The Rancher and the City Girl by Joya Ryan -a Review

The Rancher and the City Girl by Joya Ryan -a Review

 

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Description:
Rancher and single father Tripp Montgomery is a master at French braiding and princess tea parties. He’s also the most eligible bachelor in Cheyenne, Wyoming. So when he stumbles upon a flashy, sexy city girl, he knows two things: 1) she’s a walking disaster, and 2) he needs to stay far, far away.

But she needs him more than he wants to admit…

Charlotte Gram knows what it’s like not to be wanted. She’s in Cheyenne for the summer to help her grandmother heal after surgery, but the farmhouse “chores” are proving much harder than she thought. If her day couldn’t get any worse, the sexiest man she’s ever seen strolls up to save the day…

…and he definitely doesn’t seem happy about it.

 

Review:

The origin of the Dedication Page was already swoon-worthy. Sounds like Joya Ryan wrangled up her very own cowboy, and that kind of firsthand experience is money for a fan. Tripp and Charlotte are strangers who indulge in a hot moment they desperately needed. When their paths collide anew, despite their mutual agreement to keep it to a singular spectacular event, does a second time automatically lead to Happily Ever After? Ms. Joya writes a bumpy love story in The Rancher and the City Girl that warms your heart and heats your senses.

Wyoming is a far cry from California, but Charlotte is in town to look after farm duties while her grandmother recovers from ankle surgery. Tripp is an overprotective, single dad who’s so focused on limiting his daughter’s outside influences, he negates his own happiness, thereby ignoring fulfillment of his own.

I understand Tripp’s reluctance to allow Charlotte into his life. Charlotte is in town for only a short while and he’s concerned that his daughter is already too attached; that she’ll be crushed when she goes. He’ll be damned if a temporary fling will cause upheaval in his stable home. But the truth is, Charlotte knows all about loss, and her influence is far from detrimental. Far be it from Charlotte, however, who has learned to fend for herself, her independence wrought fiercely, to share her demons. Could Charlotte give up Los Angeles, knowing it’s good for her career, just because Trip makes her feel whole again? Who will win this battle of wills? To lose would be a tremendous loss.

Joya Ryan writes about letting go and letting people in. There was so much heart behind what amounts to fear, you can’t help but forgive. This was a quick, fun read with genuine emotion. While steam will emanate from your device, the bedroom scene, in particular, was next level depth. *tingles*

Reviewed by Carmen

Copy provided by Publisher

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Deadmen Walking by Sherrilyn Kenyon – a Review

Deadmen Walking by Sherrilyn Kenyon – a Review

 

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Description:
Hell hath no fury as a demon caged . . .

To catch evil, takes evil.

Enter Devyl Bane—an ancient warlord who has absolutely no love of humanity.  Yet to return to the human realm as one of the most notorious pirates in the Spanish Main for the sake of vengeance, he makes a bitter bargain with Thorn—an immortal Hellchaser charged with battling the worst monsters the ancient gods ever released into our world. Monsters and demons Bane himself once commanded against Thorn and the humans.

For eons, those demons have been locked behind enchanted gates…which are starting to buckle. Now, Bane, with a vicious crew of Deadmen at his command, is humanity’s last hope to restore the gates and return the damned to their eternal prisons.

But things are never so simple. And one of his biggest vexations, aside from keeping his crew from killing each other before they have a chance to save humanity, is the very ship he sails upon. For Mara, the Sea Witch isn’t just a vessel, she’s also a woman born of an ancient race Bane helped to destroy. And sister to the possessed creature who is one of the worst of those trying to break through to claim his soul, and retake the world.

Mara’s innate hatred of him makes the very fires of hell look like a sauna—not that he blames her. Centuries of war and betrayal divide them. But if Mara can’t find the humanity inside the Devyl and the Devyl can’t teach Mara to embrace her darker side for the good of their crew and the world, the two of them will go down in flames and take us all with them.

 


Review;

Deadmen Walking is a new trilogy by Sherrilyn Kenyon.  The events of this trilogy take place well before the Dark Hunters, Chronicles of Nick, and the Hellchasers.  However, there are some characters in this trilogy that we’ve already met in both of her other series.  We learn more about Thorn and how he became the leader of the Hellchasers/Deadmen, as well as some very interesting information about him that I prefer not to spoil for anyone who hasn’t read this one yet.  As well, there are some spoilers/hints in regards to the Chronicles of Nick to which I will not spill as well.  Sorry folks but I don’t like spoilers so therefore I refuse to spoil plotlines for all of you.  😉  Since Deadmen Walking is a new trilogy for Kenyon there is a lot of world building going on in this one, which for me I liked because it’s setting the stage for the other two books in this trilogy, but I found much of it confusing to me.  I spent a lot of time trying to keep everything straight from new characters, new pantheons, realms, mythologies, etc.  My head was hurting a few times from this information overload. 

Being a Kenyon fan I can safely say I enjoyed this new addition to her Dark-Hunter/CON/Hellchaser universe, but I didn’t love it.  I think that’s a first for me.  It’s not that I didn’t like the origin of this one because I love Pirates, Mer-people, demons, sprites, you name it, that creature was probably in this one.  Heck the heroine, Marcelina is of an acient race that can shift into trees, or become one with wood.  She is basically the ship Devyl and his crew of Deadmen are sailing on.  Actually, for a second there I thought I was re-visting Middle Earth in the The Lord of the Rings when they encounter the Ents(Tree People), lol!!  Actually, Marcelina’s race and backstory was pretty interesting for me to read about.  I wound up liking her in the end.  As for Devly and his crew of Deadmen, they are under Thorn’s watch/control.  The Deadmen as they are called in the book are actually earlier versions of his Hellchasers, at least that’s my opinion and am thinking he must  eventually rename them later on at some point, but don’t quote me on this.  Devly’s backstory and how he becomes the Captain and leader of Thorn’s Deadmen is interesting and we see how his life and Marcelina’s are twined together.  Their story at times felt rush to me, but eventually it did start to fall into place about halfway through the book.  It took awhile, but eventually I started to connect the dots and the information overload started to make sense, and the rest of the story just fell into place for me and carried me along to the end of the book.  To which like previous Kenyon books she leaves us hanging as to what’s in story for characters in the next installment. Particularly, a very intriguing Merman who has given himself up to save the life of a two important characters.  Again I won’t give away anything….(evil laughter rings throughout the rafters of The Reading Café)

Deadmen Walking is an interesting installment in the Kenyon paranormal universe.  You just need to have some patience and a large pad of paper beside you for note taking to help keep everything in perspective and in order.  LOL!!  I’m looking forward to the continuation of this one and hopefully seeing how it will eventually weave into her current storylines. 

Reviewed by Marcie

 

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The Wrong Kind of Compatible by Kadie Scott – a Review

The Wrong Kind of Compatible by Kadie Scott – a Review

 

The Wrong Kind of CompatibleAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
Data analyst Cassie Howard may be brilliant (and, okay, a little awkward), but she’s worked hard to get where she is. She definitely doesn’t need some sexy new analyst coming in and taking credit for her work. Or the inappropriate thoughts that keep popping out of her mouth she’d rather he not hear.

For undercover FBI agent Drew Kerrigan, computers have always made more sense than people, but he’d better develop some slick social skills in a hurry if he’s going to win over the too-tantalizing-for-his-sanity Cassie. Hacking their systems was easy. Now he’s just got to hack the one person in the company most likely to see through his ruse…

 

Review: 

The Wrong Kind of Compatible by Kadie Scott is the 1st book in her Love Undercover series.  Cassie Howard is a data analyst for a government contractor. She is a woman who simply doesn’t do good, she has to excel or go home, she is focused on an analysis that will take the company she works for to an even higher level, but she is lacking all social skills, I love the fact she has no “inner voice” all she says just comes out of her mouth. 

Drew is the new computer whiz hired to help her make that happen – who also happens to be one of the best hackers in the world.  But Drew Kerrigan is an undercover FBI agent investigating shady dealings at Cassie’s work place.  He’s also a lovable nerd. 

And guess who is his prime suspect for the shady dealings ….. none other than Data Minds’ prodigy data analyst, Cassie. As Cassie and Drew bond over a love of Star Wars and codes, can Drew uncover the real criminal? And what will Cassie say once she knows who her new love actually is ? 

The quirky dialogue of these characters will have you cracking up….Holy smoking hotness, Batman. No computer nerd has a right to look like that.” “Computers he got…  Interactions with people took effort.” Wait? Did I say that one out loud?”

Romance, comedy and a little mystery; The Wrong Kind of Compatible has a little bit of everything.  I really enjoyed these characters. And would recommend you read it and laugh along with Cassie and Drew. 

Reviewed by Julie B

Copy provided by Publisher

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Salazar’s One-Night Heir by Jennifer Hayward – Review & Giveaway

Salazar’s One-Night Heir  by Jennifer Hayward – Review & Giveaway

 

Salazar's One Night Heir

 

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Description:
The challenge: take revenge for a decades-old injustice…

Tycoon Alejandro Salazar will take any opportunity to expose the Hargrove family’s crime against his–including accept the challenge to pose as their stable groom! His goal in sight, Alejandro cannot allow himself to be distracted by the gorgeous Hargrove heiress…

Her family must pay, yet Alejandro can’t resist innocent Cecily’s fiery passion. And when their one night of bliss results in an unexpected pregnancy, Alejandro will legitimize his heir and restore his family’s honor…by binding Cecily to him with a diamond ring!

 

Review:

Salazar’s One-Night Heir begins with Alejandro accepting a challenge from a friend:  survive two weeks without your money and your affluence.  Alejandro accepts the challenge and finds himself at the Hargrove family ranch as “Colt Banyon”, a lowly stable groom.  There is a history between the two families, one that left Alejandro’s beloved grandmother seeking revenge, and also puts Alejandro in the position to discover the truth and finally get justice.  The last thing he needs is to be intrigued by Cecily Hargrove’s presence. 

As Cecily tries to get herself, and her horse, back into top competing form, things aren’t going well.  To top it off, a new groom, Colt, is telling her she’s going about things all the wrong way.  She storms off, not believing the audacity that someone, especially a new groom, would ever challenge her.  What she can’t understand is why she can’t get that confrontation out of her mind…. She can’t afford any distractions, but as time passes, it becomes more than obvious that the attraction goes both ways.  They resist, but ultimately give into the passion firing between them.  After all, what can one night hurt……………..

Salazar’s One-Night Heir is another nicely written story by Jennifer Hayward.  Cecily is a character who is independent, and at the same time, needful.  Once you learn more about her mother and her past, your heart will ache for her.  Alejandro is, in a word, delicious.  His love and devotion to his grandmother will endear him to everyone.  However, it is his fierce protectiveness that develops for Cecily that will pull you in.  If you’re looking for a quick and fun read with well developed characters and a hot romance, you’ll not go wrong with this latest installment from Jennifer Hayward.  Well done, Jennifer Hayward!  Very well done!

Reviewed by Vickie

Copy supplied for review

 

 

giveaway

Jennifer is graciously offering a $10 Amazon Gift Card to (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano – a Review

The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano – a Review

 

The Suffering TreeAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
“It’s dark magic brings him back.” Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family—it’s their generations-old land the Burns have “stolen.” As the suspicious looks and muttered accusations of her neighbors build, so does the pressure inside her, and Tori returns to the pattern of self-harm that landed her in a hospital back in D.C. It all comes to a head one night when, to Tori’s shock, she witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard. Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it’s clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events—including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter’s cousin—that seem to point back to Nathaniel. As Tori digs for the truth—and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel—she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family’s oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried… at any cost.

Review:

The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano is a Young Adult suspense romance novel.  Tori Burns has recently lost her father, so when they receive notice that they have inherited land and property in Chaptico, Maryland, her family jumps at the chance to move.  Although the reasons why the house has come to them is mysterious and sketchy, they move from the D.C. area – making Chaptico their new home.  But the locals aren’t nearly as welcoming as they would like them to be.  Especially the Slaughter family who up until a week ago owned the house and land they now occupy!  The Slaughter roots run deep in Chaptico, and the Burns family are considered transplants, and not well liked by any means, in fact some are saying they stole the house from the Slaughters. 

With all the chaos and turmoil the new move has brought – it brings Tori back to self-harm, something that has previously put her in the hospital.  From the moment they arrived Tori started having bad, vivid dreams.  On one particularly bad night a dream awakens her with a startle.  She dresses and runs outside to the little cemetery and large oak tree on her property, that she is always mysteriously drawn to.  With everything building, the townspeople, the Slaughters –  Tori does the one thing she knows will release her and ease her misery.  She cuts herself.   And in that moment, below the oak tree, the ground moved.  The earth erupted and from below that oak tree, aged, withered and worn – a young man emerged. Clawing his way out of his earthly grave. And in that moment, Tori could not believe her eyes.  Surely they have betrayed her.  But when the young man, covered in mud and dirt touches her, she lost consciousness.

Nathaniel Bishop does not know why he has returned.  Only that he has.  And one thing is clear, his hate for what the Slaughter’s have done to him many years ago runs as deep as the roots of this old oak tree.  Once Tori realizes that Nathaniel isn’t here to hurt her, she comes to befriend him, but little does she know that her life and that of Nathaniel’s are intertwined. As she dissects and investigates the mysterious reason that has brought her here, she soon comes to realize that the Slaughter’s secrets run deep and that they would stop at nothing to keep those secrets in the family.  But at what price, and what will the end results be for not only Tori but for Nathaniel as well? 

I enjoyed Tori from page one, and I completely understand from which the self-harm has come from.  I don’t believe this story will be everyone’s cup of tea, as self-harm is quite taboo  but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and completely understood the correlation of Tori’s self harm and Nathaniel’s resurrection.  The interweaving of the story of what has brought Tori to Slaughter Farm and the telling of the past of how Nathaniel came to Chaptico –  and how he ended up buried under the oak tree was fascinating to me.

 Nathaniel’s story dates back to slave times, and how the Slaughter’s were slave owners.  It tells of Nathaniel and his best friend Emmeline, and how they were kidnapped and brought to the United States and sold into slavery.   The story contains dark magic and spells of what has brought Nathaniel back. Essentially telling of two stories at once and weaving them into a wonderful web of loyalty, friendship, love and the ties that bind.  It also shows just how family secrets can ruin lives and take them all at the same time.  And what one will do to get to the bottom of those secrets and what another will do to cover them up. 

Nathaniel Bishop was a good man; bound by loyalty and friendship.  He has tried to remain true to his word and promises.  But some promises go unfulfilled.  That is until the time is right to rewrite the wrongs.  His loyalty to Emmeline and to Tori made him quite likeable.  The life that he had previously endured as a slave was horrific and you want for nothing more than to allow him some time of happiness and freedom.  But with the end eminent – you want him to fulfill the promises he has made and you want him to finally have peace.  But is that all possible?  Can that come to pass and allow Tori to finally have the answers she so desperately needs?

 I would recommend this to any mature teen and up.   The story is timeless, beautiful and a great opportunity to discuss self-harm.  The story wouldn’t have come to pass if Tori didn’t have a past history of self-harm and in that self-harm she finds life and hope.   I am looking forward to continuing this story and hope that there is a future for Nathaniel and Tori.  

Reviewed by Erin

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How to Ruin your Reputation in Ten Days by Harmony Williams – a Review

How to Ruin your Reputation in Ten Days by Harmony Williams – a Review

 

How to Ruin Your Reputation in 10 DaysAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
In 1814 London, England, a lady is defined as a demure, delicate flower. Miss Francine Annesley is not that lady. If men were like plants, she would have a garden of admirers to choose from instead of the thorn in her side since childhood, Julian Beckwith. But she would make an even worse nun than she does a lady, which will be her fate if she can’t dig up a husband before the Season ends. However, Julian is not an option.

With only ten short days left in the Season, Francine doesn’t have time to waste on petty squabbles or knee-weakening kisses, even if Julian’s offer to fulfill her every wish rouses her curiosity. It seems men are more complicated than plants. Too bad love bloomed at the most inconvenient of times…

 

Review:

How to Ruin Your Reputation in Ten Days begins with only ten days left in the Season.  Francine is attending a party at which her parents are hoping that she finds an appropriate suitor.  After five Seasons without an offer, their hopes of her picking someone are faltering.  Francine is determined not to enter into a loveless relationship with someone who is more interested in her dowry than they are in her.  As Francine skirts the people and their boring conversations at the party trying to get away from unwanted suitors, she makes her way outside and into the garden.  She soon finds herself in an awkward position and snags her dress on a thorny bush and eventually gets herself freed, only to come face to face with none other than her childhood friend, Julian Beckwith.  The two of them had been exchanging letters for the last few years, but he suddenly stopped replying, which hurt her more than she wanted to let on.

As things progress, there is no denying the pull between them, but when Francine discovers the reason he stopped replying to her letters, she is shattered.  To make matters even worse, her father has had it with her not choosing a suitor and issues an ultimatum:  pick a suitable suitor by the end of the Season or you’re going to the convent!  (Harsh much?!?!)  Seems he’s had it with her independent ways and the fact the she always seems to get caught in the most awkward and inappropriate situations.  Unfortunately, said situations have made her the gossip of the ton, and her father is DONE.

How to Ruin Your Reputation in Ten Days is a nicely written tale with two great characters.  I loved Francine.  I loved her independent streak that warred with her wanting to please her parents, who in my opinion, were sorely lacking in the parenting department.  I also loved her devotion to her friends and to Julian.  She also made me laugh.  Julian was great as well.  Once we find out the back story as to why he’d stopped responding to her letters, your heart broke a little.  You also wanted to box his ears a little!  The two of them together will melt your heart.  With all of that said, I have to admit that the story I’m most anxious for is her friend, Mary’s.  That one has great potential and I can’t imagine how she’ll be tamed, seeing as she is one of the most inappropriate (for the time) and independent characters I’ve read in years.  I have my fingers crossed that her story will not disappoint.  If you’re a fan of historicals, this series is a nice read.   Well done, Harmony Williams!

Reviewed by Vickie

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Scandal of the Season by Liana LeFey – a Review

Scandal of the Season by Liana LeFey – a Review

 

Scandal of the SeasonAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
Five years ago, Lord Sorin Latham fled England’s shores to avoid heartbreak and scandal in the form of one Lady Eleanor Cramley. On returning home, he finds the young miss he used to scold for lack of decorum is now a stunning woman who fires his blood. But he must resist temptation or risk losing his honor as a gentleman and the friendship of those he holds dear, including Eleanor.

Lady Eleanor is determined to be the paragon of propriety Sorin urged her to become. But now that he’s back, the man she once thought of as an older brother makes her long to be anything but proper. She must make Sorin see her as worthy of his heart and his desire without losing his good opinion, or her Season will end in disgrace.

 

Review:

Do as I say, not as I do? No, not quite that…I expected you to listen, but not to change? An impossible request to be sure. Somewhere between both expressions hovers the end result of Sorin’s hopes for up and coming Eleanor. Could her London debut have provoked Sorin’s feelings…and prompted his hasty retreat? It may have been wiser to allow the young cousin (and ward of his dear friend), to explore the grandeur of the peerage, since five years later, and both still unwed. Has fate stepped out of the shadows to illuminate a path to HEA? Liana LeFey shares such a story in Scandal of the Season.

But Sorin stumbles…

“She grew up with me lecturing her on comportment, correcting her every lapse, always urging her to better herself. She once told me I was worse than any governess. I’m not exactly a romantic figure in her mind.”

And stumbles some more. They’re more like indelicate comments that come across as chastising/heavy-handed to Eleanor, but bless his heart. Sorin realizes that this relationship might earn disapproval — he’s been the dutiful proxy alongside Eleanor’s upbringing. It won’t be an easy task for outsiders to overlook, her guardian cousin and Sorin’s best friend to condone, but of most importance: Eleanor’s heart to win.

Sorin’s angst is palpable, but Eleanor took contemplative to a new level while coming around to the idea of Sorin as a love interest. This introspection allows for thorough examination and consideration of feelings, but it felt practically interminable before the relationship took on an intimate angle.

“The sensation spread, until her whole body felt alive and awake as never before. How peculiar? Was this heightened self-awareness due to the fact that she now regarded him as the potential companion of her life? Had she considered another, would it have been the same?”

A friends-to-lovers story stymied by rumors and complicated relationship labels. I enjoyed the storytelling; there were even zealous saboteurs looking to discredit the fair Eleanor (who serendipitously riled up Sorin’s patience and courage), but I wished for a quicker pace. 74% into the book and I was begging for any sort of scandal to ensue! Heartfelt, swoon-worthy soliloquies (on both ends) needed to be revealed sooner than later, lest the other relinquish pursuit.

Liana LeFey wrote with a mastery of the language and culture of the Regency era. I was enchanted by the developing romance and enjoyed the influence and support of the background characters. While Scandal of the Season did not steam up my Kindle, it proudly boasts that “The truest love begins in friendship.”

Reviewed by Carmen

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HUSH GIRL : It’s Only a Dream by Gloria Zachgo – a Review

HUSH GIRL : It’s Only a Dream by Gloria Zachgo – a Review

 

Hush GirlAmazon

Description:
While Nicki Reed is desperate to find the answers to her past, someone is desperate for her to never remember.

Shortly after her father died, Nicki’s nightmares started. They were soon followed by panic attacks. Suspecting her haunting dreams were related to her childhood, Nicki sought professional help, but Nicki was unable to verbalize any memories she had as a child. Bad things happened when she told secrets.
When her therapist suggested she write her memories, Nicki started remembering things she had pushed far into the recesses of her mind. She started to doubt her own sanity, and when she began to see a strange woman stalking her, she couldn’t be sure if that woman was real or imagined. Yet, Nicki couldn’t tell anyone, until—her own family’s welfare was threatened.


Review:

Hush Girl, It’s Only a Dream is a new mystery thriller by author Gloria Zachgo. It’s a psychological thriller detailing the issue of overcoming abuse as a child and dealing with the mystery of murder(s).

This dark, but thrilling, tale relates the issues of Nichole Reed (Nicki), who is beginning to see a therapist about panic attacks, insomnia, and weeping bouts. She didn’t seem to be able to verbalize with anyone about the issues or causes of her problems.

Since she couldn’t talk about the issues, the therapist had her try to write her memories, dreams and thought in a notebook. An interesting aspect of the treatment.

Nicki and her husband Matt had two wonderful little girls Molly and Olivia. Matt is a loving and understanding husband and a wonderful father. Nicki knows how very fortunate she is to have Matt, and her girls. She has a living sister, Cindy, and a brother who had died as a teenager in a motorcycle accident, Brian. Their mother left when she was around five years old. They were raised by their father and later a live-in woman named Sharon.

The story centers around the chronicles of her memories and the abusive treatment by the monster Sharon. The stories are pretty intense and dark, so if you’re sensitive to this kind of story, be warned.

This is the story of a, not just troubled woman, but a real monster who ruled the lives of these children and terrorized them. It’s also the uplifting story of how Nicki overcomes this with the help of her husband and children.

There is some really scary stuff and covered-up murder(s) and attempted murder. The story is fictitious and imaginative, but scarily realistic. There are wonderful parts of family humor as only a child can produce, as well as the dark stuff, adding to the realism of raising a family.

While I caution any who are sensitive to the realistic abuse, I found it to be a page turner and the ending is splendidly upbeat. The author tells a compelling and interesting story that draws you into it completely. I fell in love with Nicki and her children and especially her husband…sigh worthy.

Reviewed by Georgianna

Copy supplied for an honest review.

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