An Unsuitable Heir (Sins of the Cities #3) by KJ Charles-a review

AN UNSUITABLE HEIR (Sins of the Cities #3) by KJ Charles-a review

An Unsuitable Heir

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 3, 2017

A private detective finds passion, danger, and the love of a lifetime when he hunts down a lost earl in Victorian London.

On the trail of an aristocrat’s secret son, enquiry agent Mark Braglewicz finds his quarry in a music hall, performing as a trapeze artist with his twin sister. Graceful, beautiful, elusive, and strong, Pen Starling is like nobody Mark’s ever met—and everything he’s ever wanted. But the long-haired acrobat has an earldom and a fortune to claim.

Pen doesn’t want to live as any sort of man, least of all a nobleman. The thought of being wealthy, titled, and always in the public eye is horrifying. He likes his life now—his days on the trapeze, his nights with Mark. And he won’t be pushed into taking a title that would destroy his soul.

But there’s a killer stalking London’s foggy streets, and more lives than just Pen’s are at risk. Mark decides he must force the reluctant heir from music hall to manor house, to save Pen’s neck. Betrayed by the one man he thought he could trust, Pen never wants to see his lover again. But when the killer comes after him, Pen must find a way to forgive—or he might not live long enough for Mark to make amends

••••••••••

REVIEW: AN UNSUITABLE HEIR is the third and final installment in KJ Charles’ Victorian England, adult SIN OF THE CITIES M/M romance, mystery trilogy. This is private investigator Mark Braglewicz, and trapeze artist and reluctant earl Repentance ‘Pen’ Starling’s story line. AN UNSUITABLE HEIR can be read as a stand alone but for cohesion and backstory I recommend reading the series in order as there is an ongoing premise and plot throughout the series focusing on the search for the heir to the Earl of Moreton’s estate.

NOTE: AN UNSUITABLE HEIR and the SINS OF THE CITIES series contain scenes of M/M sexual situations and may not be suitable for all readers.

SOME BACKGROUND: Twenty three years earlier, sixteen year old and pregnant Emmeline Godfrey Taillefer’s life fell apart when the man that she married walked away without a backwards glance. Fast forward and the son to whom she gave birth is said to be the legitimate heir to the Earl of Moreton-a position coveted by more than one surviving relation.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Pen and Mark) AN UNSUITABLE HEIR focuses on the search for the truth as a group of friends endeavors to find the missing heir to the Taillefer fortune and title holder to the Earl of Moreton. Mark Braglewicz has been commissioned to locate a young man known a Pen Starling-one half of the Flying Starling trapeze artists, and the man who is quite possibly the missing heir to the Moreton estates. Enter Repentance Taillefer aka Pen Starling, a man whose lifestyle will never be conducive as the Earl of Moreton, and the man with whom Mark Braglewicz will fall in love. With a killer on the loose, searching for the missing Taillefer twins, Mark struggles to convince Pen and his sister Greta (Regret) that Pen’s life hangs in the balance as a killer sets his sights on the Moreton heir.

Pen Starling is an anomaly – a bi-gendered man living in Victoria England; a flamboyant trapeze artist whose ‘professional persona’ crosses over into his daily life including an attraction to men that must be hidden in light of the times. Pen’s ‘gender fluidity’ is expressed by the way he presents himself as a girl or a boy (woman or man) depending upon his current state of mind or emotions. Mark Braglewicz, a private investigator is a bisexual man (with a missing left arm) whose captivation with Pen is palpable and intense.

The relationship between Pen and Mark is one of mutual fascination; a forbidden romance between two men who must remain closeted at a time when homosexuality is criminal and a sin. Mark’s ongoing need to convince Pen to acknowledge his rightful title builds a wall between our leading couple, a wall that will harden the heart of Pen Starling as betrayal and lies force Pen to face the truth about the man with whom he is falling in love. Pen is a reluctant heir knowing his personal lifestyle will become fodder for the people in charge-his fears are legitimate and painful. The $ex scenes are intimate without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text.

The world building continues to focus on the hunt for a killer; the search for the missing Moreton heirs; and the developing friendships and relationships between a group of gay men in Victorian England. All of the previous story line couples and characters play secondary and supporting roles. Once again, the tone of the story is not conducive to the era or the time-I was expecting a tighter interpretation of the language e.g. euphemisms, slang, sentence structure, and because of this, the story line reads more modern than historic (see my review of books one and two). The premise is entertaining and enlightening; the characters are colorful but flawed; the romance is seductive and intense.

I would like to add that political correctness did not exist in Victorian England, and to apply modern standards to an historical romance novel would alter the perceptive believability of the era. Some readers may take offense to the ‘presentation’ of Pen’s sexuality or Mark’s physical disability but for readers to apply contemporary criteria, standards, measurements or guidelines to this series and story line would be a grievous error that should be avoided.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
An Unseen Attraction
An Unnatural Vice
The Unsuitable Heir

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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Halloween is Murder by Carolyn Arnold – a Review

Halloween is Murder by Carolyn Arnold – a Review

 

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Description:
Beware of all that goes bump in the night…
 
Sean and Sara McKinley are excited about the haunted house they’ve set up as a Halloween charity fund-raiser, but things take a ghoulish turn when the reporter covering their story is found dead. With the media keeping mum about how she died, Sara’s curiosity is piqued, and she convinces Sean to take on the investigation through their PI firm.
 
But this case is not without its challenges. The police are actively investigating it, as well, and it’s not even clear that the woman was murdered. It will take a little cloak-and-dagger, dress-up, and finesse for the McKinleys to get to the bottom of it, but they aren’t the kind to give up.
 
As they troll for leads and work through the skeletons in the reporter’s closet, they unearth a few suspects, but they’ll need to carve out the whole truth if they’re going to find her killer. If they do so fast enough, there might even be time for a little trick-or-treating.

 

Review:

Halloween is Murder by Carolyn Arnold is the 11th book in her McKinley Mystery series.  Though this is the 11th book in this series , this was my first book and it read very well as a standalone. I have been reading Arnold’s other two series (Madison Knight and Brandon Fisher), which are both violent intense murder mysteries. When I decided to read this book, I did not know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised, as this was a fun mystery with a great couple who lead this series.

Sean and Sara McKinley are our heroes, who are married private detectives. Halloween is Murder begins with Sean and Sara promoting their haunted house to a TV reporter, promoting that all the profits go to charity. When the television spot did not appear on the local channel that evening, they learned that the female reporter died. Though they should not get involved in an open police case, nothing keeps Sara and Sean from doing their own investigation.

What follows is a nice murder mystery with multiple possible suspects. What I really
liked about this story was that we did not have any stress, or intense moments, just a nice &  fun old fashion mystery. Sean and Sara were both fun to watch, as well as their team. Halloween is Murder was very well written, a fast read, great characters, and a fun mystery with a resolution that I did not see coming. Carolyn Arnold has given us a different type of murder mystery and I enjoyed it very much.. If you like mysteries that are light,  fun reads, you should give this one a try.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy supplied for review

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Such a Pretty Girl by Tess Diamond – a Review

Such a Pretty Girl by Tess Diamond – a Review

 

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Description:
In Grace Sinclair’s bestselling crime novels, the good guys win and the bad guys always get caught. As the FBI’s top profiler, she knows that real life is rarely so straightforward. But her new case isn’t just brutal—it’s also personal. The victims look like Grace. And the FBI recruit assigned to her team is trouble of another kind.

 This isn’t how Special Agent Gavin Walker imagined running into Grace again. Two years ago they shared one earth-shattering night, then she vanished from his life. She’s brilliant, fiercely independent, and in mortal danger from a killer masterminding a twisted game …

The body count is rising. Entangled in the case and in each other, Gavin and Grace are running out of time and chances. And as Grace puts the pieces together, she knows she’ll have to confront her own deepest secrets before the final, fatal move is played.

 

Review:

Such a Pretty Girl by Tess Diamond is an exciting, well written and intense psychological thriller. Grace Sinclair, our heroine, writes crime mystery novels, but Grace is also a profiler with the FBI.  Grace loves her job, helping to find the bad guys, and devotes everything to her job, with writing being something to relax her.  When she attends an awards ceremony, even though she is one of the winners; she leaves early to go visit a crime scene. 

Gavin Walker, a former cop, is now a new agent with the FBI.  His first assignment is to pick up Grace and become her partner for this new case.  When Grace sees him, she is shocked.  Two years before, both Grace and Gavin had a one night stand, and Gavin has not forgotten it, since she was gone before he woke up.  Now though a bit uncomfortable, they need to work together. Grace is one of the best at her job, totally brilliant and independent, but as the murders begin to escalate, she begins to see clues that this is a serial murderer.

Gavin surprises Grace at how well he understands and reads her thoughts.  They work very well together, and a slow build romance will begin as they work closely in this intense case.   The romance does take a backseat to the investigation, but it adds a nice element. The crimes are violent, and soon Grace recognizes that the killer is someone she knows, and she is to be the final victim.  Gavin is determined to protect Grace at all costs, but the race is on to find the killer before he kills someone close to Grace.

Being a thriller with lots of twists and surprises, I will not tell too much more, which could ruin it for you.  What follows is an exciting, dark, suspenseful adventure that holds you on the edge of your seat.  I loved how strong Grace was, especially when she realized that the killer was someone from her past, and this was personal.  I also loved Gave and Grace together, and they did make a nice team, not to mention they sizzled together. Tess Diamond knocked this out of the park.  I loved every moment of this book. If you like thrilling murder mysteries, with a bit of romance, then I suggest you read Such a Pretty Girl

Reviewed by Barb

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Secrets in Death by J.D. Robb – a Review

Secrets in Death by J.D. Robb – a Review

 

Secrets in Death
In-Death series – Book #45
by J.D. Robb
Release Date: September 5, 2017

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Description:
Lt. Eve Dallas must separate rumors from reality when a woman who traffics in other people’s secrets is silenced.

The chic Manhattan nightspot Du Vin is not the kind of place Eve Dallas would usually patronize, and it’s not the kind of bar where a lot of blood gets spilled. But that’s exactly what happens one cold February evening.

The mortally wounded woman is Larinda Mars, a self-described “social information reporter,” or as most people would call it, a professional gossip. As it turns out, she was keeping the most shocking stories quiet, for profitable use in her side business as a blackmailer. Setting her sights on rich, prominent marks, she’d find out what they most wanted to keep hidden and then bleed them dry. Now someone’s done the same to her, literally—with a knife to the brachial artery.

Eve didn’t like Larinda Mars. But she likes murder even less. To find justice for this victim, she’ll have to plunge into the dirty little secrets of all the people Larinda Mars victimized herself. But along the way, she may be exposed to some information she really didn’t want to know…

 

 

 

Review:

Secrets in Death by J.D. Robb is amazingly the 45th book in her In- Death series and this does not include all her novellas.    Bravo to J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) that 45 books later, I still cannot get enough of Eve & Roarke and the fabulous team that surrounds them.

Secrets in Death begins with Eve meeting Dr.DeWinter (forensic anthropologist) at Du Vin (a fancy nightspot) to try to clear the air between them and get on better terms.  Just when they come to an agreement, and get ready to leave, Eve hears a crash and runs to help someone falling.   As blood gushes everywhere, Eve is the first on the scene of a murder.    

The murdered woman is Larinda Mars, a gossip reporter, who was truly an evil witch. She was not liked by those who have dealt with her, and Eve will find that she had many enemies.   When Eve, Roarke and Peabody search for clues in Mars house, they find out that she has been blackmailing many people, in fact over the years she has made herself a fortune in millions.  Eve upon interviewing those listed in Mars computer and paperwork, discover how despicable she was. Larinda Mars had a big list of those she watched, which included those close to us; Eve, Roarke, Nadine, Mavis, just to name a few…this too angered Eve.  Eve must try to maintain the need to solve this crime, even if she knows the victim probably deserved her punishment.  But Eve Dallas always stands for the dead..no matter how awful they are.

 I will say that Secrets in Death was a bit different then most of the previous books.  Though there is murder, the intensity and violence was not evident through most of the book. It was more of  a slower investigative pace, which was very well done.   It was also a bit introspective, especially after interviewing those being blackmailed that brought back memories for both Roarke and Eve, as they reflected on things from their past.

Even with this change of pace story line, it was a fantastic ride, as we spent so much time with Eve and Roarke.  I say this over and over.  There is no better couple in the literary world then our Eve and Roarke.  Of course, everyone wants a ‘Roarke’ in their lives.  I also loved seeing some of our secondary character favorites, such as Nadine getting a bigger role in this book; the snarky and cute fun between Peabody & Eve; and seeing Mavis and Bella again.  J.D. Robb always manages to give us a break from the murder, giving us fun with Peabody, or the beautiful romance between Roarke and Eve. It takes a master writer who can do that so deftly.  The moment when Eve finds out that Summerset left for vacation, and they were alone in their mansion was totally classic. Loved it…..

Secrets in Death was another fantastic mystery that has us guessing until the very end.  Though I have to admit there was one person I wanted it to be.  The victim was so unlikeable and evil that we kind of felt sorry for those who had so many reasons to kill her.  J.D. Robb does it again with another wonderful story.  I can’t wait for the next book, and never ever want this to end.  

Reviewed by Barb

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A Tale of Two Kitties by Sofie Kelly – a Review

A Tale of Two Kitties by Sofie Kelly – a Review

 

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Description:
With a well-placed paw on a keyboard or a pointed stare, Kathleen’s two cats, Hercules and Owen, have helped her to solve cases in the past—so she has learned to trust their instincts. But she will need to rely on them more than ever when a twenty-year-old scandal leads to murder…

The arrival of the Janes brothers has the little town of Mayville Heights buzzing. Everyone of a certain age remembers when Victor had an affair with Leo’s wife, who then died in a car accident.

Now it seems the brothers are trying to reconcile, until Kathleen finds Leo dead. The police set their sights on Leo’s son and Kathleen’s good friend Simon, who doesn’t have much of an alibi. To prove her friend innocent, Kathleen will have to dig deep into the town’s history—and into her sardine cracker supply, because Owen and Hercules don’t work for free…

 

 

Review
:
A Tale of Two Kitties by Sofia Kelly is the 9th book in her Magical Cats Mystery series.   I have not read the previous books in this series, but it read very well as a standalone.  With that being said, reading the early books would be fun and enjoyable. 

Our heroine in this series is Kathleen Paulson, the librarian of Mayville Heights, as well as her adorable two cats, Hercules and Owen.  No..the cats do not talk (as in another series I read), but they do have some strange magical abilities like walking through a door, or just disappearing.  What make Hercules and Owen fun, is the little simple hints they give Kathleen in helping her solve crimes, and the cute humor is enjoyable throughout the book.

A Tale of Two Kitties is a murder mystery, as Kathleen is the one who finds her friend, Simon’s father dead and the mystery begins.  A 20 year old scandal will be the catalyst that sets the stage of this mystery.  Victor Janes has just returned to visit his brother Leo, to make amends  after he had run away with Leo’s wife twenty years hence.  When Leo is found dead, there are a number of suspects, including Victor, Simon and a few other suspects.

Kathleen gets involved in trying to solve the murder, and find a way to prove that Simon is innocent.  She will talk to the local people in trying to find clues, and as we get closer to the end, the danger and excitement escalates.  Though this is murder, the entire story flowed so well, and except for a short period, it was a calm fun read, with no tension.  As we held our breaths at the end, I loved how Kathleen got out of her predicament.   The characters that are part of this series were great, and I also enjoyed the sweet romance between Kathleen and her detective boyfriend, Marcus. 

A Tale of Two Kitties was a lighthearted mystery that was a fun and fast read.  Hercules and Owen were delightful, as they always managed to get Kathleen’s attention ‘pawing’ out the clues. If you want a fast cute fun mystery , I wholly suggest you read this series.

Reviewed by Barb

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On The Chase by Katie Ruggle – Review, Excerpt, Tour & Giveaway

On The Chase by Katie Ruggle – Review, Excerpt, Tour & Giveaway

 

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on the chase

 

Description:
After witnessing a horrifying crime, Kaylee is forced to flee to a small Colorado mountain town and take on a new identity. There she becomes Grace, a dog kennel worker trying to avoid the dangerously attractive K-9 Officer Hugh Murdoch.

When an accident leaves Hugh and his K-9 partner, Lexi, on desk duty, both are anxious for Hugh to heal. Until then, the highlight of his day is teasing the beautiful but mysterious new kennel employee. Their simmering attraction fuels a passionate kiss—interrupted by a sniper’s bullet. With targets on both of their backs, Grace and Hugh will do whatever it takes to stay alive…not realizing the most dangerous threat of all is hiding right in front of their noses.

 

Review:

On The Chase by Katie Ruggle is the 2nd book in her Rocky Mountain K9 UnitTrilogy.  I enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, and was pleasantly surprised that On The Chase was even better.  Kaylee, our heroine, is on the run after attending a dinner with her boyfriend.  When she steps away to find the ladies room, she hears calls for help and steps into a situation she was not meant to see.  With her boyfriend’s Uncle trying to kill her, she runs to the Colorado mountains to hide with our previous book heroine. 

Hugh Murdoch, whom we met in book 1, is a cop and friend of Theo (last book hero).  Hugh was suspicious of Theo’s Julie, and now that he meets Grace, he is determined to find out what she is hiding.  Hugh, who was on leave from work due to an injury,  followed Grace everywhere; trying to learn what she is hiding, and to act on his attraction to her.  Hugh also has someone trying to kill him, to stop him from a drug bust.

Grace and Hugh are in the middle of a few attacks, which Grace thinks is meant for her, but Hugh insists it is the drug lord. When Hugh gets hurt,  Grace will quickly tell Hugh and Theo the truth about who is trying to find her.  They both know how powerful this man is, and are determined to help Grace.

As Hugh protects Grace, their romance will become sizzling.  I was actually surprised that I did like Hugh and Grace together, though he was annoying early on.  I also liked how Julie would help Grace, knowing what it is like to be on the run.  Lexi was Hugh’s K-9 dog, and I enjoyed Lexi’s scenes, as well as seeing Viggy again.

The story was very suspenseful from the start, with a lot of action all the way through.  The last ¼ of the book had me holding my breath, as Grace’s life was on the line twice and no one knew where she was.  Grace did turn out to be a fantastic heroine, who managed to fight her way to survival.

On the Chase is another suspenseful story in this trilogy, and I look forward to reading the final book.  Katie Ruggle has written a great story, wonderful couple, and exciting action packed throughout.  I suggest you start with the first book, Run to Ground.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

Excerpt

 

The floor in the entry creaked, reminding Grace of her most urgent issue at the moment: someone was in the house. As quietly as possible, she started backing up. This was not a good room to be trapped in. The only door was the one into the hallway—where the intruder was. The large, central window was solid. The two smaller panes of glass beside it would reluctantly crank out a few inches, but definitely not wide enough to fit her entire body through.
Why had she hesitated when she first heard the knock? If she’d immediately headed for the back door, she’d already be far, far away. Now she was stuck.
Her gaze ran over the room, searching for hiding spots, but there weren’t any good ones. The closet was too obvious, but it would have to do. Maybe they wouldn’t bother searching.
As she hurried toward the small closet door, her heart thumped painfully against her ribs. It beat so loudly that it felt as if everyone still left in Monroe could hear the pounding.
“What are you doing?”
She whipped around, grabbing the first thing within reach to use as a weapon.
Hugh looked from her face to her hand with his usual expression of barely contained amusement—a look that aggravated Grace more every time she encountered him. Even the dog standing next to him looked entertained. “The mute button doesn’t work on me. Trust me. Others have tried.”
There was still so much residual fear flooding through her body that Grace had a hard time understanding what he meant. She followed his gaze to the improvised weapon in her hand and realized that she was pointing the television remote at him. As her panic started to abate, anger took its place, along with a healthy dose of embarrassment.
“What are you doing here?” she demanded, allowing her arm to drop back to her side.
“I could ask you the same thing,” he said.
“What?” It was almost a screech. Grace blamed residual nerves…and the fact that Hugh was truly aggravating. “I live here!”
“Jules said you were job hunting today.” She opened her mouth, but he spoke again before she could ask how that justified him breaking into her house. “Why didn’t you open the door when I knocked?”
Her eyes narrowed. “You came in because you thought I wasn’t here? What were you going to do? Go through my stuff?”
The guilty look that flashed over his face disappeared quickly, but she still caught it. “You were!” Another thought occurred to her, and she almost growled. “How did you get in?”
His expression of pure innocence just made her suspicions double. “What do you mean? The door was unlocked.”
“No, it wasn’t. I definitely remember locking—”
“Hey!” he interrupted, his attention on the TV screen. “Is this the Tattered Hearts where Tatiana realizes that Natasha and Jorge are scheming against her?”
“What? I don’t know. I’ve never watched this show.”
“You’ve never seen Tattered Hearts?” He grabbed her hand and pulled her to the couch. Bemused by the sudden topic shift, she sat. “You are missing out. It’s the best show ever.”
Hugh plopped his oversized self on the couch right next to Grace, jostling her. He was so big, a wall of heat and muscle and sexiness—whoa. She shut down that thought abruptly. His dog stretched out in front of them, her furry head resting on Grace’s foot, which was comforting and kind of nice. She scowled and briefly considered telling Hugh to leave—although the dog could stay—but Grace was curious why he was so obsessed with this soap. Besides, as annoying as Hugh could be, arguing with him kept her mind off Martin Jovanovic. She honestly didn’t want to be in this big, creaky house alone anymore, especially after having the snot scared out of her, so she settled in to watch.
“Wait,” she said after a few minutes. “So the guy with the waxed chest—”
“Jorge.”
“So Jorge is cheating on the woman with the scary eyebrows—”
“Tatiana.”
“Jorge is cheating on Tatiana with the lizard-faced woman?”
“Natasha.”
“Why?” Keeping her gaze locked on the television, Grace made a face. “Tatiana is so much hotter, and Natasha is all about the drama. That gets so tiring.”
“I know.” Hugh sighed. “Jorge’s an idiot.”
“Yeah. He is.” Although she wanted to talk more about Jorge’s poor life choices, Grace went quiet so she could watch the show. As the soap continued, she found herself leaning forward, fascinated despite herself.
“Oh. My. God.” Grace clapped a hand over her mouth in shocked glee as a commercial filled the small screen. “Did Tatiana actually tell Jorge about the secret baby?”
“I know, right? Natasha knew all along, too.” Hugh shook his head and tsked. “Just wait. Javier—”
“Stop! No spoilers!” Lunging toward him and laughing, Grace clapped a hand over his mouth. As soon as she made contact, she froze. His skin was warm—almost hot—and his cheeks as stubbly as his lips were smooth. Grace stared at him. What was she doing? This was Hugh, a cop who was so suspicious of her that he’d broken into her house to dig through her things. Why was she flirting with him?
Realizing that she was still touching him, Grace started to yank her arm back, but he caught her hand before she could pull it away. He gave it a gentle squeeze before releasing it.
“What—”
“The show’s on,” Hugh interrupted. “Hush, or you’ll miss it.”
Watching Tattered Hearts was more important than smacking him down for shushing her, so Grace settled against the sofa cushions and tried to ignore the annoying, muscle-bound cop sharing the couch with her. She couldn’t deny how nice it was to have him there, though. It made her feel a little less alone.
Grace felt herself relaxing for the first time in over a week. With a relieved sigh, she let herself enjoy the warmth of Hugh’s shoulder so close to hers and the comfort of his presence. She got caught up in the drama of Tatiana, Jorge, and Natasha, and forgot about anyone with the name Jovanovic for a little while.


 

About the author

Katie Ruggle
When she’s not writing, KATIE RUGGLE rides horses, shoots guns, and trains her three dogs. A police academy graduate, Katie readily admits she’s a forensics nerd. While she still misses her off-grid home in the Rocky Mountains, she now lives in a 150-year-old Minnesota farmhouse near her family.

To learn more about Katie, you can visit her on the following links:
Website:  Facebook:  Twitter:  Goodreads



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The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld – a Review

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld – a Review

 

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Description:
Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She would be eight years old now—if she has survived. Desperate to find their beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as The Child Finder, Naomi is their last hope.

Naomi’s methodical search takes her deep into the icy, mysterious forest in the Pacific Northwest, and into her own fragmented past. She understands children like Madison because once upon a time, she was a lost girl too.

As Naomi relentlessly pursues and slowly uncovers the truth behind Madison’s disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce the defenses that have protected her, reminding her of a terrible loss she feels but cannot remember. If she finds Madison, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?

 

 

Review:

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld is an exciting chilling thriller.  This is my first book by Denfeld and I was very impressed with her writing, and I will not hesitate to read any books by her.   Naomi Cottle, our heroine, is an investigator who specializes in finding missing children.  She has over time been able to find 30 missing children (either dead or alive), giving her the nickname of ‘the Child Finder’.  Naomi herself was kidnapped as a child, managing to escape and had no memory of who she was, and continues to have nightmares giving her little hints, but still no memory of her past.  Naomi ended up in a home of a woman who was fostering another child, Jerome, and brought them up to be upstanding young citizens.  Naomi devotes herself to finding the missing children, using her uncanny ability to know where to look for clues, and asking the right questions.  We meet Naomi when she takes on the cold case of 5 year old Madison Culver, who is still missing after three years.  The Culver family refuses to believe their daughter is dead, and begs Naomi to investigate, even if she feels the girl is probably dead.

The second POV is indeed Madison, and we follow her when she is found unconscious in the snow by a mountain man named Mr. B.  He will help bring her back to health, but at the same time keep her locked in the cellar of a cabin.  Madison doesn’t remember much, and soon will call herself Snow Girl, as she uses her imagination to create the world she is in and tries to learn how to live with this mountain man who cannot talk. Mr. B also has a sad past that makes him what he is today (using two extreme personalities (angry or nice) with Madison; she will be the one who brings some little bit of happiness to his life.  As much as this is a heartbreaking story, Denfeld handles this so well.

Though this is the main focus of the story, there is also a side story where Naomi also becomes involved in about a missing baby and the mother who is in jail. 

What follows is an amazing story as we watch Naomi interviewing not only the parents, the police, park ranger and all the townsfolk who live in the area where Madison disappeared.  Naomi in the beginning expects to find clues in the snowy mountains to the child’s death; then begins to look for those local people who may know more.  As she continues to take chances in dangerous situations, Naomi will also learn a little more of her past during her dreams.  The last ¼ of the book was so exciting and intense; I could not put the book down. 

Rene Denfeld has done a fantastic job writing this moving and heart wrenching story, and has created such a wonderful character in Naomi, who will do anything to either save those missing children or give the families closures that they so desperately need.  This is a standalone, but I can see this becoming a series.  The Child Finder is a must read.

Reviewed by Barb

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Her Dark Half by Paige Tyler – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Her Dark Half by Paige Tyler – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

 

Her Dark Half
X-Ops series – Book #7
by Paige Tyler
Release Date: September 5, 2017

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Her Dark Half spotlight graphic

 

Description:
Trevor Maxwell
Coyote shifter with an attitude
Covert operator
Trusts no one, especially his devastatingly beautiful new partner

Alina Bosch
Former CIA, newest operative on the covert team
Hired to spy on her partner
Motto: “Never be deceived again.”

Coyote shifter Trevor Maxwell is teamed up with CIA agent Alina Bosch to catch a killer. But when the mission becomes much more dangerous than they expected, they’re going to have to ignore the attraction between them and learn how to trust one another to come out on the other side…

 

Review:

Her Dark Half by Paige Tyler is the 7th book in her wonderful X-Ops series.  When we last left off in the last book, our heroes throughout this series were all on the run. The man they trusted who ran DCO (Department of Covert Operations) was killed, and the two major villains were out to arrest and kill them all. It was a huge game changer.

In Her Dark Half, Trevor Maxwell, our hero, was still working with DCO, but he was acting undercover helping his former teammates in hiding.   The goal was to find evidence to prove that Thomas Thorne, who was now in charge, was behind all hybrids being created to build his own army.  Trevor is forced to accept a new partner, who was new to DCO.

The story starts off a few years prior, where we meet our heroine, Alina Bosch, who is  a CIA agent leading a mission that goes bad.  Alina lost her whole team because her partner betrayed them and had set up a trap.  Alina has spent this few years wanting revenge, but has not been able to find her ex partner.  Alina leaves her job with the CIA and accepts a job with DCO, having been tempted by DCO that they will help her find her ex partner.  Alina is told by Dick (one of the two villains) that she needs to spy on her new partner…Trevor. She finds it hard to trust anyone, but she sees something about Trevor that makes her suspect that there is more than she has been told.  Trevor, at first also doesn’t trust Alina, but pretty quickly they are in the middle of some attacks, and Alina begins to realize that Dick is using her information to kill those that they have interviewed.

Trevor and Alina will also become very attracted to each other, and in a short time a romance will begin.  Alina will realize that Trevor is a good guy, and also learn about him being a shifter; they will join hands to fight off hybrid attacks. What follows is an intense, fast paced, exciting and dangerous attempt to reveal the truth about Thomas Thorne and those now in charge at DCO.  It was great and fun to see all our former heroes, such as Landon, Ivy, Tanner, Declan, Kendra, Danica, Adam, Braden, Dreya, just to name a few.  It will take the entire team to band together to fight these ultra powerful hybrids, who are impossible to kill. Of course, one of those powerful hybrids, is the man Alina has been trying to find all these years.

The last half of the book was very suspenseful, with a few twists, and a thrilling ride to the finish.  Paige Tyler, as always, gives us another terrific story, with another wonderful couple. I do not know what she has in store of us next, but the game has changed and I can’t wait to see how this will affect our team.  Her Dark Half should not be read out of order; this is not a standalone.  You need to start from the beginning, in order to enjoy all the wonderful characters and the continuing story line.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

excerpt

“What’s the plan here?” she asked Trevor quietly as the restaurant’s patrons eyed them curiously. “Because I don’t see anyone warming up to us enough to invite us into the back room.”
“We’re Trevor and Alina Hoffman, a filthy rich, newly married couple from Silicon Valley,” Trevor said, glancing around as if taking in the ambience. “We’ve been on an extended honeymoon for the past few months and are currently heading for a trans-Atlantic cruise out of New York City. We decided to do some gambling and got tired of dealing with all the crap at the local casino.”
“You think they’ll buy that?” she asked as he led her across the room toward the door with the guards.
“You sell the fact that we’re a newly married couple, and I’ll make them believe I’m a rich guy with a gambling addiction.”
She could do that. Then she realized one big flaw in their cover story. “If we’re a newly married couple, shouldn’t I be wearing a ring?”
Trevor gave her a sidelong glance. “What makes you think you aren’t?”
She looked down at her hand in confusion and almost fell off her stacked heels as she saw the monstrously large diamond he’d somehow slipped onto her ring finger when she wasn’t looking. Oh crud, it was huge! And as beautiful as any she’d ever seen.
“When did you put this on? More importantly, is this thing real?” she whispered.
Thank goodness she had his arm to keep her steady. She was feeling faint at the idea of wearing a diamond that was probably worth more than her entire apartment.
“I put it on you when we were married on the first of June in Monaco,” he whispered back. “And of course it’s real. I would never put something fake on the love of my life.”
“Trevor, I’m serious,” she said.
He made a face. “Okay. I slipped it on your finger when I was helping you out of the SUV. And yes, it’s real, so don’t lose it. I had to sign my life away to get it out of the DCO safes.”
She gulped. “How much is it worth?”
“Nothing compared to you, sweetheart,” he said in a romantic tone as they stopped in front of the two guards.
The bouncers working this door were a little bit more professional than the ones outside.
“Can I help you?” one of the men asked in a deep, rough voice that made Alina wonder if he chewed gravel for fun.
“Someone told me a man might be able to find a friendly game of poker somewhere near here,” Trevor said casually. “I don’t suppose you two might be able to point my wife and me in the right direction for a game like that?”
The two men regarded him suspiciously.
“I think you’re talking about the Horseshoe Casino,” Gravel said. “It’s nearby, very clean and friendly.” Trevor chuckled. “The Horseshoe is very friendly. But the place doesn’t have the quite the atmosphere we’re looking for. It’s a little too…what’s the word?… sanitized for our liking.”
Gravel studied Trevor for a moment, then glanced at the bar, giving someone there a nod. Ten seconds later, a slim man in an expensive suit appeared at their side.
“My name is Teddy,” he said in a cautious yet friendly tone. “What can I do for you?”
“I’m Trevor Hoffman. This is my wife, Alina. We’re getting ready to head out on a cruise in a few days and decided to do some gambling while we’re in town. Someone told us this place runs a clean game, so I thought I’d spend some money here.”
Teddy surveyed them with a practiced eye, taking in the cut of Trevor’s suit and her expensive gown, not to mention the big honking ring she wore. He must have liked what he saw, because he nodded.
“If I could get some identification and a credit card from you, Mr. Hoffman, I can quickly check your credentials and set you up with a line of credit.”
Alina tensed as Trevor handed over the requested ID and credit card. They could be in trouble. The fake ID and credit card by themselves would have taken quite a bit of time and money to pull off. Coming up with an Internet background to support that would take even longer.
“What are they going to find when they run your name and that credit card number?” she whispered as he slipped his arm around her and casually urged her away from the two men guarding the door.
“Relax.” He flashed her a grin. “They’ll find us with all the relevant financial and societal tidbits one would expect to see when looking at the rich and bored.”
She glanced at Teddy. He typed something into a computer just out of sight behind the bar. A moment later, he lifted his head and frowned in their direction.
“Something’s wrong,” she whispered.
Even the two guards were eyeing them funny now. She was starting to wish she had a weapon. If things went bad, they were in trouble.
“Alina,” Trevor said softly as he tightened his arm around her waist and tugged her closer. “Now’s the time for you to sell the newlywed thing.”
She opened her mouth to ask him exactly how he suggested she do that when he pulled her even closer.
She wished she could have said it was years of CIA training that took over and made her kiss him. But that wouldn’t have been true. Instead, it was a totally different kind of instinct. The kind that made a woman want to kiss a hot guy.


 

About The author

Paige Tyler

Paige Tyler is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. Paige writes books about hunky alpha males and the kick-butt heroines they fall in love with. She lives with her very own military hero (a.k.a. her husband) and their adorable dog on the beautiful Florida coast. Visit www.paigetylertheauthor.com.


Find Paige Online:

Website: http://www.paigetylertheauthor.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PaigeTylerAuthor/
Twitter: @PaigeTyler
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2300692.Paige_Tyler

 

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