, no matter what. I loved how tough she was also. She dealt with a lot in this book. I won’t go into it, but how she dealt with everything that was happening to her was a testament to her inner strength.

The mystery angle of the book was well written. The author did a great job of keeping who the kidnapper was and why Sybil was taken under wraps until the end of the book. I was shocked by who it ended up being.

Sunshine’s kidnapping was brought up frequently in the book. By the end of the book, it had become one of those plotlines that would be stretched across a couple of books. I know I sound jaded, but I have a feeling I know who took her and who Auri’s father was.

The end of the book was ok. The main storyline, Sybil’s kidnapping, was wrapped up. The author set up for the next book. Do I want to read the next book? Maybe. I am interested in seeing if my theory about Sunshine’s kidnapping is correct.


I would give A Bad Day for Sunshine an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread A Bad Day for Sunshine. I am on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe

A Hundred Suns by [Tanabe, Karin]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: April 7th, 2020

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction

Where you can find A Hundred Suns: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

An evocative historical novel set in 1930’s Indochine, about the American wife of a Michelin heir who journeys to the French colony in the name of family fortune, and the glamorous, tumultuous world she finds herself in—and the truth she may be running from.

On a humid afternoon in 1933, American Jessie Lesage steps off a boat from Paris and onto the shores of Vietnam. Accompanying her French husband Victor, an heir to the Michelin rubber fortune, she’s certain that their new life is full of promise, for while the rest of the world is sinking into economic depression, Indochine is gold for the Michelins. Jessie knows that their vast plantations near Saigon are the key to the family’s prosperity, and while they have been marred in scandal, she needs them to succeed for her husband’s sake—and to ensure that her trail of secrets stays hidden in the past.

Jessie dives into the glamorous colonial world, where money is king and morals are brushed aside, and meets Marcelle de Fabry, a spellbinding French woman with a moneyed Indochinese lover, the silk tycoon Khoi Nguyen. Descending on Jessie’s world like a hurricane, Marcelle proves to be an exuberant guide to ex-pat life. But hidden beneath her vivacious exterior is a fierce desire to put the colony back in the hands of its people, starting with the Michelin plantations, fueled by a terrible wrong committed against her and Khoi’s loved ones in Paris.

Yet it doesn’t take long for the sun-drenched days and champagne-soaked nights to catch up with Jessie. With an increasingly fractured mind, her affection for Indochine falters. And as a fiery political struggle builds around her, Jessie begins to wonder what’s real in a friendship that she suspects may be nothing but a house of cards.

Motivated by love, driven by ambition, and seeking self-preservation at all costs, Jessie and Marcelle each toe the line between friend and foe, ethics and excess. Cast against the stylish backdrop of 1930s Indochine, in a time and place defined by contrasts and convictions, A Hundred Suns is historical fiction at its lush, suspenseful best.


First Line:

The house of a hundred suns.

A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe

My Review:

When I saw that A Hundred Suns was based in 1930’s French-occupied Vietnam, I was intrigued. I haven’t read a book about that period that A Hundred Suns took place in. I have also been intrigued by Vietnam. To my recollection, I haven’t read any books that take place in Vietnam. That was a huge reason why I decided to read the book.

A Hundred Suns did start slowly and stayed slow for the first 60% of the book. I got that the author had to lay Marcelle and Jessie’s backstories, but it seemed a bit dragged out. Once the scene at the train station happened, though, the book sped up. The last 40% of the book flew by. I wish that the first part of it did.

There was a small amount of lag in the events before Jessie’s unfortunate incident at the train station. It only lasted about a chapter, and the author was able to get the book back on track. Other than that small lag, the writing flowed beautifully, even with two separate POVs (Jessie and Marcelle). The author was able to switch back and forth between their characters seamlessly. I loved it!!

I liked Jessie. She did come across as conniving at the beginning of the book. I mean, she convinced her husband to move to Vietnam. But, as I got to know her character, I could see how strong she was. Her strength was apparent in the last half of the book.

Marcelle was my favorite in the book. She was deliciously devious and pulled off her plan perfectly. Even when Khoi was having issues with what was going on, Marcelle didn’t. She was willing to do anything to get revenge. And oh boy, did she ever. I did feel bad for her, though. Blinded by her hatred, she let it overcome her. She also failed to see that Jessie had nothing to do with what was going on in the plantations. To her, Jessie was the more available of the two options.

I didn’t like Khoi or Victor. Khoi was an enabler. He talked a good game, but when push came to shove, he wasn’t behind Marcelle when she wanted to go to the next step. He kept switching back and forth, and it drove me batty. I didn’t like Victor because he knew what was going on at the plantations, and he contributed to it!!

I thought that the use of Vietnamese (or Indochinese) and French language added an extra oomph to the plotline. As much as I liked it, I do wish that there was a glossary to explain specific terms. I ended up having to use Google Translate a lot to understand so of the words.

I do want to give a small warning. There is drug use (opium smoking) detailed in the book. I did like that the author chose to show how casual people were about smoking opium back then. But there might be people who are triggered by it. There is also a scene from when Jessie visits one of the Michelin plantations, where she witnesses pretty gruesome torture. I like to think that I am immune to stuff like that, and that made me pause while reading.

The end of A Hundred Suns was terrific. As I said, the book took off in that last 40% of the book. I am not going to get into it, but I will say that Marcelle and Khoi got what they deserved.


I would give A Hundred Suns an Adult rating. There is sex. There is mild language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread A Hundred Suns. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy: Book 2) by Emily A. Duncan

Ruthless Gods: A Novel (Something Dark and Holy Book 2) by [Duncan, Emily A.]

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books

Date of publication: April 7th, 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Series: Something Dark and Holy

Wicked Saints—Book 1

Ruthless Gods—Book 2

Untitled—Book 3 (expected publication date: 2021)

Where to find Ruthless Gods: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

The stunning sequel to instant New York Times bestseller, Wicked Saints!

Darkness never works alone…

Nadya doesn’t trust her magic anymore. Serefin is fighting off a voice in his head that doesn’t belong to him. Malachiasz is at war with who–and what–he’s become.

As their group is continually torn apart, the girl, the prince, and the monster find their fates irrevocably intertwined. They’re pieces on a board, being orchestrated by someone… or something. The voices that Serefin hears in the darkness, the ones that Nadya believes are her gods, the ones that Malachiasz is desperate to meet—those voices want a stake in the world, and they refuse to stay quiet any longer.

In her dramatic follow-up to Wicked Saints, the first book in her Something Dark and Holy trilogy, Emily A. Duncan paints a Gothic, icy world where shadows whisper, and no one is who they seem, with a shocking ending that will leave you breathless.


First Line:

There was a darkness.

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

My Review:

I was pretty excited when I saw that SMP/Wednesday Books had granted my wish for this book on NetGalley. I hadn’t expected it, though. My wishes never get granted on that site. After my excitement died down, I realized that it was the 2nd book. I was still optimistic about the book, though. Lately, I have been reading books that are 2nd or 3rd in a series, and that was stand-alone. I figured that Ruthless Gods would be the same. Oh boy, was I wrong.

Ruthless Gods had a fast-moving plotline. The author was able to keep the pace up even with the book being split into numerous POVs. That I did like, she marked who’s chapter it was. I had zero issues following along with the book that way. It also worked well with the pacing. Some storylines were left open, and characters that were mentioned but never brought up again. But, considering that this is the 2nd book in the series, I have a feeling everything will be tied together in the 3rd book.

As I mentioned above, Ruthless Gods is NOT a stand-alone book. You do need to read Wicked Saints before reading Ruthless Gods. That way, the backstories/explanation of the different countries/explanation of the religions (which is essential!!) are fully disclosed. I was lost when reading Ruthless Gods because I didn’t read Wicked Saints first.

Another source of irritation for me was the lack of understanding of the different relationships between the character. Nadya and Malachiasz, I got right away. Serefin and Kacper’s was a little muddier. Ostiya, Parijahan, and Rashid’s relationships with each other, and the central 3 was even more mysterious. That is where reading Wicked Saints would have come in handy — now saying that I was impressed with the character growth that Serefin, Nadya, and Malachiasz had throughout the book.

Ruthless Gods had to have been one of the more darker, bloodier young adult books that I have read in a while. The amount of violence was terrific. The author doesn’t even bother to build-up to the first violent scene. It was bam, there you go. Now, that didn’t bother me. I figured by reading the synopsis that it was going to be bloody and violent. But it might bother other people.

I was fascinated by a couple of things in Ruthless Gods. I was fascinated that this book was based loosely in Russia. I do wish that there was some glossary that explained the different terms used in the book. I was also fascinated by the various religions portrayed. I do wish that there was a glossary dedicated to the different saints/terms that Nadya and her fellow monks used. Again, it would have gone a long way to helping me understand everything.

The storylines were well written also. There was almost too much going on in the book at one point, but the author did a fantastic job keeping everything separate. The Nadya/Malachiasz storyline broke my heart. Serefin’s broke my heart too. I couldn’t imagine living like he did and being forced to do the things he did.

The best part of the book was the last part of the book from when Katya was introduced onwards. Everything just snowballed once the group got into that forest. I expected what Serefin and Nadya did. The whole book was leading up to those two crucial things. But, I wasn’t expecting what happened to Malachiasz. That took me completely by surprise. The epilogue was fantastic. I cannot wait to read book three because of what was promised in that epilogue.


I would give Ruthless Gods an Older Teen rating. There is no sex. There is mild language. There is violence. I would reccomend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Ruthless Gods. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Highland Sword (Royal Highlander: Book 3) by May McGoldrick

Highland Sword: A Royal Highlander Novel by [McGoldrick, May]

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Date of publication: March 31st, 2020

Genre: Romance

Series: Royal Highlander

Highland Crown—Book 1 (Review Here)

Highland Jewel—Book 2 (Review Here)

Highland Sword—Book 3

Where you can find Highland Sword: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

A VOW FOR VENGEANCE
Fleeing to the Highlands after her father’s murder, fiery Morrigan Drummond has a score to settle with Sir Rupert Burney, the English spymaster responsible for his death. Trained to fight alongside the other rebels determined to break Britain’s hold on Scotland, she swears to avenge her father’s death—until a chance encounter with a barrister as proud and principled as she is presents her with a hard choice…and a bittersweet temptation.

A PLEA FOR PASSION
Aidan Grant has never encountered another woman like dangerous beauty Morrigan—and he has the bruises to prove it. Yet she could be the key to defending two innocent men, as well as striking a death blow to the reprehensible Burney. Convincing Morrigan to help him will take time, but Aidan is willing to wait if it means victory over corrupt government forces and freedom for his people…and Morrigan’s hand in marriage. Can two warriors committed to a cause stand down long enough to open their hearts to a love fierce enough to last…forever?


First Line:

The afternoon sun cast a golden glow over the high walled garden beside the keep.

Highland Sword by May McGoldrick

My Review:

I was excited to read Highland Sword. I was excited because this is Morrigan’s book. I wanted to see who would be brave enough to tame her. I also wanted to know more about her. She was rarely mentioned in Highland Crown. In Highland Jewel, she was mentioned, and she did have a couple of scenes that showed how strong she was. Highland Sword more than delivered on that.

Highland Sword is the 3rd book in the Royal Highlander series. It cannot be read as a stand-alone book. You do need to read Highland Crown and Highland Jewel to understand the different backstories in the book. Also, Cinead’s story is fully explained in the first book. The author does explain it here, but it goes more into depth in Highland Crown.

Highland Sword has two, sometimes 3, POVs’. The book is split between Morrigan and Aidan, with Cinead and sometimes his mother’s POV thrown in. The transition between Morrigan and Aidan’s POV’s was wonderfully written. I had no issue following the book went it went back and forth between them.

I loved Morrigan, but I did wonder why she was so standoffish with people. I liked that she didn’t care about going against what was considered the norm for that era. She was independent, and she was handy with just about any weapons, including her fists. I wondered what made her that way. I got my answer and I was horrified. It was then that I understood why she was the way she was.

I liked Aidan. I wished there was more focus on him being a barrister. Seeing how the law worked back then fascinated me. I wanted to know more!! There were points in the book where I thought he was a pushover, but, in hindsight, he wasn’t. He allowed Morrigan to do what she wanted (well, except the last thing she did), and he made sure she was safe.

I wasn’t a fan of how Aidan and Morrigan met. But I wouldn’t say I liked how it was escalated. A knockdown fight between a man and a woman? Nope, not my cup of tea. The romance angle of the book was super slow in getting started. And even after that, I was left halfway wondering if they would break out into a fight again.

I was disappointed to read that Highland Sword was going to be the last book in the Royal Highlander series. There were a few people who I wanted to see get their happy ever afters. But, in the author’s note, there was a hint about more books in that world. I will be anxiously awaiting those.

The end of Highland Sword was sweet. I liked that Aidan and Morrigan got their happily ever after. The epilogue also saddened me.


I would give Highland Sword an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Highland Sword. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James

The Woman in the Mirror: A Novel by [James, Rebecca]

Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: March 17th, 2020

Genre: General Fiction

Where you can find The Woman in the Mirror: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Rebecca James unveils a chilling modern gothic novel of a family consumed by the shadows and secrets of its past in The Woman in the Mirror.

For more than two centuries, Winterbourne Hall has stood atop a bluff overseeing the English countryside of Cornwall and the sea beyond.

In 1947, Londoner Alice Miller accepts a post as governess at Winterbourne, looking after Captain Jonathan de Grey’s twin children. Falling under the de Greys’ spell, Alice believes the family will heal her own past sorrows. But then the twins’ adoration becomes deceitful and taunting. Their father, ever distant, turns spiteful and cruel. The manor itself seems to lash out. Alice finds her surroundings subtly altered, her air slightly chilled. Something malicious resents her presence, something clouding her senses and threatening her very sanity.

In present day New York, art gallery curator Rachel Wright has learned she is a descendant of the de Greys and heir to Winterbourne. Adopted as an infant, she never knew her birth parents or her lineage. At long last, Rachel will find answers to questions about her identity that have haunted her entire life. But what she finds in Cornwall is a devastating tragic legacy that has afflicted generations of de Greys. A legacy borne from greed and deceit, twisted by madness, and suffused with unrequited love and unequivocal rage.


First Line:

Listen! Can you hear it?

The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James

My Review:

I haven’t read a good Gothic mystery in a while. A long while, now that I have had time to think about it. That was the main reason why I decided I wanted to read The Woman in the Mirror. I wanted to see if they were as good as I remembered. And guess what, they were!!!

The Woman in the Mirror had fast-moving storylines, which I enjoyed. I feel that if the storylines had been slower than the book would have dragged on. The flow of the book was good. There were no dropped storylines, but I did have a question about Alice’s pregnancy during WWII. I couldn’t quite place what happened (if she had the baby or not).

Speaking of Alice, I felt awful for her. She had some mental issues that followed her to Winterbourne. That alone made her chapters fun to read. I couldn’t tell if she was losing it because of that or if the house caused it. I loved it!!!

Rachel was a different story, though. She inherited Winterbourne from an unknown aunt (she was adopted). Rachel thought it would be a great way to see where her mother came from and see her roots. Of course, what she discovered was something way more sinister.

The paranormal/mystery was well written. I did have an issue with the whole reason why Winterbourne was cursed not being revealed until the end of the book. I also didn’t like how that storyline was resolved. It was a little too tidy. But other than that, both were wonderful. I don’t think I will look at gilded mirrors and murals the same again.

There was a small romance angle of the book. Honestly, I didn’t see it between Alice and the captain. It didn’t grab me. Mainly because of the way he treated her. Of course, that was explained away but still. It left me going, “Really?” I also didn’t see it between Jack and Rachel until the end. I could have gone without the romance, but I can see why the author wrote it in. It made what happened to Alice even more disturbing.

The end of The Woman in the Mirror was terrific. I loved how everything came together. And then there was the epilogue. I had to reread it. The way it was written and what was written!! Will there be a 2nd book?


I would give The Woman in the Mirror an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Woman in the Mirror. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**