Review: The Military Wife by Laura Trentham

Published:  Feb 5, 2019  by  St. Martin’s Griffin

SBN13: 9781250145536         Series: A Heart of a Hero #1     Rating: 5*

Harper Lee Wilcox’s life has been more or less at a standstill since the death five years ago of her beloved husband Noah.  Noah was the only person she ever dated, and loved – a true soul mate.  He was a Navy SEAL killed in the line of duty and never met, his son Ben born after he passed and named after his best friend and SEAL team mate Bennett Caldwell.  

While Harper is feeling a growing restlessness of needing a new direction, a call from her best friend Allison helped to make her act.   Allison was dealing with her husband, another Navy SEAL struggling with PTSD, and Harper drove to Fort Bragg to help her out. 

Two things occurred during the visit.  One, not every widow of a fallen SEAL received a very generous monetary award given to the wife.   Two, she discovered most of the other military wives struggled with husbands deployed for months at a time and felt as lonely and discouraged as Harper was feeling now.  At last a purpose! 

Harper came up with an idea of starting a business for military wives that would finally use her two degrees of business and marketing.  And be good for the other military wives to give them back purpose while waiting for their husbands return.  

Additionally and central to the read was discovering and finally meeting Bennett Caldwell, her husband’s very best friend and team mate whom Harper had never met.  Bennett was a man who held secrets and the truth behind what really happened to Noah on the field of battle. But most of all he was a man whom Harper felt an emotional pull towards that bothered both of them because of the love they both had felt towards Noah.  Could they find happiness together and put feelings of guilt to rest behind them…. 

All I can say is THE MILITARY WIFE packs an emotional punch to heart and soul and brought tears to my eyes (in a good way) and a lump in my throat! Sweet, sensual and a very highly recommended read!

Marilyn Rondeau

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Review: The Wrong Highlander by Lynsay Sands

Avon Publishing – Jan 29, 2019

Series:  Highland Brides #7         Rating: 4*

Lady Evina MacLean had heard all the stories describing Rory Buchanan’s skill as a healer. Now, with her father so near death she had no choice but to go and beg him to come and save her father’s life!  However, when she came upon the Buchanan washing up in a waterfall, she couldn’t believe how handsome he was all naked and wet.  Evina sent in her man to bring him out from under the falls when a fight ensued with Buchanan not knowing who was dragging him from the falls assumed he was a  bandit.  The Buchanan put up quite a struggle and rather than see her man hurt Lady Evina  knocked him out with the hilt of her sword.  Granted she did hit him pretty hard – but time was of the essence! Evina had to get him home before her father perished, so while still naked, he was strapped over his horse and raced back home to Evina’s castle. 

Unfortunately, what Evina did not know was that she had not taken Rory Buchanan but his brother Conran.  While he was not the healer Rory was, Conran did have some healing skills learned from his brother.  But rather than explain the mistake, Conran just did what he knew to do and tended to her his patient and after a few hours, he had discovered the cause and proceeded to bring the man’s fever down.

***  In Lynsay Sands’ novels you will always find some feisty heroines, hunky heroes, and lots of laugh out loud moments and THE WRONG HIGHLANDER is no exception!  From the ride back with Conran’s naked butt and Evina’s hand hanging on to his cheek to keep him from falling off, to the miscommunication involving her marital state and the picnic in the tall grasses the reader will experience a whole range of emotions!   Adding in a plethora of lovely secondary characters also added to the total enjoyment of the read.

Yet all was not right and someone was trying to kill Lady Evina. Just when you think you know what’s going on there will be red herrings tossed in to make you think otherwise.  And you can always remember  that what you think is obvious is not going to be the answer.  However, what you can count on is a simply terrific and engaging sensual novel that will allow a whole range of emotions to be let loose with dynamic and creative writing.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Ashes to Ink

ashes to ink

By Carrie Ann Ryan

ASHES TO INK had me in tears a number of times. Abby had lost the “love of her life” but had her daughter to care for. Now living in Colorado Springs next to the Montgomery family she is starting over.

Ryan is the new tattoo artist but he has secrets he is trying to keep to himself. He has a twin, who is a mess and causes him troubles every once in awhile. But he isn’t ready to talk about him or the problems he has caused. Until Abby … until the brother threatens the one woman Ryan is starting to feel close to.

Friends to lovers is always a great read and ASHES TO INK is filled with this emotional driven scenario. Abby has her child and thought she lost her heart until Ryan and when she thinks she can move on, still with a piece of her heart belonging to the father of her child, the brother makes Ryan feel he doesn’t deserve her. This is where I had a problem with this book. Ryan had tried to help the brother but to no avail. To my mind, if you have done all you can to help someone, for your own sanity, ties must be cut. Tough love is tough.

I have to say this one really tugged at my heartstrings, with loss of love, fear of the future, worry about the past – all things that friends and lovers are suppose to help you with and the Montgomery clan is amazingly helpful in all the books that Ms. Ryan gives us.

Just a note of warning . . . keep the tissues handy, but know this is another keeper.

Review: Tempt Me With Diamonds by Jane Feather

Expected publication: January 29th 2019 by Zebra         ISBN13: 9781420143607

Series:   London Jewels #1                                            Rating:  4*

Wealthy heiress, Diana Sommerville, both beautiful and intelligent has finally returned home after overseeing her family’s diamond mines and taking care of her beloved brothers remains who had been killed in the Boar Wars in Africa.  She wanted peace and solitude when she arrived at her family home, but instead she found to her horror that Rupert Lacey, the man she once loved and now loathed had moved in before her return and intended to stay!

Rupert Lacey had grown up with Diana and her brother.  They were best friends and Diana was going to marry Rupert until she discovered that he had been unfaithful.  However, her brother, unbeknownst to her, had left a will naming Rupert his beneficiary to share Diana’s wealth and home.  

*** One can imagine the scenario’s that commenced when Diana was faced with the fact that her beloved brother had left his shares of diamond mines, a prize race horse, and her family home and properties to her former fiance!   Try as she might, legally there was nothing Diana could do to wrest control from Rupert! Worse, most people assumed they had married while abroad and to keep herself from utter ruin while living in the same house, Diana had to pretend they were man and wife.

Try as she might, Diana was not immune to Rupert and the passion that existed between them sizzled. It would take honesty and truth to set them free to love again which is exactly what they each wanted should these two stubborn souls admit to themselves.  

Great story – fast read and paced well!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Katies Highlander by Maeve Grayson

Book 3 of 3 in Highland Protectors (3 Book Series)

Publisher: Loveswept (January 22, 2019) Sold by: Random House LLC

ASIN: B07CR5Z599 Rating 4*

This is truly one of my favorite series by this author of the MacDara Clan who were magically whisked   from the tenth century Scottish Highlands to current day North Carolina where Goddesses reigned and  had tasked the family to preserve and safeguard a relic which kept humanity on an even keel.  Most of the family had adjusted to the new modern world and circumstances. Only Ramsey MacDara wasn’t too thrilled and wished he were back in the old world having had a bad relationship with a “golddigger” whom he had almost married.

Archaeologist Katie Jenson happened to be traveling through North Carolina when her car went off the road and lo and behold a kilted sex god happened by to help pull her out of her wrecked car, carrying a spear, and riding a horse.  Try as she might to dissuade him, Ramsay was not going to leave her so he brought her back to his family’s Highland Theme Park home.  However the archaeologist in Kate couldn’t get the sight of his spear out of her mind knowing it was an impressive piece of historical significance.  

***  Well as the story progressed with a wee bit of help from some family members who recognized Katie to be the chosen mate by the goddesses for Ramsay, they set off on a supposed picnic to get to know one another when Katie chose to veer from the path they were supposed to take and they found themselves hurled back into tenth century Scotland!  

Being back made Ramsay pretty happy, convincing Katie that this was real and not a staged re-enactment of Medieval Scotland and they were stuck there until the ‘goddesses’ decided to bring them back was not so easy.  And that was also something that Katie was not prepared to or wanted to do.  Leave behind modern conveniences, plumbing and coffee – phew! This was not going to be easy for Ramsay to convince Katie that his love for her could conquer all her fears.  

Bottom line, this was just a marvelous and wholly entertaining story for this series which has been so very intriguing from the very first!  Highly recommended!

Marilyn Rondeau

Lake of the Dead by Susan Clayton-Goldner

Published January 16th 2019 by Tirgearr Publishing

ASIN:   B07L5Z6BMB         Series:   A Winston Radhauser Mystery #5

Rating: 5*

Every so often, if you’re lucky, you may discover an author that writes with such brilliance and emotion you may feel like you’ve won the lottery – the really big one! Well, let me say this, since my very first introduction to Ms. Susan Clayton-Gardner reading her award winning novel A BEND IN THE WILLOW I am one of her most devoted fans! In this LAKE OF THE DEAD novel – she continues to surpass all the kudos she has received from me.   

In this latest novel featuring detective Winston Radhauser he is brought into the case by a former victim who was featured in an earlier book.  Rishima was a young  woman who was worried that something bad had happened to her boyfriend who didn’t show up for his creative writing class when he had promised to be there.  Parker didn’t break promises.   Rishia had come to the one person she felt would the her seriously, Radhauser.  

Unfortunately, as Radhauser began the search he discovered that Parker, a promising new author whose work was nothing short of brilliant appeared to have drowned.   But as Radhauser continued to put things together the ‘accident’ didn’t make sense and with the help of a nearby neighbor, a colorful character named Homer “Sully” Sullivan, Parker’s drowning felt more like murder.  

Believe me there were many red herrings tossed out here and there as to motive, and numerous suspects, but the reason and the villain won’t be revealed until the very end!  Very highly recommended read by this rising star author!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Dare Me Again by Shelly Alexander

NET GALLEY – Jan 15, 2019             Kindle Edition, 285 pages

Publisher:   by Montlake Romance          ASIN: B07FD9PWDD        

Series:   Angel Fire Falls #2 Rating:  4*

Brilliant and restless, financial wizard Elliott Remington doesn’t turn down a dare – anything to help out his family.  This time it’s to coordinate a service-dog boot camp for veterans at his family’s resort. Success with this event will cement the resorts future meaning a one-way ticket to the West Coast to continue his dream career. But it comes with a hitch: teaming up with his ex, who vanished on him ten years ago with nothing more than a kiss-off note.

*** Loving Elliott with all she had, Rebel Tate did what she had to do—for both their sakes when she left.  As a dog whisperer with a keen sense of survival, she’s struggled and lived a tough life. This is Rebel’s last ditch effort to establish herself and fulfill her dream right back in Angel Fire Falls, doing what she loves, next to a man she’s never forgotten. The passion between them still smolders, with ignition just around the corner but neither is ready to get burned.

Both were stubborn and both had secrets too terrible that kept them from forgiving themselves for reasons only they understood.  Neither had ever told the other what they were, and both had reasons to not reveal them.   However, TRUST and taking a chance would be the one thing that could free them to love completely again.  While training dogs – a big part of training required trust and acceptance. With a bit of luck, maybe they could take their cues from the rules governing the of training dogs to learn to trust themselves!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen

Hardcover, 384 pages

Expected publication: January 8th 2019 by St. Martin’s Press   Rating:  4*

The ad she discovered was too good to pass up.   Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.  So good that Jessica Farris decided to apply knowing that the girl it was intended for wasn’t going to show up.   Jess would go and  take the chance of applying herself 

Thinking that the psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, would just be answering a few questions for to her simply collect a windfall of money, Jess thought , “a piece of cake”!    Answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.  But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive she was offered more money and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding.   After numerous scenario’s the doctor put her in Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what was real, and what was manipulative by the doctor. Caught in a web of deceit, jealousy, and betrayal Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly and betrayals could shred one’s heart!

*** This was an intense read – and for the longest while I wasn’t sure of what seemed to be going on as to who was the good or bad person of the piece.  Unfortunately, clarity can come too late before the lessons learned have already decimated what happiness you discovered before your life blows apart.   An intriguing read.  

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: ‘TWAS THE KNIFE BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Jacqueline Frost

Holly White is starting to settle into Mistletoe, Maine. She’s back home working at her parents Christmas tree farm, Reindeer Games, while making her own jewelry on the side. Her closest friends, Cookie and Caroline, have opened a cupcake shop and all seems blissful… until a dead body is found and suddenly Caroline is the primary suspect. Holly is determined to help her friend, even though the local sheriff and her maybe-boyfriend, Evan Gray, insists she stop investigating. Will Holly’s investigating put her in harm’s way yet again?

‘TWAS THE KNIFE BEFORE CHRISTMAS is the second book in the Christmas Tree Farm Mystery series. While it can easily be read as a standalone, I can’t imagine wanting to miss one moment of this fun new cozy mystery series! Jacqueline Frost provides sufficient background information on the characters and the Christmas festivities of the Reindeer Games so new readers can easily jump right in. However, please note that a few spoilers from the first book, TWELVE SLAYS OF CHRISTMAS, are mentioned.

I absolutely love everything about Mistletoe, Maine. What a gorgeous, fun town Jacqueline Frost has created! I just discovered this series recently and it’s exactly the sort of read to get you in the Christmas spirit as Mistletoe is full of joy and quite Christmasy. However, it is the Reindeer Games that really put the Christmas Tree Farm Mystery series over the top! Who doesn’t want to participate in one of the seasonal games, whether it’s the gingerbread house decoration or the sleigh rides. And oh, the scrumptious desserts! I think my blood sugar rose and I gained 15 pounds just reading about the yummy sounding food and drinks available all around Mistletoe.

‘TWAS THE KNIFE BEFORE CHRISTMAS is a heck of a lot of fun! Whether you are in the mood for a Christmas read or not, don’t let Jacqueline Frost’s engaging cozy series, Christmas Tree Farm Mystery series, pass you by. Highly recommended!