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review 2017-04-30 02:56
Pleasantly surprised
Heart of Deception - Taylor Chase
Anger rose to the fore, and he pulled away from her. "Nothing has changed. You still want to rule me."
Her eyes went black when he thwarted her, a darkness that could devour him. Then a small flame flickered in their depths. Silent laughter. "Maybe I want you so much because I can't rule you."
"That won't stop you from trying."
"Or you from resisting." Her lips curved, the small taunting smile mocking herself as well as him. "Are you afraid of losing?"
"No." A lie to add to all the other lies. Already too much had changed because of her.
"Then savor the struggle, my rebel." Viv laughed openly now. Her gleaming eyes invited him to join in the mockery.
 


This story reminded me that writing is a craft and when, it seems, authors are given time to research and develop their stories, they can transport you to different worlds. What a hidden gem this turned out to be. 

The suspense/mystery storyline is more the focus than the romance; in fact, our leads have an instant attraction and later use the word love a bit out of the blue. But what a mystery storyline it was, there is a plot to poison Queen Elizabeth I and replace her with Mary Queen of Scots. Christopher Marlowe makes an appearance along with others as the hero's family is jailed for suspected treason. Our hero leaves the war in Netherlands and meets up with his friend (epic bromance complete with watery eyes, hugs, and friendship flashbacks) to try and find out who set his family up. I'm not going to lie, the cast of characters is large, complete with code names, and the tangled weave is difficult to follow and unravel but dang if it didn't interest me. 

Even though the story starts off and initially seems to want to be from the hero, the heroine steals the spotlight and thunder. The backstories going on here, y'all! It almost felt like the heroine's part was first written for a male character and the author decided to switch it up and create one badass woman; one of the most real in her honesty, sexual desires, and sense of self. This was published 20yrs ago and it makes me want to weep with how many written heroines today fall very short of her. 

This story has a fair bit of violence and I kind of want to call this a medium erotic, it's not the focus of the story but the sex scenes are descriptive and naughtily hot but not in the tone of cheap porn. This had a very All Through the Night by Connie Brockway feel to me, probably why I liked it. 

Anyway, the focus in the mystery/suspense, the cast of characters gets a bit wide, fairly quick romantic relationship development, the end wraps up a bit quickly (the mystery was doled out fairly slowly only to have the players and explanations throw out in a rush), and a character with a paranormal (psychic) ability added very late in the game. However, this was very well written and the depth of the main characters, especially the heroine, was amazing. If you ever come across this book, snatch it up.

*I just saw that the author wrote a book featuring the character with a paranormal ability, so maybe not so randomly throw in as much as series bait.
 
 

 

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review 2017-04-29 18:52
The Dark Room - Jonathan Moore
The Dark Room - Jonathan Moore
I am not sure how to rate this book. I liked reading it and it was entertaining. But there are also some things I did not like.

A few months ago I read “The Poison Artist”. Somehow I forgot to review it. I can’t explain why. I think I read it during our vacation and I tend to read books I do not necessarily have to review because I bought them myself. I liked “The Poison Artist”, it was unusual in many ways. The story was quite unique and dark. “The Dark Room” also has also a very dark story even it is not as unique. A beautiful young girl was murdered by bad men after they abused her. Nothing new here. An unexpected confession brings this cold case murder to Inspector Cain’s knowledge. He begins to investigate and slowly the background story reveals itself.

The book is more of a slow burner. But the author managed to keep me interested even not much is happening. There is a lot of talking and police work. He is very precise when it is about describing surroundings and other details. But the dialogs are something different. There is a lot of talking but some things stay unsaid. Cain is the main character but we don’t know what he is really thinking. I felt excluded from some things or even from the story itself. Cain has a girlfriend. She experienced obviously some kind of trauma in her past because she can’t leave the house. This is irritating at first. I felt as if there was something I missed or there was another book I should have read so that I would know about the girlfriend’s problems. We learn later in the book a bit about it. But to me it seemed as if all the characters are only there because otherwise the story would not work. The author seemed not very interested in them. He writes precisely about the crime scenes, the autopsies. Every movement is worth some words, but there is almost nothing about how the characters look or at least what their problem is. Why, for example, is one of the female characters always stripping herself naked in front of Cain? She is troubled, obviously. But why is that so? Ok, at the end I got it. But there was a lack of depth to all the characters. I did not get them, really. You can see how everything happened, how one thing leads to another. But why – the motivation is not that important to the author.

This book is very atmospheric, very dark and sinister. The writing is a mix of precise and imprecise. The main point here is the story and how Cain comes to the conclusion. I considered giving 4 stars because it was a quick read and entertaining on some level. But I had too much problems with the neglected character development. But I must also admit that this book is different. Maybe just because of its flaws. It is weird and strange and worth a look. I liked “The Poison Artist” better. It is similar atmospheric and dark but the story was more unique.

I recieved an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honesr review.
 
 
 
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review 2017-04-28 10:11
REVIEW BY MERISSA - Her Dangerous Mistake by Erin M. Leaf
Her Dangerous Mistake - Erin M. Leaf
Her Dangerous Mistake is a standalone steamy romance that just happens to involve DRAGONS!!! Moira hasn't had it easy, but she never expected to be chased and shot at, just for looking at a spreadsheet. Moira is all alone in the world, but she remembers a friend her father had and decides to head for him as her last hope. Neil is happy running his bar, Dracona, and ignoring his parents and the Dragon Council in general. The Dragon gene seems to be diminishing as the generations move on, but Neil doesn't seem to have any dilution of powers. When these two meet up, it is explosive and hot - quite literally.
 
This book is a fast-paced page turner, full of romance and shadowy intentions. Moira is a strong character, although she doesn't think she is. Neil is used to fighting his parents and the council by himself. Put these two together and you get an intriguing story that will definitely leave you wanting more. I loved this book and hope that there is more to come. Well written, with no editing or grammatical errors to disrupt the reading flow, this was a wonderful book and I have no hesitation in recommending it.
 
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and my comments here are my honest opinion. *
 
Merissa
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

 

@erinmleaf, @TRRtweet, #Adult, #Paranormal, #Romance, #Suspense, 5 out of 5 (exceptional)

 

Source: sites.google.com/site/archaeolibrarian/merissa-reviews/herdangerousmistakebyerinmleaf
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review 2017-04-28 03:13
Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti
Lethal Lies (Blood Brothers) - Rebecca Zanetti

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Heath and his blood brothers are still on the run and fighting their past. However, when he meets Anya, the danger of entanglements might be too hard for him to fight.
Anya decides that fighting back against the serial killer playing with her is better than watching others die around her. When she announces on live tv that her and Heath are engaged, she knows the danger she is putting herself in, but she never could have imagined the greatest danger was to her heart. 

There was no mercy when monsters harmed women. 

Book two in the Blood Brothers series reunites us with the Lost Boys. This time it is Heath who is the hero and with a mother who was killed by an abusive boyfriend, he has a big time trigger for men who hurt women. When he sees Anya with bruises, no matter of the innocent reasoning, and finds out that the Copper Killer serial killer is after her, he instantly goes into protector mode. This past hurt and resulting trigger for Heath, while emotional, was a bit overplayed and repetitive. The numerous times he saw red or freaked out made him seem less strong protector and more auto-pilot brainless alpha. The story didn't flush out his personality enough for me, he seemed like he only had two depths, alpha protector and hot for Anya. I did enjoy the scenes where Heath and the brothers interacted but I missed other personality nuances. 

She studied him, her eyes darkening. Finally, one corner of her mouth quirked. "You're a beneath the surface kind of guy, aren't you?" 

I kind of had the same problem with Anya, she had the hots for Heath (while kind of sorta but not being afraid of him) and wanted to be in charge of capturing the Copper Killer. At times she seemed brave and others she seemed needlessly talking big game while blindingly doing nothing. I also thought the emotion of losing her sister and fighting her attraction to Heath felt off, would she be fighting sexual thoughts the night of her sister's funeral? I think, ultimately, the uneven feelings I had with the lead characters came from the meandering feel from the story. 

The beginning of the story gets going right away, with the back story and a continuing story thread I wouldn't recommend this as a standalone, but it also felt a bit choppy. It eventually smooths out as we are re-introduced to the handful of cast of characters that include Heath's brothers and the villains. Dr. Madison, who created the brothers (also the tie-in to the author's previous series Sin Brothers), Sheriff Cobb who works for Dr. Madison but also has a personal vendetta against the brothers, and Daniel, a soldier still working for Dr. Madison. The Dr. Madison and super soldier secret military program is intriguing, interesting and what I found captured my attention the most. As it is the continuing story thread, there is no resolution here but you can feel things building up in a crescendo. 

Mostly, I found this book to be a slow moving, repetitive layover in the series. Heath and Anya have a bit of insta-love, the must protect Anya but Anya demanding to be in charge, bickering with FBI, and forced serial killer tie-in went in circles for too long. The next book is about the last Blood Brother, Denver. I'm hoping for more of the action, chemistry, and movement in the interesting super soldier program that appeared in the first. 

"I like you, too," she said. Yeah, she'd just opened herself up. Perhaps she was crazy. His upper lip quirked. "You're dangerous lady." 

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text 2017-04-27 06:05
Blog Tour and Giveaway for Cleaved (Grafton County Series, Book 2) by Sue Coletta
 
Cleaved
Grafton County Series, Book 2
by Sue Coletta
 
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
 
Author Sage Quintano writes about crime. Her husband Niko investigates it. Together they make an unstoppable team. But no one counted on a twisted serial killer, who stalks their sleepy community, uproots their happy home, and splits the threads that bonds their family unit.
Darkness swallows the Quintanos whole—ensnared by a ruthless killer out for blood. Why he focused on Sage remains a mystery, but he won’t stop till she dies like the others.
Women impaled by deer antlers, bodies encased in oil drums, nursery rhymes, and the Suicide King. What connects these cryptic clues? For Sage and Niko, the truth may be more terrifying than they ever imagined.
 
 
 
 
Marred
 
Grafton County Series, Book 1
 
When a serial killer breaks into the home of bestselling author, Sage Quintano, she barely escapes with her life. Her husband, Niko, a homicide detective, insists they move to rural New Hampshire, where he accepts a position as Grafton County Sheriff. Sage buries secrets from that night—secrets she swears to take to her deathbed.
Three years of anguish and painful memories pass, and a grisly murder case lands on Niko’s desk. A strange caller begins tormenting Sage—she can’t outrun the past.
When Sage’s twin sister suddenly goes missing, Sage searches Niko’s case files and discovers similarities to the Boston killer. A sadistic psychopath is preying on innocent women, marring their bodies in unspeakable ways. And now, he has her sister.
 
Cryptic clues. Hidden messages. Is the killer hinting at his identity? Or is he trying to lure Sage into a deadly trap to end his reign of terror with a matching set of corpses?
Expert
Saturday, September 20, 2003
Even the weather betrayed me. Aqua-blue sky, not a cloud in sight. Niko and I sat in silence during the two-and-a-half hour trip north. Next week offered a new beginning, a chance to leave Boston and never look back.
I lowered the back passenger window. A light breeze ruffled farmland acres, and a full, round sun shined, burned, blazed as though this was an ordinary day. The limousine tires hit cracked asphalt, the road worn from a brutal New Hampshire winter.
Birds whistled serenades. Preteens played basketball within the confines of school grounds. Young, adolescent voices carried in the crisp morning air, rustling hues of burnt orange, scarlet, and burgundy through autumn leaves. Mountains stood proudly as if they could protect us. Here, perhaps, but not in Boston, where my nightmare began eight days and six hours ago.
We drove by the Minot Sleeper Library, and my gaze narrowed on the patrons. A middle-aged woman clutched my latest novel close to her heart like a coveted treasure. Scorching heat jagged up my chest. Soon she’d enjoy my words while I endured the harshest committal.
Didn’t she know? Couldn’t she feel my pain, my anguish? Pure evil enveloped my life, then spit me out like bitterness on a delicate palate, leaving me reeling in torment.
The hearse carrying our dreams, our endless devotion, veered right through tall, iron gates and followed a winding road to the back of the cemetery. My fingers curled around the armrest, and I shifted my sight to Niko. 
Splayed hands on his knees, he turned only his head and offered a weak, faint smile. “You okay?” His voice was barely above a whisper.
To demonstrate what I thought of his stupid question, I shot him a cutting glare.
Palms up, he opened his arms. “What? I only asked if you were okay.”
“Seriously?” I said. “How could anyone be okay with this?”
Two funeral employees in dark suits dragged a tiny coffin from the back of the hearse. Stark white, the casket rode in their hands as the men marched over burnt, dead grass. Lowering the coffin onto two bands, they stepped away. My baby lingered above the mouth of an awaiting grave—displaying my shame, announcing my cowardice.
“We’ve gotta go.” Niko’s words churned the sickening feeling deep in my gut.
I peered through the side window, the cemetery dark and gloomy through tinted glass. The world now appeared as it should, mourning along with me.
Niko said, “Babe?”
The limo driver opened my door and startled me. He reminded me of a prison guard, hands clasped behind his back, eyes focused straight ahead. Behind him, rows and rows of ghosts, shattered lives buried deep with nothing left but a headstone to mark their existence. In the distance, an emerging sea of blue soldiered toward the grave—Niko’s fellow detectives, the ones who did nothing.
I twisted toward my husband, and a stabbing pain stole my breath. I bit my upper lip, waiting for the pang to subside. “Why are they here?”
“To pay their respects, Sage. Look, if you wanna blame someone—”
“Don’t,” I warned.
My crutches in hand, he dashed around the back of the limo to my door. Jaw clenched, I sneered at my new mode of transportation and steadied my balance with the toe of my splinted leg. I dropped my chin to my chest. Dammit. Why didn’t I fight? Why didn’t I do something, anything?
With a supportive arm around my waist, Niko coaxed me toward the gravesite. I passed him one of the crutches and rested my head against his strong chest. If only he could sweep me away so I didn’t have to face this devastation.
I squeezed my eyes closed. I couldn’t look, couldn’t witness the finality. It wasn’t fair. I had no memories to savor. No first touch, no tiny fist gripping my finger. No first steps, first word. I never had the chance to admire a newborn’s searching eyes, gazing at the world as a wondrous place. Instead, I had the harsh reality that wicked men roamed free, leaving destruction in their wake.
I had nothing, except the faint recall of precious feet kicking my insides, yearning to break free and experience life. My baby’s lungs never had the chance to expand with oxygen-infused air. He would never know the magic of Christmas, or admire glorious lights dancing on tree limbs. My boy would not have the honor of placing a brilliant star on the top branch as his daddy lifted him so his delicate hands could reach.
For God sake, he didn’t even have a name. The headstone marked only with, “Baby Quintano.” This was so cruel. Why did we have to endure such torture? There wasn’t much I wouldn’t do for my unborn son. But this? Dear God, not this.
Bob Jordan, the funeral director, recited the opening remarks. I cocked an ear, my grip tightening around the crutch. I slid my gaze toward Niko. Did he notice slight nuances in Bob’s pitch, the unspoken truth I insisted he conceal?
Beneath gauze bandages, sweat seeped through the multitude of stitches zigzagging across my forearms. Pain throbbed from a dislocated knee, and broken ribs labored my breath—my injuries refusing to allow a moment of repose. Thanks to a mass murderer who slipped through Niko’s grasp, tranquility no longer existed.
Tears brimmed in my husband’s red-rimmed eyes and he offered me a reassuring squeeze. “It’s almost over, babe.”
I swallowed, averted my gaze. I didn’t deserve his kindness, his love.
We huddled together opposite six Boston detectives in department dress blues. Cold stares in my direction, foreheads rippled in accusation. Bob Jordan asked if we wanted to speak. Niko swept my hair out of my face, but I kept my head down, staring at the ground.
“I think we’re all set,” he said, tears hitching his voice.
Bob gave a slight nod and cranked a handle that lowered our child into the maw of nevermore. Hot tears slipped down the sides of my face, salt biting jagged wounds on my cheek, upper lip, and neck. The cemetery became eerily quiet. Soft gasps and muffled cries from my heart fracturing beyond repair pierced a cool September wind.
Inside I screamed, “No! Don’t take our baby! Please, stop! I can’t survive this!”

Verbally, as usual, I remained silent.
 
Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Sue Coletta is an award-winning, multi-published author in numerous anthologies and her forensics articles have appeared in InSinC Quarterly. In addition to her popular crime resource blog, Sue co-hosts the radio show "Partners In Crime" on Writestream Radio Network every third Tuesday of the month from 1 - 3 p.m. EDT/EST (see details at www.suecoletta.com). She's also the communications manager for the Serial Killer Project and Forensic Science, and founder of #ACrimeChat on Twitter.
She runs a popular crime website and blog, where she shares crime tips, police jargon, the mind of serial killers, and anything and everything in between. If you search her achieves, you'll find posts from guests that work in law enforcement, forensics, coroner, undercover operatives, firearm experts...crime, crime, and more crime.
For readers, she has the Crime Lover's Lounge, where subscribers will be the first to know about free giveaways, contests, and have inside access to deleted scenes. As an added bonus, members get to play in the lounge. Your secret code will unlock the virtual door. Inside, like-minded folks discuss their favorite crime novels, solve mindbender and mystery puzzles, and/or relax and chat. Most importantly, everyone has a lot of fun.
 
Sue lives in northern New Hampshire with her husband, where her house is surrounded by wildlife...bear, moose, deer, even mountain lions have been spotted. Course, Sue would love to snuggle with them, but her husband frowns on the idea.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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