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review 2018-04-03 00:03
Deadly in High Heels (High Heels #9) by Gemma Halliday
Deadly in High Heels - Gemma Halliday

Maddie and Dana go on a working vacation to Hawaii, Marco comes just to hang out/flirt with every surfer dude that comes within his line of sight. The beauty queen premise reminded me a lot of Miss Congeniality movies. With the babies and Ramirez back on the mainland, Maddie and crew get into the investigation. I could of done without Maddie's mom and her BFF stupid side plot to cleanse Maddie's aura. Everything else in this story was great. 

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review 2018-03-31 22:50
Deadly Secrets
Deadly Secrets - Robert Bryndza

DCI Erika Foster stumbles into another murder investigation while on her way to Christmas dinner. Marissa Lewis is the beautiful young woman who has been found brutally murdered on her own front doorstep. DCI Foster discovers that other people have been assaulted in the same neighbourhood and they all have one thing that links them to the murder victim - a figure dressed in black, wearing a gas mask. This case has many layers as DCI Foster uncovers the tangled web of secrets and deceit surrounding Marissa Lewis.

This is the sixth book in the Detective Erika Foster series and I found it to be the strongest one since the first book The Girl in the Ice. I'm not sure what to say that I haven't said in my other reviews - suspenseful, great cast of familiar characters. Erika's taking no bull from anyone. I thought the author was going to lose me towards the end, but everything worked out. This page-turner had no dull spots. I love this series!

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for an ARC.

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review 2018-03-31 02:48
Over-priced junk- Do not want to read.
Deadly Deceit - Rose M. Brate

A friend who is a big fan of youth sports recently made an effort to help a young man achieve his expressed goal of a college scholarship. Letters were written, phone calls were made.  An independent coach was engaged to offer a private skills assessment.  Specialized training was arranged, as well as participation in limited-enrollment clinics.  This friend spent a small amount of his own cash, but solicited others to make donations. Most of the friend's contribution was time and the value of many years' connections in the youth sports arena.

 

After all this, the young athlete blew it off.  He skipped training sessions, and even dismissed a tutor hired to help him bring up his academic grades.  No scholarships were ever offered; the potential college athlete dropped out of high school two months before graduation.

 

The friend was devastated at first, then outraged.  He couldn't understand how this young man could fail to be appreciative that so many people were willing to help him get the scholarship he himself said he wanted.

 

"Now you know how I feel every time I've offered to help a writer improve their writing and then been stabbed in the back for it."

 

We do this sort of thing out of the goodness of our hearts, in a sense.  I enjoy writing and I enjoy reading good writing, so there's a sense that other writers would want the same thing.  Furthermore, there's a desire to raise the quality of writing in general, especially in these days of digital self-publishing.  My friend, who was an athlete in his own youth, wanted to bring this young man the same sense of accomplishment and achievement.

 

But the return on the emotional investment ends up being a total loss, and it's depressing and discouraging.  There's some consolation to be taken from the fact that it doesn't happen just in the writing game, but it's not much.

 

Deadly Deceit by Rose M. Brate is not a promising young athlete.  Nor is it a promising self-published novel. 

 

Here's the Amazon Kindle listing, the first thing the potential reader sees:

 

 

The $6.99 Kindle price is a bit high, but maybe the author has enough sales and recognition to justify it.  I'm not sure what the book's Kindle Unlimited pages are, because the spacing seems a bit expanded, generating more pages than the word count might otherwise warrant.  Supposedly Amazon has a way to balance this, but if Brate's 304-page "book" brings in the average Kindle Unlimited royalty, that payment should be around $3.00 per copy read.  Royalties on the $6.99 sales price would be approximately $4.50. 

 

None of it, of course, makes that "head-over-heals" typo any less glaring.

 

I downloaded the free sample.  I had no great expectations, with all apologies to Mr. Dickens.

 

There's no front matter, a flashing neon sign that this is an author-published project.  My expectations dropped a little lower.

 

The blurb on Amazon was about Jack and Abby Morrison; that's not how the book opens.

 

 

So, who is this story about?  The Morrisons or this detective?

 

At this point, I as a reader and as a reviewer -- a merciless one -- knew that whatever qualities the story might have were deeply buried under lackluster and possibly just plain bad writing.  Invoking the Josh Olson protocol, I proceeded without hesitation.

 

Let's look at that opening page under a magnifying glass:

 

Detective DeMarko ducked beneath the yellow police tape surrounding the twelve-story building of Morrison Advertising. The entire block had been closed off, since it was an official crime scene. Squad cars lined the block, drawing the unwanted attention of anyone within a two-block radius. She stood with her hands on her hips, taking in the scene as her partner, Jasper Reiner, approached, bitching about the weather.

 

“It’s a scorcher, boss,” Reiner complained, wiping the sweat from his brow.

 

“It is that,” DeMarko confirmed, heading toward the uniformed officer maintaining order.

Brate, Rose M (2017-11-13T22:58:59). Deadly Deceit (Kindle Locations 30-35). Kindle Edition.

We start with Detective DeMarko, who is not further identified.  No first name, no physical description, so we don't even know if this official is male or female or whatever.  Is this clever?  Is it intentional?  Is it sloppy writing?  Hold that thought.

 

The yellow police tape automatically tells us this is a crime scene; the observation in the latter part of the second sentence is unnecessary.  It's certainly not clever; it's sloppy.

 

What about the first part of that sentence?  The yellow tape surrounds the building, but "the block" had been closed off.  How large is the block?  What's used to close it off?  Vehicles?  Police officers?

 

The third sentence gives some more information: police vehicles are lining "the block."  We still don't know if these vehicles are sealing off the area, just that they're there.

 

They're drawing "unwanted" attention.  Unwanted by whom?  And why is that attention unwanted?

 

And why is it important that they draw unwanted attention from anyone in a "two-block" radius?  (Think about how awkward that is, since radius implies a circle, presumably centered on the tape-surrounded building, which would itself block at least part of that circle.  Words have meaning.)

 

Now comes the big jolt:  "She stood with her hands on her hips."

 

Aha!  So, is our detective a woman?  If we didn't already suspect that, or have an image of a woman in our reader's imagination, we've been stopped cold while we alter that mental image.  The first sentence with no description of DeMarko is probably intentional, but it may not be quite so clever, because it has forced the reader to reassess the vision created by the opening words.  It has pulled the reader out of the story, when instead that opening should drag the reader in, further and further with every word.

 

There are four sentences in the opening paragraph.  Three of those sentences contain present participial phrases; one of them contains two.  This is lazy, sloppy, unpolished writing.

 

Do most readers care?  The honest answer has to be, "No, most don't care.  Most don't notice.  Most don't know enough to notice."

 

By the end of the first paragraph, we know that Detective DeMarko is a woman, but we don't know her first name.  We do, however, know her partner's first and last name.  We also know that he's bitching about the weather.  Author Brate has clearly told us what Reiner is doing.

 

Even though she has already told us Reiner is complaining about the weather, the very next sentence repeats the information.  That participial phrase "bitching about the weather" is telling, and it's completely unnecessary when the author shows the same information in Reiner's dialogue.

 

But Reiner calls DeMarko "boss," even though he's been identified as DeMarko's partner, not her subordinate.  After the very first sentence left DeMarko's gender unknown, now the relationship between her and Reiner is uncertain.

 

The next sentence, which is the last on the first page of my Kindle sample, contains DeMarko's confirmation of Reiner's statement . . . and two more participial phrases.

 

This is just plain lousy writing.  It's crap.  Is there s good story under all those present participles?  Maybe, but I don't care.  I'm not going to wade through any more of this garbage.

 

There's no direct return for me on this investment of time.  I didn't expect any.  If someone reads this and benefits, then it's all to the good.  If a writer learns to check her sentences for repetitions of present participles, if a reader learns to distinguish between good writing and bad, that's the very most I can hope for.  The exercise in analysis, of taking apart a couple of paragraphs per the Josh Olson protocol, is my way of getting five cents on the dollar of my own investment elsewhere.

 

EDITED TO ADD:

 

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review 2018-03-30 12:52
The complicated world of DCI Erika Foster
Deadly Secrets - Robert Bryndza

What starts off as something quite ordinary actually explodes into life in the final chapters and produces an ending impossible to predict but beautiful in its execution. On a cold winters morning the body of a young attractive burlesque dancer is discover frozen outside her home. As the investigation develops the perpetrator is identified as a tall man dressed in black wearing a gas mask. When a number of further attacks are recorded the race is on for Detective Chief Inspector Erika Foster to bring a corrupt and twisted individual to justice as soon as possible.

 

The character of Erika Foster is what really attracts me to the books of Robert Bryndza. She is a relatively young woman in her early 40's traumatized  by the death of her husband Mark when an earlier investigation ended in tragedy. In Deadly Secrets Erika reveals her loneliness and inability to retain a personal relationship, her sadness as the possibility of motherhood begins to fade, the changing of her body and mood swings as she struggles to accept the approach of menopause. To mask this unhappiness and despair she turns inwards accepting the dangers, toils and demands of her job as a senior member of the police force in charge again of a major investigation...."So much in her life was out of control, but she had the power to track down whoever had done this. And she would".....When Erika is unexpectedly called to Manchester to aid in the recovery and rehabilitation of her father in law Edward the command of the murder investigation is passed to DI Moss and no one could foresee the chain of events that quickly followed. An attempted arrest almost ends in disaster and Erika, having returned to the capital, once again takes control where a startling discovery turns the investigation on its head leading to the apprehension  and detention of the most unlikely culprit.

 

I was a little disillusioned with the first part to this novel and found the idea of a suspect using a gas mask as part of a disguise a little unbelievable. However DCI Erika is such a wonderful "ballsy" character and I love the way the author is developing her psychic, exposing her weaknesses but equally championing her strengths. There is such a sadness and need under that tough veneer and I look forward to the next instalment of an excellent detective series. Many thanks to the good people of netgalley and the publisher Bookouture for a gratis copy in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have written.

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review 2018-03-23 10:00
New Release Review! Protected (Deadly Secrets #3) Elisabeth Naughton!
Protected (Deadly Secrets) - Elisabeth Naughton

 

 

A passion to live for—and to die for—in the RITA-winning series from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Elisabeth Naughton.

 

Up-and-coming designer Kelsey McClane is on the cusp of success. Recently divorced, she should be enjoying her newfound freedom and glamorous future. Instead, she’s living in fear of the past. When she returns home to Portland on a press tour, danger creeps closer than ever. As threatening messages from her bitter ex-husband leave her vulnerable, a new man in her life makes her feel protected.

 

Former Army Ranger turned security professional Hunter O’Donnell is hired to guard Kelsey. When a shattering explosion rocks her world, Kelsey’s ex is the prime suspect, but Hunter speculates there’s more to the situation than Kelsey’s letting on. Intent on keeping her safe, he delves into Kelsey’s past. As the two work together to unmask her stalker’s identity, a fire ignites between them that they both struggle to contain.

 

While the investigation proceeds, it draws them closer not only to each other but also to a lethal plot that’s been in the works behind their backs. And with each new secret unveiled, it’s not just temptation putting them at risk—it’s a madman who will not stop until Kelsey is dead.

 

 

 

Protected keeps readers on the edge of their seat and glued to the pages with expectation in this exciting romantic thriller.

 

Kelsey and Hunter are strong characters that have an electrifying chemistry that readers can practically feel sizzling through the pages although they have rocky romance due to emotional issues and hang-ups which adds depth to the characters and really draws readers into their story. As their attraction heats up so does the insecurities and doubts which really keeps readers in suspense about the ability of this couple reaching their HEA.

 

There is never a dull moment in this fast paced plot that keeps the heart pounding and adrenaline pumping as anticipation builds throughout the story as misdirection and surprising twists keeps the thrills coming with danger around every corner and an enemy that is always one step ahead of the couple.

 

This is the first book that I have read in the Deadly Secrets series, but not the first book that I have read by Elisabeth Naughton and as I love her Eternal Guardians series, I just had to try this one. I’m not sure how I missed the first two but I will be going back and reading them as the author has once again brought another story to brilliant life with well written words that make the story very life like and the wonderful characters are full of depth that made me feel as if I really knew and understood this couple.

 

 

 

Protected is the 3rd book in the Deadly Secrets series.

 

Deadly Secrets is available in print or ebook at:

Amazon   B&N   BaM   IndieBound   BookDepo

 

Elisabeth Naughton can be found at:

Website   Goodreads   Facebook    Twitter   BookBub   InstaGram   Amazon

 

 

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