Review: Some Choose Darkness by Charlie Donlea

  • Print Length: 304 pages    Publisher: Kensington (May 28, 2019)
  • Publication Date: May 28, 2019    Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
  • ASIN: B07H1ZKXTP                  RATING: 5 *

This was a book that was given to me by an author I had never read before – I was given a description and found it interesting so I agreed to read and give an honest review. Thank you Charlie Donlea for allowing me a first glance into SOME CHOOSE DARKNESS.   After turning the final page the words that came to mind are Brilliant – Edge of the Seat Suspense – Intense – and Fascinating.

I wasn’t quite sure as to what Rory Moore, a forensic reconstructionist, was but discovered she was masterful at taking on cold-case homicides by piecing together crime scene details others failed to see.  Rory was very picky about what cases she would take on  because of the intensity of the work and reconstructing a victims life.  However, after cleaning out her deceased father’s law office a week after his burial, she receives a call that plunges her into a decades-old case come to life once more – one she couldn’t refuse to work on. 

In the summer of 1979, five Chicago women went missing no clues – no bodies.  The villain was nicknamed The Thief . Finally the police received a package from a mysterious woman named Angela Mitchell, whose unorthodox investigation skills appear to have led to his identity. But before they could question her, Angela disappeared. Forty years later, The Thief is about to be paroled for Angela’s murder—the only crime the DA could pin on him. But the cryptic file Rory finds in her father’s law office suggests there is more to the case, and Angela Mitchell, than what was fed to the public, details which had been buried for forty years!

Rory becomes helplessly entangled in the enigma of Angela Mitchell and what happened to her. Drawing connections between the past and present, Rory uncovers dark truths about the reclusive victim, her father, and the man called The Thief that send her down a twisting trail where things may not be as they appear. As this reader sped thru the pages, even she was surprised at the full, terrifying truth that emerged!

Mark this one down as a winner and pre-order!  Like me you won’t be able to put it down once you start it!

Marilyn Rondeau

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Review: Highland Crown by May McGoldrick

Publication: April 30th 2019 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks     Rating: 5*

ISBN13: 9781250314970                Series:   Royal Highlander #1

If you are anything like me when looking to read Historical fiction I simply adore it when the author is able to weave in actual events of historical nature into the fiction making me think – yes, this could be very true!  In Isabella and Cinaed’s case who’s to say these adventures didn’t take place.  Who indeed?

Isabella was unique in that in the 1820’s she was a doctor and had passed the tests to practice medicine.  Although it was generally at the side of her doctor father and later doctor husband that she would practice.  Dedicated to healing she tried to overlook the Highland rebel activities she knew her husband was involved in.  And it did come to pass that the rebels were rounded up during an ambush where her husband was killed but Isabella escaped with her sister and his daughter.  Now guilt by association, the English authorities had set a bounty on her head.    Spirited away by a friend she was handed over to a woman  Anna  who had no use for  an English woman and if she knew of the bounty Isabella would have been turned over to the authorities in a heartbeat.

Enter Cinaed Mackintosh, a ships captain who had after being thrown into the rocks from a horrible storm then had to destroy what was left of his ships cargo and the ship before the English discovered him. Unfortunately, the people who scavenge for loot don’t want to see survivors so he was shot and left for dead.   Isabella, found him and there was no way she would let a living soul perish if she didn’t try her best to save him!  

The rest of the story is what you will have to read your self. Where you will meet a plethora of secondary characters whom you’ll love and hate, but you won’t forget. Highly recommended for the adventure, the fast pace, and the lovely romance.  And as an added bonus a pretty surprising ending!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: To Wed an Heiress by Karen Ranney

EBOOK:   400 pages                         Publication: March 26th 2019 by Avon

ISBN 13:  9780062841070                                          Series   All for Love #2

Rating:   5*

In an attempt to escape what was seeming like a forced marriage, Mercy Rutherford  traveled to Scotland to escape the possessive grip of her fiancé. Unfortunately, on the last leg of her trip to see her grandmother a monster flew out of the sky and landed on her carriage.  Well, not really a monster but some kind of flying machine and a very abrupt and man who was more worried about his machine than the condition of she and her maid.  However, after introductions were made Ross Caithart brought her to his castle and set her maids broken arm and stitched Mercy’s gash in her head.

To all intents and purposes Ross Caithart most certainly was mad. Handsome beyond words, he’s also causing an irresistible flutter in Mercy’s stomach beyond reason. But as soon as Mercy mentioned her grandmother – Ross made the connection and made haste to get her out of his castle and up to Mercy’s kin.  However, if Mercy was expecting loving arms happy to see her, she was sadly mistaken and her arrival was met with contempt and derision.  All because of arriving in the Caithart carriage?   

When Mercy’s fiancé Gregory arrives to see their arranged marriage to its bitter end, Mercy desperately turns to Ross with an offer of her fortune—and her hand in marriage.  The Earl of Morton has a reputation for being an eccentric, but even he is hesitant to engage in such a rash proposition—no matter how utterly beguiled he is by the wildly independent American heiress. And yet, with so much at stake, how can he possibly say no?

Bottom line I truly enjoyed this novel as much as the rest of the titles this author has put out over the years.  This has just the right amount of action, adventure, sensualness, and rivalry making for a fascinating read. 

Marilyn Rondeau

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

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: 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