Monday, September 30, 2013

Cloche and Dagger review

Cloche and Dagger by Jenn McKinlay is the first in a fun new cozy mystery series. It was quirky, smart, and was definitely a good mystery.

Set in a very vibrant London, Cloche and Dagger features an American, Scarlett, who flees Florida after a spectacular breakup that went viral on the Internet to help out her cousin Vivian at the hat shop their grandmother owned. Scarlett was a strong woman but she had a touch of needy in her personality and she doesn't know how to not be part of a couple. She is very real - her character is someone I could easily imagine knowing and being friends with. She's smart, she's hard working, and she's a people person.

The clear love interest is Harrison, a handsome Brit who is the business manager for the hat shop. I honestly didn't care for him much - he seemed judgmental and there was just something about his interaction with Scarlett and his attitude that rubbed me the wrong way. That's not to say he wasn't a good character but he certainly wouldn't be someone I would be interested in dating or even being friends with.

Viv, when she showed up, seemed a little too spacey to own and run a successful business. I get that she was supposed to be the artist but even artists have to properly run a business or they won't have one for long. However, Viv was very supportive of Scarlett but also told her the truth rather than what Scarlett wanted to hear and I do love characters like that since that is what my best friend does for me.

The secondary characters, always an important gauge to me, were also excellently written. The society ladies, the neighboring photographer and his lover, the shop assistant, and the police officers were all full characters with great personalities and provided the necessary details that help create the world in which the mystery happens.

The mystery was definitely a mystery! I had no clue who the murderer was until McKinlay revealed it. And yet, it made perfect sense when it was all lined up for me. The talent required to pull that off in a book is mind boggling and yet McKinlay does so in both series that I've read.

If you are looking for a good mystery with solid characters and a great setting, I'd definitely recommend Cloche and Dagger. I'm looking forward to reading the second book in the series and, if you haven't read it, I highly recommend McKinlay's Library Lovers series as well. The first book in that series is Books Can Be Deceiving.


Not only is Scarlett Parker’s love life in the loo—as her British cousin Vivian Tremont would say—it’s also gone viral with an embarrassing video. So when Viv suggests Scarlett leave Florida to lay low in London, she hops on the next plane across the pond. Viv is the proprietor of Mims’s Whims, a ladies’ hat shop on Portobello Road bequeathed to both cousins by their beloved grandmother, and she wants Scarlett to finally join her in the millinery business.

But a few surprises await Scarlett in London. First, she is met at the airport not by Viv, but by her handsome business manager, Harrison Wentworth. Second, Viv—who has some whims of her own—seems to be missing. No one is too concerned about the unpredictable Viv until one of her posh clients is found dead wearing the cloche hat Viv made for her—and nothing else. Is Scarlett’s cousin in trouble? Or is she in hiding?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fierce review


Fierce by Sabrina York is an erotic novella in the 1 Night Stand series by Decadent Publishing. Fierce was a fun story in a fun series. There are a massive number of 1 Night Stand stories and I have only read a handful so you don't need to read them in order or anything.

Katie is a loyal woman - she was loyal to her husband and loyal to her best friend who has a big mouth. She swears off men after her husband cheats on her. She is in no way interested in being with another man any time soon despite her best friend's insistence.

Sebastien only has one night stands after his wife cheated on him as he is not interested in trusting another woman with his heart. He finds Katie physically attractive but it is her loyalty that takes the attraction into the emotional realm.

Katie and Sebastien are hooked up after Katie's best friend signed her up for Madam Eve's 1 Night Stand service. The attraction is written really well and when they get together, it makes sense and "feels" right.

Fierce is an erotic novella and as the series title should tell you, the majority of the story is graphic sex. But the plot wrapped around that sex is something most readers can relate to or at least empathize with.


The last thing Katie is expecting—when she meets her friend Joy for a girls’ weekend in Vegas to celebrate her divorce—is an ambush. But Joy, determined to get Katie “back on the horse,” has submitted her profile with Madame Eve—who’s found her the perfect man.

Katie doesn’t want another man. She certainly doesn’t want or need confirmation that it’s her fault Mark could never satisfy her.

When Sebastian—scarred by the infidelity of his wife—overhears Katie’s confession, and the fact that she was faithful to her husband for ten years even though he never met her needs, he’s intrigued. More than intrigued. He’s determined to prove to this gorgeous, tempting, fascinating woman that she is not frigid. In fact, she is fierce.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Brown Eyed Girl review

BROWN EYED GIRL by Mariah Stewart

Brown Eyed Girl by Mariah Stewart is a well-written and medium paced romantic suspense novel.

I have to admit it has been awhile since I read a Stewart book though I have always enjoyed them. My mom actually gave me Brown Eyed Girl  because my hometown is mentioned in it several times.

Leah is strong and creative but she is still hurting from the loss of her sister Melissa. Missy disappeared on her way home from college and Leah is determined to find the answers about what happened to Missy. A large monetary reward for information is available and a serial killer, Raymond Lambert, contacts Leah saying he has information but wants the reward money. Leah agrees but before Lambert can tell her what she wants to know, he is killed in prison. Leah is determined to find the answers without him and goes to the person she thinks is an expert in Lambert and his crimes.

Ethan has been hiding away from the world in rural Maine after his wife's death at Lambert's hands. He is giving and selfless, agreeing to help Leah find answers despite the pain it causes him. Ethan is also very protective and more likely to recognize the signs that something is wrong than Leah is. He's also more willing to take drastic action to keep those he loves safe.

The secondary characters, particularly Holly and Tom, Ethan's father and daughter, make this story. The interactions between Ethan, Holly, and Tom give Ethan's character a depth it wouldn't have otherwise had. Leah's remaining family, her cousin Catherine, is less revealing of Leah's personality. Catherine is a little standoffish and snobby and is a fairly flat character.

The mystery of the killer is done well and I didn't guess anything until his identity was revealed. However, the "unexpected twist" wasn't particularly unexpected as I guessed the involvement of that character early and easily.


A fashion magazine features editor, Leah McDevitt is haunted by the memory of her cherished younger sister, Melissa, who vanished years ago. Missy, whose extraordinary eyes -- one blue, one brown -- may have lured her abductor to her....When Leah receives a letter from death row inmate Raymond Lambert, she eagerly agrees to pay him the long-standing reward for information about Melissa -- even if it means coming face-to-face with a notorious serial killer.

But before Lambert can impart his secrets, he himself is killed. Devastated but determined, Leah heads to the Maine woods to seek out private investigator Ethan Sanger, who authored a book about Lambert in exchange for yet another of Lambert's terrible secrets. Leah and Ethan strike a sparking passion with the power to heal their painful pasts. But someone has his eye on Leah...someone who knows more than he should...and who won't be satisfied until Leah sees the truth with her own eyes.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hell on Wheels review

Hell on Wheels by Julie Ann Walker is the first book in the Black Knights series of contemporary romance.

Hell of Wheels features the couple of Ali and Nate aka Ghost. The loss of Grigg, Ghost's partner and Ali's older brother, causes massive problems for this couple. Grigg had always told Nate not to go near Ali so Nate tried to avoid her because he loved her at first sight. Grigg's death just cemented Nate's belief that he wasn't good enough for Ali. Ali thinks Nate doesn't have any use for her so she fights her lust.

Nate is a pretty typical alpha with asshole moments. While he is close to the team at Black Knights, he doesn't really emote. Ali is a little naive but with a backbone of steel. I think she is maybe a little too forgiving of Nate's asshole moments but it works in the book.

Hell on Wheels introduced us to the whole team of Black Knights, our group of ex-military government contractors. It also completely sets up the next book with the included secondary storyline around Frank aka Boss and Rebecca aka Becky.

Overall, Hell on Wheels is a great contemporary romance with hard core alpha males. I definitely want to read more on the various team members and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.


Ex-Marine Nate “Ghost” Weller is an expert at keeping his cool – and his distance – which makes him one hell of a sniper.  It’s also how he keeps his feeling for Ali Morgan in check.  Sweet, sexy Ali has always revved his engine, but she’s his best friend’s baby sister… and totally off limits.

Ali’s never seen anything sexier than Nate Weller straddling his custom Harley – or the flash of danger in his eyes when she tells him she’s in trouble.  First something happened to her brother, and now’s she’s become the target of some nasty organization.  With Nate, her life in the most capable hands possible – but her heart in another story altogether.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Hotshot review

Hotshot (Buchanan-Renard, #11)

Hotshot is the latest romantic suspense novel by Julie Garwood. While I enjoyed the plot of the novel, the characters left something to be desired.

Peyton is all drama. She says one thing but does another time after time. She does not seem very bright and is a little wishywashy. Peyton had to suddenly leave her job as a food critic because her boss is not willing to take no for an answer and he wants to have sex with her. She is threatened and almost killed but does she take her evidence to the police or even to the owner of the company? No. She goes on and on about needing to make the guy pay but she never tries to follow through. It came across as fairly ridiculous to me.

Lucy, Peyton's sister, is completely obnoxious. Sister or not, if she'd treated me the way she did Peyton when they first started at the resort, I'd have broken her nose. The romance between Lucy and Christopher was not believable to me. Unless you are five years old, picking a fight is not the appropriate way to show someone you like them.

Finn as a fairly typical FBI guy, a quintessential alpha protector. He was not very smart with women and didn't seem to be able to understand his own feelings. He was smart, protective, and sometimes funny but he didn't always treat Peyton well which I disliked.

The secondary characters were also not up to Garwood's usual level. They were fairly one-dimensional and stereotypical - the evil developer, the greedy cousin, and the heir-less uncle. They felt flat to me which is disappointing because Garwood usually writes very vivid secondary characters.

Overall, Hotshot was not one of my favorite Garwood books. But when you write as many as she has, there's always going to be one that doesn't work even for your biggest fan!


Peyton Lockhart and her sisters have inherited Bishops Cove, a small, luxurious oceanfront resort, but it comes with a condition: The girls must run the resort for one year and show a profit - only then will they own it.

A graduate of a prestigious French culinary school, Peyton has just lost her job as a food critic. Out of work and in a bad place personally, a year doing something completely different sounds wonderful.

There are countless challenges and too many people who want to stop the sisters from succeeding. Among them are Peytons contentious cousins, who are outraged that they didn't inherit the resort, as well as a powerful group of land developers who have been eyeing the coveted beachfront property.

Its soon apparent to Peyton that their efforts are being sabotaged, but she refuses to let the threats scare her - until she's nearly killed. She calls on her childhood friend and protector, Finn MacBain, now with the FBI, and asks for his help. He saved her life once; he can do it again.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wolf Hills review

 Wolf Hills Cover

Wolf Hills by Bianca D'Arc is the sixth book in the erotic paranormal series Brotherhood of the Blood. The book features Sally, the last of the female group of friends that have been close since college. 

Sally is a cop so it should surprise no one when she notices things about the paranormal people surrounding her when she arrives to visit Carly in Wyoming. How Carly thought Sally wouldn't notice and call her on it, I'm not sure but it ended up being a pretty moot point anyway. 

Sally quickly meets Jason, local alpha werewolf, who readers will have met in Phantom Desires. The chemistry between the two is palpable to the other characters but also to the reader - D'Arc writes so that the lust basically rolls off the page!

Revelations of shifters and vampires are the least of the problems Sally finds herself facing however. The Venificus hunters haven't been defeated and have popped up again plus there's a reveal about Sally - I won't spoil it - to contend with. And she thought it was going to be a relaxing vacation :)

I really liked Sally and Jason. They were both interesting characters, independently, and they worked well for me as a couple. I also enjoyed the bond between Sally and Carly - another strength of D'Arc's writing is the strong and realistic friendships she portrays. The secondary characters were also well-rounded and interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing more of those same characters later in the series. 

Overall, Wolf Hills is a hot and fun read with solid characters, an interesting and engaging plot, and it left me wanting more. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series. 


"Danger prowls on two legs "

A "Brotherhood of Blood" Novel

Detective Sally Decker s Wyoming trip to visit her newlywed friend, Carly, turns into a dangerous adventure into the unknown when she learns Carly s husband is a master vampire, and there s a pack of werewolves living just up the road. As if that wasn t alarming enough, the sexy Alpha wolf has taken a shine to her.

Jason Moore is an Alpha on a mission to make Sally his own. His very public seduction doesn t sit well with the pack s available females, but instinct tells him that Sally can handle anything, including any werewolf bitch dumb enough to challenge her.

Romance gives way to a call to arms when the pack s children come under attack. Their rescue mission turns into a mating dance and the hunt is on in more ways than one. Their attraction is mind-bendingly hot, though startling revelations about his magic and her origins could drive a wedge between them forever. Can love help them bridge the chasm between their worlds?

Warning: This book contains bombs, bullets, bare-knuckled and bare-naked lust, and some serious ass kicking. Please do not feed the frisky furballs, unless you re willing to risk drawing back a bloody nub.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Huntress Moon review

 Huntress Moon (Huntress/FBI Thrillers, #1)

Huntress Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff is the first book in the Huntress/FBI series. It is a suspense thriller that digs deep into the psychology of killers and victims.

I found Huntress Moon to be very psychologically creepy. It wasn't overly graphic in the portrayal of blood and gore but the crime scenes and the discussions of who and why were deeply disturbing. I was also kept off balance because Sokoloff switches back and forth between what the FBI agents are doing and what the killer is doing but when reading the killer's viewpoint, there is never any indication of who you are reading about and yet the reader gets to know a lot about her.

Another aspect of the story that kept me off balance while reading was that it isn't a straight forward "FBI agents are good guys and killers are evil" set up. In fact, I wasn't at all sure who is good and who is bad as I was reading Huntress Moon. While the killer is a killer, she is never portrayed as evil or psychotic. I found myself torn between cheering for the killer and wanting Roarke to catch her.

Sokoloff doesn't reveal everything in Huntress Moon - there are many unanswered questions at the end of the book but I guess that's the nature of writing a series. I enjoyed reading about the characters even as I was torn about what I wanted to happen. You can't ask anything more than that and I look forward to reading Blood Moon, the second book in the series.


FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke is closing in on a bust of a major criminal organization in San Francisco when he witnesses an undercover member of his team killed right in front of him on a busy street, an accident Roarke can't believe is coincidental. His suspicions put him on the trail of a mysterious young woman who appears to have been present at each scene of a years-long string of "accidents" and murders, and who may well be that most rare of killers: a female serial.

Roarke's hunt for her takes him across three states...while in a small coastal town, a young father and his five-year old son, both wounded from a recent divorce, encounter a lost and compelling young woman on the beach and strike up an unlikely friendship without realizing how deadly she may be.

As Roarke uncovers the shocking truth of her background, he realizes she is on a mission of her own, and must race to capture her before more blood is shed.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cover Reveal for Alabaster Nights by Elle J Rossi

For Just A Reader's very first cover reveal, we have the cover of Alabaster Nights by Elle J Rossi!

A Vampire with a soul. A Huntress with a knife. In Nashville, Blood equals Power. Will one taste of Josie Hawk cost Keller everything?

Isn't that gorgeous?!?! Alabaster Nights is a novella that will be out in December. It is a companion story to Elles's Josie Hawk series. 

You can read the first story featuring Josie and Keller in the anthology A Celtic Tapestry. And, in honor of the cover reveal, Elle has agreed to giveaway a digital copy of A Celtic Tapestry. So, anyone who comments on this cover will be eligible and I'll do a random drawing this weekend from the posts.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Killer Librarian review

Killer Librarian

I had such high hopes for Killer Librarian by Mary Lou Kirwin. I mean, it's a cozy mystery about a librarian called Killer Librarian - how could it not be great? Unfortunately, I was very disappointed in it.

Small town, middle aged librarian Karen is our sleuth. She loves nothing more than a mystery novel especially if that mystery novel is set in England. So her planned vacation with boyfriend Dave to England is a serious life event. So far, so good. Then Dave dumps her just hours before the trip. Karen goes anyway and mayhem ensues.

I found Karen to be whiny, with an addition to too much drama, and an attitude that was all woe is me. I couldn't figure out why anyone would date her in the first place and certainly understood why she seemed to have only one friend and that was her employee! Other than being a librarian who liked to read and her excitement about finding rare and old books to collect, I didn't find much redeemable about Karen.

Dave was a fairly typical asshole ex. He was clearly having a mid-life crisis which manifested in his new, much younger girlfriend. But Karen cares enough to try to warn them both when she thinks a killer is after them. Neither is grateful and frankly, Karen came across as just being a global stalker rather than trying to do the right thing.

Guy, the British gentleman Karen spills her guts to the first night in England while drowning her sorrows in a pint, is a strange and flat secondary character. He shows up repeatedly but his character has no depth and no real personality. A secondary character that was well written was Caldwell. Caldwell has personality and I did like his character but the whole attraction between him and Karen didn't feel real.

But the real clincher for me was that the actual mystery was an afterthought rather than the main storyline of the novel. Karen doesn't sleuth, she rambles along feeling sorry for herself or lusting after Caldwell and stumbles onto the fact that someone killed a fellow B&B guest rather than his dying from natural causes.

If you are looking for a good mystery featuring a librarian sleuth, you are better off reading the excellent  Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay.


Champion of the mystery section at a small-town Minnesota library, Karen Nash is about to embark on a dream trip to London—a literary tour inspired by every murderous intrigue, wily suspect, and ingenious crime found in the pages of the British mysteries that she devours. But she’s clueless why the love of her mid-life, Dave, would dump her hours before takeoff—until she spies him at the airport with a young honey on his arm! She decides the best revenge (for now) is to get on that plane anyway . . . and entertain schemes for Dave’s untimely demise while crossing the pond.

After touching ground in the hallowed homeland of Christie, Sayers, and Peters, she checks into a cozy B & B run by charming bibliophile Caldwell Perkins. Soon she’s spilling tears in her pint at the corner pub, sharing her heartbreak saga with a stranger. That night, a B & B guest drops out of circulation—permanently. And when Dave and his cutie turn up in London, Karen realizes they are an assassin’s target. With the meticulous attention to detail that makes her a killer librarian, Karen sleuths her way through her own real-life mystery—in which library science meets the art of murder.

Friday, September 6, 2013

I'll Be Seeing You review

I'll Be Seeing You

I'll Be Seeing You by Mary Higgins Clark is an older mystery but it was a very good one. It certainly kept me guessing all the way until Clark wanted the reader to know who the killer was - I never even considered the character as a possibility which shows how well Clark kept it under wraps. I was thrown off by some very well written and sneaky red herrings.

Meghan is a solid reporter and possesses a lawyer's mind but in the case of her father's death, she is far too emotionally close to be able to think about it rationally or logically. I felt for her because I don't think anyone who loves their father would be able to consider what the cops are thinking. On top of that, to see a dead body with your own face staring back at you would knock anyone for a loop, I suspect. Added to that is Meghan's attempt to be strong and supportive of her grieving mother and spending time with Mac who she has unrequited feelings for. It would be hard not to empathize with her!

Mac is pretty much oblivious to his own feelings so expecting him to have a clue about how a woman feels is probably a lost cause. He is protective, a good father and a good friend. His evolution in the story is a little abrupt but he's a good guy and it is easy to see why Meghan fell in  love with him.

There are a lot of secondary characters in I'll Be Seeing You and Clark does a good job of making them full characters with distinct personalities and depth. The secondary storyline woven throughout the book seems a bit superfluous until the end when its necessity becomes quite clear.

Overall, I'll Be Seeing You is a very solid mystery, if a little dated, and I look forward to reading more of Clark's backlist.


The murdered woman could have been her double. When reporter Meghan Collins sees the sheet-wrapped corpse in a New York City hospital, she feels as if she's staring into her own face. And Meghan has troubles enough already without this bizarre experience. Nine months ago, her much-loved father's car spun off a New York bridge. Now, investigators are saying that there's no trace of his car in the river, and they suspect he faked his own death. With frightening speed, links start to appear between Meghan's father and her dead lookalike. Meghan may be in danger herself, but she's determined to find the truth to the mystery. In a nightmare journey spiraling from New York to Connecticut to Arizona, Meghan finds that the truth can sometimes be deadly.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ready, Set, Jett! review

Ready, Set, Jett! by Lori Foster is a novella in The Guy Next Door compilation. It's the first story in the Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series.

Jett is a pretty typical alpha male. I found him amusing because he doesn't want a commitment but he does want women to want more from him than he's willing to give. In other words, he wants a woman to want more from him than he does from her. However, he's not a user or a cheater. When he's with a woman he is only with her. He manages that fine balance between being commitment phobic and being a jerk.

I really enjoyed Natalie's character. She had issues from her parents and childhood but she wasn't willing to let them control her. Natalie gives Jett exactly what he says wants and resists when he tries to push her. She holds her own against him.

I liked that Foster took us on Jett's emotional journey and Natalie's expanding trust in this romance. It's hard to write a complete story in so few words but it didn't feel unfinished or hurried. It had a good level of detail and balanced the emotions with the lust nicely. I definitely will read the full length novel that's next in the series.


A vacation from her no-strings romance with her sexy next-door neighbor. That's what Natalie Alexander needs to get her head—and heart—together. But her solo trip south turns into a disaster when gorgeous Jett Sutter turns up with another challenge.