Wicked Bite by Rebecca Zanetti

Wicked Bite

Publication: August 1st 2017                               by Lyrical Press

ASIN: B01MXC6VTY             Series:  Realm Enforcers #5

Rating: 5*

Tessa Lansa is on the hunt for the manufacturer and dealer of a new drug that is targeting and killing her fellow witches.  She believes that her best clue to finding him is through the Grizzly motorcycle club.  Her best bet was to get close to the their leader, Bear – strong, silent and muscular.  Tessa knew she could help him heal from severe damage to his body after his last battle to save his sister. Getting close to him before she betrayed him would be dangerous, but that was exactly what she had planned.

Deep down Bear knew better than to trust a witch, but he also knew that he was dying a little every day and if he didn’t let Tessa try to heal him he would be dead soon. Plus Bear was having a hard time trying to ignore the pushy little witches lush body and knock-out smile!

***  One of the things I am most sorry for Ms Zanetti is that I didn’t start the Realm Enforcers  from the very beginning.  [Something I plan to rectify in the near future].  I was totally absorbed in WICKED BITE from the very beginning. Not only was Bear a great he-man type hero, but underneath he was just a really big teddy bear!   Tessa, on the other hand, was a kick-ass super witch.  She had healing powers which seeing as how she could inflict so much damage it was probably a good thing she could  then fix what ever she broke – especially if the damage was the end product of a disagreement with Bear!

The dialogs between Bear and Tessa were amusing and their disagreements were sometimes hilarious. Actually, I found the ‘King’ of the realm the funniest but that was before he began to start negotiating with Tessa over another matter.   Then again enter in some of the other immortals from the ‘realm’  who were there to either assist or assassinate and you can find one heck of a lot of entertainment  along with the suspense of who the mole was and where all the leaks in strategy were being fed out to the enemy.  The big question here was who could you trust?

Bottom line:  The action was non-stop; the romance was terrific; and I am going to be looking forward to finding the earlier books to this series because I really enjoyed this author’s writing and sense of humor!!!

Marilyn Rondeau

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Review: Too Scot to Handle by Grace Burrowes

Too ScottoHandle

Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages July 25th 2017 by Forever

ISBN13: 9781455569991      Series:   Windham Brides #2

Rating: 4-1/2*

During his military career, Captain Colin MacHugh was loved and respected by the men he led.  Stern yet fair, using common sense when needed to deal justly with all situations.  Now, he has become a titled gentleman, and still fighting – only to keep his bachelorhood safe from all the marriage minded mama’s and their debutante daughters.  Then he meets Miss Anwen Windham and her demure nature and keen intelligence masks a woman whom he can admire.  Her compassion towards the less fortunate children of London was not for show, but purely from her heart.  When Anwen asks for Colin’s help to raise money for the orphanage, he is more than happy to oblige.

*** As always, Ms. Burrowes embellishes her stories and characters with creativity and freshness.  I absolutely fell in love with Anwen’s ‘boys’.  Anwen was not going to let her boys lose the only home they had ever known, but it was Colin who knew enough to realize just what they truly needed – purpose!  I loved Colin’s understanding and kindness towards the boys as well as listening and taking into consideration Anwen’s ideas and concerns.

Because Colin was new to the ton and his wealth came from trade, the false friends he had initially fell in with he soon discovered were NOT his friends.   Colin was not ashamed of how he worked for his wealth but the spoiled aristocrats were spoiled and wanted to bring him down a peg or two.   Loved how Ms. Burrowes handled all these small attacks on him.

The romance was built slowly and was completely wonderful while others tried to undermine Anwen’s dreams for her boys, and her romance with Colin.   All in all – Ms. Burrowes continues to hit it out of the park with her deliciously fresh and creative historicals.

Marilyn Rondeau

 

Review: The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

MarriagePact

Kindle Edition, 432 pages                                               Publication: July 25th 2017 by Bantam

ASIN:  B01M4PWDWF Rating:  4-1/2*

Okay, THE MARRIAGE PACT is definitely a WOW book – total psychological suspense and then some!  It asks the question, “How far would you go to protect your marriage?”

In this page-turner you have two newlyweds, a picture-perfect couple today, after growing out of some very definitive free-living younger days.  Alice was once an up-and-coming singer with a band and had an album or two.  Now she is a successful lawyer whose future seems quite bright.  Jake is a partner in an up-and coming Psychology practice.  For both the future looks enormously bright.

As a marriage gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients Alice and Jake are invited to join an exclusive  and secret mysterious group known as the Pact.  Seemed harmless enough with it seemed one goal – to keep their marriage, fresh, intact, and loving forever.   Who wouldn’t want that?  The rule book also contained other things as well with some of the rules not necessarily alarming at the time but as their lives and “Friends” they were introduced to at glamorous parties Jake and Alice began to feel as if they had made a huge mistake.

The tension was quite palpable and Jake and Alice started to think of ways out, particularly after Jake was warned by a former colleague who told him disturbing truths of how the Pact dealt with those who wanted ‘out’.

Bottom line:   A really great read with fast pacing.  Definitely highly recommended.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Suddenly Engaged by Julia London

SuddenlyEngaged

July 25, 2017 Kindle Edition, 334 pages by Montlake Romance

ASIN:  B01N03MEFJ Series:   Lake Haven #3 Rating: 4-1/2*

Kyra Kokinos is a single mother trying to make ends meet.  Kyra waits tables by day, works on a real estate license by night and spends as much time as possible with Ruby her very precocious six -year old daughter.  It’s a chore trying to keep Ruby from pestering their grumpy next door neighbor Dax Bishop.  Dax is a gruff solitary man who keeps to himself after having been burnt by a nasty divorce.  He might give you water if you were dying of thirst, but come to Kyra’s aid with a marriage proposal when Ruby needed life saving surgery?  Wow, this was something Kyra never saw coming!

***  I loved this story and Ruby aka little “coconuts” absolutely stole my heart away.   Dax was such a gruff curmudgeon right from the start, but loved when he christened Ruby with the coconuts moniker. After learning  more of Dax’s story I couldn’t help wanting to see him find his own happiness and if it included Kyra and little ‘coconuts’ so much the better!

Actually, I couldn’t help comparing Kyra’s struggles with my own as so many women struggle to work,  raise a child and go back to school to improve their lot in life.   A simple enough theme and very current by todays standards.   Nope, I even understood the fast food dinners one would settle for because life was so busy trying to stay above water and still provide for your child.

The characters were all admirably fleshed out and the secondary characters were most creative adding to building the story into a wholesome and totally enjoyable read. Bottom line is  that I absolutely loved SUDDENLY ENGAGED and the realness of the story!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

WatchMeDisappear

Hardcover, 368 pages                             Publication: July 11th 2017 by Spiegel & Grau

ISBN13: 9780812989465                          Rating 5*

Billie Flanagan was a beautiful woman, a free- spirit, charismatic with a picture perfect life. She had a brilliant beautiful daughter Olive and Jonathan, a husband who loved her!  Now it has been a year since Billie went on a solo hike in the Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail.  After weeks of searching the only things found are one of her hiking boots and a smashed cell phone.   No body!  And with no body, no closure, no burial, a husband and father desolate now turned to drink; and her determined that her mother is alive and sending her messages from the unknown to come and find her.

Olive’s dreams / hallucinations or whatever they are have convinced her that her mom is alive and she must try to interpret the messages she receives as clues to help her on her search for her mother. Except some of the clues lead to secrets that Billie had kept – shaking the very foundation of the pedestal which Olive and Billie’s husband had kept Billie on!

*** I have to say that this was a very interesting premise on a disappearance plot.   Naturally you have lots of red herrings that pop up all over the place but with Billie though one never gets to actually meet her as the story starts with her disappearance and small background glimpses of a person who appeared to have it all!   Billie did inspire loyalty though with the friends she did have.  Though I question the relationship of friend with regard to Billie whose so called friends kept a few facts from Jonathan that might have helped him determine the person Billie was.

The suspense was palpable and kept the action going. Whether you warmed up to Jonathan or not, who partially neglected his daughter as he drowned his grief with work and drink one can empathize with him – to a certain extent.   However, Olive was another matter. As a young teenager Olive needed her mom so much that the visions she was having (believe or not) were traumatic and to not be believed was even worse.    What was real, what was not.   What did the visions mean and where did they lead.  Had Olive followed them correctly and what would she find behind the door of the beach cottage all the clues lead her to?

Bottom line:  You will just have to read this very good thriller to find out!

Marilyn Rondeau

 

 

Review: The Dead Inside by Cyndy Etler

Cyndy Etler was just a teenager when her world was turned upside down. She voluntarily entered the foster care system to avoid the difficulties and potential dangers in her own home, only to find herself thrown into a residential drug program called Straight, Incorporated. Unfortunately, what went on behind the doors of Straight, Incorporated reads like something out of a brainwashing manual. Step inside her world and see what she faced in this stunning memoir of her time inside the drug rehabilitation program.

I remember reading about Straight, Incorporated when I was younger. Substance abuse and its treatment is what drew me into the mental health profession initially and so I followed any information on it (as well as other programs and treatments) back then. Straight, Incorporated was highly touted by some very prominent people, including Nancy Reagan. I couldn’t resist reading THE DEAD INSIDE when I saw it was a story about what really went on behind those doors.

Cyndy Etler tells a gut-wrenching story about drug rehabilitation and what happens when “tough love” goes seriously wrong. As a social worker, I’m horrified by the abuses that occurred in this facility as well as the fact that her drug use even warranted residential treatment. THE DEAD INSIDE is not an easy story to read, and I had to put it aside on numerous occasions due to the graphic and horrifying depictions of emotional and physical abuse conducted at Straight, Incorporated. However, it is a very important story that needs to be told. I look forward to seeing Cyndy Etler’s upcoming book about how she reintegrated into society after the events of THE DEAD INSIDE. Highly recommended!

*copy received from Netgalley*

Review: Bring Her Home by David Bell

BringHerHome

Kindle Edition, 432 pages                                  Expected publication: July 11th 2017 by Berkley

ASIN:    B01MAY1TSV                                      Rating:  5*

Still reeling a year and a half after the death of his wife, Bill Price’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Summer, and her best friend, Haley, disappear. Days later, the girls are found in a city park. Haley is dead at the scene, while Summer is left beaten beyond recognition and clinging to life.

Devastated, Bill holds vigil over Summer’s bandaged body.  The only sound she makes is one word – No.  In fact, the more time Bill spends with Summer, the more he lets his mind imagine what happened and who could have done this horrific damage to another human being. He’s also beginning to wonder, if the injured girl in the hospital bed is really his daughter.

When Bill discovered new information about Summer’s life Bill is shocked to discover things about both his wife and daughter that begin to tear him apart….

***  Wow, wow, and wow!  BRING HER HOME is definitely one of the harder books I’ve read to put down without wanting to finish in one sitting.  The suspense was tremendous wondering if the injured girl would recover, never mind the fact that Bill had to attend Summer’s best friend Haley’s funeral which was an emotional moment where I needed a tissue.

Going through the psychological roller coaster along with Bill kept the emotions high and exciting. In fact, just when you thought – ah so that’s the answer – another issue would pop up sending you off to try and discover and digest the new information.  While reading you might think you know the answers but believe me, the TWIST is waiting for you when you least expect it.

Bottom Line:   Awesome read keeping the suspense high as well as the readers emotion.   VERY highly recommended.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review of …. Talen

Author:  Rebecca Zanetti

The war may be over but a few beings didn’t get the memo.

Talen Kayrs and the love of his very long life Cara Kayrs plan a simple delivery and then some time together now that she is cured of the long illness that had lingered for most of their time together. She healed and she’s tired of being treated like a fragile idiot. Getting through to an ancient vampire is like pounding on a reinforced concrete wall. Maybe after the vacation and some tropical romantic days he’ll get the message that she is well and very healthy.

Unfortunately, his instincts are right and in no time at all they have demons throwing mind games at them and well … that is only the beginning. How will Cara ever get it through his head that she doesn’t need him to be her protector if danger won’t leave them alone!

I loved visiting Talen and Cara again and getting updates on their lives. I have to admit I still have trouble thinking of the children as grown-up and for heavens sake they are grandparents to a precocious little girl. This is a perfect link between author Rebecca Zanetti’s Protectors and her Realm Enforcers and let’s be honest who doesn’t want a little more Kayrs in the world.

This is an action-packed, reunion of sorts, with vampires, demons, werewolves and some closure now that the war has ended … or has it? Only our beloved author knows that for sure.

 

Review: Journey to Honor by Alexa Aston

JourneyofHonor

Series:  Knights of Honor Book 4                               June 27th 2017

Published by Dragonblade Publishling, Inc.               ASIN:  B07118ZCNM

Rating:  5*

The Earl of Shadowfaire was a brutal man treating his wife and servants with a cruel and sadistic hand.  He went so far as to rape his wife’s servant who then held a lifelong grudge and bitterly hated him.   When his wife delivered male twins, the first babe (the heir) was dark looked exactly like the earl; the second twin was blonde, delicate, and looked like the mother whom the servant was devoted to.  The servant switched them around declaring the blonde weakly looking twin was the earl’s heir, and not the twin that resembled his father.

As the second son of the Earl of Shadowfaire, Kenric Fairfax was raised and trained as a warrior. On the day of his Knighting Ceremony a horrible tragedy took place – leaving Kenric to flee to the north of England swearing to never marry.  Now in the service of Lord Michael Devereux, Kenric was asked to lead an escort party from London to bring Lord Michael’s wife’s sister home to Sandbourne.

Avelyn Le Cler has spent time as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Phillipa and finds the treachery at the royal court deplorable.  She is looking forward to coming home and hoping she can convince her brother-in-law to bargain the King and Queen to let her remain back in the country.  During the journey home Avelyn learned the dastardly secret of the truth of Kenric’s birth, but unfortunately there was no way of proving the claim – even if Kenric should believe her.

****   This was really a wonderful read.   The plot was not necessarily a surprise but the malice and hatred of the innocent babe that was handed down to Kenric during his childhood was truly painful.  The efforts Kenric made to steer clear of Evelyn knowing of the feelings he had for her plus worrying that as a landless knight he had nothing to offer the daughter of nobility kept him from even having the barest of hope that he could make her his.   Avelyn on the other hand had fallen deeply in love with such a strong knight whose honor and goodness were evident for all to see.  Evelyn had a dowery that she was sure they could live on and wanted nothing more than to continue on and convince Kenric that she would be fine as long as they were together.

I have the first three books in this series and I must say that each book just seems to get better and better.  All are stand-alone but each one tells an unforgettable tale of the rugged life in the early 12th century with creativity and deep emotion.    Bottom line:  JOURNEY TO HONOR by Alexa Aston is a wonderful and exciting read which I highly recommend.

Marilyn Rondeau