Review: Beloved Beast by Karyn Gerrard

beloved-beast

Series: Ravenswood Chronicles   Book 2 of 2      Paperback: 196 pages

Publisher: Lyrical Press (February 28, 2017)        ISBN-13: 978-1601836625 Rating: 5*

I really didn’t know what to expect when I picked up BELOVED BEAST by Karen Gerrard, based on the title, but having read this author before I figured it would be good.  I wasn’t wrong and luckily for me … good turned into GREAT!

In the early 1800’s a very debauched Viscount Ravenswood lost his life, only to be revived  some time later as a new man with a new name and yearning for love.  Only now the once handsome man was horribly scarred with a monster like visage.  He married a woman he fell deeply in love with and they lived a quiet life together blissfully happy for 37 years before he lost her.   Luke knew that you didn’t get second chances on meeting your soul-mate more than once in a lifetime.  One other fact was for some unknown reason, Luke was not aging and still looked like a young man while friends aged out and died.   Watching the people you cared for age and die was a penance he was finding difficult to bear.

Now as a spy Luke was being asked to assist a young woman, Gillian Brown, whose spying activities in pre-war Germany had been discovered making her a target.  Luke found himself caring for her more than he should and recognized that she was finding him equally fascinating.   But knowing his own reality could he put his heart on the line and love again?  But first, he had to get Gillian out of the country and safe from the clever assassin whose job it was to silence her forever.

Bottom line:  Extremely fast paced, interesting and original plotting.   I truly enjoyed every page of this lovely spy thriller…   Highly recommended.

Marilyn Rondeau

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Review: Lady of Silver by Shona Husk

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Publisher: Lyrical Press (February 21, 2017) ASIN: B01G0GBDTO

Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services Rating:  4*

Detective Dale Morgan is really up against it.  He’s got a murdered young woman found on the city’s outskirts with her blood drained.  He honestly believes she was murdered by a fanatic in town that is the leader of cult of vampire wannabe’s.  Only the killer is extremely efficient and leaves absolutely no clues at all.  Now Dale has his reasons for not believing in psychics and the woo-woo types of folks who peddle and con the public but he also knows that he has to try to find some/ any leads he can by going to interrogate one of the psychics that has given the police assistance in the past.

To humans, Saba Venn is a psychic, but she’s Albah, a race long forgotten by humans but who live amongst them, her powers fueled by blood and silver.  She agrees to help Detective Morgan, if it means stopping the vampire cult she believes is behind the killing. But the attraction she feels with Dale is immediate, and as their relationship intensifies she begins to doubt she can keep the secret of who and what she is from him.

*** Very interesting take on another type of Vampire world of humans and other worldly beings.   Saba is very unique – quite beautiful and naturally Detective Morgan in spite of his skepticism of thinking psychics are merely con artists, he can’t deny the feelings Saba has brought forth.   He realizes his mistake soon after she proves to him she could glean facts from just a small sample of the victims blood.   Unfortunately, in realizing Saba was the real deal, Dale had broken a small protective barrier she had and now the killer knew who she was and would be able to find her.

This was an overall short and fast read that can be read in one sitting.  I find that when the writing is succinct with a lots of  action the pages fly by, especially when each chapter kind of leaves you at the edge of a cliff and you just MUST see what happens next.   The world building was interesting, and the story held enough interest to keep you reading it straight through!!!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Gunmetal Gray by Mark Greaney

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ASIN:   B01FEY5ETS

Series:  The Gray Man #6 Rating:  5*

After five years on his own running away from the CIA which had at one time had a Terminate order on him, Court Gentry is back on the inside of the CIA. Regrets – he’s got a few –   especially after his first mission brings out a pair of Chinese assassins who try to take him down in Hong Kong. Normally the Chinese prefer to stay eyes-only on foreign agents. So why are they on such high alert?

Right from the get-go, Court has the feeling that he doesn’t have the ‘whole story’ regarding the mission he’s been sent on.   When he discovers that his old friend and former handler, Donald Fitzroy is being held hostage by the Chinese, Court is forced to make a deal where by he can try to save Fitzroy’s life and still complete discover the whereabouts of his CIA target, a highly capable Chinese hacker called  Fan Jing.  The problem the CIA wants Fan working for him and the Chinese want Fan DEAD!However, there are more complications than one can shake a stick at because everyone one wants a piece of Fan including the Russians, the Vietnamese, the Thai drug cartel, and even Taiwan.

***  Mark Greaney has been a favorite author of mine since I first discovered him with his debut novel of the Gray Man and each successive book in this series has just gotten better and better.  With so many people all looking to find and capture Court’s quarry the action never stops or lets up.  It’s one dangerous adventure after another.  However, this is the first time I have actually seen Court become somewhat involved with another agent and it makes for questions as to maybe – Court has found a partner?

Enough said!  All I can say is Mark Greaney continues to deliver and I am just waiting for someone in Hollywood to pick up this book series and realize what a fabulous TV or Movie series this could be made into!  Move over Jason Bourne – there is definitely a new kid on the block!!!   VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!

Marilyn Rondeau

 

Review: Close to Home – Lily Everett

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Paperback, 304 pages Publication: February 7th 2017 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

ISBN13: 9781250074058     Series: Sanctuary Island #5 Rating:  5*

Johnny Alexander was finally home, nervous and trying to shake off the deep undercover life he’d lived for the last two years.  First he needed to report into his supervisor, and then go home to the one thing that had sustained him for the time he’d been away – to hold his wife Terri whose memory had kept him sane when the world he’d lived in turned insane.  Much to his dismay, his best friend and supervisor Brad handed him an envelope filled with legal papers – divorce papers from over a year ago.

Terri had changed her name to Tessa but kept her married name of Alexander.  Finally Tessa had grown from the scared timid girl Johnny had married eight years previous and had decided that she needed to stand on her own!  Tessa had found her independence and was forging a new life for herself on Sanctuary Island with a job she loved; new friends; and her very own self-dependence.   It’s a quiet life on her own and though she still loved Johnny she felt she had to let him go to find a real wife he’d be happier with.

***   Wow, loved this scenario!   Terri/Tessa had been rescued by Johnny when he discovered her cold and shaken in his barn.  Always an honorable young man, he knew he had to protect the young girl and he married her in order to give her a safe home and his protection.  He treated her like a precious ‘china doll’ and after a few years where he was gone more often than not as a soldier and then as  a special ATF agent Tessa came to the conclusion that she wanted more from Johnny than a chaste kiss on her forehead as she went to bed alone.   What she didn’t realize was that Johnny did want more but wasn’t ready to cross over the line that he’d set for himself.

When Johnny was faced with the fact that Terri/Tessa had actually left, he followed her to Sanctuary Island and found a completely different woman than the shy girl he was married to.  Tessa had cut her long brown  hair into a very becoming blonde style but her whole demeanor had changed.  Far from the shy retiring girl he married, Tessa was smiling and laughing and obviously both very happy and very much in control of her life.

Johnny was going to have to work very hard in trying to seduce his own wife and show her that the marriage he wanted was the same one she had dreamed of – both physical and passionate.   The only thing that stood in their way was a madman from Tessa’s past who was determined to drag Tessa back to where she’d come from.

Bottom line:   Great writing – wonderful storyline and lovely characters you can easily fall in love with.  Sanctuary Island is a magical place – Highly recommended read.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Every Dark Corner by Karen Rose

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Series: Cincinnati Series #3         ISBN -13: 9780755390052         624 pages

Expected publication: February 7th 2017        by Headline            RATING:   5*

Welcome back to the latest book (#3) in Karen Rose’s fabulous Cincinnati series.   Having started with the very first book in this series, I must admit that I am totally emotionally invested in seeing this entire series through to the end.   The act of human trafficking and sex slaves is abhorrent, but when it involves young children the act becomes even more despicable.  This set of stories follows the brave men and women who are determined to stop and shut down the monsters who perpetuate these foul acts against humanity.

FBI Special Agent Griffin “Decker” Davenport finally wakes from a medically induced coma.  His brain is a bit fuzzy but slowly he remembers the desperation he needs to remember moron order to find the missing children he knows are in danger. Just at the end of his last undercover investigation, Decker had thought it was all over.   Just before the case would have been closed, Decker discovered not everyone had been rescued, but he was severely shot and was unable to tell anyone that the case couldn’t be closed. .

Special Agent Kate Coppola had recently been assigned to Cincinnati and had a hand in saving Decker’s life and took it upon herself to sit by his hospital bed while listening to the tapes that Decker had recorded while undercover.   She has been trying to piece together the crime he was investigating and growing closer to the agent she was finding more and more attractive as time went by.   Thankfully it was Kate who realized that there were missing pieces and and Decker’s life was in danger and when someone tried to poison him in the hospital Kate was able to save him before it was too late.

Not only were Kate and Decker the main characters in book #3 but anyone following the series would be happy to see and enjoy the interaction of secondary characters that were introduced in the first two books of the series.   Actually I do believe EVERY DARK CORNER could stand alone but if you want my advice I would highly suggest reading them in order so that the reader enjoys seeing how the previous characters are making out as time marched on.

Bottom line:   EVERY DARK CORNER is a remarkable book that is packed with non-stop suspense and action.  Ms. Rose’s villain is a master of disguise and a genius at staying one step ahead of the authorities.  The chase is on with very little to go on and the suspense is amazing because of the cleverness of said villain.   Highly recommended!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Wanted by Betsy Schow

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Rexi Hood has a problem. As the perpetual sidekick in the fairy tales, she’s destined to be Forgotten. Her name will be wiped away and no one in Story will remember her. Rexi is determined to be more than a sidekick, however. She’s the daughter of Robin Hood and an outlaw. All it will take is a devious plan- and a whole lot of luck- but maybe Rexi can avoid being Forgotten.

WANTED is the second book in the Spelled series and I highly recommend reading SPELLED first. The events in WANTED strongly depend on the reader understanding the ongoing story threads as well as the character development already established. In fact, I wish Betsy Schow would have given us a short recap of the past events as it took me a while to reorient myself to the intriguing world she has crafted.

I really wanted to like Rexi as her underdog role appeals to me. I cheered her desire to become the hero of her own story, rather than disappearing from all memory as a forgotten sidekick. Unfortunately, WANTED seemed overly convoluted at times as the story twisted and turned, and then twisted and turned yet again. To further confuse things, Rexi’s own identity becomes dangerously entwined with Dorothea’s and it became difficult to distinguish what in the world was going on.

I finished WANTED with mixed feelings. The ending, although somewhat abrupt and unexpected, leaves me hopeful about the third book in the Spelled series. There are elements of WANTED that reminded me of the magic in SPELLED that first enchanted me and I’m hopeful Betsy Schow can rekindle those aspects in the third book.

Review: Scheduled to Death by Mary Feliz

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Maggie McDonald is a Certified Professional Organizer and she hopes the upcoming holiday event scheduled to occur at Professor Lincoln Sinclair’s home will jumpstart her business. Unfortunately, Maggie finds more than just disorganization in the professor’s home- she finds the dead body of Linc’s fiancée.  Evidence points to murder rather than an accident and now Maggie is determined to find the murderer. Will Maggie become a target in the process?

SCHEDULED TO DEATH is the second book in the Maggie McDonald Mystery series but can easily be read as a standalone. Mary Feliz does a marvelous job at introducing new readers to her characters and her world. I haven’t read the first book, ADDRESS TO DIE FOR, but have already added it to my ever-growing TBR list.

And oh the characters! I can’t help but love the vitriol directed at the aptly nicknamed “Detective Awful”.  I’m almost sorry we won’t get to see more of this over-the-top ridiculous menace, as he provides quite a bit of humor. Maggie is a great heroine, full of spunk and determination. I love her willingness to do the right thing, even when it involves helping others in the middle of the night. She’s fearless and organized, which is a deadly combination.

SCHEDULED TO DEATH is a fast paced, entertaining cozy mystery. Each chapter starts with a piece of organizing wisdom from Maggie before we set off on the next segment of our adventure. I can’t wait to see what Mary Feliz has in store next for Maggie and her friends. Easily recommended!