Beautifully Wounded (The Beaumont Brothers: Book 1) by Susan Griscom

Beautifully Wounded (The Beaumont Brothers Book 1) by [Susan Griscom]
Beautifully Wounded By Susan Griscom

Publisher: Amber Glow Books

Date of publication: April 9th, 2014

Genre: Romance

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Audible

Series: The Beaumont Brothers

Beautifully Wounded—Book 1 (Previously published under The Fawn)

Beautifully Used—Book 2

Beautifully Undone—Book 3

Format read in: eBook

Trigger Warning: Spousal Abuse and Rape

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sometimes the only way to salvation… is to take a leap of faith.

What would you do if you had no place to go and no one you could trust?

“The lyrics are about you, Lena,” he confessed, and I watched his mouth as the tip of his tongue moistened his lips before he leaned his head down. Then those beautiful lips were on mine, soft, tender at first, then his tongue glided over my lips, breaking the seal. My pulse throbbed and quickened as his tongue swirled around mine. Taking and controlling, and… and I wanted this, needed his touch. I went limp in his embrace, and the heat rose under my skin, my body vibrated against his strong powerful one. Was this really happening?”

Jackson Beaumont prides himself on being a nature-loving, guitar-strumming, carefree sort of guy. When the mysterious Lena Benton walks into his bar looking scared and defeated, it’s not something he can ignore. He’s immediately consumed by concern for her and driven by his desire to help. She’s just so beautiful. So wounded.

After being shuffled from one foster home to another growing up, Lena Benton dreamt of finding her prince charming. When the captivating Troy Harington sweeps her off her feet shortly after high school graduation, she’s certain she’s found her happiness. Unfortunately, Troy’s true colors surface shortly after their marriage and things turn ugly. Lena only has one choice. She has to leave him. She has to run…

Lena’s escape has brought her to Jackson, and he clearly wants to be there for her, but can she trust anyone again after what she’s gone through? And will Jackson be able to help her heal without losing his heart?

18+ due to sexual content and mature subject matter.


First Line:

He opened the front door.

Beautifully Wounded by Susan Griscom

First Impressions:

I am going to start with the trigger warning to start this review. Usually, I will touch upon TW’s at the end of the book. But, because of how this book begins, I feel that it is appropriate to put it at the beginning.

I am not going to mince words. Beautifully Wounded starts with Lena being raped and beaten by her husband when the rape fails (because he loses his erection halfway through the rape). I won’t lie, it is very graphic. But, it set the pace and the mood for the first half of the book.

Lena’s flight from Troy was heartbreaking but empowering. I felt her terror and urgency as she fled. She was terrified that he would find her. She was terrified of what he would do. She did everything to throw him off her trail. She cut up credit cards, abandoned her car, used a fake ID that her best guy friend gave her, used cash to buy a new car, and drove as far as she could with her injuries. It was breathtaking and made my heart pound. I was on the edge of my seat that first couple of chapters because of the unknown.

Then Jackson was introduced. Not a lot was said about him except that he owned a local bar with his brother, Brodie. That was fine with me because all of my attention was on Lena and her flight from Troy. When Lena walked into the bar, her appearance caught Jackson (and eventually Brodie’s) attention. Jackson, who had a soft heart of injured animals and people, took one look at her and decided that she needed his help. He brought in an ex-Army medic/current firefighter to look at her. That is when the extent of her injuries was shown. Broken ribs, a concussion, bruises everywhere, and one eye was swollen completely shut. Even Doc (the firefighter) was horrified. I was fighting back the tears during that scene. I made these weird snuffly noises that my husband took notice of and asked if I needed a tissue.

I liked that Lena was learning to trust Jackson. What I loved was her instant connection to Rufus (his hound). She spilled her secret to him, unaware that Jackson was listening outside her door. It was a heartwarming scene that again made me fight back the tears. That poor girl.

By the middle of the book, though, Jackson did start to creep me out. He began to become obsessed with Lena. I understand wanting to help. He helped so much and in so many ways. He set it up so Lena could file for divorce without disclosing her location. He helped file for a restraining order (including taking her pictures). He got her clothing and someone to dye her hair. He. Was. Always. There. When he started falling for her, I was like, “Oh no honey, please. Wait until she’s healed.” But he didn’t.


Mid-Book Impressions:

The middle of Beautifully Wounded focused on Lena’s healing process and her emerging relationship with Jackson. I liked seeing her regain her self confidence and self-worth. The little tidbits of her life with Troy left me shaking my head. What made me shake my head, even more, was that she witnessed her mother being abused and then killed by her abuser while she was growing up. Lena thought she knew what she was looking out for, but instead, she got blindsided. I truly felt awful for her.

I liked seeing her and Jackson connect on a deeper level. Seeing her fall for Jackson was sweet, but at the same time, I felt that she didn’t need to fall into another relationship. But, thankfully, Jackson took it super slow and allowed Lena to call the shots.

Their relationship did heat up during this part of the book. But nothing happened until after Lena received her divorce papers.

Jackson was still acting creepy. He had this whole “I’ll let her come to me” vibe, but he moved her into his and Brodie’s house and spent all of his time with Lena. And, again, I didn’t blame Brodie for blowing up at Jackson. I did feel bad that Lena had to overhear it, though. Brodie did apologize, and Lena did tell Brodie that she was sorry, even though it was Jackson’s fault.

There was an undercurrent of anticipation regarding Troy. And it wasn’t the right kind. I kept wondering when he would turn up. I didn’t blame Lena for wanting to run. She was terrified that Troy would hunt her down and kill her.


End of Book Impressions:

The last half of Beautifully Wounded was insane. So much went on in a few short chapters. I couldn’t read it fast enough.

Jackson and Lena’s relationship went to the next step, which wasn’t awful in the grand scheme of things. In book time, two months had gone by, and they spent everyday together. So, when they had sex, I wasn’t grossed out. I was still a little skeeved by Jackson, but even that went away. You could tell that he cherished Lena.

Lena’s worse nightmares were realized when one of her best friends (pre-Troy) came to the bar and let her know that Troy knew where she was. Then it was a waiting game as to when he would show up.

And yes, Troy did show up. My heart was pounding for Lena during those scenes because of what he was saying to her, where he was taking her and what he would do to her (implied). I will say that Rufus was the real MVP during this part of the book. That nice, sweet dog lost his SHIT when Lena was taken. And I ugly cried when Jackson caught up to Lena and Troy, and he saw what happened to Rufus.

Of course, there was a confrontation between Jackson and Troy. In my mind, I called it the battle between Good and Evil (because it was). There was a point where I was concerned for Jackson and a little WTF. Jackson was an ex-cop. He should have known how to take someone down. Yet, he didn’t, and it frustrated me. It was who took Troy down that took me by surprise. It also took Brodie by surprise (he was way too late).

The epilogue was fantastic. I liked seeing where Lena and Jackson were a year later. Oh, and Rufus’s fate was disclosed!! I also loved the lead into Brodie/Gabby’s story.


My Overall Thoughts on Beautifully Wounded:

I enjoyed reading Beautifully Wounded. It had a fast plotline with characters that will stay with you after the book is finished. I will warn that there are parts of the book that are hard to swallow. Some parts are unrealistic. But, it didn’t affect me. Instead, it made the book more enjoyable to read.

I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book. There is graphic violence. There is a rape scene at the beginning of the book that is graphic. There is sex, but that is not graphic.

Of Lords and Commoners (Lords and Commoners: Book 1) by Lynne Hill-Clark

Of Lords and Commoners: Book 1 (Lords and Commoners Series) by [Lynne Hill-Clark]
Of Lords and Commoners: Book 1 by Lynne Hill-Clark (Amazon cover)

Publisher: Hill, Clark, and Associates

Date of publication: June 21st, 2016

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Series: Of Lords and Commoners

Of Lords and Commoners—Book 1

Of Prince and Dragons—Book 2

Of Gods and Goddesses—Book 3

Format read in: eBook

Goodreads synopsis:

Humans Have Always Had to Fight Plagues …

The only future Vallachia could have imagined, as well as her wonderfully simple life disappears when she finds herself in a struggle to figure out the rules of a strange new world.

She longs for her old life and the one she truly loves remains out of reach, as she embarks on an inconceivable journey.

Vallachia quickly finds herself on the wrong side of a brewing battle for vampire domination. Not knowing who to trust could have fatal consequences … for millions of people.


First Line:

We ran swiftly through the forest.

Of Lords and Commoners by Lynne Hill-Clark

First Impressions:

I am one of those people who’s impressions of books start with the covers. The cover of Of Lords and Commoners on Goodreads wasn’t much to look at. Black that faded to brown with a family crest under the title and gold words. It was very plain and didn’t give any clue about what the book was about. So visually, it was a nope for me. Fortunately, the blurb made me think twice about reading it.

Of Lords and Commoners is set in the Middle Ages. The first half of the book takes place in Vallachia’s village in the Carpathian Mountains. It doesn’t say precisely where but if I had to guess, Romania. Considering what I have read/know about the Carpathian Mountains, it was an excellent location for the first half of the book.

The book did get off to a slow and somewhat dull start. It was a struggle to get through the first couple of chapters. Once I got through them (once Lord Chastellain and Elijah arrived), the book picked up the pace.

I did feel bad for Vallachia. She was being forced into an impossible position: having to choose between Teller and Elijah. Teller was her childhood love. Elijah was the Lord’s son, who she was developing feelings for. But at the same time, I didn’t quite believe that she was allowed to choose who she was going to marry. It was the Middle Ages. Women didn’t get any say in anything. So for her father to have such a progressive view didn’t ring right to me.

The vampire angle of the book was interesting. I liked how the author stayed true to vampires’ fundamental myths and tweaked them a little bit. The author also added small things that made sense, like flying and swimming under the water. Oh, and the whole not being able to enter a church? Not happening in this book. Vallachia was able to enter several churches after being turned.

Speaking of Vallachia being turned, that was a pivotal scene in the book. Everything that happens from then on is connected to what Lord Chastellain did and what Elijah did (or in this case didn’t) do. I couldn’t believe what I was reading!! Of course, Vallachia’s relationship with her father, brother, best friend, and Teller took a significant turn.


Mid-Book Impressions:

Of Lords and Commoners hit some lag in the middle of the book. There was so much going on that the plotline started to stagnant. Fortunately, the author was able to breathe life back into the plot.

I felt terrible for Vallachia during this part of the book. She had to come to terms with being a vampire and getting involved in vampire politics. She also had to deal with her feeling for both Teller and Elijah. She didn’t have it easy at all.

I didn’t agree with Vallachia returning to her home village. I get that she had serious feelings for Teller, but she was protected with Elijah (safety in numbers). I also didn’t agree with her telling Teller that she was a vampire. His reaction was what I thought it would be. Honestly, it made me dislike him. Of course, then Lord Chastellain showed up and did what he did. That, in turn, forced Vallachia to turn Teller, who then did something unforgivable. But even that didn’t end Vallachia’s feelings for Teller. I did a considerable WTF when she still said she loved him. Seriously????

Interestingly, there was a subplot line about vampire rebellion that started in Constantinople. I wish the author had spent more time describing where the vampires live and even the city itself (there were a couple of well-written scenes, but it left me wanting more). It is that plotline that kept the book moving along. When Vallachia went to Denmark and then London (after she turned Teller), there was so much intrigue!!! There was also some LGBTQ+ representation in the book, which I enjoyed.


End of Book Impressions:

The plotline for Of Lord and Commoners worked itself out. There was new life breathed into the plotline by the increased attacks of the vampire revolution. That sent Vallachia, Elijah, and their friends on missions (for lack of a better word) to other countries to recruit allies. Because of that, I felt that the plotline picked up steam and was fast until the end of the book.

I wish that Teller had made an appearance. I was left wondering what was going on with him. Like Vallachia and her friends, I thought that he was behind the strange vampire-like sickness plaguing people. But that was proven wrong. He just poofed, and I wasn’t a fan of it.

I didn’t like how Vallachia’s brother died. Not going to get into it, but it was wrong!!! I was very frustrated at that.

The author did an excellent job of wrapping everything up by the end of the book. But she left enough unwrapped (the love triangle between Vallachia, Elijah, and Teller and the revolution) to read book 2.


My Overall Thoughts on Of Lords and Commoners:

I enjoyed reading Of Lords and Commoners. While the book was slow to start, did lag in the middle, and had the plotline stagnant at times, it managed to capture my attention. I liked the characters (except for Teller). I did think that it was a little progressive for the time it took place in (Middle Ages), but I soon forgot that. It was just an overall good YA book to read.

I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book. There is graphic violence. But it is a clean book. There is no sex and only a couple of kissing scenes.

The Recruit: Book One (The Recruit Series: Book 1) by Elizabeth Kelly


The Recruit: Book One (The Recruit Series 1) by [Elizabeth Kelly]

Publisher:

Date of publication: February 19th, 2014

Series: The Recruit

The Recruit: Book One

The Recruit: Book Two

The Recruit: Book Three

The Recruit: Book Four

The Recruit: Book Five

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Fantasy

Purchase Links: Walmart eBooks | Amazon

Format Read in: ebook

Goodreads Synopsis:

Hannah Torrington lives a perfectly normal and ordinary life until the night her sister is murdered by vampires.

Saved by a Lycan named Will and thrust into a world she never knew existed, Hannah is taken to a secret facility that trains men and women to hunt vampires.

Determined to take her revenge for her sister’s death, Hannah joins the recruit program. As she is pushed to the brink of physical and mental exhaustion by the intense training, she fights her forbidden attraction to her instructor Will and struggles to adjust to her new life.

Please Note: This is book one of a trilogy and contains a cliff-hanger ending.


First Impressions:

I wasn’t very impressed with The Recruit when I first started reading it. That first chapter made me think that this was going to be a hot and heavy romance between Will and Hannah with the hunter recruit program somewhat in the background. I did the one thing that I try not to do when reading books. I judged by the first chapter….sigh.

The feelers for the romance between Hannah and Will were laid out there too. Nothing happened though. A couple encounters that raised their sexual tension by almost 100%. But no sex. I was almost glad that they didn’t do anything that first half of the book and I am glad that the author deliberately kept Will being a Lycan a secret (well not exactly a secret, its kind of hard to explain).


Mid Book Impressions:

Remember how I mentioned that I thought that The Recruit was going to be hot and heavy supernatural romance with a secondary plotline about the hunter recruit program? Well, it wasn’t quite like that. The hunter recruit program became the focal point of the book after Hannah joined it. What I liked is that the author didn’t gloss over the training. Instead, she made Hannah suffer through it. My body ached for her during certain scenes. But, Hannah held on and I was happy about that.

Will and Hannah do have sex a few times. Each time was insanely hot. The first time in the training room took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting it to be so emotional and caring. They were found out after an encounter during a full moon and they were forced to seperate. That is when the author revealed the full scope of both Will and Hannah’s feelings. My heart broke for the both of them.

There was a storyline added late in the book that evolved around the mole in the facility. It started after the “babies” (the recruits) were attacked at a bar. What I liked is that the mole was mentioned a few times but no real details were given.

Also, and I found this was interesting, was the amount of hate that Lycans got in this book. The “babies” were horrified to learn that Will was a Lycan. When it was found out that Hannah was sleeping with him, she was shunned. Even the instructors carried that hate with them. And it wasn’t just a human versus Lycan type deal. It was Lycan versus human too.


End of Book Impressions

If I wasn’t a fan of the beginning of the book, I absolutely loved the end. I loved Hannah’s character development. She went from being a loner who didn’t like anyone in her personal space to this kick ass warrior who wasn’t afraid to get into other people’s personal spaces. I was 100% Team Hannah at the end of the book. I do wish that more of her training with Chen was highlighted but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

Will and Hannah’s relationship ran into a huge wall by the end of the book. I am not going to say what but I will say that I wasn’t surprised. I did think that Will approaching Chen in wolf form was a bit much, though. But I understood why what happened happened. My heart broke for Hannah, though. She was truly the loser in that situation. But, I am rooting for them.

OMG, the fight scenes were out of this world!!! If you don’t like blood and gore, than this isn’t the book for you. Because it is bloody and violent.

The book does end on a cliffhanger. I am not a fan of cliffhangers. I would rather my books end resolved than have everything up in the air. But, they do make me want to read the next book. Will I read book 2? Probably.


My Overall Thoughts on The Recruit: Book One

This is a book that I would reread and a series that I could easily get lost in. It has everything that I liked in these types of books: sex, action and danger. The book didn’t truly get started until after Hannah joined the training facility and it gained momentum from there. Will and Hannah’s sexual tension and sex scenes were fantastic, as were the action scenes. I did figure out who the mole was about halfway through (it was obvious). This was a book that I enjoyed reading and, like I said in the first paragraph, one that I badly misjudged.

I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book. The sex scenes and the fight scenes were graphic.

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**

Book Blitz: The Mocking Man (Pact: Book 1) by Leslie Georgeson

Series Blurb:

THE PACT DUET: Two friends. One pact. A dangerous plan with an elaborate deception. In a world where they must rely on each other to survive, how far will each of them go to honor the pact?  

The Mocking Man:

Deception. 

Not a word I would have associated with myself fifteen years ago. Back then I was innocent and carefree, a teenage boy with big dreams. 

Then my best friend Rafe was kidnapped, and my world fell apart. I foolishly thought I could save him. 

I was wrong. 

Now my entire life is a web of deceit. My every breath tainted by lies. I don’t like what I’ve become. But it’s essential for my very survival. 

My job now is to stay in the shadows and keep Rafe’s sister Isabella safe. She can’t even know I’m here. 

Then danger lurks closer. Somehow, I must protect her while keeping my secret.

But I get so caught up in my own twisted game that I eventually make a terrible mistake. 

Now she’s a part of the pact. And I can’t let her go. 

But what kind of life can I give her if I can never be anything more than the mocking man?

—-

The Mocking Man links:

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B082RD65Y6/

Goodreads link:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48354801-the-mocking-man

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-mocking-man-the-pact-book-1-by-leslie-georgeson

—-

Author bio: 

Leslie Georgeson writes romance and suspense, sometimes with a dash of sci-fi or paranormal tossed in to make things more interesting. She is the author of the popular military romantic suspense series, THE DREGS, which was nominated for the 2018 TopShelf Indie Book Awards. Her other titles include the UNLIKELY HEROES series, the UNDERNEATH series, the standalone romantic mystery, NO SON OF MINE, and the newly released romantic suspense duet, THE PACT. Book one, The Mocking Man, is now available on Amazon and book two, The Honest Liar, is scheduled for an early June 2020 release. Leslie lives with her husband and daughter on a quiet country acreage in Idaho. 

—-

Author social media links:

Webpage: https://lesliegeorgeson.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7827259.Leslie_Georgeson

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Leslie-Georgeson/e/B00I2T6QFO?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1577907973&sr=8-1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lesliegeorgeson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorlesliegeorgeson/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/leslie-georgeson

The Vanishing Season (Ellery Hathaway: Book 1) by Joanna Schaffhausen

The Vanishing Season: A Mystery (Ellery Hathaway Book 1) by [Schaffhausen, Joanna]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: December 5th 2017

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Ellery Hathaway

Vanishing Season—Book 1

No Mercy—Book 2

All the Best Lies—Book 3 (expected publication date: February 11th, 2020)

Where you can find Vanishing Season: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Ellery Hathaway knows a thing or two about serial killers, but not through her police training. She’s an officer in sleepy Woodbury, MA, where a bicycle theft still makes the newspapers. No one there knows she was once victim number seventeen in the grisly story of serial killer Francis Michael Coben. The only victim who lived.

When three people disappear from her town in three years, all around her birthday—the day she was kidnapped so long ago—Ellery fears someone knows her secret. Someone very dangerous. Her superiors dismiss her concerns, but Ellery knows the vanishing season is coming and anyone could be next. She contacts the one man she knows will believe her: the FBI agent who saved her from a killer’s closet all those years ago.

Agent Reed Markham made his name and fame on the back of the Coben case, but his fortunes have since turned. His marriage is in shambles, his bosses think he’s washed up, and worst of all, he blew a major investigation. When Ellery calls him, he can’t help but wonder: sure, he rescued her, but was she ever truly saved? His greatest triumph is Ellery’s waking nightmare, and now both of them are about to be sucked into the past, back to the case that made them…with a killer who can’t let go.


First Line:

It’s too dark to go out but too hot to sleep.

The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen

My Review:

When I saw the blurb for The Vanishing Season, I was intrigued. The victim of a serial killer becomes a cop who then sees a coincidence when people go missing each year around her birthday. The book had me at that. Forget that a famous profiler got involved, I wanted to read about how Ellery was dealing with the aftermath of her trauma. And the author more than delivered!!

The Vanishing Season takes place in the town of Woodbury, Massachusetts. Ellery Hathaway, the only living victim of a sadistic serial killer, is a police officer there. Over the past three years, Ellery has noticed that a person has gone missing on her birthday. Suspecting a serial killer, she tries to get the chief to investigate and is written off. With days left until another person disappears, Ellery reaches out to the FBI agent who rescued her. Reed Markham. Can he help Ellery find the killer before he/she strikes again?

The plotline for The Vanishing Season was lightning fast, and it kept up that pace throughout the book. There was no lag, which was surprising considering how fast this book went. The author was able to keep my focus on the book for the entire book. Put it this way; I picked this book up at 9 am and finished it at 11 am.

I loved how the author portrayed Ellery’s character. It was Ellery that drew me to the book. I wanted to know, “How could someone live after being tortured like she was?”. I got my answer back tenfold. She had severe PTSD and couldn’t form attachments. But she managed to live a normal (if you could call that normal) life. I did want to smack her mother upside the head at points in the book. Your kid was kidnapped, sexually assaulted over and over, and tortured, yet you didn’t get her into therapy? That was a massive WTF from me.

I liked Reed. He was a washed-up version of the person he was when he rescued Ellery. I liked that he acknowledged that. I wasn’t too sure what to make of his dropping everything to help Ellery when she called. But I understood why he did it. He wanted to see how she turned out. He also understood the implications of the people missing on her birthday, and he believed her when she told him what was going on. The small sub storyline with his family did catch my interest.

The main storyline was well written. The author did a fantastic job of keeping how the killer was and why he/she was doing it under wraps. She had me thinking that it was several different people until the big reveal. I was surprised at who it was. I was also shocked at the twist in the plotline. I was not expecting it to go the way it did or what happened.

The end of The Vanishing Season wrapped up beautifully. There was enough left where I did wonder what the next book will be about. I can’t wait to read it!!


I would give The Vanishing Season 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 Vanishing Season. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

A Critical Tangent (Moonlight and Murder: Book 1) by Reily Garrett

A Critical Tangent: A Suspenseful Romantic Thriller (Moonlight and Murder Book 1) by [Garrett, Reily]

3.5 Stars (rounded up to 4 for major sites)

Publisher:

Date of publication: December 29th, 2019

Genre: Romance, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Moonlight and Murder

A Critical Tangent—Book 1

Where you can find A Critical Tangent: Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Enter world where ignorance and darkness mask chaos and deceit.

Keiki’s focus on designing drones shatters one morning when her prototype records the murder of her friend. Captured video detailed the masked killer’s promise to find his witness and finish the job.

Experience has given her good reason to not trust cops, especially when they come knocking on her door. Their suspicions narrow when her roommate disappears without a trace.

Conflicting evidence at a brutal crime scene leaves gossamer threads weaving a complicated web of lies and deceit. Every lead Detective Garnett finds steers the investigation to a deeper, darker network entangling Keiki in a labyrinth of cunning subterfuge.

Garnett is torn between following the letter of the law and protecting the witness determined to clear her name. Can he earn Keiki’s trust in time to save her life, or will a psychotic killer destroy the woman who has demolished his emotional barriers?


First Line:

“Aw, Keiki, if I could find the fun button in your brain, I’d switch it to permanent on.”

Critical Tangent by Reily Garrett

My Review:

When I read the blurb for A Critical Tangent, my attention was caught. I have read very few books where drones have been made part of the plotline. Add in that the drones were part of a murder mystery, and I knew I needed to read the book. Add that it is romantic suspense, and I would have been a fool to turn this book down.

A Critical Tangent had a fast-moving plotline. I like the fast-moving plotline in these genres. My only fault with a fast-moving plotline is that sometimes there are dropped plotlines/characters. I didn’t find that in A Critical Tangent. But I did find that there were some interesting facts (that kept coming up) that would have made for a fantastic secondary storyline. There was a tiny bit of lag towards the middle of the book, but the author was able to bring the book back on track with no trouble.

I was not too fond of Keiki during the first half of the book. She was vehemently anti-police, held back vital information about the case, and was just an overall pain in the bottom to Coyote and Noah during the investigation. I did start to like her in the second half of the book. She didn’t quite do a 180, but she came close.

I liked Noah. I liked that he was able to look at both sides of the case and was able to make decisions based on the facts. I liked that he dealt with Coyote’s insinuations with a sense of humor (at times). I was a little put off that he treated Keiki like she was a kid. By the way, he acted, I was expecting him to be considerably older than her. So, when his age was revealed, I was surprised.

The romance angle of the book was very slight. In hindsight, I am glad that the author wrote it that way. If Keiki and Noah’s romance had been written any other form or introduced sooner in the book, it would have taken away from the main story.

I do want to include a trigger warning. There is a harrowing scene where Keiki and Gabby are being held together. Gabby confesses to Keiki that she has been repeatedly raped and beaten for information. It is a raw scene, and it is made even more so by what happens after Keiki escapes. There are also a couple of smaller scenes where the kidnappers (and Porter) talk about raping Gabby. So, if that triggers you, I would suggest either not reading this book or entirely skipping those scenes.

I was confused by the main plotline at first. While I understood that someone was after Keiki and her drones, I didn’t understand why. Even the small chapter with Gabby and Porter didn’t explain anything. It wasn’t until the middle, when Porter explains everything to Keiki, that it finally made sense. I wish that explanation had come sooner.

I will say that the whole drone/Porter storyline was interesting. My attention was caught when the drone was used to attack Keiki at the Fun Run. I also liked that the author explained everything, down to how they were made. Now Porter did freak me out. He knew things he shouldn’t, and he was gunning for Keiki. I will say that he got what was coming for him.

The end of A Critical Tangent was excellent. The author did a good job wrapping up all of the storylines. I was excited to see how Keiki and Noah ended up. I was also excited when there was a hint as to who the next book was about.


I would give A Critical Tangent 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 would reread A Critical Tangent. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Jesse & The Thinkers (Jesse & Jake: Book 1) by Ken John

Jesse & The Thinkers (Jesse & Jake Book 1) by [John, Ken]

4 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publication: August 11th, 2019

Genre: Middle Grade

Where you can find Jesse & The Thinkers: Amazon | BookBub

Original Review

Book Synopsis:

Jesse Winkler is one of the few who dare to stand out. A ‘weirdo’, the children at the adventure playground call him, and not because of his red bow tie. Strange things always seem to happen when Jesse is around.

No one can quite figure out what ‘Brave Jake’, who happens to be the most popular kid in the playground, sees in ‘Weirdo Jesse’. But Jake always knew. He could just tell. One person’s weirdo is another person’s hero.

Jesse and Jake’s journey turns into a deadly situation when an enemy from another world unleashes a weapon designed to destroy the minds of The Thinkers and anybody who comes across it. They find themselves caught up in a battle that was not meant for them. Or was it?

Jesse and The Thinkers is an action-packed, compulsively readable adventure story, leaving you emotionally involved in the extraordinary characters we meet along the way.


First Line:

It was the summer holidays in the small town of Langley.

Jesse & The Thinkers by Ken John

My Review:

This type of review is a first for me. I have never, in all of the books that I have read, have done a 2nd review. But, when the author approached me to rereview Jesse & The Thinkers, I figured why not. I am glad that I did because Jesse & The Thinkers was just as good as I remembered.

I enjoyed reading Jesse & The Thinkers as much as I did the first time.
Which I didn’t expect. Jesse and Jake’s adventures in Thinkland was action-packed and engaging. The plotline was medium paced and exciting. That made for an enjoyable read.

I enjoyed reading Jesse & The Thinkers as much as I did the first time, which I didn’t expect. Jesse and Jake’s adventures in Thinkland was action-packed and engaging. The plotline was medium paced and exciting. That made for an enjoyable read.

The characters in Jesse & The Thinkers were well written and fleshed out. What I liked about Jesse and Jake is that they didn’t care what other people thought about them, Jesse especially.

Zar was an enigma. There wasn’t a lot said about him except he was an evil general, intent on taking over planets. His brainwave, which caused fear and mayhem, was interesting too. I can’t wait to see what his character ends up being like in book 2.

The end of Jesse & The Thinkers was exciting. There was no end to the plotlines. Instead, the author ended the book on a cliffhanger. The cliffhanger has me pumped to read book 2. I can’t wait to see what Jesse and Jake run into in that book.


I would give Jesse & The Thinkers a Tween rating. There is no sex. There is no language. There is very mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 10 read this book.

I would reread Jesse & The Thinkers. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Thin Ice (Alaska Wild Mysteries: Book 1) by Paige Shelton

Thin Ice: A Mystery by [Shelton, Paige]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: December 3rd 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Alaska Wild Mysteries

Thin Ice—Book 1

Where you can find Thin Ice: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

First in a new series set in Alaska from beloved author Paige Shelton, Thin Ice will chill your bones.

Beth Rivers is on the run – she’s doing the only thing she could think of to keep herself safe. Known to the world as thriller author Elizabeth Fairchild, she had become the subject of a fanatic’s obsession. After being held in a van for three days by her kidnapper, Levi Brooks, Beth managed to escape, and until he is captured, she’s got to get away. Cold and remote, Alaska seems tailor-made for her to hideout.

Beth’s new home in Alaska is sparsely populated with people who all seem to be running or hiding from something, and though she accidentally booked a room at a halfway house, she feels safer than she’s felt since Levi took her. That is, until she’s told about a local death that’s a suspected murder. Could the death of Linda Rafferty have anything to do with her horror at the hands of Levi Brooks?

As Beth navigates her way through the wilds of her new home, her memories of her time in the van are coming back, replaying the terror and the fear—and threatening to keep her from healing, from reclaiming her old life again. Can she get back to normal, will she ever truly feel safe, and can she help solve the local mystery, if only so she doesn’t have to think about her own?


First Line:

The good thing about being suddenly overcome with fresh terror is that you forget everything else you were afraid of.

Thin Ice by Paige Shelton

Book Review:

When I read the blurb for Thin Ice, my attention was caught. A mystery set in a remote town in Alaska? Count me in!! I am glad that I read Thin Ice because this book was fantastic!!

Thin Ice has a fast-moving plotline, which I appreciated. The book’s flow was good too. I didn’t have an issue following the story. There were some plotlines or characters that I had questions about. But, I have a feeling that those will be explained (or explored) in later books.

I did feel that Beth River’s character was a little predictable at first. I also felt that her character was one dimensional. But, as the book went on, her character became anything but predictable. Also, her character fleshed out. Those two things alone made Thin Ice a more enjoyable read for me.

The main plotline centers around Beth. She had been kidnapped and sustained a brain injury when she escaped. She has no recollection of her kidnapper other than a name and the make/model of the van she was held captive in. Fearing that her kidnapper would return for her, she made plans to stay in a small, almost off the grid town in Alaska. I could understand why she wanted to be off the grid. Honestly, if I were in her shoes, I would have done the same. I also got why she didn’t trust anyone. She couldn’t remember what her kidnapper looked like, which is why Beth ran to Alaska and why she didn’t trust anyone there.

Beth’s predictableness, for me, began when she arrived in Alaska and got involved in the murder investigation. There was a point where I was eye-rolling because it was so cliched. A thriller writer gets involved in a mystery of her own. But, the author did add a neat spin to that plotline.

I didn’t like how the detective treated Beth during the book. My internal antenna began to quiver during that first interaction. I felt that she didn’t take Beth’s memories seriously. Heck, I would have been jumping with joy at some of the details that Beth remembered. The detective’s reactions, to me, seemed one of irritation.

I need to mention Beth’s mother. She was obsessed with finding her husband and then added finding Beth’s kidnapper to her agenda. I am rooting for her finding the kidnapper before the police. Why? Because I have a feeling that Beth’s mother is going to lay down some old fashioned, “You don’t mess with my baby” justice.

The townspeople were a motley crew. Each person was running from something, which makes me wonder how these people will be in the upcoming books.

Thankfully, there was no romance in Thin Ice. The book was uber focused on Beth and the murder investigation even to go there. I loved it.

The end of Thin Ice was nail-biting. I was on edge for a couple of chapters because of what was going on. The author did a great job of wrapping up the murder angle of the plotline. But everything else, well, that was left open. I cannot wait to read the next book!!


I would give Thin Ice 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 would reread Thin Ice. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Finding Kyler (The Kennedy Boys: Book 1) by Siobhan Davis

Finding Kyler: A High School Bully Romance (The Kennedy Boys Book 1) by [Davis, Siobhan]

4 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publication: January 9th 2017

Genre: New Adult, Romance

Series: The Kennedy Boys

Finding Kyler—Book 1

Losing Kyler—Book 2

Keeping Kyler—Book 3

The Irish Getaway—Book 3.5

Loving Kalvin—Book 4

Saving Brad—Book 5

Seducing Kaden—Book 6

Forgiving Keven-–Book 7 (Review Here)

Summer in Nantucket—Book 7.5

Releasing Keanu—Book 8

Adoring Keaton—Book 9

Reforming Kent—Book 10

Where you can find Finding Kyler: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Bookbub

Book Synopsis:

Two fractured hearts and a forbidden love they can’t deny.

You shouldn’t want what you can’t have…

Faye Donovan has lost everything. After her parent’s tragic death, she’s whisked away from her home in Ireland when an unknown uncle surfaces as her new guardian.

Dropped smack-dab into the All-American dream, Faye should feel grateful. Except living with her wealthy uncle, his fashion-empire-owning wife, and their seven screwed-up sons is quickly turning into a nightmare—especially when certain inappropriate feelings arise.

Kyler Kennedy makes her head hurt and her heart race, but he’s her cousin.

He’s off limits.

And he’s not exactly welcoming—Kyler is ignorant, moody, and downright cruel at times—but Faye sees behind the mask he wears, recognizing a kindred spirit.

Kyler has sworn off girls, yet Faye gets under his skin. The more he pushes her away, the more he’s drawn to her, but acting on those feelings risks a crap-ton of prejudice, and any whiff of scandal could damage the precious Kennedy brand.

Concealing their feelings seems like the only choice.

But when everyone has something to hide, a secret is a very dangerous thing.

Will I enjoy this book?
Full of scandal, dysfunctional families, teen soap-opera-style angst and drama, secrets and lies, mean girls and catfights, lust and love, book one in the unputdownable Kennedy Boys series will have you flipping the pages’ way beyond bedtime! Only suitable for readers aged seventeen and older due to mature content and language. Please note this book contains a forbidden love theme featuring first cousins and a cliff hanger. It is not a standalone read.

Books in this Series
Finding Kyler
Losing Kyler
Keeping Kyler
The Irish Getaway – optional short novel

KENNEDY BOYS STANDALONE NOVELS
Loving Kalvin- friends-to-lovers second chance romance
Saving Brad – enemies-to-lovers romance
Seducing Kaden – second chance/forbidden romance
Forgiving Keven – second chance romance

The three Kyler books must be read together. Thereafter, every book in the series will focus on a single Kennedy boy and his love interest, and they will be standalone titles with an HEA and no cliffhanger. 


First Line:

“You can’t be serious?”

Finding Kyler by Siobhan Davis

My Review:

I was thrilled when I saw that Siobhan was allowing her readers to catch up on the Kennedy boys series. I was intrigued by the brothers when I was reading Forgiving Keven and when they made an appearance in The Rydeville Elite series. So, I jumped on it, and I am glad that I did. The relationships that made zero sense to me in Forgiving Keven were introduced and somewhat explained.

Finding Kyler had a fast-moving plotline. From the minute, Faye realized that she had American relatives, it zipped along. The flow of the book was fantastic also.

I want to mention, because the author had a foreword about it, that there is a lot of Irish slang in the book, which I expected because the author is from Ireland herself. What I didn’t expect (and what I loved) was that she thoughtfully included a glossary at the end of the book. I was familiar with most of the slang in the book, but I was still taken by surprise by some of the things Faye said.

There was a small bit of ick factor when it came to Faye and Kyler’s relationship with them being 1st cousins. The author chose to play that up instead of letting it slide. Faye was continually reminding herself that her attraction to Kyler was wrong. When people found out about them, their reactions went from happy to disgusted to unhappy. But, putting the ick factor aside, I did enjoy their love story.

Faye walked into a mess when she arrived at the Kennedy household. Let’s say that the Kennedy’s put the fun in dysfunctional. I did feel a little bad for her because she was treated like crap. Kaden, Keven, Keanu, and Kent chose to ignore her. Kalvin kept hitting on her. Kyler ignored her, but at the same time, couldn’t stop watching her. The only decent person in the house was Keaton. Alex seemed nice, but she was never around. James, well, he had issues. Many, many issues. That made for a toxic environment.

Like I mentioned above, there was an ick factor with Kyler and Faye relationship. But, as I also said, I didn’t let that color their romance. In a way, it was sweet. Faye tried so hard not to fall for him. She did everything in her power to stop her feelings. She even went as far as to enroll in another school to stay away from him. It still happened, and it was delicious to read.

The end of Finding Kyler was a big drama fest. There was a huge twist that was revealed that I didn’t see coming. It is not often when a book shocks me, and this book did. With that twist came the cliffhanger, which I didn’t like. But, at the same time, it made me need to read the next book.


I would give Finding Kyler** 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 Finding Kyler. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

**I know that Finding Kyler is a YA/NA marketed book. But, considering everything that went on in the book, I feel more comfortable giving it an Adult rating.