Love You To Death (Moonlight & Murder: Book 6) by Reily Garrett

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Publisher:

Date of publication: June 25th, 2021

Genre: Mystery, Romance

Series: Moonlight & Murder Series

Shifting Targets—Book 0.1

A Critical Tangent—Book 1 (Review Here)

Pivotal Decisions—Book 2

Seeds of Murder—Book 3

An Unlikely Grave—Book 4

Deadly Interception—Book 5 (Review Here)

Love You to Death—Book 6

Purchase Links: Amazon

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Author


Goodreads Synopsis:

Four young women leave their dorm for a night of fun… then vanish. Each holds a unique talent with a promising career post-graduation.

FBI agent Taylor Winston and her K9 partner track the latest victim of a failed kidnapping through the Allegheny Mountains. The case, given lower priority due to lack of evidence linking to prior victims, heats up when the killer sets his sights on acquiring the federal agent.

Veteran Dylan Fitzpatrick relocates to a remote cabin to avoid the good intentions of well-meaning friends. Fresh air, forest, nature. They soothe the soul—until a scream shatters his peaceful solitude.
When a Texan spitfire suspects Dylan is the clever killer behind multiple kidnappings, he delves into a world of lies and deceit, betrayal and unwanted attraction.

Timing is crucial as he protects the strong-willed dynamo with a target on her back.


First Line:

Thick clouds created patchwork shadows on the hills straddling the valley.

Love You to Death by Reily Garrett

I was excited to see that Reily Garrett had released another book in her Moonlight & Murder series. I was even more excited when Reily approached me to review Love You To Death. I immediately said yes. I am glad that I did. Love You To Death is a well-written, fast-moving romantic suspense that I couldn’t put down.

Love You To Death is the 6th book in the Moonlight & Murder series. I recommend reading the previous books in the series but only to get the backstories of the characters mentioned in the book. Other than that, readers can read this book as a standalone.

Love You To Death got off to an explosive start. The book was on fire from the first chapter, where Amelia is drugged and transported somewhere. The author was able to keep that fast pace up for the entire book. There was no lag, and in fact, the plotline ramped up even more towards the end of the book.

I had liked Dylan in Deadly Deceptions, and I loved him in this book. He dealt with everything that came at him with a calm that I know I wouldn’t have. After a rocky start, he was dedicated to keeping Taylor safe. I also loved that he had healed enough from his girlfriend’s death to move on. He had suffered greatly in Deadly Deceptions, and it fitted that he got his happy ending.

I didn’t like Taylor at the beginning of Love You To Death. She came across as very abrasive during that first meeting. I mean, there was a young man with Amelia who was mentally incapacitated (I assumed he had Downs Syndrome, but I could be wrong), and she allowed her K9 to bite him. On top of that, she refused to listen to Dylan and had him tagged as the attacker. Her only reason: He was at the scene when she arrived, and why would he be there (dismissing his claim that he was hiking and heard Amelia scream). She stonewalled anyone who tried to tell her that he couldn’t have done it and dismissed people that told her otherwise. It wasn’t until the middle of the book that I started to have a change of heart. By the end of the book, I liked her and had come to understand her a little better.

Keeping in mind how I felt about Taylor, I did think that she and Dylan had chemistry. The author didn’t spend a lot of time with their sex scenes, but they were hot (just not graphic). I understood why she did it. The plotline with the kidnapping and the investigation was the main focus of the book.

Speaking of the main plotline, I loved it. I couldn’t figure out who it was, and the red herrings that were thrown out, worked. The author kept me guessing at who was kidnapping the co-eds while sneaking in chapters with the kidnapper.

The end of Love You To Death was terrific. I was surprised at who the kidnapper was (the author answered the why of that earlier in the book). The author also left with a mini-cliffhanger. I didn’t mind it because I believe it leads into the next book.


Love You To Death is a well-written romantic suspense novel. I couldn’t put it down.

I would recommend Love You To Death to anyone over the age of 21. There is violence, mild language, and sexual situations.

Wishes by Starlight: A Tale of Cinderella (HighTower Fairytales: Book 15) by Jacque Stevens

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Publisher: sjacquebooks

Date of publication: January 1st, 2021

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Series: HighTower Fairytales

Winter Falls—Book 1 (review here)

Cry Wolf—Book 2

Lone Wolf—Book 3

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing—Book 4

Between Dog and Wolf—Book 5

Wolves at Bay—Book 6

Depths—Book 7

Graves—Book 8

Storms—Book 9

Robin’s Hood—Book 10

Marian’s Man—Book 11

Lion’s Heart—Book 12

Letters by Cinderlight—Book 14 (Review Here)

Wishes by Starlight—Book 15

Purchase Links: Amazon

Format Read: Published Book

Received From: Author


Goodreads Synopsis:

I, Elya Pavlovna, went to the prince’s Maslenitsa celebration, and I’m still not sure who I am or what will happen next.

After running from a fairy and a prince, Elya is on her own for the first time. The unknown wilds are dark and dangerous, but she knows that if she is found she could be used to destroy everything she has come to love.

But with her sisters asking for her help and her beloved prince in distress, hiding might no longer be an option.

The slipper fits, now will she wear it?

If you like inspirational heroines, unique love stories, and untrustworthy fae, this romantic fantasy retelling is for you! One-click now to start the magic, romance, and heart-wrenching emotional journey!

Wishes by Starlight is the direct sequel to Letters by Cinderlight, a twist on the Cinderella story based in Slavic mythology and full of magical fairies with stories of their own.


First Line:

Elya,

Valiant says you ran, that no one forced you to go.

Wishes by Starlight by Jacque Stevens

I was very excited to start reading Wishes by Starlight. After the cliffhanger ending of Letters by Cinderlight, I needed to know what would happen to Elya and if she would get her happy ending.

Elya’s character had a lot of growth during the course. I loved watching her realize her worth and overcome the trauma of the abuse she suffered. That first started when she stopped local boys from teasing her stepsisters and continued throughout the book. I had tears in my eyes when she finally faced Charming.

Charming was the real MVP of the book. He did what the people of her village couldn’t or wouldn’t do; he stood up for her. He also gave her time (well, kind of) while writing letters in the magical book to Elya. I believe he would have waited forever for her if Lady Mother hadn’t done what she did.

The author ended the storyline with Elya’s abuse in a very satisfying way. Finally, Lady Mother got what she deserved. I cheered when Elya did what she did. Lady Mother deserved it.

The end of Wishes by Starlight was terrific. Finally, everyone got their happy endings. I loved when Lada showed up and validated everything. What she said as she left made me laugh (and made me wonder if she would be a regular appearance in their lives).


Wishes by Starlight was a great book to read. It kept my attention, and I loved seeing Elya find her happy ending.

I would recommend Wishes by Starlight to anyone over the age of 16. There is mild violence.

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

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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.

Ember of Night (Ember of Night: Book 1) by Molly E. Lee

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Ember of Night by Molly E. Lee

Publisher: Entangled Publishing, Entangled: Teen

Date of publication: May 4th, 2021

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Series: Ember of Night

Ember of Night—Book 1

Shadow of Light—Book 2 (expected publication date: November 30th, 2021)

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

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher


Goodreads Synopsis:

I am a weed.

Unloved by my abusive, alcoholic dad. Unwanted by my classmates. Unnoticed by everyone else.

But I’d suffer anything to give my kid sister a better life—the minute I turn eighteen, I’m getting us the hell out of here. And some hot stranger telling me I am the key to stopping a war between Heaven and Hell isn’t going to change that.

Let the world crumble and burn, for all I care.

Draven is relentless, though. And very much a liar. Every time his sexy lips are moving, I can see it—in the dip of his head, the grit of his jaw—even if my heart begs me to ignore the signs.

So what does he want?

I need to figure it out fast, because now everyone is gunning for me. And damn if I don’t want to show them what happens when you let weeds thrive in the cracks of the pavement…

We can grow powerful enough to shatter the whole foundation.


First Line:

Even from our position on the roof, the alleyway reeks of cured meats and rain-soaked garbage, the stench curling upward like it’s as desperate to leave this place as I am.

Ember of Night by Molly E. Lee

I am going to start this review with a warning. There are graphic scenes of child abuse in Ember of Night. Not only did it trigger me, but I was shaking mad at every adult in the book (including Harley’s boss). How many black eyes and burn marks can you see before thinking, “Well, maybe something is going on, and I should get involved.” Shame on them (and yes, I was invested emotionally at this point). Because of how graphic the abuse got (in one scene, Harley’s father beats her unconscious), I highly recommend that older teens read this book.

Before you all go, “Oh wow, graphic abuse, yeah, not for me,” I do want to add that the author did mention the abuse in her author’s note, AND she gave resources out if you/someone you know is being abused. So a huge kudos to her for not only the warning but for making those resources available at the beginning of the book.

Harley was my hero for the entire book. Understandably, she had almost no self-esteem, and there were times where she wanted to commit suicide. But, she had a lifeline. She had her 7-year-old sister, Ray, to protect and take care of.

Harley dealt with the supernatural part of the book better than I would have. I mean, she was attacked by three different types of demons, found out that her martial arts instructor was a demon, and learned what Draven was all within an afternoon. I would have been in a corner, sobbing my eyes out and rocking back and forth. But not Harley. She went out and kicked ass (all while making sure that Ray was safe).

I loved Draven too. He was hot and broody. He had an instant connection with Harley that he tried to ignore. I mean, he was supposed to find out if she was the Key (it is explained in the book) and then kill her if she was. He wasn’t supposed to develop feelings for her or protect her from the demons trying to get at her. His backstory was even more tragic than Harley’s. He wasn’t abused like she was, exactly. Instead, he was an outcast because of his unique abilities.

Harley and Draven’s romance was sweet. They were not looking to fall in love with each other. There were sparks whenever they were together. I expected them to admit their feelings sooner but was pleasantly surprised when it happened later rather than sooner.

There is sexual content in the book. Harley and Draven do get together in Ember of Night. The author does a great job of leading up to them having sex with some heavy petting scenes before ending the chapter. It wasn’t graphic, but it was implied.

The main storyline was well written. The author did a fantastic job of keeping me guessing at what Draven was going to do when Harley grew into her powers. A massive twist in that plotline (involving Harley’s father) took me 100% by surprise. I had to put down my book and take a minute to process it, and it was that big of a surprise.

Several more minor storylines were well written and were successfully merged into the main storyline by the end of the book. These secondary storylines fleshed out certain characters and explained why certain people did things in the book.

The author did a fantastic job of creating a complex and diverse world where demons and angels intermingled with humans. I couldn’t get enough of the different races of demons or angels.

The end of Ember of Night was a shock. Not only because of the big battle scene, which was truly magnificent, but with what was revealed.

My only complaint about the ending was it was a cliffhanger. I hate cliffhangers!!!


I enjoyed reading Ember of Night. It was a well-written book that kept me glued to the pages.

I would recommend Ember of Night to anyone over the age of 16. There are graphic child abuse scenes. There is implied sex. There are scenes of heavy petting. There is violence, and there is language.

Fool Me Once (Blackhawk Security: Book 3) by Margaret Watson

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Fool Me Once by Margaret Watson

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of publication: May 15th, 2021

Genre: Romance, Suspense, Contemporary

Series: Blackhawk Security Series

Once Removed—Book 1 (review here)

Once Burned—Book 2 (review here)

Fool Me Once—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Google Play

Format Read: Published Book

Received From: Author


Goodreads Synopsis:

When attorney Alexandra comes home early and overhears her husband Jerry hiring a hitman to kill her, she runs. Heads toward Seattle. After being a street kid there, she knows how to disappear.

But a man is following her. After she finds a tracking device, she wonders if tall, compelling Gideon is Jerry’s hired killer.

Alex and Gideon become stranded in a massive snowstorm. Snowed in at a tiny hotel, Alex isn’t sure which is more dangerous – her husband, who is likely coming after her? Or the dark stranger she’s trapped with? A man who’s clearly hiding secrets.


First Line:

Alex curled her fingers around the stem of the shallow glass as the loud, happy voices of her staff bounced off the restaurant’s walls.

Fool Me Once by Margaret Watson

I know that I have said this several times, but I love the romantic suspense genre. There is something about seeing a romance blossom while the main characters either fight for their lives or try to uncover a plot (or sometimes both) that makes me happy. So, it was a no-brainer for me when Margaret emailed me to let me know that book three was available for review.

Fool Me Once is the 3rd book in the Blackhawk Security series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. The characters from the previous books do make appearances, but they don’t take over the storyline, which I liked.

As with the previous two books, Fool Me Once is a fast-paced book. Right from the beginning, when Alex overhears her husband hiring a hitman to kill her, it was super fast. There was a small amount of lag once Gideon and Alex get to the Blackhawk Security compound, but the author could get the book back on track and keep the fast pace up until the end of the book.

Alex was a tough cookie with a backstory that broke my heart. At times, she came across as abrasive, and there were a few times where she was unlikable. But, in the end, I did like her and was rooting for her.

I wasn’t too sure what to think about Gideon. He came across as a bit stalkerish at the beginning of the book. His backstory wasn’t fully explained until they got stuck in the motel. Gideon’s backstory wasn’t as heartbreaking as Alex’s, but it was still sad.

The suspense angle of the book was well written. I liked that the author decided to go the Russian mafia/corrupt federal agent route. It made the book so much more interesting to read.

The romance angle of the book was well written also. I liked that the author didn’t have the characters jump right into bed with each other. Instead, there was a wait. There was InstaLove, but I did expect it.

I loved the end of Fool Me Once. I am not going to get into it, but there is a HEA. Plus, Alex’s ex-husband got what he deserved.


I enjoyed reading Fool Me Once. It was a fast-paced book with memorable characters. Plus, the romance was enjoyable to read.

I would recommend Fool Me Once to anyone over the age of 21. There is non-graphic violence, sex, and some mild language.

Legacy by Nora Roberts

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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.

Blog Tour: Fearless (Less Than Zero: Book 3) by Kaylene Winter

Fearless (Less Than Zero, #3)

Publisher: Rockstar Romance LLC

Date of Publication: March 17th, 2021

Genre: Romance

Series: Less Than Zero

Restless—Book 0.5

Endless: Ty & Zoey—Book 1

Limitless: Jace & Alex—Book 2

Fearless: Connor & Ronni—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received: For Blog Tour from coordinator

Trigger Warning: Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault (implied in one case), Alcoholism, Drug Use (talked about)


Goodreads Synopsis:

Family is everything, I protect mine with my life..

Connor McGloughlin had it all, a great family, a college scholarship and music.
Tragedy forced him to grow up too fast.
When his life finally is on track, Ronni Miller appears like a dream.
Kindred spirits in the most unlikely of circumstances.
There’s only one thing in the way—
Her dark past he’s determined to protect her from.

When your innocence is stolen, trust is a precious gift..

Actress Ronni Miller tasted fame at a young age.
But her path to stardom was riddled with tragedy.
She never imagined falling for Connor McGloughlin, a rogue, Irish rock star.
The thing is? Ronni’s got revenge on her mind.
Regardless of the risk or the consequences—
Or losing the one thing in her life that makes her feel alive.

Connor has only ever asked Ronni for one thing: her heart.
But when her bravery is couched in lies?
She risks losing the man who would do anything for her.
Will she realize being fearless means trusting true love?


First Line:

“Fuck my life!” Byron Angel, the pampered second-bit actor screeched just before shoving his chips over to me.

Fearless by Kaylene Winters

Review

When I read the blurb for Fearless, I knew that this was a book that I wanted to read. I decided that I would look past that it was book 3 in the Less Than Zero series. That is how much the blurb hooked me into reading the book. I figured that if I liked Fearless, I can go back and read the first two books (actually three because of the prequel). And I was right on all counts!!

Fearless is a medium-paced book in both storyline and pacing. With these types of books, I have come to expect a fast-paced plotline/storyline. So, I was surprised when Fearless started at a medium pace and kept it up for the entire book. I enjoyed it. It allowed me to digest what was going on (and a lot was going on initially).

Fearless has dual storylines (Connor and Ronni’s). Usually, I’m not too fond of it when there is more than one storyline. But in this case, and considering what Ronni was doing/had gone through, it was needed. To try and condense everything to one storyline wouldn’t have had the impact it did.

I thought the author did a fantastic job showing how toxic Hollywood was (and still is). I got chills when I read about Ronni’s time on the TV show and how it affected her. I also liked that the author showed that men could be forced into the same #MeToo situations as women. I never gave that much thought until I read this book. Then I remembered Corey Feldman and his claims about the same things happening in Fearless, and I began to wonder. How many times is the “casting couch” used for men and women to get parts? How many times are teenagers (and adults) forced to do things they usually wouldn’t do with producers/directors to get juicier parts? And how many of those people are forced out of the business/blackballed/labeled difficult because they refused or had parents that said: “No Fucking Way?” (like Ronni’s mom). Just food for thought.

The author also highlighted something else that I have rarely heard of—being a beard. Being a beard means that a straight woman will date a closeted gay man to convince people/keep up the appearance that the man is straight. Ronni was a beard, and she was a beard with a mission. She was collecting evidence against one of the TV producers whose show she was in when she was a teenager. The men she dated were victims of him. It was very compelling to read.

Connor’s backstory wasn’t as traumatic as Ronni’s, but it was pretty sad. His father had a horrible car crash when Connor was in high school and soon spiraled into alcoholism with a side of gambling addiction. Connor ended up dropping out of high school to run the family business. He also learned how to play poker to recover the money his father lost. His outlet was the band. The road to fame was gradual for him (it was several years before the band hit it big), and he dealt with a lot of verbal abuse from his father. It was sad to read, and I could emphasize Connor’s frustration.

Connor and Ronni’s love story didn’t get off to a great start. They met at a concert, there were sparks, and then he took off (thinking she would follow). She didn’t and thought he was a player. It wasn’t until she and her friend hitched a ride to Australia with the band that they got to know each other. That is where their relationship began. The author didn’t end the book after their initial hook-up. Nope, instead, the book kept going for several years before everything blew up. Ronni and Connor were together for 3-4 (maybe more) years by the time things went down.

For those of you who like hot sex scenes, Connor and Ronni’s were insanely hot. I loved it!! They were like bunnies every time they got together—days and days of sex. My only complaint was that Connor and Ronni were going bareback very soon into their relationship. And they didn’t get tested. Why would I be bothered? Because Connor turned into a man whore after his longtime girlfriend dumped him. He slept his way across Europe (implied). Other than that, I was all in!!

The author wonderfully wrote the main storyline (see above). Saying that I wouldn’t have been as patient as Connor was with Ronni while she was bearding. I also understood why he did what he did. But, saying that, I was surprised at the turn that the storyline took.

I will say that the secondary characters were terrific in Fearless. Ronni had such a great support group, and Connor’s bandmates were incredible. They made this book so much more interesting to read.

Fearless can be read as a stand-alone book, even though it is book 3 in the series. There are references to previous books and characters, but nothing made me go “Uh” or “WTF.” It made me want to read the previous books and see what their stories were.

There were a couple of things that I didn’t like about Fearless. First, I wouldn’t say I liked how the book began. I was left lost in the first couple of chapters. It isn’t until almost the end of the book that the first couple of chapters make sense. Secondly, I thought the ending was typical, which was disappointing. Ronni and Connor were anything but ordinary and to have that sort of conclusion was “eh.


Fearless was an emotional, well-written romance. The romance was excellent, and I loved that the author jumped into current events. The medium-paced storyline complemented the story.

I would recommend Fearless for anyone over the age of 21. There is graphic sex. There is violence. There are scenes of the aftermath of sexual abuse. There is talk of a suicide. There is talk of drug use. There are graphic examples of alcohol abuse.


AUTHOR BIO:

When she was only 15, Kaylene Winter wrote her first rocker romance novel starring a fictionalized version of herself, her friends and their gorgeous rocker boyfriends. After living her own rockstar life as a band manager, music promoter and mover and shaker in Seattle during the early 1990’s, Kaylene became a digital media legal strategist helping bring movies, television and music online. Throughout her busy career, Kaylene lost herself in romance novels across all genres inspiring her to realize her life-long dream to be a published author. She lives in Seattle with her amazing husband and dog. She loves to travel, throw lavish dinner parties and support charitable causes supporting arts and animals.


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Hidden Fury (Annie Fitch Mysteries: Book 2) by Marie Flanigan

Hidden Fury (Annie Fitch Mysteries Book 2)
Hidden Fury by Marie Flanigan

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

March 2nd, 2021

Genre: Romance, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Annie Fitch Mysteries

Exposed Fury—Book 1 (Review Here)

Hidden Fury—Book 2

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Format Read: unedited ARC

Received: from Author for honest review

Trigger Warnings: Mild violence, talk of past child abuse, speculation of incest/rape


Amazon Synopsis:

As a former cop turned private investigator, Annie Fitch hopes to never be in the line of fire again, so she’s expanded her business to include installing security systems. She’s thrilled to be hired by Preston Farr, a farmer with a vandalism problem on his family’s historic apple orchard and farm.

Preston’s roots in the community run deep. His family has held the same property in Leesburg, Virginia, since the 1700s. The two get to know each other over the course of the job. When Preston asks her out after the work is done, she accepts. After all, Annie’s on-again, off-again love affair with her childhood best friend, Ford, is currently off. Why should she mope until he decides it’s on again?

What she intended to be a fun, casual romp with Preston turns serious quickly when Annie’s newly installed security cameras record startling footage. Family secrets begin to unravel, echoing over two hundred years of heartache and violence.


First Line:

They say when you’re dying, you see a light at the end of a long, dark tunnel, but when I was dying, I didn’t see that.

Hidden Fury by Marie Flanigan

My Review:

I like a good mystery. I like it when the mystery I am reading sucks me in and keeps me on edge for the entire book. I also like it when the characters are relatable. Sometimes, when I read a mystery, the characters are a little over the top. While in some cases, it is what the book needs, in other cases, it is a distraction. Fortunately, for Hidden Fury, I was kept on edge, and the characters were relatable.

Hidden Fury is the 2nd book in the Annie Fitch Mystery series. It takes place several months after the events of Exposed Fury. Annie, a PI, has expanded her business to include installing security systems. One of her first customers is Preston Farr, the owner of a historic orchard. His business is being vandalized, and he wants to find out who it is. Annie and Preston have an immediate connection and start a romantic relationship shortly after the system is installed. But, there is more going on at Preston’s orchard than just vandalism. After a skeleton is found in an abandoned, historic church on Preston’s property, Annie is compelled to solve the mystery of who it was. Will she solve the mystery? Will her relationship with Preston survive the truth?

The plotline for Hidden Fury was medium-paced which was fine with me. I like medium-paced plotlines with mysteries. It gives the plotline time to evolve (and in this case, it did) and for me to become engrossed in the book.

There is one main storyline with several secondary storylines in Hidden Fury. The primary and secondary storylines were well written. What I enjoyed is when the main storyline ended (when Annie caught who was vandalizing Preston’s farm and why), the author then had the storyline for the church become the main storyline. I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed how the author did it!!

There were a couple of twists in the plotlines. One was revealed in the middle of the book. I can safely say with that twist; I saw it coming. The other twist I saw coming but was stilled surprised (and saddened) when it was revealed.

The characters in Hidden Fury were well written and had a depth to them. Annie, by far, was my favorite. I was a little disappointed that her brother and Ford weren’t featured in this book.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Preston. He came across as a very indecisive man. I also wouldn’t have doubted the story that my great-uncle was telling. But, I can understand why he acted the way he acted. He was a decent person outside of the drama. I hope that Annie and his relationship are still ongoing in book 3 (if there is one).

As I mentioned above, I thought the mystery was well written. The author did throw some red herrings out to try, and they did distract me, but in the end, I figured out both. I still enjoyed the lead-up to both reveals.

The end of Hidden Fury was terrific. The author wrapped up the storyline and plotline. She also left some wiggle room for a book 3.


Hidden Fury is a well-written mystery. Even though I was able to figure out both mysteries, I enjoyed the lead-up to the reveals. It had an excellent medium-paced storyline.

I would recommend Hidden Fury to anyone over the age of 21. There are flashbacks to how Annie got her brain injury. There is also a mention of child abuse, insect, rape resulting in pregnancy, murder, racism, and a church’s desecration. There are sex scenes but nothing explicit.

Once Removed (Blackhawk Security: Book 1) by Margaret Watson

Once Removed (Blackhawk Security Book 1) by [Margaret Watson]

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of publication: January 15th, 2021

Genre: Romance

Series: Blackhawk Security

Once Removed—Book 1

Once Burned—Book 2

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Indigo | Kobo

Format Read: eBook

Got book from: Author via BookFunnel

Trigger Warning: Child Abuse (not graphic but talked about), Domestic Violence (not graphic, talked about), mild violence

Goodreads Synopsis:

When Lainey becomes trapped in a burning building with her almost-divorced husband’s body, Brody rescues her just in time. And when she realizes the killer is now after her, she takes refuge at Brody’s Montana ranch.

Lainey and Brody have been fighting their attraction for years. But as the barriers between them fall, Lainey rescues Phoebe, a runaway teen, from the compound where her husband died. Now they’re forced to focus on Phoebe and an invisible threat.

Whoever murdered her husband has eyes on Lainey. Will their fragile new family survive a desperate predator? Can they protect Phoebe, identify the killer and find their happily ever after?


Synopsis Overview:

Lainey is looking for her ex-husband to serve him divorce papers. Knowing that he was working as a security guard at a compound, she heads there. Instead of finding him, giving him the forms, and leavingLainey finds his body. She is then assaulted and left to die in a burning building. Lainey is saved by Brody, a rancher who happened to be in the area.

Under suspicion of her ex-husband’s death, Lainey is forced to move in with Brody when someone tries to break into her house, and the police don’t do anything about it. Deciding to stop at the compound to see if any clues could clear her name, Brody and Lainey find a tween scavenging for food. Deciding to take Phoebe in, Lainey and Brody realize that even a well-fortified ranch can’t protect Lainey from whoever is after her.

Brody and Lainey also have to deal with their growing feelings for each other. Both of them have good reasons for wanting to take it slow. Lainey, it is because her husband physically abused her. Brody, it’s because his ex-wife played games with him. Also, Brody has a secret, and he is afraid that if Lainey finds out what it is, she will reject him.

Will Lainey find out who is after her and why? Will Brody trust Lainey with his secret? And will Phoebe be safe?


Once Removed is the love story of Lainey and Brody. What I liked about Once Removed is that it wasn’t an InstaLove story. Lainey and Brody had known each other for a couple of years before anything happened. Lainey was Brody’s accountant, and their attraction grew over the years instead of over a couple of weeks. Now, saying that, the book did move fast when it came to the relationship. Lainey and Brody were living together for a couple of days. But the author allowed their romantic relationship to grow.

The mystery/thriller angle of Once Removed was well written. The author kept me guessing who was going after Lainey and why that person was doing it. I did have a small suspicion, but that was proven wrong when the bad guy was revealed.

Phoebe’s storyline was well written, and I loved how the author merged them towards the end of the book. It also pulled on my heartstrings. The pain that Phoebe was feeling was transparent. Her gradual acceptance of Brody (and more immediate acceptance of Lainey) was heartwarming. I liked that the author didn’t get into graphic detail about the abuse and neglect that Phoebe endured. The little snippets that were shared were enough to make me go teary-eyed.

I also liked that the author chose not to go into details about the abuse Lainey endured. Yes, she talked about it, but it wasn’t graphic. I also liked that the author chose to tackle a problem regarding law enforcement and domestic violence. Instead of her ex being reprimanded, the sheriff’s office closed rank around him. They ignored what he was doing until they couldn’t. Sadly, this is more common than what we think, and I am glad that the author chose to showcase it.

While Brody’s secret wasn’t necessarily a bad one, it was still significant. I won’t go into what it was, but I could understand why he was hesitant to call DCF about Phoebe.

There is sex in Once Removed. It was tastefully written, and nothing was graphic. I did have to laugh in the events leading up to Brody and Lainey having sex. There were a couple of near misses with Phoebe that made me go, “Yeah, I can relate. “

The end of Once Removed was your typical mystery/romance. The reveal of the bad guy did surprise me. Only because it wasn’t who I thought it was going to be. The author also set up the next book in the series perfectly. And the epilogue was PERFECT!! I loved it!!


Once Removed was a fantastic romance/mystery. It was fast-paced with a mystery that the author kept me guessing until the end of the book. I cannot wait to read book 2!!

I am going to recommend that no one under the age of 21 read Once Removed. There is talk of spousal and child abuse (not graphic). There is an attempted murder at the beginning of the book and an attempted kidnapping at the end. There is sex, but nothing explicit.