Tag Archives: book review

Her Darkest Nightmare…

Her Darkest Nightmare (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles, #1)Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I know my friend, Lynn, just reviewed a mystery set in Alaska, but this happens to be one I just read and it also happens to be set there, too.  I wouldn’t say it focuses on the scenery much, though!
This new series by Brenda Novak began with last fall’s prequel novella entitled Hanover House and you can find my review here Her Darkest Nightmare is the first full length book in a series that promises to be a creepy and disconcerting psychological study of psychopathic murderers.  In fact, each chapter begins with a chilling quote from real life serial murderers such as Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz or Ray Ramirez.
You don’t have to read the prequel as this novel can stand alone, but Hanover House provides a more in depth look at what happened to make psychologist Evelyn Talbot decide to push for funding a maximum security prison in the wilds of Alaska to house psychopathic mass murderers so she and other doctors can study them and hopefully find some idea of what makes them do what they do.
Evelyn was held prisoner for days, tortured physically and mentally by her seemingly normal high school boyfriend after he killed and posed the bodies of three of her friends — in the room with her where she was being held.  She managed to escape, his family helped the boyfriend escape, and she’s been looking over her shoulder ever since, unable to stop trying to find out how she could have been taken in by someone who seemed so “normal” and turned out to be a vicious murderer with no conscience.
In this second installment, Evelyn and her staff have been conducting interviews and therapy sessions when one inmate insists that she and others are in danger, but he will only give her more information if she talks with him without a guard present.  She takes a chance on speaking with him and he tries to convince her that something evil is going on within the prison — but he’s a psychopath, right?  So how reliable is he?  Then severed body parts are found, one in Evelyn’s bed, and it’s obvious something evil is going on…and Evelyn is sure it has something to do with her old boyfriend who is still on the loose.
If you like books with the thrill of scary, don’t read it in an empty house without the lights on, this is definitely one for you!  There’s also a touch of romance with the seven years younger, only Alaska State Trooper in the area, whose Inuit nickname Amarok means wolf.  The next installment coming soon is tentatively entitled Hello Again.

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Hold your Breath…

Hold Your Breath (Search and Rescue, #1)Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Today’s new release is an action-packed and suspense-filled mystery and romance that finds Lou Sparks as the newest diver in a remote Rocky Mountain town’s search and rescue operation. Lou moved across the country, far from her controlling family and an annoying ex and is planning to immerse herself in her new job. While she’s training hard and trying to fit in with the team, it seems that every time she slips up, it’s in front of her handsome but stoic boss, Callum Cook, who hardly ever smiles and certainly not at her.  We first met Lou and Callum in the introductory novella to this series, On His Watch.  You can find my review here.

But then Lou discovers a corpse during a diving exercise and is anxious to help local authorities solve the riddle of his identity. Staid Callum, with his cautious personality and OCD tendencies, reluctantly agrees to help, if only to keep Lou out of trouble. When it soon becomes apparent that Lou is being stalked and the stalking incidents escalate, Callum is forced to admit his attraction to his new recruit and his need to be the one to see that she is safe.

The cat and mouse game continues and Lou, Callum and local authorities try to figure out who would want to harm her and how it’s connected to the murder she uncovered. It’s a fast-paced, suspenseful read with some twists and turns along the way.

I received this book as an advanced copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Heir to the Duke Book Review…

Heir to the Duke (The Duke's Sons, #1)Heir to the Duke by Jane Ashford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a lovely Regency era romance, with Lady Violet Devere betrothed to the handsome Viscount Hargrove, Nathaniel Gresham. Although it is an arranged marriage rather than a love match, Violet is so looking forward to the freedom that comes with being a married woman, especially since her grandmother has ruled the household with an iron fist while she was growing up.  She has always had to wear unfashionable, extremely modest, even unattractive clothing and hairstyles and she longs for the day when she can choose what she wants.

And Nathaniel, who will be the next Duke of Langford, has always been devoted to his family and knows what is expected of him.  Being the eldest of six sons, he knows that he must set an example for his brothers and also is the one to help them resolve whatever scrapes in which they find themselves.  He has decided that it’s time he marry and he deems Lady Violet an extremely suitable candidate from an impeccable background who will make a charming Duchess.

After the marriage, things go exceeding well and Nathaniel willingly caters to all his wife’s whims, especially as he finds her an extremely passionate and willing bed mate. But Violet, eager to develop her own style and become her husband’s perfect companion, finds her grandmother is still the same harshly critical and unlikable person she’s always been and she isn’t really sure why.  Nathaniel helps Violet learn to stand up to her grandmother, but in doing so, she eventually learns a family secret that would doom her marriage if Nathaniel ever found out.  And Nathaniel becomes more and more distracted by dealing with the unceasing requests of his brothers and longs for something other than responsibility in his life.

There’s a secondary story involving a married friend of Violet’s who is carrying on what would nowadays be a rather tame flirtation with another man and uses the unwitting Violet as a cover for her trysts.  All in all, it’s quite a fun book and just the beginning of the series, as there are five more Gresham brothers that I’m sure we’ll be hearing about!  I received this as an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.

The Hometown Hoax…

The Hometown HoaxThe Hometown Hoax by Heather Thurmeier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book about small town life and two people who are on totally different wave lengths about what they want out of life at the beginning of the book.

Tessa Cutter literally collides with Logan Ridley as they are driving into town. She is steaming mad about the car in front of her that stopped for no reason and he accuses her of texting or putting on makeup and not watching where she was going. In the end, it turns out Logan stopped suddenly to avoid hitting a deer and Tessa couldn’t stop fast enough to avoid hitting him!

Tessa had left home years ago to pursue her artistic career in Manhattan and though she still loves painting, her career hasn’t exactly taken off.  But she has no use for her hometown, especially since her old boyfriend had been cheating on her and everyone in town knew except her.  So she fabricated a serious New York boyfriend to keep her family’s questions at bay about moving back home permanently.

Logan had a personal training business in Manhattan and when it fell apart, he decided to try small town living and got a job as coach at the local high school. And the longer he’s there, the more he finds he likes the small town atmosphere, the space and the clean air.

Tessa can’t believe how her family seems to be throwing her and Logan together while she’s home on this visit, even after making it clear that she already has a boyfriend.  Logan suspects there’s more to her story and since her brother had told him all about Tessa, he’s thrilled to finally meet her and find that she’s even more beautiful than he had heard.

Things move rather quickly from this point and Tessa’s family even has her and Logan sharing a cabin on the property because supposedly there’s no other space!  There are some wonderfully cute and sexy moments and I’m sure you’ll enjoy this light-hearted new adult romance about coming home…

This was an ARC from NetGalley and released Monday.

Link to purchase:

Amazon

Don’t Say No…

Should've Said No (Thistle Bend, #1)Should’ve Said No by Tracy March
My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

Lindsey Simms loses her cheating boyfriend and her job at the Smithsonian Museum in a short amount of time and finds that museum curator jobs are few and far between in today’s market. Anxious to be away from the “most eligible” bachelor boyfriend she found with her ex-roommate, she decides to take a job in Colorado which she hears about through a connection with a distant relative.

After driving cross-country in a wheezing old jeep, she finds that the dream cottage that came with the job and the dream job of researching the area and starting a local museum are both a little different from what she thought. The cottage is a definite fixer-upper and the man fixing it when she arrives turns out to be much more than a handyman. Too late, she’s already given him her fix it list, including the toilet!

At her first meeting with the museum board, she finds that the two most prominent families in town have a long-standing feud over a long ago land deal that allowed one family to purchase some of the most valuable ranch land in the area. And unbeknownst to anyone in town, Lindsey’s great-aunt and uncle are the ones who recommended her for the job, mostly to uncover something in the old town records that shows their family was defrauded out of the land.

Turns out the gorgeous “handyman” Carden Crenshaw is really part of the other feuding family and definitely an eligible bachelor. His grandmother is determined that he stay in close touch with Lindsey and let her know if any damaging evidence against the Crenshaws is found.

Carden doesn’t mind spending time with Lindsey and though his last girlfriend took advantage of him and his family, he can’t help but be attracted to her. And to his credit, he’s a little uncomfortable with doing his grandmother’s bidding where Lindsey is concerned. He’s determined not to let things become too serious between them, though. As time goes on and Lindsey can’t find any paperwork to help her aunt and uncle, she finds herself falling under Carden’s spell and worries how he’ll react when he finds out who she really is.

This is a fun and sexy contemporary romance set in a quirky small town of Thistle Bend, Colorado, with lots of interesting characters and even a pair of elderly sisters, Meredith and Millie, who provide a touch of seemingly magical assistance with Lindsey and Carden’s burgeoning love story and some interesting twists to the town’s long-ago history.