Survive the Night by Katie Ruggle – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Survive the Night by Katie Ruggle – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

 

 

Survive the Night
Rocky Mountain K-0 Unit series – Book #3
by Katie Ruggle
Release Date: February 6, 2018

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Description:
He’s always been a haven:
For the lost. The sick. The injured.
But when a hunted woman takes shelter in his arms, this gentle giant swears he’ll do more than heal her battered spirit―he’ll defend her with his life.

K9 Officer Otto Gunnersen always had a soft spot for anyone in need. As Monroe’s very own Dr. Doolittle, he dedicates himself to rehabilitating the injured souls that cross his path―but for all his big heart, he’s never been in love.

Until he meets Sarah Clifton’s haunted eyes. Until he realizes he’ll do anything to save her.

All Sarah wants is to escape a life caught between ambitious crime families, but there’s no outrunning her past. Her power-mad brother would hunt her to the ends of the earth…but he’d never expect Sarah to fight back. With Otto and the whole of Monroe, Colorado by her side, Sarah’s finally ready to face whatever comes her way.

It’s time to take a stand.

 

Review:

Survive the Night by Katie Ruggle is the 3rd book in her Rocky Mountain K-9 Unit series. I enjoyed the first two books in this series, and I thought this one was even more exciting.  The theme of this series is a woman is helped to escape her terrible life, and sent to a small town in the Colorado Mountains, to live in hiding.

Sarah Clifton, our heroine, is on the run after a mind-blowing escape from her bad brother, who wants her to marry an evil mobster leader.  She ends up living under a fake name, with the two previous heroines. The story was very suspenseful from the start to finish, with a lot of action all the way through.  The last ¼ of the book had me holding my breath, as Sarah’s life was on the line twice and no one knew where she was.  Sarah was a fantastic heroine, who managed to fight her way out of terrible conditions to help her new friends, and animals, as well as herself for survival.

K9 Officer Otto Gunnersen, is a sweet gentle giant, who also takes care of animals.  He works with Theo and Huge on the K-9 Unit, and envies that they have found their mates; something he does not see happening to him.  Otto meet Sarah.  The moment he sets eyes on her, at the house that the other girls and their family live in, he is hooked.  He is very shy, and in a short time Sarah takes a liking to him.  Since Otto lives in a bunker style house, with safe rooms, and tunnels, Sarah agrees to move in with him.  The romance doesn’t take long to heat up, as both have not had relationships previously.  They were really so good together, and I loved the addition of the two dogs, cat, horse and goat.  There romance was so sweet, you couldn’t help rooting for them; and Otto was wonderful and protective with her.

As usual, Theo and Huge know that Sarah is running away, like their girls, but to get information on the man who helped them run away was not forthcoming.  However, Sarah will tell them about Aaron (brother) and Logan ( her forced fiancée), and how dangerous they are. The previous books were exciting, but I thought Survive the Night was pulse pounding action right from the start.  In a short time after Sarah arrives, Aaron will find her to try to bring her back.  She manages to escape and the guys arrest him. 

What follows is an intense, wild adventure that will put all of them in danger, as the villains will bring all their resources to the small town to prevent them from getting help.  This was so exciting that held me on the edge of my seat with so much action.  Sarah turned out to be a big lifesaver, especially with the animals. 

Survive the Night is another suspenseful, action packed  story, and I can’t wait for the next book in this series.  Katie Ruggle has written a great story, wonderful couple, and exciting action packed throughout.  I suggest you read this series and start with the first book, Run to Ground.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

 

A car turned onto the street, and her heart sank even further when she saw the light bar on top of the vehicle. Logan was a police officer. Had Aaron sent him after her? During that horrible dinner, Judd had mentioned that Logan had contacts. Did they include anyone at the Monroe Police Department?
As her brain raced, she’d frozen for a few seconds, long enough for the squad car to pull up to the curb in front of the carport. It was too late to run and pointless to hide. As close as the squad car was, the cop had to have seen her on the carport. A strong gust of wind pushed her off-balance, and Sarah sat abruptly. There might be no escaping him, but at least she wouldn’t be blown off the roof.
As the police officer swung open the driver’s door and got out, unfolding his large frame, Sarah felt her throat tightening. It was the tall, burly cop she’d met after she’d just arrived, the one who was so terrifyingly handsome that it was a struggle to look at him—like a cross between a Viking and a lumberjack. The one who’d watched her steadily and silently with light-blue eyes until he’d quietly left her room. The way he’d looked at her made her illogically worried that he could read all of her secrets and was just waiting for her to confess.
Once Grace had introduced him as a cop, Sarah had sealed her lips together, afraid that something incriminating would tumble out of her mouth. It didn’t matter that she’d done nothing wrong, that she was an adult and legally couldn’t be forced to stay with her brother—much less marry creepy Logan. There was something about him that still made her…not nervous, but jittery. No, she thought, jittery isn’t right, either. He made her feel too aware of him.
He immediately looked up at her, confirming her suspicion that he’d known she was on the roof even before he pulled up. As he walked closer, he held her gaze, silently as he had before. Rather than ordering her off the roof or yelling at her to get down, as she’d expected, he circled around to the side of the carport. Instead of climbing on the car, as she had, he reached up and grasped the edge of the roof and hauled himself up with an ease that Sarah envied. Once he was up, he sat a few feet away from her.
She eyed his profile as he looked out over the street. What was he doing? If he was going to arrest her, to take her into custody and hand her over to Logan, she wished he’d just get it over with. Sitting next to him, waiting for him to do something, was making her muscles painfully tight.
When he hadn’t said anything for several minutes, Sarah knew she had to break the silence. If one of them didn’t talk, her head was going to pop like an overinflated tire.
“Sorry.” The word came out too softly, and it squeaked in the middle. “There were elk.”
He turned his head to look at her.
“They were fighting?” Clearing her throat, she tried to make her words sound more definite. It was hard, though. His continued silence was freaking her out. “I was afraid of getting caught in the middle, so I climbed up here. Did someone call you?”
His chin dipped down in a nod. Even though he hadn’t actually said anything out loud, the gesture was a huge relief.
“I was going to get down, but I was worried they’d come back. Then I heard your car engine, and…well, you arrived.”
It was a weak finish, she knew, but there was no way to explain her terror at hearing a car, not without telling him too much about her former life. After all, she still didn’t know if he was one of Logan’s contacts. Even if he wasn’t, if a fellow cop arrived and said something awful—like that she wasn’t mentally sound or that she’d committed a crime—Otto would believe the police officer over some woman he’d just met. Sarah had been sheltered, but she’d read books and watched TV. She knew that cops were loyal to each other.
“Is it strange?” Now that she’d started talking, she didn’t want to return to that unnerving silence, the one that made her think he was reading her thoughts with some magical, gorgeous-cop superpower. He cocked his head slightly, as if in question. “Strange that the elk are in town, fighting in the middle of the street? I’m new to the mountains, but it seems weird to me. I mean, squirrels can hang out in town, or rabbits, but elk right here next to all these houses? That seems wrong.”
His lips twitched in something that might have been a start of a smile. There was another pause, long enough for Sarah to think he wasn’t going to answer. Was this some strange interrogation technique? He refused to talk until she spilled all of her secrets? If so, it was surprisingly effective. His silence made her want to open her mouth and let everything inside her head spill out. Quickly, she sealed her lips together. Sharing her thoughts with this cop would be dangerous—very, very dangerous.
He cleared his throat and she jumped. “It’s not strange. Not here, at least.” His voice was a bass rumble, not loud but big and full. It fit him.
“Oh.” Relief flowed through her when he finally spoke. For some reason, hearing his voice made her warm and brought that same not-quite-jittery feeling she’d experienced before. Not able to hold his gaze, she glanced down at his car. “I probably should’ve just stayed where I was, then. If it’s normal and all. Those antlers crashing together was just very…loud.”
There was another pause, although it wasn’t quite so long this time. “You were smart to move out of the way.”
“Good. I mean, thank you.” Silence settled over them again. “Why are you here, then?”
“We got a call that you were up here.” He met her gaze, and she couldn’t manage to look away. “I, ah, wanted to make sure you were okay.”
It wasn’t what she’d expected, and it wasn’t what she was used to. No one ever worried that she was okay. His concern sparked a warm glow in her belly. She smiled, and his gaze dropped to her mouth. “Thank you. I’m okay.”
His eyes snapped back to hers. “Good.” There was a short silence. “Do you need help down?”
“Yes, please.” She glanced at the ground below. Now that the scare was over, she wouldn’t feel right climbing onto the car, and it was a long drop for her five-foot-nothing self. “Just a hand down, though. Don’t call the fire department or anything. That could be embarrassing.”
His mouth quirked again. “I won’t.”
Moving over to the edge of the roof, he swung his legs off the side and lowered himself down. Once again, he made it look so effortless that Sarah felt a little silly for asking for help. She followed, turning onto her belly and letting her legs slide over the edge. His hands steadied her, sliding from her calves to her thighs and then gripping her waist. It was a strange sensation, his firm grip both comforting and slightly dizzying, and it made her pause.
“I’ve got you,” he said in his low, steady way, his fingers wrapped almost all the way around her middle.
It was crazy to trust this stranger—this cop—but Sarah couldn’t help herself. Just from their short conversation, her gut told her that he was nothing like Aaron or Logan or any of the petty, vicious people who had populated her previous life. Maybe he was conning her, but Sarah suspected he was honestly good.
Closing her eyes, she let go of the roof. Just as he’d promised, Otto carefully lowered her down. Even after her feet were securely on the ground and he’d released her, Sarah could still feel the warm impression of his hands pressing into her skin.
“Would you like a ride home?” he asked, and she realized that she’d been staring at him.
Ripping her gaze from his face, she glanced around. “I think I’ll finish my walk. It looks like the road is elk-free. They probably went to the diner for breakfast.”
That almost-smile came and went quickly, but it still gave Sarah a charge that she’d caused it. As she started to walk back toward Jules’s driveway, she expected to hear the squad car engine roar to life, but the morning stayed quiet. The wind had dropped to a gentle breeze, and the rising sun warmed her. When she reached the turnoff for her driveway, she couldn’t resist—she glanced behind her.
Otto was still parked by the carport. She wondered if he was watching to make sure that she made it home safely. The thought gave her a warm thrill, but she quickly quashed it. Monroe was just a temporary stop on her road to freedom. She needed to focus on building her new life, not on a Viking-lumberjack cop with steady blue eyes and huge, warm hands.
At the memory of his firm grip, another frisson of excitement whirled through her. This time, she let it stay. She’d enjoy it for a few moments, she promised herself, but then she would do her best to avoid Officer Otto Gunnersen. With a final glance at the surprisingly intriguing man behind her, she strode up the rutted dirt driveway, smiling.

 

 

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Edge of Darkness by Karen Rose – Review, Interview & Giveaway

Edge of Darkness by Karen Rose – Review, Interview & Giveaway

 

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Description:
Homicide detective Adam Kimble is no stranger to battling demons. But Meredith Fallon is a different kind of weakness: one that could actually be good for him, if only he would let himself depend on her. Meredith has loved Adam for a year, and seeing how hard he’s worked to deal with his PTSD makes her feelings only stronger, but she respects his needs. Her work keeps her busy anyway: she counsels sexually abused women like Mallory Martin to help them reintegrate into the world.

But someone doesn’t want Meredith helping women like Mallory, and Meredith finds herself in the crosshairs of a very determined killer. Adam would risk anything for her, but they’ll soon find out she isn’t the only target…

 

Review:

Edge of Darkness by Karen Rose is the 4th book in her Cincinnati series.  I have read a few books by Rose, but not in this series.  The last book I had read I noted that it was one of the best thrillers of the year, and now in 2018 I can say the same. Wow, what awesome thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.  Karen Rose has now become a must read for me.  I have not read the previous books in the Cincinnati series, but there were so many marvelous characters that make me want to find time to read the previous 3 books.

We meet our heroine, Meredith Fallon, in the beginning as she is a child psychologist, who helps out at a special home for abused children.  Meredith has many friends that  either work at the children’s home or her police that she is very close to; as they are very protective of her, especially since she is still emotionally upset over not seeing or hearing from her ex-boyfriend, Adam. 

Adam Kimble is a top notch detective, who loves Meredith, but has intentionally stayed away from her for almost a year.  Meredith’s friends are also Adam’s, but most of them have been unhappy that he has ignored Meredith, as well as avoiding some them…but no one knows why.  Adam suffers from PTSD from watching a horrible murder, where he could not save the young girl.  Having a verbally abusive father caused Adam to secretly drink early in his younger days, and after the murder, he got worse to help him get through each day.  Unbeknownst to his friends and coworkers, is that he has been sober for almost a year, and though still emotionally damaged, he plans to try to win her back once he meets his one year goal.

Before that happens, Meredith brings one of the sexually abused young girls to a restaurant to help her become more confident in releasing her fears.  They are accosted by a young man, who threatens them, and when they fall to the floor, the young man blows up. This is just the beginning of an intense & complex murder mystery that will result in more murders, pulling in all the detectives, including Adam to find out why someone is targeting Meredith. Adam forces himself to maintain control of his emotions, as he is assigned to be main detective to investigate this case, which also brings him back into Meredith’s life. 

What follows is an amazing story that held me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.  There were so many twists and turns throughout the book, almost to the very end.  As Adam, and his team try to protect Meredith, and others who are slowly getting killed off, the intensity of the story never lessens, especially when we get closer to discovering some secrets and surprises that will escalate the investigation that puts both Adam, Meredith, a couple of the abused girls, and their detective friends, in constant danger.  Rose has created an evil villain, who is as ruthless as they come, killing anyone who gets in the way, regardless of who they are.  This is a major twist that we never saw coming until we got closer to the end. 

In between the many tense moments, we got to see Adam and Meredith learn more about each other, their past lives; their situations; their dangerous jobs; and their love for each other. What I absolutely loved about this book, was the amazing group of friends, who are mostly cops or therapists that are closely bonded to each other, with some of them having been through tough and violent cases, similar to this one.  They are all strong and smart individuals and loyal friends, who are a close knit family.  Rose has done this so well, and when you like the characters that you become invested in, it makes the story that much better.    As I said before, I now have to go back into the three earlier books to learn about them all.   

I am in awe of Karen Rose, as her books are so well written with fantastic characters, evil villains, a great couple, and a totally intense mystery that keeps you in suspense to the very end.  If you love suspense, with a touch of romance and a thriller all the way, you should be reading anything by Karen Rose. I know I will.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

Hi Karen. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions today.We are always looking forward to reading about the author behind the book.

TRC: Would you please tell us something about yourself? 

Karen:  I was born and raised in the Baltimore-Washington area.  I met my husband when we were seniors in high school, over 35 years ago.  We’ve been married more than 30 years and have two adult daughters.  I’m a chemical engineer by education.  I worked for 15 years for a large consumer products company in Cincinnati and I have two patents in bulk fiber laxatives.  (Don’t ask.  Okay, ask if you want to, but don’t be grossed out by what I answer.) I’m a knitter and a reader and a Buffy fan 🙂

TRC:  LOL   I love Buffy, too.

TRC:  When and how did you first become interested in writing? 

Karen:  I began writing when I was an engineer traveling internationally, unable to pack enough books to last the length of my trips.  There were no ebooks back in the day and I couldn’t understand anything on the TV, so I began writing my own stories to keep myself company in all those hotel rooms away from home.  It was a hobby for nearly ten years before I sold my first book, DON’T TELL.  That was in 2001.

TRC:  Within your Romantic Suspense series, you have the Cincinnati series.  Can you give us a brief description of this series? 

Karen:  The Cincinnati series is built around the FBI/Cincinnati PD joint task force, their friends, families, as well as the families they build.  First up is the sometimes bigger-than-life Special Agent Deacon Novak, who’s transferred from Baltimore at the beginning of book one, CLOSER THAN YOU THINK.  Deacon and his heroine, psychologist Faith Corcoran, are drawn into the deadly web of a killer who has been operating out of the house Faith has just inherited for many years. 

Books two and three deal with human trafficking, labor and sex trafficking.  ALONE IN THE DARK and EVERY DARK CORNER feature Deacon’s two task force partners, Detective Scarlett Bishop (book two) and Agent Kate Coppola (book three).

Introduced in book one, Deacon’s cousin Detective Adam Kimble is having a rough time, his personality changing drastically.  No one in his circle knows why, except psychologist Meredith Fallon, in whom Adam has confided—at least part of his story.

TRC:  With Edge of Darkness released yesterday, can you please give us a brief description of this book?

Karen:  EDGE OF DARKNESS is Adam Kimble’s return to his family and to Meredith.  In the months since their first interaction he’s pulled away, avoiding her.  He’s plagued by demons, but knows that he can’t solely rely on her for his sanity or his sobriety.  Adam is an alcoholic, trying to get his life together before he feels he is good enough to invite Meredith to be part of it.  Meredith has been confused and hurt by his avoidance, but he is the first person she calls when a young man is shot and killed right in front of her—after he’d held a gun on her.  The race to catch the killer leads Adam to the dark places he’d hoped he’d escaped forever.

TRC:  You write exciting Romance Suspense Thrillers, which can be intense.  Have you ever found yourself affected by a scene?

Karen:  Many times! Often I’ll put off writing a scene because I feel awful about a character being murdered.  Sometimes I’ll group all my “villain scenes” into one day so that I can get all the intensity out at once.  I can become edgy and irritable while writing the villain scenes, so I like to do these in ways that keep me from snapping at my family :).

TRC:  Can you please tell us what you are working on now, and what you have upcoming in 2018?

Karen:  I’ve just started a new series – set in Sacramento, California!  More on this later, but I will tease a little by revealing that readers will meet mostly new characters with a few very old favorites.  Later in 2018, we’ll release DEATH IS NOT ENOUGH, Baltimore #6.  This is Gwyn and Thorne’s story – they were introduced in YOU BELONG TO ME, Baltimore #1. 
TRC:  What is your writing process?  Do you like to outline your story before you start? Do you have a specific place you like to write?  Is there a special time of day that works best for you?

Karen:  I usually binge write.  Once I get into the groove, I’ll write 18 hours a day until it’s done.  I have a place on the beach where I go to write.  It’s quiet and gorgeous and I love it there.  I’m more productive between 11pm and 6am, which is difficult because I try to sleep during the day when nobody else is sleeping.  Phones ring, dogs bark, trash trucks rumble, waking me up every time.  I wish I were a 9-5 writer!  When you are not writing, what other interests or hobbies do you have?

I read a lot! Not usually suspense, though.  I read a lot of contemporary romance.  I also travel, knit for other people because we don’t get much call for woolens in Florida, and play with my dogs.  Would you like to add anything else? Just a huge thank you for inviting me!

Thank you, Karen for answering our questions. We wish you the best of luck with Edge of Darkness.

 

 

 

Karen Rose’s publisher is graciously offering a paper copy of EDGE OF DARKNESS to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

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Dark in Death by J.D. Robb – a Review

Dark in Death by J.D. Robb – a Review

 

Dark in DeathAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
It was a stab in the dark.

On a chilly February night, during a screening of Psycho in midtown, someone sunk an ice pick into the back of Chanel Rylan’s neck, then disappeared quietly into the crowds of drunks and tourists in Times Square. To Chanel’s best friend, who had just slipped out of the theater for a moment to take a call, it felt as unreal as the ancient black-and-white movie up on the screen. But Chanel’s blood ran red, and her death was anything but fictional.

Then, as Eve Dallas puzzles over a homicide that seems carefully planned and yet oddly personal, she receives a tip from an unexpected source: an author of police thrillers who recognizes the crime—from the pages of her own book. Dallas doesn’t think it’s coincidence, since a recent strangulation of a sex worker resembles a scene from her writing as well. Cops look for patterns of behavior: similar weapons, similar MOs. But this killer seems to find inspiration in someone else’s imagination, and if the theory holds, this may be only the second of a long-running series.

The good news is that Eve and her billionaire husband Roarke have an excuse to curl up in front of the fireplace with their cat, Galahad, reading mystery stories for research. The bad news is that time is running out before the next victim plays an unwitting role in a murderer’s deranged private drama—and only Eve can put a stop to a creative impulse gone horribly, destructively wrong.

 

 

Review:

Dark in Death by J. D. Robb is the 46th book in her fantastic In Death series. I am one of the proud fans who can say that I have read every single book, including novellas in this series…..and I never ever want it to end.  I have said this so many times…I love Eve & Roarke; the best literary couple ever. Ok, now let’s move on to my review. 🙂

Dark in Death begins when Eve has just gotten home from a long day at work, when her phone rings to summon her to a murder scene.  Eve and Peabody will begin to investigate the gruesome death of an actress in a movie theater, which was showing the film Psycho.  The actress was stabbed in the back of her neck with an ice pick, and there were no witnesses, since everyone in the theater was engrossed in the wild violent shower scene of the movie.  

A well known author comes forth to mention that the murder scene resembles one of her books.  In a short time, Eve will realize that this is not the first murder, as a recent death also resembles another of the author’s books.  The race is now on to find the now serial killer before they kill again.

Eve and Roarke begin to read the author’s books to find clues to who & how will be next.  I thought this was a great theme, especially since Eve Dallas written by J.D. Robb is also a murder themed series.  It was kind of a different storyline for Robb (aka Nora Roberts), and yet very interesting.  

What follows is an intense and suspenseful case, with the team desperate to find the murderer.  As they get closer to discovering the identity, the culprit will be a step ahead of them to slip away.  Just when Eve warns people that they could be the next target, to her dismay, they did not listen and another murder happens.  Eve, Roarke, Peabody and the team are able to identify the murderer, but will they be able to stop the next murder in process?  I will not give spoilers, as saying too much more would ruin it for you.

Dark in Death was another wonderful intense, exciting murder mystery in the wonderful world of Eve and Roarke, and the great supporting cast that surrounds them.  It was nice in calmer moments to see Nadine again, as well as Mavis, Leonardo, Bella, not to mention the regulars we have come to love; Peabody, McNab, Feeney, etc.    I loved the scenes with Eve and Roarke cuddling on the sofa by the fireplace reading the books, and with Summerset on vacation, deciding to test out having sex in the other rooms.  Those were the light fun moments, as they are so great together in every way.  Sigh  I love them,  andeven Galahad their cat. lol

Dark in Death was so well written by Robb, and there were some hold your breath moments that kept us on the edge of our seats. If you have not read this series, you are missing one of the best thrillers, with a super couple, and awesome secondary characters.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

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Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley – Review & Giveaway

Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley – Review & Giveaway

 

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Death Below StairsAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
Highly sought-after young cook Kat Holloway takes a position in a Mayfair mansion and soon finds herself immersed in the odd household of Lord Rankin. Kat is unbothered by the family’s eccentricities as long as they stay away from her kitchen, but trouble finds its way below stairs when her young Irish assistant is murdered.

Intent on discovering who killed the helpless kitchen maid, Kat turns to the ever-capable Daniel McAdam, who is certainly much more than the charming delivery man he pretends to be. Along with the assistance of Lord Rankin’s unconventional sister-in-law and a mathematical genius, Kat and Daniel discover that the household murder was the barest tip of a plot rife with danger and treason—one that’s a threat to Queen Victoria herself.

 

Review:

Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley is the 1st book in her new The Below Stairs Mystery series.  Though Ashley writes in many different genres, this was the first time I was going to read a Victorian style mystery.  What I enjoyed the most about this mystery was that it spent a lot of time in a mansion, which had a wonderful feel of ‘Downton Abbey’, with the normal household staffing with housekeeper, cooks, house steward, maids, footman, valet, butlers, etc. 

Kat Holloway, our heroine, is a well known cook, who takes a job in household of the Rankin family, after her recent job ended when her employers moved.   She is a smart, confident, independent, a strong heroine, who immediately shows her strength to the household staff, even to the master of the house, Lord Rankin.   Kat, who is just around 30 years of age,  is also very loyal and protective of those she works with, and will stand up for them.  Before the next day begins, she discovers the dead body of her assistant, and a murder investigation will begin.

Daniel McAdam, our hero, is not a member of the household, but he is a friend (future love interest) of Kat, and when she decides to investigate, it will be Daniel who will step in to help her.  Daniel is sort of a mystery man; one who cares for Kat, and she slowly for him, but one who seems to have different disguises.  Who is Daniel McAdam?  He can look like a gentleman; a servant, a spy or is he with the police. Either way, he is one of the good guys, and very protective of Kat.  Daniel also has a young son, who was a nice added element.  Kat has her own secret, with a daughter, Grace that lives with a friend, since Kat cannot take care of her, having to work all the time to pay the bills. 

As they investigate the murder, Daniel with help from Kat, and two other very good secondary  characters begin to realize that this murder was a cover-up of a higher complex crime that could go as high as the safety of the Queen.   There were a number of situations where their lives were in danger.

The mystery was good, but the background, with all those secondary characters (especially Lady Cynthia and Daniel’s friend) made this a very good read.  I did like Kat and Daniel together and as a team.  I expect we will see more romance between them in future books.  If you enjoy Victorian stories, with a mystery theme, a Downton Abbey background, two very good leading characters and very well written by Jennifer Ashley, I suggest you start this series.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

Giveaway

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Promise Not To Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz – Review & Giveaway

Promise Not To Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz – Review & Giveaway

 

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Description:
A painter of fiery, nightmarish visions throws herself into the sea—but she leaves her secrets behind . . .

Seattle gallery owner Virginia Troy has spent years battling the demons that stem from her childhood time in a cult and the night a fire burned through the compound, killing her mother. And now one of her artists has taken her own life, but not before sending Virginia a last picture: a painting that makes Virginia doubt everything about the so-called suicide—and her own past.

Like Virginia, private investigator Cabot Sutter was one of the children in the cult who survived that fire… and only he can help her now. As they struggle to unravel the clues in the painting, it becomes clear that someone thinks Virginia knows more than she does and that she must be stopped. Thrown into an inferno of desire and deception, Virginia and Cabot draw ever closer to the mystery of their shared memories—and the shocking fate of the one man who still wields the power to destroy everything they hold dear.

 

Review:

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz is a mystery thriller that is actually part of a trilogy (Cutter, Sutton & Salinas).  Promise Not to Tell is a story that covers over 20 years, which started with fire that killed most of the members of cult, with only 8 children, who were locked in a barn, having been saved by a policeman.

The story begins with a woman who was member of the cult who survived the massacre, living on island.  She has nightmares, and paints her visions, which have become very real.  When she sees an evil person from the past, she knows she must take matters into her own hands.

Virginia Troy, our heroine, is a gallery owner and one of the children who survived all those years ago; her mother also died in the fire set by the cult leader, Quinton Zane.  When Virginia discovers her artist client supposedly committed suicide, decides she must investigate the truth about that woman’s death, especially after viewing all the dark paintings she saved.  She goes to an investigation firm co-owned by Anson Salinas, a former police officer and the man who rescued the children all those years ago.

Cabot Sutter, our hero, private investigator in the firm, with his brother Max, who are also survivors of the rescued children; with Anson having adopted them when he saved them.  Cabot will take the case, since the firm has continued to quietly investigate any information on the cult leader who disappeared all those years ago. Together they view the paintings, and after looking at the villain images on the paintings, they know she was trying to leave them a clue.  The mystery: Was Quinton Zane, the evil villain, still alive?

What follows is an intense, complex mystery that will put both Virginia and Cabot in dangerous situations, as they delve closer to the truth with so many secrets discovered, with twists and turns all along the way.  I could not put the book down, so not to miss anything.  As soon as you thought you knew what was happening, new clues arose, and new suspects came to the forefront.  As we raced to the climax, there were so many surprises that changed the game. 

Virginia and Cabot were great heroes, both strong and independent. It was nice to watch their slow build romance, and I really liked them together, as they made a great team.  Krentz  always creates excellent characters in her books, and once again she gives us a wonderful couple, great  secondary characters, and evil villains. If you enjoy mystery thrillers, suspense, surprising twists and turns, then you need to read Promise Not to Tell.   Even if you have not read the first book, you can read this book very well as a standalone.  Once again, Jayne Ann Krentz has given us a wonderfully written story that keeps us engrossed from start to finish.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

 

giveaway

Jayne Ann and her Publisher, Berkley are offering a hardcover copy of PROMISE NOT TO TELL to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Follow Jayne Ann Krentz on Facebook.

4. Please LIKE us on FACEBOOK and click GET NOTIFICATIONS

5. Please FOLLOW us on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Giveaway is open to USA only

8. Giveaway runs from January 2-6, 2018

 

 

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The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn – a Review

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn – a Review

 

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Description:
What did she see?

It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.

Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.

But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?

 

 

Review:

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn is a psychological thriller.  The story focuses on our heroine, Anna Fox, who lives alone in a 5 story house in a nice neighborhood.   Anna suffers from agoraphobia, and has not left her house in 10 months.  What is agoraphobia?  It is the fear of being outside, with panic attacks if they leave the house.

Anna spends her days drinking wine;  watching her neighbors through a camera;  goes to various internet chat sites to talk to other people with their own problems (she is a psychologist, though she can’t help herself); watches old movies, and talks to her husband and daughter on the phone daily.

One day, one of those neighbors, saw Anna through the window and came to visit her.  The neighbor, Jane Russell, just moved in, and Anna was able to enjoy the conversation.  A second visit also introduced her to the woman’s son, Ethan.  A few days later, Anna heard a scream, and when she looked through her camera, she sees Jane pressing her hand to her bloodied chest and falling.   Anna calls the police, and even tries to leave the house to help Jane.  The detectives come to interview her, as there is no body, and the family, including the wife, are all there healthy.  They question her sanity, especially since she drinks a lot,mixing it with her pills.   What did Anna see? Was it real or was she having hallucinations?

I do not want to give any spoilers, as in any psychological thrillers, and The Woman in the Window is no different, there are many surprising twists and turns.  What follows is an intense and exciting storyline that follows Anna, as she continues to try to find the truth, even if she thinks maybe they are right and she is seeing things.   I will say that the story in the first half of the book was a bit slow, as we got to meet the main characters, as well as learn more about Anna.  The second half of the book was very good, that I was unable to put the book down,  especially with a couple of shocking revelations that I did not see coming and threw me for a loop. Though she was severely mentally challenged with her phobia, I wasn’t totally crazy about Anna early on, even if she seemed very normal chatting and helping others on the internet; but later on I did like her better, especially after learning more secrets. 

The Woman in the Window was a tense dark thriller that other than the slow start, it was very well written by A.J. Finn.  I do recommend you to read this book, especially if you enjoy psychological thrillers.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

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Brazilian Surrender by Carmen Falcone – a Review

Brazilian Surrender by Carmen Falcone – a Review

 

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Description:
Psychology student Camila Duarte is finally on her own, living in NYC and away from her overprotective brothers. Her serenity quakes when she receives terrorizing letters. When the threats ramp up, she hires the best problem solver in the business to protect her and look for the criminal.

After losing his wife and kid, Jaeger Bauer left the NYPD and has one simple rule: don’t get attached. A job is just a job. Working close to Camila, however, puts his remarkable self-control to the test. He wants to pursue her, even though they are complete opposites and want different things. As the stakes get higher, Jaeger needs to choose between protecting his client…or surrendering to desire and jeopardizing the entire mission.

 

Review:

Brazilian Surrender is the final novel in the Brazilians Series by Carmen Falcone.  

Camila Duarte finally got her wish.  Living on her own, away from her overbearing brothers. She has moved to New York with one intention – succeeding on her own volition! 

Living in New York she is finally doing her internship in Psychology at a hospital she loves. She has an amazing job, a great apartment that she shares with her roommate Zoe and her family is thousands of miles away in Brazil. For once she is doing things on her own, on her terms. That is until she starts receiving anonymous letters from a stranger telling her to leave town. At first she doesn’t think much of it but as they become more frequent and more volatile, she realizes she needs to tell someone. She knows she can’t turn to her brothers – they will either make her come home or show up in New York, neither of which is what Camila wants. She knows she can’t go to the police, because of how famous her family is in Brazil, which will only bring them bad press they don’t need.  Who better to tell than her beautician Gesa.  Gesa tells Camila to contact her nephew, ex NYPD officer turned security firm owner Jaeger Bauer. 

Jaeger Bauer has one rule since losing his wife and son and leaving the NYPD – do not get emotionally involved with anyone. When he agrees to meet with a friend of his Aunt’s he has no idea what he is getting himself into; nor if he will even take the job. From the moment he met Camila every being in his body told him not to take on her case.  But the attraction is too much and he gives in and goes against everything his brain is telling him and takes the case. Realizing that he wants nothing more than to protect Camila he slowly begins to let down his guard and allows Camila into his heart!

Jaeger knows from the moment he meets Camila that taking her case on will be risky. His body immediately responded to her presence.  Something he hasn’t allowed with any woman since his wife and child were killed. But Camila completely mesmerizes him. Her beauty, grace and vulnerability are nothing compared to how strong, independent and determined she is to make it on her own, outside of her famous family. But can he protect her and protect his heart at the same time? Can he allow himself to love and care for another again? 

What an amazingly hot, intriguing and suspenseful spicy romance.  The forbidden love that Jaeger feels he no longer deserves is like a thickness in the air that encompasses you. You feel his sadness and grief and fear of allowing himself to care for someone again. Completely overwhelming and deliciously spicy all at the same time. All the books in this series are standalones, but crafted and written so well that you do not need to read the other books to understand the dynamic and what is going on.  But also so hot and sexy that you want and need to read the other books just to complete the entire story, because Brazilian Surrender leaves you wanting more. 

Reviewed by Erin

Copy provided by Publisher

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Power Struggle by Carolyn Arnold – a Review

Power Struggle by Carolyn Arnold – a Review

 

Power StruggleAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
One hit man who’s back for revenge.
One detective who’s not going down without a fight.

It’s been ten months since Detective Madison Knight almost died at the hands of Russian Mafia hit man Constantine Romanov. She hasn’t seen hide nor hair of him since he escaped police custody and fled to Russia soon after his arrest, except now her latest murder investigation gives her reason to believe he’s back in town. Seeing as the victim is the man who killed her grandfather, her perspective may be a little skewed, but with the MO smacking of Constantine and the victim’s connections to the mob, she finds it hard to be objective. Still, she’s doing her best to consider all the evidence.

When she receives a threatening letter from Constantine, however, her suspicions are confirmed. And he’s made it abundantly clear that not only does he plan to finish what he started but he has her family and loved ones in the crosshairs, too. Madison vows to do whatever it takes to save them, but as the hours race by, the body count rises. And the stakes only get higher when Madison’s sister, Chelsea, goes missing.

Now, Madison’s only play is to take Chelsea’s disappearance for what it really means: Constantine is calling Madison out for one final showdown. And they won’t both survive…

 

Review:

Power Struggle by Carolyn Arnold is the 8th book in her terrific Detective Madison Knight series.  I have been a fan of this series since the beginning, and Carolyn Arnold never fails to give us an intense exciting story, not to mention her expertise in police procedurals.  Power Struggle, is the best one yet, in this series, as it is an edge of your seat suspense thriller.  

Madison Knight, our series heroine, is a tough detective, who also has a vulnerable side when it comes to family and relationships.  When Madison arrives on a murder scene with her partner, Terry, she senses déjà vu, as the Russian hitman, who almost killed her seems to be back. Madison is still getting nightmares about Constantine, and her fears escalate; especially after she receives a note threatening to finish the job and hurt those she loves.   This changes the game for Madison, as she must maintain her composure, keep her fears secret from workers and family, and find Constantine before he can do anything.  

Madison works with her friends and team (Terry, Cynthia, Troy, etc), to work together to find the clues about the murder, which will have many twists and turns along the way.  Why is Constantine back and are the Russian mob involved? Who is behind these murders?

What follows is an exciting, tense, pulse pounding action thriller, which has Madison running against time to protect her family, as well as her life.  She must also fight her superior’s determination to take her off the case, in order to protect her.  Madison, as tough as she is, becomes emotionally a wreck, desperately trying to keep her objectivity and calm. She will let no one stop her from being involved in a wild dangerous race to save her family.

I noted in my last review that I loved the changes Arnold made in the last book, and I must say I loved it even more in Power Struggle.  Madison still has a vulnerability and lack of confidence in totally bonding with Troy, which will change closer to the end.  But what I did love was giving us a glimpse at seeing her with her friends/coworkers and the closeness between them.  Cynthia, her friend and the medical examiner was great.  Even Terry, whom I have said previously that I did not like, has changed a lot, that I actually like him now.  We got to see all of Madison’s family, which was nice.

Power Struggle was a great story, which not only was exciting and tense, it also pulled a lot of our emotions throughout the book.  I loved Power Struggle, which I could not put down until the very end.  It was a thrilling edge of your seat  ride.  I you enjoy murder mysteries, written so well by Carolyn Arnold, you should be reading the Detective Madison Knight series.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy supplied for review

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