Book Review: Retribution by Shana Figueroa

retribution

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

This is only the second book in this series and it is already one of my “must read” urban fantasy series! RETRIBUTION (Valentine Shepherd #2) by Shana Figueroa gave me complex characters, a plot that continues to surprise and kick-butt action. This second book, while still having smokin’ hot sex scenes, is more focused on the world-building and plot.

At the end of the first book, P.I. Valentine Shepherd walks away from her relationship with Max Carressa. Val can see the future, but it is usually only death and destruction outcomes that she sees. She has tried to change the future and has managed a very few times to accomplish it, but usually the worst outcome occurs. She has seen their future and rather than try to change it, she walks away.

Six months has passed. Val has a new case of a girl who has disappeared. As she follows leads on the girl, Val is abducted and remembers nothing that happened to her for 12 hours. When she tries to piece together what happened, she finds two uploads on the internet of the missing girl and herself, unconscious and being sexually abused. Now all Val wants is revenge and she needs Max’s connections and help.

Max has tried to move on and has become engaged and adopted a dog to try and get the normal life he has always craved, but he is hiding an Oxy addiction that he is using to bury his real feelings. When Val calls, he knows he will do anything to help her, no matter the cost.

The first third of the book, I was so involved with Val and Max’s pain and self-destruction. They were both hurting so desperately and wouldn’t admit it to each other. The main plot of the book, a mad scientist with psychic abilities who wants to experiment on Val and Max is resolved, but you still have the overarching series story of the cabal that wants Val and Max together to steal their future child.

The secondary characters are just as complex and you never know if they are helping or hurting Val and Max or strictly out for their own gain. The plot twists and weaves all of these characters into an intense story that moves at a fast pace throughout. I love this series and cannot wait for the next book!

Thanks very much to Forever (Grand Central Publishing) and Net Galley for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Beast Within (Mended Souls #2) by Jacquie Biggar

the beast within

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I have been looking forward to reading and reviewing this second book in the Mended Souls series. THE BEAST WITHIN by Jacquie Biggar did not disappoint! These books are a great blend of contemporary romance with added suspense and the paranormal element of guardian angels that have ties to the main characters.

Julie Crenshaw has made the move to Vancouver from Chicago with her two boys to help move on after the deadly accident a year ago that killed her husband and unborn daughter. It has been a difficult adjustment for them all, but at times she feels Mike is there to help her get through her toughest days, and he is watching over them.

One morning as she is out jogging, she stumbles across a severed foot inside of a sneaker. She reports her find and meets Detective Connor O’ Rourke, who is working similar cases attributed to The ABC Killer. Julie cannot get the detective off her mind and is surprised that she is finally attracted sexually to a man besides her deceased husband, but that cannot interfere with her job as a reporter for the local news to look into the murders.

Detective Connor O’Rourke is struck by the strength and not just the beauty of Julie to survive her past trauma. He is also worried about her safety since her find on the beach and her continued investigation into the killings. Julie takes his advice and sends her boys to visit their grandparents in Chicago. The sexual tension comes to a head and both Julie and Connor have to decide if they can have more than just a sexual relationship and build a future together. What neither of them realize is that they both know the killer and he already has plans for Julie.

Interwoven between the main romance plot, guardian angels Lucas and Mike are still both working to watch over those they loved before they died. They also are still working towards the forgiveness necessary to move on instead of the hate, blame and suffering after the accident that killed them both.

I loved this book as much as the first in this series. Ms. Biggar’s characters come to life emotionally in scenes that move you in every way. The second chance at love, the letting go of previous love lost, forgiveness and understanding. Both plotlines intertwine into a moving read that has me anxiously awaiting the next book!

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

Book Review: The Guardian (Mended Souls #1) by Jacquie Biggar

the guardian

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

(I previously posted this review on The Romance Reviews and Goodreads on May 19, 2016. I wanted to post it on my website, since I will be adding the review for the second book in the series The Beast Within soon.)

The Guardian is the first book in a new paranormal series that grabbed my attention from the first page! The characters come to life and the plot is intriguing and keeps you turning the page. Ms. Biggar’s paranormal romance, featuring guardian angels has become an instant must read for me.

Tracy York is a Cook County Medical examiner who is great at her job, but not so great with live relationships. She is assigned the case of a tragic auto accident that has killed a famous Hollywood bad boy, Lucas Carmichael, his best friend’s sister, and others. Alcohol is suspected, but Tracy is pressured to cover this up. At the same time, Scott Anderson, another Hollywood hunk, is left to live with the loss of his best friend and sister while recovering in the hospital. He blames himself for the accident and doesn’t believe it is Lucas’ fault. When Scott meets Tracy it is instant attraction. She is beautiful, smart and doesn’t fall for his fake persona. Tracy feels the same way, but doesn’t trust that Scott could be attracted to a regular person and insecurities abound. As the romance progresses, so do the threats against Tracy.

As you are engrossed with Tracy and Scott, Lucas’s story is being told and entwined throughout. Lucas finds himself in heaven and learns that he can atone for past mistakes by being a Guardian angel. He is paired with another and they must learn to work together, while helping those on Earth they love and know are in danger. This storyline is just as intriguing because there is a huge plot twist around who the other angel was on Earth. The book does end on a series arc cliffhanger involving these angels, but the author does wrap up the main suspense plot and romance in this book.

Romance, sex, suspense, greed, revenge, Guardian angels, guilt, forgiveness and atonement are all packed into this book. Ms. Biggar’s writing is fast paced, crisp and pulls you right into the characters’ lives. I can’t wait for the next Mended Souls book!

 

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: The Heirloom by Edita A. Petrick

the-heirloom

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I flew through this book! THE HEIRLOOM by Edita A. Petrick was a fast paced mash-up of CIA/FBI spy novel, supernatural novel with a witch’s heirloom locket that protects the rightful heir, corporate corruption by a cadre of CEO’s, and a psychologically damaged hitman who always succeeds. Scientific and supernatural coexist side by side throughout this fast paced thriller with romantic elements and irreverent humor.

CIA Agent Ted Bester “Beast” is called in to work with his counterpart in the FBI to solve a series of brutal killings that are all tied to a scientific conference on cold fusion that could radically change America’s energy dependence. The FBI has a source for him. Amelia is in an FBI safe-house because she was killed by the same hitman he is trying to find. (Yes, you read correctly – killed!)

Amelia now goes by ‘Randi” and is a doctor who was set to testify against corrupt pharmaceutical companies. Her heirloom amulet is passed down to first born daughters in her family from an ancestor witch from Salem who cursed all who harmed the owner. She survived her execution and is now able to sometimes slip into the hitman’s mind because he stole the amulet as a trophy.

The two work together with all the secondary characters you would expect in a usual spy thriller to find and eliminate the hitman and retrieve the cold fusion documents before they can be turned over to a foreign government.

Ms. Petrick has written a fast paced thrill ride that brings together many different genres into one. Even with all the characters and subplots, the writing is crisp and never confusing. This is a creative story with unexpected twists, especially in regards to the hitman.  The characters are well developed and believable. I cannot recommend this book enough and I can’t wait to read more from this author. If you want something different and well written, this is it!