Review: The Obsession by Nora Roberts

The Obsession

Shannon McManus (Narrator)   –   Audible Audio, Unabridged  – 14 hrs and 19 mins

Published April 12th 2016 by Brilliance Audio    –   ASIN:  B01DDXXPNE

Rating 5*

Nora Roberts does it again with this brilliant piece of work – THE OBSESSION !    What a story, plotting and absolutely fabulous characters!

From the moment Naomi Bowes followed her father into the wood, and seeming him enter a root cellar in the woods Naomi  knew she had to see what he was hiding in there thinking that it just might be the bicycle she had wished for her birthday coming in two days.   What she found was a naked young girl who had been chained to the wall on a bed of rags.   Freeing the girl Naomi half dragged her out of prison and walked through the forest before finding a neighbor who drove them to the police station where she revealed her father’s infamous crimes.

Years later Naomi is a successful photographer living under her new name of Naomi Carson who has come a long way from the hills of West Virginia.  On the other side of the states, Naomi has found solitude in the old house on a hill in Washington state.  She wants to live in solitude but the friendly folks in Sunrise Cove have been forcing her to open up and become part of the tight knit community – especially the very determined auto mechanic Xander Keaton.

Unfortunately, just as she is feeling comfortable within the community, bad things are happening to some of the young women in the area – bad things Naomi’s seen before.  All of a sudden Naomi’s past seems to be catching up to her – with horrific nightmares.

Wow – in a word – wow! Once again Ms. Roberts has created a storyline that has all the grit and suspense that I really love.   I do confess, I did have a niggling feeling as to the despicable madman who had come back into Naomi’s life to terrorize her again.   But even though I did figure out who the villain was, the rest of the story was simply marvelous with characters you have to love and a wonderful dog whom I fell in love with.      Final word – absolutely brilliant writing and an expert narration by Shannon McManus!

Marilyn Rondeau

 

Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

InkandBone

Print books are a black market commodity as the Library provides all the knowledge anyone needs in the Codex. Jess Brightwell has always cherished books, even as his family is part of the black market that smuggles and sells print books to the highest bidders. Unfortunately, Jess holds little interest in following the family business so his father offers him an ultimatum- Jess is to gain admittance to the Library and become an internal asset to the family. Jess has always loved the mystery of the Great Library but he’s about to discover some secrets that have remained hidden for years. What happens when knowledge holds absolute power over the people?

The world building in INK AND BONE is outstanding! Rachel Caine crafts a dark, richly layered world full of political machinations, war, and even the oh so mysterious alchemy that underpins the Library. The scenes with the automaton lions (and other creatures) are spooky. However, it’s the ink-lickers and burners who truly horrified me and solidified the eeriness of a world where physical books are a rarity.

Rachel Caine does a beautiful job with character development in INK AND BONE. Jess is an interesting main character and his love for books permeates every action he takes. However, he recognizes that there is a line between the love of books and the love for human life- a line that the Library doesn’t appear to recognize. I particularly love the glimpses we get into the lives of Jess’ fellow classmates although I have to admit that Scholar Christopher Wolfe’s story intrigues me the most.

INK AND BONE is the first book in The Great Library series and oh my, am I hooked! I’m always a sucker for books about books and it only gets better when the author is none other than the wonderful Rachel Caine. If you love fantasy or dystopian young adult novels, don’t hesitate to give INK AND BONE a try. The deeper themes set INK AND BONE apart from many of the other books in the genre and make it a highly recommended read!

Review: Billionaire in Wolf’s Clothing by Terry Spear

BillionaireWolf

Publication: July 5th 2016 by Sourcebooks Casablanca

ISBN13: 9781492621898      Series:  Billionaire Wolf #1

Characters:    Rafe Denali, Jade Ashton   –  Rating    5*

From the queen of shapeshifter romance, Terry Spear has opened up a new Billionaire Wolf series with book #1  BILLIONAIRE IN WOLF’S CLOTHING,  and after reading this first book in a brand new series I am fully committed to continuing and pre-ordering the next books as soon as they become available.

Rafe Denali is a self-made billionaire who got to this point in life thru sheer hard work and determination.  He wasn’t a pushover and guarded his private life so that no one would discover what he truly was.

Jade Ashton, hated that she was being forced by her evil brother to get close to Rafe to discover where his twin brother was.  She had no choice as her son Toby had been taken from her and if she didn’t provide the information her brother promised to kill him.

Frustrated to discover how difficult it was to attract Rafe’s attention, she walked into the ocean below his home and unfortunately got pulled away by a rip tide.  Rafe had noticed her, and seeing how dangerous the rip tide was pulling her out to sea he immediately ran down to jump in the ocean in an attempt to rescue her.    From there they both had the opportunity to realize that they had a very strong attraction to one another especially once Rafe discovered that she also was  she-wolf.

***   This story was terrific with immensely likable characters and a very fast pace that found me hard to put this book down for even a second!   It was that good!   The romance between Rafe and Jade was built slowly allowing time for Jade to grow so comfortable with Rafe and his gentle and generous nature that she finally came clean and told him why she was there and what she had been forced to do.

First difficulty, find her son Toby and once that was accomplished the very precocious and adorable tyke had everyone wrapped around his chubby little fingers.  Loved this child!  Next locate her despicable brother and eliminate his threats.

Bottom Line:  I loved, loved this book.   All the characters were fleshed out and the romance and sensuality between Rafe and Jade was quite tastefully done  – just enough description but not over the top with blow by blow intimacy.   Again – love BILLIONAIRE IN WOLF’S CLOTHING and cannot wait for the next volumes to this series.

Marilyn Rondeau

REVIEW:The Courtship Basket by Amy Clipston

The Courtship Basket

Amy Clipston

ARC received from NetGalley for an honest review.

THE COURTSHIP BASKET is the second book in the Amish Heirloom series by Amy Clipston. As soon as I started reading, I knew it was going to be a one sitting book. I was instantly worried about little John and Mike and wondered what was going to happen to them.

Rachel has been dating David for four years and can’t wait until he asks her to be his wife. One day she over hears a conversation between David and her best friend, Sharon. She discovers that they have been seeing each other behind her back and sneaking around. Rachel is devastated and broken hearted. She takes a job as a teacher that her cousin Malinda suggested to her. She will be working with the children who need special help and Rachel can’t wait. There she meets John Lantz who lost his mother when he was born and his Dad is very sick with kidney disease. John’s older brother Mike takes care of him as well as their dad. He is over whelmed and isn’t paying enough attention to John as he should.

Rachel decides to take matters into her own hands and goes and talks to Mike. She just wants to help John and is going to give Mike Lantz a piece of her mind. They actually end up yelling at each other. When Rachel finds out how bad Mike has it at home and how much he has on his plate she feels horrible. She finds THE COURTSHIP BASKET in her attic and decides to make meals for Mike and his family to try and help and to make up for what she did.

I can’t wait to read the third book, The Cherished Quilt to see what is in that hope chest. It is a big mystery. There are many twists and turns in THE COURTSHIP BASKET and the story really held my interest right until the very last page. Your heart will break for Mike and his family and for all they are going through. I just wanted to reach inside the book and give John a great big hug. He is only six years old and has to deal with so much heartache. I was also praying the whole time reading that Rachel wasn’t going to get her heart broken again. Poor Mike feels as if he isn’t good enough for Rachel and Rachel protects her heart from him. What could possibly go wrong?

Review: Blood Kiss by J. R. Ward

BloodKiss

Blood Kiss: Black Dagger Legacy, Book 1 Audible

J. R. Ward (Author), Jim Frangione (Narrator)  – Listening Length: 12 hrs,  39 minutes

Program Type: Audiobook   – Publisher: Penguin Audio

Audible.com Release Date: December 1, 2015

Rating:    4-1/2*

Having followed the Black Dagger Brotherhood series from the very beginning, it seemed only natural for me to start with the spin-off series Black Dagger Legacy.  Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s first advisor has already been mentioned in earlier books when she had assumed the position of receptionist where the king would come to hear the issues that surrounded the vampires under his protection here in his realm.   Paradise was so ready to break free of the restraints binding her as an aristocratic female she was thrilled when the next training center came around they were letting females join the program.  Paradise had been training on her own in the gym thinking she would be able to keep up with others. On the very first day of selection Paradise was faced with the unfathomably difficult tests of strength and survival facing them before they were even selected for the even tougher training program.  And all this before she fell in love with a fellow classmate – Craeg – a common civilian who would be nothing her aristocratic father would want for his daughter.

***  As usual the trainers in this series are all members of the Brotherhood with Butch O’Neal, aka at the Dhestroyer in charge.  Not only is he having issues with some of the cockier recruits, he is having personal issues in his own life.

Naturally, acts of violence and betrayals are woven into the training where some of the recruits who had lost entire families from the past violence between the Brothers and the Others had signed up not only for training but for vengeance.   The action is non-stop except for the simmering attraction between Paradise and Craeg.  Of course there are plenty of other sub-plots that Ward weaves into the main theme of BLOOD KISS, with one of them being the search for the rogue vampire who was beating on and killing innocent vampire civilian females.

Bottom line:   Intense, fast-paced, sensual, and exciting adventures are all combined to make this new spin-off series by Ms Ward another prime example of an excellent vampiric paranormal read.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Laiden’s Daughter by Susan Tisdale

Laiden'sDaughter

The Clan MacDougall –  Series #1

Listening Length: 12 hours and 28 minutes  – Publisher: Suzan Tisdale, author

Audible.com Release Date: March 10, 2014   –   Narrator: Erin Jones

Rating – 5*

Her mother was betrayed before Aishlinn’s birth and after her mother died – Aishlinn never had another moment of any type of caring or love, only abuse and cruelty from the men she’d encountered, especially her father and step-brothers who eventually sold her to a cruel English master.  Once she was old enough she was summoned to the masters room with the cruel intent of rape and molestation.  Fighting off his advances, Aishlinn ended up stabbing the master and began a terrifying flight from the castle for the Scottish Highlands.  Rescued by a band of fierce highland warriors, Aishlinn learned that honorable and gentle men existed.

Duncan McEwan had seen most of his clan wiped out by an English lord.   He’d fought numerous battles, found his way around the bedchambers of various woman, but nothing had prepared him for the wildcat lass he rescued from a freezing stream.    Obviously, a hated English woman, there was something about her that enabled him to vow to keep her safe once Aishlinn finally confessed to killing the English lord who had decimated his family and most of his clan.  At that point, Duncan knew he would do everything in his power to protect and keep her.

***This was the first book in the Clan MacDougall Series which is a series I have read out of order and found to be an amazing and fully developed Scottish historical adventure series I have since read and enjoyed many times over.  Author Tisdale has a great voice and peppers her tomes with high action as well as emotionally charged stories.   One of the many things I certainly enjoy from this author are how while fleshing out her characters she inserts high motivation to enable the reader to feel the emotion of the anger that drives them.

One of the other things I also enjoy is the humor that is used in the dialogs that keep the story from getting too maudlin and sensual scenes that do leave something to the imagination rather than blow by blow intimacy.

Bottom line:  I must also applaud the fine and impeccable job Erin Jones did with her narration of this audible book.  Jones interpretation was spot on and I loved her voice overs from male to female and from English to Scottish accents.  Ultimately, Ms. Jones had an excellent piece of work to interpret and both LAIDEN’S DAUGHTER and the entire Clan MacDougall Series is something I highly recommend for both your reading and listening pleasure.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: If the Earl Only Knew by Amanda Forester

If the EarlOnlyKnew

Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages   –  Publication: July 5th 2016 by Sourcebooks Casablanca    –  ISBN13: 9781492605492    –  Series: Daring Marriages #1

Rating:  5*

Amanda Forester is new author for me and after reading IF THE EARL ONLY KNEW, she will be an author I look for, especially for more books in this Daring Marriages series.

Lady Katherine Ashton and her twin brother were orphaned at twelve years old.  With no funds and no one to advocate for them, they were hauled off to debtors prison and separated.  Fortunately, one of their family’s retainers was able to get them released and both headed for the high seas.  Both were resigned to restoring their family fortune and to discover what exactly had happened to their family resources.

Years later, Katherine and her brother had successfully both restored their own fortune and had exceptional news to share with their investors.   Their meeting in London was going smoothly with the exception of the presence of the Earl of Wynbrook, who Kate met and shared a kiss with years before and hoped never to see again.  Kate had no desire to even be in London and could care less for mixing with the ton.   Other than finishing up business Kate would rather be at home in Gibraltar.  Unfortunately, issues had arisen both in Kate and her brothers boarding house as well as their ship’s cabin being ransacked forcing them to accept an invitation to stay at the Earl of Wynbrook’s estate.

The action and adventure continued as Wynbrook continued to get Kate to accept both his apology and renewed interest in her, while Kate’s outspokenness caused Wynbrook to discover that he had totally misjudged Kate all those years past.   All the while many attempts of break-ins, and attempts at kidnapping left this reader avidly turning the pages to see what came next.  Quite happily this was a totally pleasant and delightful read.

Bottom line:   The rapid pace, the lively dialogs and the engaging characters all added up to a very pleasing and highly enjoyable read.   As this has been my first sample of Ms. Forester’s writing I will definitely be looking for more from her and especially the future planned books in this new series.

Marilyn Rondeau

Shadow Rider by Christine Feehan (The Shadow Series)

ShadowRider

Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0515156132

Publisher: Jove (June 28, 2016)

Publication Date: June 28, 2016

ASIN: B016JPTLOU

4-1/2* – Extremely good and imaginative new characters.

I have been a big fan of Ms. Feehan for many years, faithfully following most of her series so I was excited to begin this brand new Shadow Series right from the very first book. I quickly discovered, after reading this first book in the series (which I stayed up quite late to finish) that she has again captured me in her new creative and imaginative family of ‘shadow riders’.

With the help of a very good friend, Francesca Cappello has come to Chicago hoping to escape her tormentors and to start a new life.   From the moment she entered the Ferraro neighborhood, Francesca immediately drew the attention of Stefano Ferraro – the acknowledged head of the Ferraro family. Stefano recognized Francesca as a ‘rider’ immediately and as soon as their shadows touched he knew she was his.  Francesca’s reaction was an immediate awareness of a man who was dangerous, yet familiar, even though she imagined he was a Mafia type individual.  Eventually Francesca would be in for a surprise to discover just what he was!   Basically discovering who and what a ‘rider’ was took up a lot of story along with some exciting scenario’s of ‘justice’ served up where it truly needed to be felt.

I truly can’t tell you much more of the plot line without giving up spoilers.   Suffice it to say that this was a terrific read and looks to be another fabulous series by a master of the genre.   The only thing I will say is that Stefano needs to temper down his ‘control issues’   and I sincerely hope in the following books that Ms. Feehan slows down with her over the top type of erotica type sensual behavior.  Leave a bit more to the imagination instead of blow by blow descriptions of intimacy.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Mine by J Kahele

Mine

J Kahele

Oh my god……..MINE just wrecked me. It tore out my heart, stomped all over it and never gave it back. At first, Jenna really annoyed me. She married Ben Kramer when she was still a teenager. He is much older than her and from the very beginning, he controlled her and abused her. Both mentally and physically. I was screaming at her while reading MINE. Why doesn’t she leave this sorry excuse of a man? But, as a survivor of an abusive marriage, I could understand the fear he instilled in Jenna.

 
MINE starts with Jenna running to their attorney’s office to drop off papers for Ben. There she meets Andrew Carington and her life will never be the same. There is instant attraction, but Jenna is a married woman. Her husband is a well respected senator and he is the only man she has ever been with. Andrew has no idea that Jenna is in an abusive relationship but he knows something is wrong. Will she confide in him and tell him what is going on? Should she just run as fast as she can away from him? Besides Jenna and Andrew, the secondary characters are going to grow on you as well. I can’t wait to read more about them.

 

Once I finished reading MINE I couldn’t stop thinking of Jenna and Andrew. Their story is going to stay with me for a long long time. Once I started reading, I could not put this book down. Janelle Kahele is a mind blowing author and her stories always shred my heart and leave me in tears. What Ben puts Jenna through and the mind control he has over her is terrifying. I can not wait to read the next book, Mine 2 to find out what happens to Jenna, Andrew, and Ben. Everyone should read MINE unless you only read books with happy endings. J. Kahele is most definitely one of my favorite authors and I love how she writes exactly what I love to read.