Book Review: Swerve by Vicki Pettersson

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

SWERVE by Vicki Pettersson is one of the best thrillers I have read all year! Extremely fast paced plotting and action even with flashbacks into Kristine’s childhood. No one in this story is to be taken at face value. There is always a twist that pulls you in to continue reading, make you cringe, or make your heart rate rise. This book does have graphic violence and is not for the faint of heart.

Kristine Rush is a surgical tech traveling from Las Vegas with her surgeon fiancé, Daniel, to visit his mother and friends in California for an engagement party on the 4th of July. Daniel swerves on the interstate and Kristine spills coffee everywhere, so they pull into a deserted rest stop to clean up. Kristine is attacked and knocked out in the ladies room. When she returns to Daniel’s car, he is missing, but his cell phone has been left in plain view on the driver’s seat. Then comes the call from a mechanically disguised voice that if she wants to see her fiancé alive again she must follow all of the following instructions.

The plot takes off from there and never slows down. This book was hard to put down, but I had to at times to get my anxiety level back to normal. The scenes of graphic violence are not gratuitous in this story, but they are explicit. Make sure your doors are locked and to clear a block of time because you are going to have a hard time putting this one down!

Book Review: Essential Magic by Cara McKinnon

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

ESSENTIAL MAGIC (The Fay of Skye Book 1) by Cara McKinnon is an alternate history romance set in a 19th century Victorian England that believes in and practices magic. An American witch is searching for her extended family for training and an English second son is afraid to use his magic since a terrible accident. This series is set around a dynasty of powerful English/Scottish magic wielders and the search for the reason that England is losing its magic.

Etta Mae Cook was raised in Appalachia by a Fay mother and a Choctaw medicine-man father. After her mother’s death, she follows her last instructions to return to her distant clan relations in England to train her exceptionally strong powers. It is quite a cultural change from running through the mountains to being in the home of a Marquiness, but Etta is willing to put up with just about anything for the chance to train. What she wasn’t expecting was an instant attraction to Mal, the second son of the Marquiness.

Malcolm Seward just wants to run his Scottish lands and forget about magic, but his family has other plans for him. When he meets Etta, there is an awakening of his power that he will fight at all costs and it could be at the cost of losing Etta. When the clan comes together for the birth of his sister’s twins, many magically secrets become clear and Mal and Etta will need to work their magic together to triumph.

The author has set a vivid backdrop to this series and the research seems very thorough. The characters are all interesting because they have differing levels of magic and come from different levels of society. The romance was spread at a natural progression throughout the story with some very hot sex scenes. This book does give you a HEA for Mal and Etta, but carries over the overall arc of the search for the reason of the magical drain in England. An entertaining start to a new series.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: Riding the Tide by M.A. Church

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

RIDING THE TIDE (The Deep Blue Sea #2) by M.A. Church is an entertaining paranormal romance read. It is a short, fast read that at times had me laughing out loud. The world-building is an interesting twist on mermaids and mermen. This book in the series features two mermen and does contain scenes of M/M sex.

Marcus Krill is a warrior creature of the sea and wants nothing to do with a mate. Humans are a diversion and only good for hook-ups, until one day as he watches a man fall overboard in the waters he patrols, the most intriguing and beautiful smell ever flows to him. Against all the rules, he saves the human even though it reveals his true nature which is kept hidden from humans.

Brian Estes is alone in the world after the death of his grandmother and has the money to travel and explore the world. He is rich, but lonely. He never knows if the men he is attracted to are attracted to him or his money. When he lands in the sea and is rescued by a merman, he cannot believe what is right before him. Excitement and interest turns to fear and flight when he finds out he is a ‘mate’, but he can’t stay away.

The main characters have completely opposite expectations and yet they learn that their love is more important and compromise is the key for their HEA. Both have sarcastic senses of humor and are very entertaining. An enjoyable paranormal romance read.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

 

Book Review: Silver Bells: A Holiday Romance by Jacquie Biggar

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

SILVER BELLS: A Holiday Romance by Jacquie Biggar is a holiday novella that was sweet and easily read in one sitting curled up on the couch while the weather outside is frightful.

Joel Campbell, award winning mystery writer, has moved from Scotland to Vancover Island. He wants to be closer to his grandmother and hopes the change will get him over his writers’ block. Hating his fame, he has walled off his heart, become gruff and hates anyone interrupting him and yet, he is lonely.

Christy Taylor is an artist who has started her own shop attached to her rented home. Her life cannot be more hectic. She is attempting to grow her clientele, while caring for her small daughter, Jill, who has been diagnosed with Type 1, Juvenile diabetes. Christy is a great mother, but her divorce and her ex’s attitude toward their daughter has made her distrustful of any help from any man.

These two need to open up their hearts and learn to trust again before it is too late.

This novella is an enjoyable and quick read. I loved the characters in this short read, but being short, I felt some of the character development was lost. Jill was adorable and her disease was handled extremely well. I also feel this novella was not really a Christmas or holiday story, just a winter setting.  That said, still a good heartfelt novella for a cold winter day.

Book Review: Flawless Mistake by Rachel Woods

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars (Reading as a Prequel)

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars (Reading as a Standalone Novella)

FLAWLESS MISTAKE (The Spencer & Sione Series, #0) by Rachel Woods is the prequel to her series and establishes the characters and the “mistake” that brings them all together.

Spencer Edwards is out of work and money. She allows her half-sister to talk her into her ‘Dating Protocol’ scheme even though she knows it is criminally wrong. When she is sitting in the park one afternoon debating this turn in her life, a handsome and charismatic stranger, Ben Chang, sits next to her and she begins to want more. Spencer doesn’t believe in love or marriage, so in her fear of her growing relationship with Ben, she makes the “mistake”.

Ben Chang is not the man he portrays himself to be to Spencer. To cross him is to owe him. Spencer now owes Ben and even as she is horrified by him, she still finds herself drawn to him.

Sione Tuiali’i has a violent past that he wants to forget as his uncle has trusted in him and left him his resort in Belize to run. Once friend, now enemy, Ben Chang is trying to destroy Sione and Sione has to figure out why.

Spencer and Sione are on a collision course set up by Ben.

This prequel is a more of a set up for the novel to come than a standalone novella. It is great for me as I continue on to Flawless Danger, because I always want more information on characters and their motivations. I would recommend this prequel to those reading more in this series, but it does not give a satisfactory conclusion on its own.