Review: Dark Storm by Karen Harper

Paperback, 384 pages                Published May 28th 2019 by Mira Books

ISBN13: 9780778369455           Series:  South Shores #6

RATING: 4*

This was a first time author for me and DARK STORM is part of a series which I hadn’t been following.  So with that in mind, I can tell you that this book can be read as a stand alone but with understanding that as you read there are references to past events that clue you in to that fact.

Evidently, forensic psychologist Claire Markwood has experienced her share of adventures, but she was not prepared for her sister, Darcy, going missing. Claire rushed to the butterfly sanctuary where Darcy had been working, prepared to do what she does best–work the clues. But her sister, along with her car and some of the sanctuary’s rarest species of butterflies, has seemingly vanished without a trace. 

Working the clues Claire and her criminal lawyer husband Nick uncover leads and secrets that turn out to be a bit unsettling to say the least.  Some of which were real twists of their family history.  Along with the search for her sister Darcy, Claire was also worried that the trauma her daughter had experienced a year before was beginning to create another emotional set-back to her fragile daughter’s psyche. 

What you will find in this stellar read is a roller coaster of emotions as the clues lead Claire to one of the most  surprising and edge of the cliff endings.  

Marilyn Rondeau

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Review: The Rogue of Fifth Avenue by Joanna Shupe

EDELWEISS  – – May 28, 2019

ISBN13: 9780062906823           Series:  Uptown Girls #1

You could almost call him a fixer for serving the wealthy power brokers of New York society.  After a childhood he wants to forget,  Frank Tripp has finally gained the respectability and security his own upbringing lacked. There’s no issue he cannot fix. But then there is also, nothing he can do to  protect the beautiful, reckless daughter of an important client.  Mamie Green doesn’t seem to understand the word danger or take to heart Frank’s warnings of ruin should her father discover her extracurricular nighttime activities.

Mamie doesn’t need a watchdog as she continues her cause of playing the part of a modern-day Robin Hood – robbing from the rich to help support struggling families in the poorer parts of New York city. Why is her father’s lawyer dogging her every step and threatening to expose her secret life to her father. 

***  This was a terrific read I found hard to put down.  The writing was crisp, fresh and fast-paced along with a very sensual under-toned romance. The secondary characters were very well fleshed out as were the main protagonists, including Mamie’s father and her betrothed (since birth). 

In fact the secondary story-line featuring Mamie’s infancy betrothal to bind two wealthy families together was an interesting wrench in Frank and Mamie’s romance.  Loved the sensuality and the dialogs throughout the novel.  Simply an enchanting and lovely read I thoroughly enjoyed.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Just One of the Groomsmen by Cindi Madsen

Publication: May 28th 2019 by Entangled: Amara      ISBN13: 9781640634312

Rating: 5*

Addison Murphy has always been just “one of the guys” and her best friends are a group of guys who think of her as such. Now that one of her best guy friends is getting married, she’ll add “groomsman” to that list, too. Even though she doesn’t own a dress, she’ll get through this wedding dressed up if it’s the last thing she does. 

Tucker Crawford, now a lawyer, left town for the big city but returns to his small hometown, he expects to see the same old people, feel comfort in the same old things. He certainly doesn’t expect to see a nice pair of bare legs sticking out from under the hood of a broken-down car. Tucker probably should have realized that the only girl who could possibly be under a car in a dress – a dress – would belong to one of his best friends! 

Now seeing Addie in a different light; hiding the way he feels from the guys through bachelor parties, cake tastings, and rehearsals is one thing. But just as Tucker realizes that Addie truly could be the perfect woman for him— she’s leaving town to follow her own dreams. If he can’t convince her of his true feelings he just may lose the most important person in his life!  

Filled with a plethora of fun loving and zany characters, especially Addie’s wonderfully funny grandmother who’s game for anything.  The scenario’s will have you laughing out loud as two ‘besties’ figure out love and compromise!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Treason in Norfolk

Trason In Norfolk

By Paige Tyler

Eden Bristow is ready to see her sister get married, not fight in an alley with a couple of thugs. One of the thugs is a shifter so she has no choice but to do her thing and fight claws with claws. She didn’t expect to see a stranger … a hot soldier … jump into the fray and not blink an eye when she shifted. What are the odds?

Sergeant Travis Dempsey is in Virginia for his sister’s graduation. What are the chances that he would end up in a fight … well strike that he is a member of the Special Forces after all, but what are the odds that a gorgeous woman would dive in the middle of the fight. And show her claws.

Treason in Norfolk is a return to Paige Tyler’s Ex-Ops world with this being book 1 of the X-OPS: The Unclassified Files. Fantastic story line that brings together family, some good some not so good, teammates that are more than family, romance, danger, drama and a good lesson on gambling bringing danger to the family. Remember thugs in the alleyway? Yep someone is in debt to the wrong people and Travis and Eden have to figure out the details, fall in love and save the day.

Amazingly well written (as always from this author), easy to read, fun and sometimes funny!

Review: American Witch

American Witch

Author: Thea Harrison

Molly Sullivan had been the perfect wife and hostess until she finds a pair of purple panties in her bed and the final straw breaks. She causes a scene, leaves her home and soon to be ex after cleaning out the safe. She finds more than a few surprises in the paperwork and soon knows she is in danger. She also finds herself with a few powers she didn’t know about and doesn’t know how to handle. Josiah Mason is the only person she can turn to, he knows what she is and though he has an agenda of his own, he will help her train to be an American Witch.

What an amazing way to start a new trilogy! If you are a fan of author Thea Harrison’s Elder Race series American Witch will blow you away. The characters, drama, danger and the good hit of somewhat reluctant romance is amazing. I also loved that Molly isn’t a 20-something but a woman who is older, lived what she thought was a good life and got it all thrown in her face. Even her own mother doesn’t support her decision to leave the cheating husband.

This is an eye opening look into the world of magic, it’s pain as well as the pleasure of being who you are meant to be. The coven of witches who are with Josiah is filled with intriguing character, all fighting together to search out and destroy an evil entity.

American Witch is a page turner that will have you impatiently waiting for the next one to arrive.

Review: REBEL by Beverly Jenkins

ebook, 384 pages Publication: May 28th 2019 by Avon

ISBN13: 9780062861696         Series:   Women Who Dare #1, The Le Veq Family #4

Rating:  5*

This compelling new series follows a Northern woman south in the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War and the historical references used in this novel were truly an eye opener in what and why the country became so divided.  Not only is this a very sensual and unusual love story but it’s one that needs to be read by all lovers of historical romance.  

Traveling to the South was both a very brave thing and not without risk for Valinda Lacey.  Her goal was a mission in the steamy heart of New Orleans to help the newly emancipated community survive and flourish. However, she soon discovers that here, freedom can also mean danger. When thugs destroy the school she has set up and then target her, Valinda runs for her life—and straight into the arms of Captain Drake LeVeq.

As an architect from an old New Orleans family, Drake has a deeply personal interest in rebuilding the city. Raised by strong women, he recognizes Valinda’s determination. And he can’t stop admiring—or wanting—her. But Valinda was spoken for and as much as Drake wanted it otherwise, he was too much of gentleman to pine after a betrothed woman.  

In this I had to admire both Valinda and Drake – Valinda was all that was good and pure and as much as she felt the undeniable pulse of passion for Drake, she had made a promise to her very dear friend.  The secondary characters were so very much a part of the whole and added such substance to the entire story. Not only was this a wonderful love story but it was also about family love and values which I found to be incredibly satisfying.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson

Bonnie Blythe is an English professor who has been engaged many years to her long-term boyfriend with dreams of  tomorrow as married and happy.  Her best friend met a fellow overseas last year and within months Bonnie is helping to plan her wedding.  Secretly Bonnie might be just a tad jealous that within months she was helping to plan a wedding that wasn’t hers.  However, a shocking discovery leads Bonnie to end her engagement, and she decides to close the book on love.  But in a romance novel – never say never.

Theo Wharton is like a romantic hero straight out of a Jane Austen novel – sexy, virile, handsome and impeccable manners. Fate has put Bonnie in England for the summer—to teach her favorite subject and conveniently very close to Theo. They had agreed to be friends-with-benefits but just as Bonnie begins to believe she’s falling in love she learns a bitter truth that makes her take a step back. Will she forge ahead and tell him or hold off so he can complete his ‘duty’ to his family!  Or, will she have the courage to risk her heart again?

The characterizations in this were spot on! I could truly feel Bonnie’s rage, disappointment and insecurity when she discovered her ex in HER bed with another woman!   Devastating as it was – Bonnie had been true blue even when she had met the most devastatingly handsome Brit the year before and the physical attraction had been powerful.  So to discover it had all been in vain – horrible!

So, giving in was only to discover that Theo was ten times more sexy, kind , courteous and such a superb lover she kicked herself that she’d wasted all that time with such a loser. But now she also discovers Theo’s secret and the fact that he was being nagged into a marriage of convenience by his mother – life couldn’t get much worse.   But if you want to find out if it does or doesn’t you will just have to read this book!  

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: My Ex-Best Friends Wedding by Wendy Wax

Paperback, 368 pages                     Publication: May 14th 2019 by Berkley Books

ISBN13: 9780440001430   RATING;  5*

Loved this story of a  wedding dress passed down through generations until it unravels the tangled threads of the last three women who wore it.  It’s about friendship, family, and forgiveness and I couldn’t put it down!  NOTE: At times I really wanted to reach in and shake some of the protagonists to knock some sense into them!  HOWEVER – I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!

It had been carefully stored away for safekeeping, a timeless ivory wedding dress, with scooped neck and cleverly fitted bodice, whispering of Happily Ever Afters. To Lauren’s mother Kendra, who wore it briefly; to her daughter Lauren who’s looking forward to wearing it; and Brianna her best friend who got to wear it first.  To all three women  it’s a reminder of what could have been, the promise of a fairy tale, and a friendship torn apart. But as Kendra knows firsthand: it wasn’t the dress’s fault.

Once closer than sisters, Lauren and Bree were sisters of the heart!  They grew up together, shared the same dream together, but then made choices that transformed their lives as they grew apart. Each held just a bit of resentment against the other blaming each other allowing broken promises and unfulfilled dreams to destroy their friendship. 

Now as a successful author, Lauren returns home to the Outer Banks, fiance in tow, to claim the dress she never thought she’d wear. While Bree, a bookstore owner, grapples with the realities of life after you marry the handsome prince. As the former best friends wrestle with their uncertain futures, they are both certain of one thing: some betrayals can never be forgiven.

Never expecting her past to catch up with her, Kendra struggles with a secret she’s kept for far too long. She vows to make sure the dress will finally bring Lauren and Bree back together – knowing they’ll need each other to survive the coming storm after the bomb drops from the revelation of her life.  

Marilyn Rondeau