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Page Turners

A lifetime of loving to read leads me to wanting to share my thoughts on what I'm reading now.

Drizzled With Death by Jessie Crockett

Drizzled with Death - Jessie Crockett

DRIZZLED WITH DEATH

Jessie Crockett

October 4, 2013

4 stars

Move over Janet Evanovich, her comes Jessie Crockett. A murder with more suspects than you shake a stick at, all with different motives, a van filled with exotic animals who are set free and a charming little town in New England all adds up to one of the funniest cozy mysteries that I have read in a long time.

We start out getting to know Dani (although we never find out her mysterious full first name) Greene who has lied to her family so she can stay home and enjoy some quiet from her family’s full throttle holiday plans. She heads to her sugar shack, the headquarters for her growing maple syrup business. But she is startled by spotting a mountain lion on the porch. The trouble is the police and the game and fish warden believe she had an hallucination.

Graham Paterson, the game and fish warden, answers the call but finds no evidence of the mountain lion and is convinced Dani has been drinking or hallucinating.  The next morning finds him, however, at the Sap Bucket Brigade Pancake-Eating Contest where he intends to inform the town of the exotic animals on the loose but never gets the chance when the most hated woman in town, Alanza Speedwell lands face first in her stack of pancakes.

In between interviewing suspects to clear her own name, Graham teasingly calls Dani the exotic whisperer when the animals run amok and she ends up finding them each and every time.

Ms. Crockett has deftly woven a hysterical tale with twists and turns but is character driven rather than plot driven. The Greene family is fascinating and deals with the everyday strife that every family faces. The reader can feel Dani’s frustration and worry that someone she has known all of her life is a cold-blooded murderer.

I purchased this book for enjoyment.

I just love this video and song, lol. So funny!

Designed to Death by Christina Freeburn

Designed to Death - Christina Freeburn

Designed to Death

Christina Freeburn

Henery Press

September 6, 2013

4 stars

Designed to Death is book two in the Faith Hunter Scrap This mystery series. This was a page turner and I honestly did not figure out whodunit and was surprised by the end, always a treat for me. I’ve been known to know who did it within the first chapter…one time before the murder even happened. Kudos to Ms. Freeburn. I’m going to have to go back and read book 1, which I believe I do have.

Faith Hunter has returned home after a devastating incident involving her former husband while serving in the military. Her grandmothers own a row house, and they kept the third unit for Faith for when she returned. She was raised by her grandmothers after her parents were tragically killed, and they run the scrapbooking store, Scrap This, and have hired Faith on to manage it.

The excitement begins in the store when they host a book signing for a customer who was named a Life Artist Diva by a scrapping magazine. However, her cousin storms in and claims that Belinda won by submitting her layouts. A brawl ensues and the event ends dismally. Later that night, Faith receives a phone call from the security company that they picked up a disturbance. Faith tells them to call the police and decides to go to the store to see what is going on, intent on protecting her grandmothers. Luckily, Faith heads two doors down and rouses her neighbor, Steve, the assistant prosecutor and the man her grandmothers want her to have a future with. When they arrive at the store, they find Belinda dead at the back door. Despite her best efforts to stay out of the investigation, much to the chagrin of homicide detective Ted Roget, her efforts to protect her grandmothers leave Faith over her head in danger.

Likable characters who are not perfect make the Scrap This series one that I look forward to visiting over and over. There are red herrings and suspects aplenty, along with assorted motives that fit each one. If you like cozy mysteries, you’ll enjoy Designed to Death.

I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a review.

Along Came a Spider By Kate SeRine

Along Came a Spider - Kate SeRine

Along Came a Spider

eKensington

Kate SeRine

August 1, 2013

5 stars

Kate SeRine’s Transplanted Tales never fails to deliver on steamy, heart wrenching romance, action and suspense. I love how she continues to visit with characters from previous books while keeping the focus on the featured couple. Along Came a Spider is book 3, featuring Beatrice “Trish” Muffet who works in forensics for the FMA and Nicky Blue who is a combination of gangster and now, vigilante, known as The Spider.

Both Trish and Nicky were attracted to one another when they were transplanted into the Here And Now, but never acted on it. Nicky wed another and Trish immersed herself in her work. But when tale vampires begin to attack the Ordinaries, Trish is investigating when she finds herself being attacked. To her surprise, The Spider AKA Nicky rescues her. Nicky was thrown into a vigilante lifestyle after his wife was murdered and blamed himself. There are things he doesn’t know, but Trish, who reads the last thoughts of victims, does. Things she doesn’t want to tell him.

Transplanted Tales is one of those series where each installment is like visiting with old friends. It’s like a mash up of Grimm, Once Upon a Time and Sleepy Hollow. If you like any of these shows, you will love this sparkling series. I am anxiously awaiting the novella coming out in spring 2014 and then the next installment next summer.

I received the ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Driven by Eve Kenin AKA Eve Silver

Driven - Eve Silver, Eve Kenin

Eve Silver
Eve Silver
May 28, 2012
4 stars
In a bleak, dystopian world Raina Bowen is a loner and survivor. At twelve, she survived a brutal attack by Duncan Bane, the man who is running the world and the constant abuse inflicted on her by her father Sam. Now an ice trucker Raina has one goal on her mind…to win the delivery to Gladow contest so she can leave the frozen wasteland and make a home at the equator for her previously unknown sister and herself. All she needs is a pass…
Wizard, the man who was to meet Raina and deliver the much needed pass to her is not only late for their meeting, he has run afoul of Bane’s men and the pass he has is stolen, rendering it useless. He insinuates himself into Raina’s life as a traveling companion and as they face the hazards of the road , they grow closer. But once she finds out about his betrayal, Raina has to determine if she can overcome it and build a future with Wizard. Oh and did I mention that Wizard reminds me of Mr. Spock?
Driven was so much fun to read. Ms. Silver’s skill has the story play out in your mind like a big screen summer blockbuster. It has everything, exciting action, romance, over the top villainy. If you like futuristic tales that would make great movies, you have to pick this book up!
Driven was purchased by me.

The Better To See You by Kate SeRine

The Better To See You - Kate SeRine

The Better To See You
Kate SeRine
Kensington Publishing
February 7, 2013
5 Stars

The Better To See You is the second story in the Transplanted Tale series, and it does not fail to keep up the romance, the action and the fun from the first book Red.
Many of the Tales from Make Believe were transported to the Here and Now during a battle during a fairy godmother and a genie, and the fairy godmother’s magic went awry. The Better To See You is the story of Lavender Seelie, the fairy godmother in question. Cut off from her family and her powers limited, Lavender settled in to continuing on as Cinderella’s fairy godmother in the here and now. Lavender has had it and during a fight with James AKA Prince Charming, not only did she shrink his manhood, but lost control of her magic again and burned down their castle. In order to keep Lavender safe, her friend Red sent her across the country to the Refuge where other tales were making a life of their own.
Seth Wolf, also known as the Big Bad Wolf, has been living on the outskirts of the Refuge and trying his best to fit in. The last thing he needs is a fairy godmother with magic gone awry, but when he saves her from a hellhound not far from his cabin, their lives become entwined and then their hearts. But the hellhound was just the tip of the iceberg. Something is very wrong in the Refuge.
Transplanted Tales is becoming one of my favorite series ever. With a touch of the show Once Upon a Time and the darkness from Grimm and a lot of originality, this series is a win. The main characters are likable and work through their conflicts in a believable way, there is a good mix of grey area characters who are bit good and a bit bad and her villains are just as dark as can be.
This series isn’t to be missed. I only wish I could give the book more than 5 stars.
This book was purchased by me.

Gaming For Keeps by Seleste Delaney

Gaming for Keeps - Seleste deLaney

Gaming For Keeps
Seleste Delaney
Entangled Publishing
June 10, 2013
Only after inviting a girl that he met in an online MMORPG to meet him at a gaming convention does Cal Burrows learn there is danger afoot at the convention. As a spy, he has been enlisted to get hold of a code that a terrorist is sending through at the convention so they can find out what he’s up to. He can only hope that her hesitation in accepting his invitation will convince her to stay home.
Penelope Holloway is drawn to the online persona of the man who invited her to the game convention. Her first relationship begun online and ended badly, and while she is hesitant, Pen not only is curious about her online friend but she has enjoyed going to the convention in the past. After a case of mistaken identity, she decides her friend is a jerk as well before accidentally meeting up with him in the bar and finding out later who he is. Except she never suspected he was a spy or that her life was going to be in danger at the convention.
Gaming For Keeps was a pure delight to read. The characters were likable (I always find the geek characters are people I would enjoy hanging out with). The pace was face, the sex was hot and the action kept me on the edge of my seat. If you’re worried that the novella length won’t give you a full story, leave that worry at the door. This is the perfect length.
ARC provided by publisher for honest review.

Texas Hold 'Em by Kay David

Texas Hold 'Em: A Smokin' ACES Novel (Entangled Suspense) - Kay David

Texas Hold ‘Em
Kay David
Entangled Publishing
April 28, 2013
4 stars

Texas Hold ‘Em is the first in an ongoing series called Smokin’ ACES. We begin with the team leader, Timothy Santos’s story. He has come back home in undercover operation to bring down a Mexican cartel drug lord as well as find out what happened to his informant who was on the inside. He stumbles on to is former lover, the sheriff of the town, Rose Renwick, pinned down by gunfire in a remote location. He tries to explain what is going on, but Rose isn’t believing him.
Rose Renwick feels her former lover only cares about one thing, catching the bad guy by any means possible. When she discovers he is using her black sheep mother, things go from the frying pan in to the fire. The trail leads over the border to Mexico where Rose discovers her mother and his informant are one and the same.
I have to say, I’m not sure I would have given Timothy nearly as much trust as Rose does, even hesitatingly. For a while his lies to her were compounding and I was doubting they would get together but the author managed to believably bring Timothy around to some self-discovery. Texas Hold ‘Em is heavier on the suspense side than the romance side, but that’s the way I like it. I enjoy a lot of action in my romantic suspenses. I eagerly look forward to the sequel, Follow the Cowboy coming in November.
ARC provided by publisher in exchange for honest review.

A Rose In The Storm by Brenda Joyce

A Rose in the Storm - Brenda Joyce

A Rose In the Storm
Brenda Joyce
June 25, 2013
3 ½ stars

I was ecstatic to see a new medieval period romance coming out. There are two few of them being released, so I pounced on the chance to review this. I started off sort of ambivalent as I felt, in my opinion, that the writing was a bit passive- heavier on the telling than showing side of things. Luckily the characters and story itself was intriguing enough to maintain my interest.
Margaret Comyn is enroute to her legacy, the dowry provided by her mother, in the form of Castle Fyne. It is a strategically placed keep and she is heading there to prepare the castle for her marriage to Sir Guy, who is English. Both Margaret and her brother are uncertain in regards to a highland lass marrying an English knight, but her uncle feels it is a good match. Upon arrival, Castle Fyne is under siege from the Wolf of Lochabar, Alexander MacDonald. Having too few knights and warriors, the castle put up a fight, under Margaret’s untried guidance, but ultimately fell. Margaret fights her attraction to Alexander, as he is a MacDonald, a blood enemy of the Comyns and he also fights for Robert Bruce in his attempt to take the crown.
Alexander finds himself attracted to Lady Margaret and treats her with respect and kindness regardless of what plots she stirs against him. He spends his time trying to woo her to his side and loyalty, knowing that Sir Guy would not treat her well. Alexander knows she is desirous of him but in denial.
Once I reached the climax of the story, with the battles between King Edward’s armies and Robert Bruce’s, as well as the ultimate showdown between Alexander and Guy, I couldn’t put the book down and stayed up late into the night, engrossed in the world Ms. Joyce had created.
I received this ARC from Netgalley for review.

Disenchanted & Co. Part 1: Her Ladyship's Curse by Lynn Viehl

Her Ladyship's Curse - Lynn Viehl

Disenchanted & Co. 001
Lynn Viehl
August 12, 2013
4 ½ stars

Set in steampunk America, known as Toriana due to losing the Revolution, Her Ladyship’s Curse is the first installment in a series filled with magic, mystery and danger. Charmian “Kitt” Kittredge is a woman on her own with a business of her own. A non-believer in magic, Kitt investigates the unexplainable and finds the true explanations. But her life is put in danger when Lady Diana Walsh hires her to find out who is tormenting her during the night. What Kitt finds puts Lady Diana in peril and herself in a line with a man up to no good.
Lord Dredmore is a deathmage who is fascinated by Kitt. He declares himself her protector which is no easy feat and barely manages to spirit her away to his estate when danger looms too close. He is dark and brooding and not at all the type of man one would believe to harbor tender feelings for a woman.
I was immersed in Her Ladyship’s Curse from the first page. Ms. Viehl’s world-building is exceptional and the reader is transported to Toriana. The descriptions are vivid and vibrant, every character is well-rounded and has personality. And with the cliffhanger ending, I am on pins and needles for the second installment, due in October, His Lordship Possessed.
Book provided by Netgalley in exchange for review.

Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conrad

Mr. Monk Helps Himself
Hy Conrad
June 4, 2013
4 Stars
Thank goodness for the Monk books. I happen to adore Tony Shalhoub who played Monk but I simply couldn’t get in to the series. After delving into the books, I realized his multitude of phobias played out better in the written word for me. I was a bit worried when I discovered there was a new author for the books, but I can put that worry to rest. Mr. Conrad is every bit as enjoyable to read as the previous author and in fact, added a touch of humor that made me laugh out loud.
There is a lot going on in Mr. Monk Helps Himself. Natalie is going for her P. I. license so she and Monk can start their own agency, Monk mysteriously “has his ways” for getting around when Natalie is not available, Natalie is investigating her own case while Monk has his hands both in her case and one that is setting his phobias into overdrive.
Twists and turns in both cases keep the reader guessing on not only whodunit but why and there is plenty of character growth for both Monk and Natalie, which is always a treat. Characters should always be allowed to grow. Suspenseful, high-risk danger is the icing on the delectable Monk cake. Fiji water anyone?
I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for review.

A Bandit's Broken Heart by Michele McLean

A Bandit's Broken Heart - Michelle McLean

A Bandit’s Broken Heart
Entangled Publishing
July 8, 2013
3 ½ stars

After losing her husband of only a month, Brynne Forrester and her three year old daughter move from California to Boston to be with Brynne’s in-laws. Brynne is content without a man in her life, and self-sufficient thanks to her life as a bandit in California. After moving in to her own home, Brynne decides she needs to fill her idle days and convinces the doctor at the clinic to let her assist him, even though she has no formal medical training. She never expected the feelings the doctor stirred deep within her.
Richard Oliver is a dedicated doctor running the clinic for those who may not be able to pay. His staff is efficient and his housekeeper doubles as his secretary. He allows Mrs. Forrester to volunteer, convinced she will be gone within a day, unable to handle the duties. He is pleasantly surprised when he is wrong. He isn’t so pleasantly surprised with her actions when his supplies are stolen. Brynne’s actions set off a chain of events that nearly costs them everything.
A Bandit’s Broken Heart is a sweet romance, focusing more on the building of the relationship between Brynne and Richard, which I find refreshing in this day and age. A strong woman, Brynne is very likable, especially with her devotion to her daughter and her ability to have fun with her. Richard takes a little warming up to but he is definitely a hero to dream about. A Bandit’s Broken Heart is a delightful read with action, romance and characters you will want to revist again.
ARC provided by Netgalley for review.

Real Men Don't Quit by Colleen Kwan

Real Men Don't Quit - Coleen Kwan

Real Men Don’t Quit by Coleen Quinn is a fun read about a best-selling author with writer’s block and single mother with trust issues. They are brought together by Tyler’s three year old daughter Chloe.

 

The last thing Luke Maguire wants is a committed relationship. He arrived in town for solitude to work on his long overdue book. But from the time the three year old next door wandered on to the property he was staying at to use the pool, he found himself enmeshed in Tyler and Chloe’s lives. He fears commitment because he believes he is a wanderer like his father and he doesn’t want to hurt anyone, especially not Tyler and Chloe.

 

It’s quite enjoyable watching Tyler and Luke help one another through their various troubles and fight their growing attraction. But soon, they are giving in with the understanding that it is not permanent but both are falling in love despite their best attempts

 

Real Men Don’t Quit is a nice escape from a stress filled life and the characters are well-rounded and likable. My only complaints were that at times Chloe seemed to sound like she was older than three and that the relationship was resolved with no real instigating development.

Rattler by Barry Andrew Chambers

Rattler - Barry Andrew Chambers

A western with a hint of Brisco County, a touch of Young Guns and a bit of Bonanza, it was an enjoyable read. Pandora the horse was something!

Gone With the Wolf by Kristin MIller

Gone with the Wolf - Kristin Miller

Gone With the Wolf
Kristin Miller
Entangled Publishing
April 23, 2013
4 Stars




Gone With the Wolf by Kristin Miller is a scorching fun paranormal read. Emelia and Drake burn right off of the page with their heat.
Emelia takes a temp job at Drake’s company after finding out that his company bought the building her bar, the Knight Owl, resides in after she had already purchased the building. Until she  can get to meet with him, she tries her best to undermine him but what she didn’t count on was the sizzling attraction they share upon meeting.
Werewolf Drake is stunned to discover his Luminary  hiding out in his wine cellar during a company Halloween party. In addition to the addictive pull he feels toward Emelia, he can only become the ruler of his pack if he bonds with his Luminary. The alternative is horrifying for control of the pack would go to his insane twin brother Silas.
The conflicts are believable as they work through Emelia’s stubbornness, a lie Drake’s father told him and the ever present violent threat that Silas represents. Gone With the Wolf came to a satisfying conclusion with a well-matched couple declaring their love for one another.

Femme Fatale by Cindy Dees

Femme Fatale  - Cindy Dees
Femme Fatale
Cindy Dees
Entangled Publishing
April 23, 2013
2 stars
 
Major Blake Ramsey had gotten himself involved with the wrong woman. It not only nearly destroyed his Marine career, but his life was on the line because the Russians wanted to use him to get their operative freed. His boss sent him to a Hollywood movie set as a technical adviser so he could lay low until the CIA got things sorted out.
Actress Olivia Harper has problems. She is being groomed to be a femme fatale action star, but she has no idea how idea to be sexy. But from the moment she and Blake Ramsey lay eyes on one another, there is a sizzle that can’t be doused and before she can stop herself, she asks him to help her. But one chaotic night and a bad move on her part puts Blake in the spotlight.
 
I really wanted to like this story. The premise from the blurb sounded exciting. The Marine officer hero hiding out on a movie set as a technical adviser because he was being hunted by Russian spies. The problem was that the plot ended up being very thin. There was no edge of your seat danger unless you counted the heroine’s co-star in the movie who was a real douche. Olivia is a well-developed character and shows growth, Blake unfortunately does not grow much.
If you’re looking for edge of your seat suspense, this book isn’t for you. But if you like a lot of hot sex scenes, this burns up the page.
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.