Review: The Bad Luck Bride by Janna MacGregor

BadLuckBride

Series: The Cavensham Heiresses (Book 1) Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (May 2, 2017) ISBN-13: 978-1250116123

Rating:  5*

Most of the ton were shocked to hear that the “cursed” Lady Claire Cavensham was about to marry Lord Alexander Hallworth especially when it was apparent that the ball she was intending to announce her betrothal to another Lord, failed to said Lord who sent a note instead.  However, Lord Alexander had an inkling of what was going on and rushed to Lady Claire’s aid.

What left Claire breathless though, was Lord Alexander’s pronouncement of his esteem for Claire and asking that she do him the honor of becoming his bride.   Claire hardly knew Alexander but after three other engagements that all ended in disaster, and now the fourth about to disintegrate, Claire was hardly in a position to refuse.

***   I have to say I feel honored  to have been able to read an advanced copy of THE  BAD LUCK BRIDE by Janna MacGregor.   At 352 pages I was so ensnared that I couldn’t put it down.   Not only was the writing fresh and engaging, but the dialogs, the plotting, and the buildup of such a sensual romance was intoxicating.

This is not to say that Claire and Alex didn’t have issues.  Claire was still reeling over the death of her parents many years back and the powerful tangle of her emotions of that horrible accident haunted  her

still.   Alex on the other hand, felt immense guilt over the suicidal death of his young sister and was bent solely on revenge of the person he held responsible.  Both Claire and Alex had to come to grips with these haunting events that threatened any happiness they might be able to find together.

To me I found this a very powerful and emotional read waiting and hoping that one or the other would finally open up and let the pain flow out to be shared and let the healing begin.  When that happened the love they had each been afraid admitting to would be a most glorious end to such a wonderful story.

Marilyn Rondeau

Advertisements

Review: Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts

Carnal Innocence

Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte Length: 17 hrs and 55 mins

Unabridged Audiobook Release Date:04-06-12

Publisher: Recorded Books Rating: 5*

In CARNAL INNOCENCE author Nora Roberts has created a mesmerizing tale of madness, murder, and love in a small southern town of the bayou.  Put into play is Caroline Waverly, a beautiful world renowned concert violinist who is still fragile from both a public breakup and private breakdown after witnessing her lover with another.  Caroline, has left the concert circuit escaping to her late grandmother’s home in Innocence, Mississippi.   However instead of the peace and tranquility she expected, she found a town reeling from two vicious and heinous murders. And, if that weren’t enough Caroline discovers a third victim on her property.

Enter Caroline’s devastatingly handsome bad-boy neighbor – Tucker Longstreet.  Big, beautiful with a devilish grin and the sexiest southern drawl ever.  But for some reason, Tucker makes Caroline feel safe even though his reputation for breaking hearts has put him at the top of the suspect list, seeing as how he was connected to each of the murdered women.

***  Lordy, lordy, but I have listened to Tom Stechschulte before and I have to say that NO ONE does sexy Southern drawls like Mr. Stechschulte!  He is a master of making a written hero pop to life as one very SEXY heart throb – just by hearing that rich southern interpretation.   Wow!  And let me also say that the sensuality both actual and implied was steaming all the way through to the very end!

Now mix that with exquisite storytelling by Nora Roberts and you have a perfect combination that will force you to keep listening way into the middle of the night and then turning it back on as soon as you wake up!  Be it children, heroes or heroines, pets, even nasty villains  – Ms. Roberts writes the books that grab you and simply won’t let you go.    Loved every minute of this audiobook, the outstanding performance of Mr. Stechschulte and the entire cast of characters who made this ‘very hard to put down’  and immensely satisfying book!

Marilyn Rondeau

 

Review: The Chosen: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood By J.R. Ward

The Chosen

Narrated by: Jim Frangione Length: 17 hrs and 32 mins

Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 15 Release Date:04-04-17

Publisher: Random House Audio                                      Rating:  5*

I have waited a long time to finally get the real story of Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards; convicted of treason against the Blind King and at the end of book 14, was captured and awaiting a brutal interrogation and a most heinous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.    Xcor would never have given in if it weren’t for the promises he made to a sacred female, The Chosen Layla.  She was never his, but she had saved his life and after the life he’d led he knew he’d never deserve someone like her.

Now that Layla has delivered her young twins she finds herself at loose ends and wants something for herself including the warrior she knows who is a good man Xcor.   When Quinn discovers that Layla had been seeing Xcor behind his back – he went nuts and wanted to keep her babies from her.  Devastated by the chasm she had caused  between the young’s biological father and the warrior she loved Layla had to summon the courage to stand up to the only family she has for the only man she has ever loved.    Layla knew Xcor’s heritage and was torn between keeping the secret or revealing that which might divide their world further.

****  Once again, a stellar book to add to Ms. Wards fabulous Black Dagger Brotherhood series.   The more answers that are revealed in these books, the more questions and subplots emerge keeping this series alive and well.   Enter a new deity which seems very evil and new characters begin to come to the forefront where one cannot wait for the next book to be written.   Just as new folks begin to take on life, characters we thought we knew seem to be taking on new persona’s such as our resident fallen ‘angel’  – now what is that all about?

So many directions Ms. Ward can go in with the revelations found in THE CHOSEN –  I personally cannot wait to see what comes next!   And Ms. Ward – Please, Please – help out Assail!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Burntown by Jennifer McMahon

Burntown

Print Length: 304 pages Publisher: Doubleday (April 25, 2017)

Sold by: Random House LLC ASIN: B01LZOU9XD

Rating: 4-1/2*

In the small Vermont town of Ashford, one might think it like any other typical sleepy New England town, but there were were people who lived in the shadows amongst the abandoned mills and factories that referred to Ashford as “Burntown”.

Eva Sandeski, known as “Necco” on the street had been a part of this underworld for years from the day the ‘great flood’ had come leaving her and her mother Lily homeless.  Her father Miles had been a professor but more than that he was an inventor of fantastic machines, one of which was purported to have been built off of stolen plans that once belonged to Thomas Edison.  Somewhere in the back of Eva’s mind it was the machine that had gotten Miles murdered.

Necco had been so young and told of this story so many times by her mom that she believed it and when Lily had mysteriously died, and then Necco’s boyfriend murdered, she’s convinced her mother was telling the truth.   One thing Necco did remember was a tattoo on the hand of the man whom she knew was bad ahdn probably was the one who had killed her family – she called him ‘snake eyes’ .  Now Necco had to rely on the group of women her mother had come to who lived off the grid and were known as ‘fireeaters’ to help protect her and guide her to expose the killer.

***  I must say that this was a fully robust novel with lots of twists and turns and plenty of red herrings town into the mix.   And of course, it goes without saying that the characters were extremely colorful and totally unique.   However, as misfits they were they blended well into the story.   From Pru, the cafeteria lady leading a secret life, to Theo who is trying to recoup the money she lost that belongs to a dangerous drug trafficker.

The action initially started slow but as I got deeper into the story, things started to both make sense and even get a little weird, but also quite interesting!   Where I once thought Necco was flying off  the deep end bits and pieces started to come together where it all made sense.   There was a VERY bad man who had a pair of dice tattoo that she named  “Snake Eyes”,   but that was not the only bad guy that was out to silence Necco and what might have been left of her family.

Bottom line:   Hang in through the slow opening.  You will find BURNTOWN just might turn your initial thoughts into a high five for this book!!!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: The Girl Who Was Taken by Charlie Donlea

GirlWhoWasTaken

Hardcover, 320 pages ISBN13: 9781496701008

Publication: April 25th 2017 Kensington Publishing Corporation

Rating:  5*

Set in the small town of Emerson Bay, Nicole Cutty and Megan McDonald were both high school seniors who disappeared launching a massive investigation and numerous search parties.   Regrettably, there were absolutely no clues left behind.  However, after a couple of weeks, Megan re-emerged after escaping from a bunker deep in the woods.

A year later Megan’s book with an account of her ordeal has been published and now Megan is not only a local hero but now a national celebrity.  Megan’s story is a striking example of survival but it’s missing one thing – Nicole is still missing.   Nicole’s older sister Livia, a fellow in forensic pathology, is expecting that one day, Nicole’s body will show up on her table.  Instead, another body shows up and clues lead Livia on a hunt where the young man appeared to be connected to her sister.

Megan knows more than she revealed in her book which was co-written with the help of her psychiatrist.  And while flashes of memory begin to emerge for Megan the chilling details of who and what  actually happened are beginning to show Megan the true terror of her captivity.

***   Wow, this one kept me on the edge of my seat and was very difficult to put down! Luckily I started THE GIRL WHO WAS TAKEN early in the morning and was finished before I went to bed that night!  Fabulous writing and lots of twists that kept me on my toes which gave me the surprise of discovering who the REAL villain was.

I loved the details Charlie Donlea took the time to describe allowing the reader to see just what the motivating factors were for the actions of the major players in the story.   Also enjoyed the research employed that described some of the tactics and tools used for pathologists to determine how, when and where death occurred.

Bottom line: THE GIRL WHO WAS TAKEN was a terrific read for those who enjoy a high suspense, fast pacing and lots of red herrings tossed in to keep one guessing.   Highly recommended.

Marilyn Rondeau

Fractured Silence

By Carrie Ann Ryan

Parker Jameson has been hit with a prophecy dealing with threes and a dagger that belonged to the first of his line. Not sure how he can possibly fulfill this prophecy as he is growing weaker and needs to find his mate. The last thing he expects is that Brandon Brentwood, an Omega and youngest of a Talon Pack family would have an important part in his future. Then add in Avery Montag, the daughter of a traitor to the wolves and you have an interesting mix.

I have been looking forward to the return of author Carrie Ann Ryan’s “Talon Pack” books and was immediately drawn into this fast paced world. The wolves are outed and the humans are, of course, mixed in their feelings. Parker, Brandon and Avery will have to work together to bring even a modicum of safety to the wolves and that itself is an amazing process to watch. They have to learn to trust, lean on each other and support each other, especially when it turns out they are mates. I guess I need not say that this is a M/M/F storyline and I admit though it is not one of my favorite scenarios it fits the plot the best.

Fractured Silence is action packed, but the emotional aspect of it was what held me captivated. I wanted to see if they could find their truth and hold on to one another. If you are looking for a fantastic read and love roller coaster rides then Fractured Silence will take you on one.

This book is the end of this particular thread of the Talon Pack series and Ms. Ryan strove to give her readers everything we expected. I look forward to the next offerings by her.

 

Reviewed by Annetta Sweetko

Hard Justice

Fallon Wade wants only to spread her wings and to appease her overly protective parents she allows them to hire a bodyguard to help her enjoy life. She was pleasantly surprised with her father’s choice. He’s a former MMA fighter now a member of the Body Armor Agency and he is yummy. She never imagined getting a chance to live a little would bring her such a HARD JUSTICE and so much fun.

Justice Wallington gave up the cage fighting, not because he didn’t have the skills but knew he wasn’t champion material, so he turned to Body Armor and in turn to Fallon. Expecting a spoiled rich girl, ready to throw temper tantrums to get her way he is very amazed; she is level headed, down to earth, and innocent in a number of life experiences. After being fired by her father and then rehired, Justice wants to help Fallon enjoy life. His main problem is … separating his feelings from those of a body guard to the way he is really feeling. Because truth be known one thing that Fallon inspires in him is love.

As always with books by Lori Foster I run out of adjectives to describe them and HARD JUSTICE has me tongue tied. I loved it. I loved Justice and adored Fallon. I loved that Ms. Foster brought back the boys from her past series’ and their wives and children. I mean what better place to be than with the guys at Rowdy’s bar and go on a “date” to see Stack fight in the cage.

I won’t say what the danger is or from where it comes from, you will have to read HARD JUSTICE to find that out, but I will say it fit well with the scheme of this whole story line. The dialogue between this couple, their friends and family members is so realistic it was like listening to real people discussing everyday life. I did enjoy the slow pace of the romantic side of this storyline as it built up, sometimes you just have to feel the tension to know that this couple have earned each other. Romance readers have no fear the love comes and wraps them both up beautifully as is expected by this author. If you are looking for sweet, steamy, action packed, with everyday interactions and camaraderie then HARD JUSTICE is the book for you.

Review by Annetta Sweetko via ARC from author

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson Hauptmann has had an eventful life … a flighty mother, raised by the Marrok (the grand alpha of all werewolves) and marrying the Alpha werewolf of Tri-Cities. Things always seem to smooth out for a little respite then she is in trouble again. Now she has been attacked and taken from Tri-Cities with her captures planning to use her as a weapon. They underestimate Mercy in her coyote form and she manages to escape, but she finds herself without help and lost in Europe. With the SILENCE FALLEN between her, Adam and the pack, she must find a way to contact them, but in the meantime she has to find help. All she has to do is figure out friend from foe.

All I can say about this addition of author Patricia Briggs “Mercy Thompson” series is … amazing! The set up takes us out of Tri-Cities and puts Mercy back to being the lone wolf (OK so she is a coyote but I think you know what I mean) from the days before her marriage. She has a bond with her husband that allows them to “speak” to each other and that bond has been broken throwing her, Adam and the pack into a frenzy of worry. She has to depend on her instincts while struggling to find a way to contact her husband and their pack or even the vampires and witches she knows.

Having never been to Europe, I felt that Ms. Briggs did an amazing job of making readers feel as if they really were there with Mercy. The descriptions brought it all to life in a vibrant and clear way. I did find a couple of pages that might have been a bit too descriptive and didn’t really add anything, but didn’t hurt except take the reader away from the main topic.

I also loved the different POV chapters, it always helps to know what the others are doing while Mercy is trying to escape and survive. This is something that I have found other authors doing and completely enjoy it … I love to know what the other party is doing, thinking and feeling. Helps push the story along and give readers a deeper understanding of all the missing parts as they come together.

If you love the Mercy Thompson series, ghosts, vampires, a strong heroine who isn’t going to back down despite feeling outnumbered and a wolf who will move mountains to get his mate back then SILENCE FALLEN will hit the mark.

Review by Annetta Sweetko from ARC from NetGalley