Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Way Back to You by Sharon Sala

Title: The Way Back to You
Series: Blessings, Georgia #9
Author: Sharon Sala
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: December 31, 2019

What do you do when your whole life is turned upside down?

Sully Raines sets out to find his birth mother, and ends up in Blessings, Georgia. A new surprise awaits him here, but of the best kind―his childhood sweetheart, whom he hasn't seen since she moved away when they were teens, is living in Blessings now. He's not sure she's as happy to see him as he is to see her, but it's been a lot of years, and a lot of water under the bridge...

Sully's heartfelt search for answers about his past might just turn out to be the key to his future...

Blessings is a heartwarming series I don't want to miss. 

I love going back to this town where people are nice to each other and they can help someone in need without a second thought.

This time, newcomer Sully Raines is looking for his birth mother. Sully is a recently retired firefighter who finds out he’s adopted after settling his mother's affairs after she passes away. The only thing he has left from his birth mother is a necklace. Sully knows he has never placed any real roots anywhere. Married once but it didn’t last. He feels like something is missing in his life. Finding his birth mother feels like the right thing to do. Of course, the search is not easy but the trail takes him down to Blessings, Georgia. 

When he arrives in Blessings, he is a witness to a car wreck. Immediately, his firefighter instincts come forward and he pulls a woman from the burning car. In the emergency room, he discovers that the woman he helped in none other than his first love, Melissa. Once they realized who they are to each other, they don’t want to waste any more time and they want to pick up their relationship where they left it many years ago.

For Sully, Blessings will bring many surprises. All good for him.

I adore this series. It has a lot of heart and sweetness. For some, it might be too sweet and everything has a color rose-glass type of view but sometimes, I need this type of story to lift me up. 

A great addition to the series. I can’t wait for the next one. 

Cliffhanger: No 

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Sourcebooks via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Big on Christmas by Jan Romes

Title: Big on Christmas
Author: Jan Romes
Series: Twelve Brides of Christmas Book 1

Born to free-spirited, convention-shucking parents, Cassie Newman thirsts for normal. Leaving L.A. with a secret, she finds herself in Woodstock, Vermont – a town rich with Christmas tradition. She’s not big on Christmas but Woodstock feels like the perfect fit. Landing a job with Stennett’s Hardware, she tries to forget the world she knew, but Luke’s small-town charm makes her even more aware of the life she never had.

Luke Stennett has his hands full with running the store and caring for his dad. He’s attracted to Cassie but he doesn’t have time for a relationship. Things are starting to go right but he harbors a secret of his own that has the potential to turn everything upside down.

Once their secrets are revealed, will it kill the chemistry and send Cassie back to LA? Or will she fight for her happiness and stay firmly planted in a place big on Christmas?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

This is the first novella in the Twelve Brides of Christmas.

A short and cute novella about finding love in a small town.

Cassie Newman has moved to Woodstock to gain some anonymity. She prefers to lay low and live her life out of the limelight. In order to achieve this, she thinks that moving to a small town is the best way. She starts working for Stennett's Hardware and after a few months, she starts falling for her boss. 

Luke Stennett has a lot on his plate. He's trying to keep the store afloat while dealing with his father's mental condition and also still grieving the loss of his mother. He also found out his parents were keeping a huge secret from him. The last thing he needs is a romantic relationship. Or is it?

I liked both Cassie and Luke. They were great together. Their chemistry was off the charts. They had a strong connection. I also love how patient Cassie was with Luke's dad and how sweet Luke was in general.

This novella is so easy to read and enjoy. It makes me want to read the rest in the series.

Cliffhanger: No

3.5/5 Fangs

All She Wants for Christmas by Jaci Burton

Title: All She Wants for Christmas
Series:  Kent Brothers #1
Author: ll She Wants for Christmas by Jaci Burton
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: December 6, 2010

Big Star, Small-Town Christmas

Country singer Riley Jensen would never have returned to her small Missouri hometown if her publicist hadn't come up with the scheme to tape a Christmas special there. So she never would have known that the man who broke her heart at eighteen—causing her to flee to Nashville—was now a widower with a seven-year-old daughter. Riley has ten years of angst-filled hit songs and Grammy awards to prove she doesn't need Ethan Kent. But suddenly, she can't help thinking of all she gave up by running away...

Ethan Kent knew Riley had the talent and the drive to make it as a singer. He also knew she wasn't going anywhere if she stayed in their nowhere town for him. Then one night and one huge mistake sent her running on the road to fame. Which doesn't mean he ever stopped loving her...

But with so much separating them, can Riley and Ethan find their way back together one magical country Christmas?

Book 1 of the Kent Brothers Trilogy.

Riley Jensen is coming back to her hometown of Deer Lake, one she thought she was never going to see again. She left it when she was eighteen and caught her boyfriend sleeping with her best friend, Amanda. She poured all her sadness into writing songs and became a huge Nashville star. Thanks to her publicist, she is back for a documentary on her life. 

Ethan Kent is the proud father of a seven-year-old, Zoey. He would do anything for his daughter, including taking her to meet her music idol, Riley, the woman he lost when he made a terrible mistake. Ethan feels terrible about what happened with Amanda and Riley but he would not ever want to go back since his mistake lead to him becoming a father to Zoey. As a single parent, he tries his best to give his child the best of him but Ethan has never forgotten about the only woman he has loved and seeing Riley again, stirs too many feelings and hopes.

A sweet second chance romance perfect for the season. I thought Riley was quite forgiving and I truly believe Ethan was quite sorry for his mistake. 

Besides the main couple, I absolutely loved Zoey. She was so cute and adorable. Points for Ethan for raising a sweet girl.

Cliffhanger: No

3.5/5 Fangs

Winter Prey by John Sandford

Title: Winter Prey
Series: Lucas Davenport #5
Author: John Sandford
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 1, 1994

Winter Prey is John Sandford's suspense masterpiece! Following the international success of Shadow Prey and Silent Prey, Winter Prey creates another heart-pounding chapter in the career of Lucas Davenport, the brilliant, hard-bitten detective from the Twin Cities.

The Iceman is Lucas Davenport's most determined foe - a serial killer driven to cover his brutal tracks with blood. Sandford again creates almost unbearable suspense as we wait for the Ice Man's razor-sharp corn knife to strike.

Winter Prey unfolds in the cold and driving snow of the north country, the perfect setting for the chilling terror caused by the Ice Man, a killer who knows Lucas' every move - a coldly brilliant madman who can't be stopped. Turn up the heat and listen as Lucas Davenport faces his most dangerous challenge.

“Is that Weather, like ‘Stormy Weather’?” 

In Winter Prey, we have Lucas Davenport assisting the police with a murder case during a terrible winter in Wisconsin.

A family has been murdered and their house has been burnt. A photograph of a man and underage high school kid points to the reason for their demise. When the local Sheriff calls Lucas for help, he can't resist. Lucas is bored and his video games and life at the cabin are not enough to entertain him.

The baddie on this one goes by the name of the "Iceman". A cold-blooded killer who will stop at nothing until he can save himself from being discovered.

Lucas Davenport keeps on growing on me. He can be petulant, but he can be funny too. I love how in this one, Lucas meets a woman, Weather Karkinnen who seemed to be one step ahead of Lucas with her comebacks and sarcasm. 

I also enjoyed (from the warmth of my home) how John Sandford makes winter a character in itself with freezing temperatures and winter storms making the chase for the killer even a more difficult one.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Monday, December 30, 2019

The Valentine Challenge by Marisa Cleveland

Title: The Valentine Challenge
Author: Marisa Cleveland
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: February 12th, 2013

Stacey Bradford believes in love, but when her hot boss, Marshall Royce, decides to close her best friend's flower shop - days before Valentine's Day! - Stacey declares war.

Intrigued by Stacey's devotion to her friend, the hearts and flowers holiday, and belief in true love, Marsh issues a challenge - prove love exists or deliver the closing documents to her friend herself.

Stacey never could resist a challenge, but when Marsh makes Valentine's Day the deadline for their deal, Stacey must decide how far she's willing to go for love.

This was super cute and short!

The MC couple was fun to read about.

Stacey Bradford needs to get a new job and if she needs to become the personal secretary to the hotty who fires everyone and never sleeps with anyone at work, she can deal with it. The problem is convincing him to give her a chance. Then they officially meet and her plans are all going to hell.

Stacey believes in romance. She wants Marshall to fall in love with her and she is going to show him that he can. A date at the Clevelander in South Beach is the right ambiance for him to see her in a new light.

Marshall Royce doesn't date at work. He doesn't want a commitment. Then, Stacey becomes his personal secretary and he must make a decision about enforcing the rules or breaking them.

I love this short story. Things move fast but there is no other way to do it in a book of this length.

Cliffhanger: No

3.5/5 Fangs

Home for Christmas by Nora Roberts

Title: Home for Christmas
Author: Home for Christmas by Nora Roberts
Publisher: Penguin Group
Release Date: November 18, 2014

After years of world travel, prizewinning reporter Jason Law was back in Quiet Valley, New Hampshire, with the most difficult assignment he'd ever faced: winning back Faith, the woman he'd loved then left ten years before. Jason had found that home was where the heart is, and Faith held his.

This Second chance novella written by Nora Roberts was fantastic! Perfect for the Christmas spirit!

Jack is coming back to his home town of Quiet Valley a decade after he left it. His heart was broken once but he’s ready to return to his roots. It doesn't matter that the woman he once loved is married to another man now.

Faith is a single parent after her divorce not too soon after her daughter was born. She takes care of Clara the best way she can. Faith's business is doing well and she likes the small-town living. She is content with her life. At times, she feels lonely and wishes she had a partner to share her life with. She has only loved one man but he chose to leave her behind and she has made peace with it until she finds him outside her doorstep.

Now, Jack is back and he wants to rekindle their romance but she is not alone. She has a daughter to think about. Clara comes first. How can they make it work? 

A sweet and magical story. It left me with a big smile on my face. 

Cliffhanger: No 

4/5 Fangs

The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Title: The Toll
Series: Arc of a Scythe #3
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 5, 2019

It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.

In this pulse-pounding conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

"There can be no ferry without a ferryman."

My review will contain some spoilers.


What a wonderful and nerve-racking end to the Scythe trilogy!

I was happy with the conclusion of The Toll and how everyone I cared about was left standing. 

When Thunderhead ended, our hero and heroine were left at the bottom of the ocean. The world thought of Scythe Anastasia and Scythe Lucifer as dead and gone.

Three years have gone by before from a salvage trip to Endura's wreckage, more than just the Scythe diamonds are recovered. Scythe Anastasia and Lucifer are alive! But not for long if Scythe Goddard has anything to say and do about it. 

Scythe Goddard, now His Excellency, High Blade Robert Goddard of MidMerica, has used these past three years to change the rules and to bend the other Scythedoms to his will. More and more, other Scythedoms are following in his steps. Mass gleanings are happening and no one seems to go against Goddard. Then, Rowan and Citra are back. Goddard doesn't wait any time in trying to get a hold of Rowan while Citra as Scythe Anastasia tries to find a way to bring him down.

The Toll brings in new characters but the one I love the most was Jerico. Jeri, the captain of the salvage ship was smart and conniving when she/he needed to be.

Even though the trilogy has ended, It doesn't mean it was able to answer all my questions. I was left with many of them.

Here are a few:

Why did Greyson have to stop talking to the Thunderhead?  Was it to force him to stop calling the rest of humanity unsavories? and does it make sense to leave this type of entity on its own?

How come no one learns the truth about Endura, At the end of the book, it's not even implied that Rowan was innocent or that his name has been cleared. It might matter to his family that he was not the evil one.

Did Scythe Rand end up falling in love with Tyger or she was feeling guilty about what she did to him? Is the construct able to develop new emotions or is he just going to stay with the memories of the past, never to learn that she had a lot to do with his new body and what happened to him and to Scythe Lucifer?

What happened with Scythe Michael Faraday and Munira?

As I said earlier, I was left with many questions.

Despite all of my questions, I thoroughly enjoyed this trilogy.

Cliffhanger: No

4.5/5 Fangs

Outfox by Sandra Brown

Title: Outfox
Author: Sandra Brown
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: August 6, 2019

#1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown combines heart-stopping suspense and forbidden passion in this psychological thriller about an FBI agent's hunt for a ruthless conman turned serial killer.

Sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats, this new novel will feature Brown's signature combination of steamy romance and jaw-dropping plot twists.

FBI agent Drex Easton is relentlessly driven by a single goal: to outmaneuver the conman once known as Weston Graham. Over the past thirty years, Weston has assumed many names and countless disguises, enabling him to lure eight wealthy women out of their fortunes before they disappeared without a trace, their families left without answers and the authorities without clues. The only common trait among the victims: a new man in their life who also vanished, leaving behind no evidence of his existence . . . except for one signature custom.

Drex is convinced that these women have been murdered, and that the man he knows as Weston Graham is the sociopath responsible. But each time Drex gets close to catching him, Weston trades one persona for another and disappears again. Now, for the first time in their long game of cat and mouse, Drex has a suspect in sight.

Attractive and charming, Jasper Ford is recently married to a successful businesswoman many years his junior, Talia Shafer. Drex insinuates himself into their lives, posing as a new neighbor and setting up surveillance on their house. The closer he gets to the couple, the more convinced he becomes that Jasper is the clever, merciless predator he's sought--and that his own attraction to Talia threatens to compromise his purpose and integrity.

This is Drex's one chance to outfox his cunning nemesis before he murders again and eludes justice forever. But first he must determine if the desirable Talia is a heartless accomplice . . . or the next victim.

I do love reading any of Sandra Brown's books. It brings me comfort to know ahead of time that I'll enjoy hours of entertainment. Outfox is a suspense romance novel with a serial killer on the loose.

In Outfox, we have the main character, FBI agent Drex Easton who's seeking justice. He has made his life's work to hunt down the man responsible for the disappearance and possible murder of wealthy women and their fortunes. For Drex, the hunt is personal. He doesn't care about not running the investigation by the book as long as he can outfox his guy. After some new information comes to light, Dex is sure Weston Graham and Jasper Ford are the same man and with the help of two of his friends, he thinks he can prove it.

When he moves next to Jasper, he meets his much younger wife, Thalia Shafer. Dex knows he's in trouble when he finds himself attracted to this woman. He doesn't know if she's an innocent and possibly his next victim or if she's his accomplice but one way or another, he's ready to find out. Using surveillance equipment and his own wit, he knows this time, he won't let Jasper disappear again.

As a whole. I liked Outfox. I loved Drex's personality. He wanted to prove that there was a serial killer out there who had gotten away with murder for way too long and he was not going to be deterred. I liked Thalia too although it took me longer to like her character, I mean how did she not know that Jasper was evil. What made her say yes to his wedding proposal?

Anyway, the suspense kept me entertained and the romance was fantastic! There was one twist that I thought came out of nowhere and didn't bring much to the storyline but that is just my opinion.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Sunday, December 1, 2019

In the Dark by Loreth Anne White

Title: In the Dark
Author: Loreth Anne White
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release Date: December 1, 2019

A secluded mountain lodge. The perfect getaway. So remote no one will ever find you.

The promise of a luxury vacation at a secluded wilderness spa has brought together eight lucky guests. But nothing is what they were led to believe. As a fierce storm barrels down and all contact with the outside is cut off, the guests fear that it’s not a getaway. It’s a trap.

Each one has a secret. Each one has something to hide. And now, as darkness closes in, they all have something to fear—including one another.

Alerted to the vanished party of strangers, homicide cop Mason Deniaud and search and rescue expert Callie Sutton must brave the brutal elements of the mountains to find them. But even Mason and Callie have no idea how precious time is. Because the clock is ticking, and one by one, the guests of Forest Shadow Lodge are being hunted. For them, surviving becomes part of a diabolical game.

Loreth Anne White is a one-click author for me. I love all of her books and to be honest I didn't even read the blurb before requesting this book. Her name alone is a guarantee that I will enjoy the story.

In the Dark is an enigmatic, fast-paced, suspense thriller that left me with a satisfied smile. 

The story is told from different POV's. It's a story of revenge and death. One, I couldn't stop reading. I was interested in learning about SAR (search and rescue) operations and I was hooked on the mystery, trying to figure out who the killer was.

In the Dark starts with eight individuals granted an invitation of a lifetime. They have been selected to spend a week of vacation at a remote spa location. But for them, the problems begin when they arrived by plane to the location. Nothing looks like the internet pictures. There's nothing glamorous about the lodge. It's an eerie setting. Then the questions begin, do they know each other? Have they kept a secret? Are they being punished for it? Are they going to survive? Is there only going to be one left alive?

These are all fair questions. Questions that a week later, RCMP Sgt. Mason Deniaud and SAR leader Callie Sutton want the answers to when they find the plane stranded with a dead pilot in it.

I love how Loreth Anne White pays homage to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. I read it a long time ago and I remember its premise. I enjoyed figuring out who was the one trying to off the others. I also love Mason and Callie. Their situations are strange. Both have family issues and I'm not sure if they can become more. For now, a friendship is all they can afford. I do hope this is not the end for them. 

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Montlake Romance via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters

Title: The Dead Girls Clu
Author: Damien Angelica Walters
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Release Date: December 10th 2019

A supernatural thriller in the vein of A Head Full of Ghosts about two young girls, a scary story that becomes far too real, and the tragic--and terrifying--consequences that follow one of them into adulthood.

Red Lady, Red Lady, show us your face...

In 1991, Heather Cole and her friends were members of the Dead Girls Club. Obsessed with the macabre, the girls exchanged stories about serial killers and imaginary monsters, like the Red Lady, the spirit of a vengeful witch killed centuries before. Heather knew the stories were just that, until her best friend Becca began insisting the Red Lady was real--and she could prove it.

That belief got Becca killed.

It's been nearly thirty years, but Heather has never told anyone what really happened that night--that Becca was right and the Red Lady was real. She's done her best to put that fateful summer, Becca, and the Red Lady, behind her. Until a familiar necklace arrives in the mail, a necklace Heather hasn't seen since the night Becca died.

The night Heather killed her.

Now, someone else knows what she did...and they're determined to make Heather pay.

1991 and Baby, Baby is playing on the radio when the life of two best friends start to change.

Heather and Becca are best friends forever. They even buy the half-necklaces to prove it. 
Heather is loved and cared for by her family while Becca is having trouble at home. Her mother is drinking and becoming violent. 

Heather and Becca have two other friends, Gia and Rachel. The four of them form the Dead Girls Club. They have a love for the macabre. Reading about serial killers is something engrossing for them. Then, Becca begins telling the story of the Red Lady. A witch wrongly accused and murdered. When the girls perform a ritual to bring the Red Lady into their lives, death follows. 

Fast forward three decades, and now Heather is a child psychologist. She's married and happy with her life. Then, she receives a package with Becca's necklace. Heather knows someone is behind this but could it be that the Red Lady is involved?

The Dead Girls Club failed to entertain me. I don't know if it was because I couldn't believe the choices the main character was taking. She went off the rails in 2.3 seconds and did a very poor job as a psychologist too. I just couldn't like her or believe her motives. 

The ending wasn't rewarding either. It was just not for me.

Cliffhanger: No

2/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Crooked Lane Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.