Tuesday, December 25, 2018

review: a duke changes everything by christy carlyle

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As the second son, Nick never expected or wanted to inherit his father's title. When he does, his immediate plan is to sell the property and return to his life in London. But for as much as Nick loathes Enderley Castle, the estate steward loves it and the people who work there. Mina is determined to change Nick's mind, but they both get more than they bargained for in the first book of a new series from Christy Carlyle.

The romance between Nick and Mina develops slowly and naturally, but there's plenty of drama to keep the plot moving along. It was also nice to get both Nick and Mina's perspectives as it allowed both characters and their motivations to be better understood. Carlyle nailed it with this one.
5/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Avon Books.

Friday, December 14, 2018

review: forbidden passion by rita herron

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When Dante was a teen, he disobeyed his demon father to protect a girl named Marlena whose mother and sister were killed by Dante's brothers. Now decades later, Dante has literally fought demons as the sheriff and Marlena is a doctor doing research on the blood of serial killers. Although Dante has resisted contacting Marlena, he's forced to when she becomes involved in a murder investigation.

The romance is quick in this paranormal tale. It makes sense for Dante, but is a little less reasonable for Marlena who is warned that Dante isn't quite who he seems. The plot developments regarding the murder investigation are good, but it all gets wrapped up at rapid speed with the revelation of who the killer was and then a battle of demons. This is the third in the Demonborn series, but it works as a standalone with Vincent and Quinton from the first two books making only brief appearances.
3/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Grand Central Publishing.

Friday, December 7, 2018

review: the accidental beauty queen by teri wilson

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Charlotte and Ginny are identical twins who couldn't be more different. Charlotte is a school librarian who prefers wearing t-shirts with literary references while Ginny is a glamorous pageant contestant. In The Accidental Beauty Queen, an allergic reaction leads to Charlotte having to take Ginny's place in the pageant their deceased mother once won. It's a story that could be completely vapid and superficial, but Teri Wilson makes it incredibly moving. Wilson nails the sister dynamic and creates plenty of comedic twin-switch moments. She also doesn't fall into the trap of making the other pageant contestants stereotypes. Another great element (involving the twin-switch) is the sweet romance that develops between Charlotte and one of the judges. It gives just the right amount of conflict to elevate The Accidental Beauty Queen from great to excellent.
5/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Gallery Books.

Friday, November 30, 2018

review: lies by t.m. logan

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It was all lies. One moment high school teacher Joe Lynch is driving home with his young son and the next he is following his wife to a hotel where she meets the husband of her best friend. There’s a confrontation and then a number of lies as Joe’s life unravels.

T.M. Logan’s debut novel is filled with so many excellent lies that the reader is on the same delicious hunt as Joe (though Logan does annoyingly hide a few of Joe’s final discoveries to further keep the reader in the dark). Lies is a fast read, in part because the writing is compelling and most chapters end with enough of a shock that one can’t help but keep reading. This psychological thriller is absolutely captivating.
5/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, St. Martin's Press.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

review: desert kill switch by mark s. bacon

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Desert Kill Switch begins with the shocking discovery of a bullet-riddled body next to a classic Pontiac Firebird. Lyle, a former cop, is with his stepdaughter in an area of Arizona with no cell service so he gets them away from potential danger and then calls the sheriff. But when they arrive there's no sign of the body or the car. It's a great setup, but Mark S. Bacon quickly drops that plot in favor of another murder mystery. Even when Lyle makes a big find related to the body in the desert, he drops it. The pacing of the two mysteries is excruciatingly slow. Eventually both get worked out, but it's a bit convoluted.
2/5
Review copy provided by the publicist, MM Book Publicity.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

review: all is not forgotten by wendy walker

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After Jenny is brutally raped during a high school party, her parents consent to giving her a (fictional) drug that causes her to forget the details of the crime. While the police search for the rapist, Jenny begins therapy. All is Not Forgotten is told entirely from the perspective of Jenny's therapist. It's an odd choice. He is a very dry, pompous man who does nothing to make any of characters sympathetic. The therapist's narration also goes off into a number of tangents (he wonders if his son was at the party, relates stories of other patients, and establishes that the boss of Jenny's father isn't a good guy) that are wholly uninteresting and only serve to make it so the reveal of who raped Jenny isn't entirely out of nowhere.
1/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, St. Martin's Griffin.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

review: ghost town by jason hawes and grant wilson

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After writing a book about his own paranormal experience, ghost tracker Trevor is one of the authors participating in a conference during the Dead Days festival in "the most haunted town in America." Amber and Drew (now a couple) are scheduled to present as well. Shortly after they arrive in town, a woman is killed in what appears to be a paranormal event. Soon the trio are investigating a number of deaths related to the Dark Lady.

Ghost Town is substantially better than Ghost Trackers, but it does suffer from too many characters sharing their perspective. The numerous perspectives from secondary characters made the narrative disjointed. And while the hunt for the Dark Lady was interesting, Ghost Town did not pay off in the end.
2/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Gallery Books.