Book Review: Flawless Danger by Rachel Woods

RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars

FLAWLESS DANGER (The Spencer & Sione Series, #1) by Rachel Woods is a thriller/mystery with romantic elements that I have very mixed feelings about. The writing is well done with very short change of point of view chapters to keep the story moving. The characters are my personal problem. Just as in Gone Girl, if I don’t like the characters, I don’t enjoy the book. No matter how many times you tell me Spencer had a terrible childhood, and it was too many times, I couldn’t warm up to her.

The thriller/mystery has Spencer being blackmailed by Ben Chang to get close to Belize resort owner, Sione, and steal back an envelope he claims belongs to him. She is also sent on side delivery jobs for him to three women with a bag containing a fake passport and money. All these women end up murdered. This lands Spencer in the middle of a power struggle between Ben and Richard, who is Sione’s father. Although Sione is trying to change his life, all of these men are dangerous and deadly criminals. And Spencer is no saint, either. It is sort of like a criminal soap opera.

The plot was what kept me reading, but it does drag at times. I would not call it a romantic suspense, as some have, because the love is all based on omission and lies so that was a problem for me. If you are into these types of characters, you will enjoy this book and there are more to follow because this does end on a cliffhanger of sorts.

Feature Blog: DCI Erika Foster Series, #1 and #2 by Robert Bryndza

     

I am currently reading Dark Water, which is book #3 in this series, so I just wanted a short preview of the first two amazing books in this series to appear on my site. Both books received a 5 Star rating from me and many other reviewers. Robert Bryndza has written a series with a multi-dimensional strong female lead character, interesting secondary characters and fast paced, unique murder plots.

Book #1 – The Girl In the Ice

This book was extremely hard to put down. It was fast paced, intriguing, gripping and just a great all around read. This is the start to a new series that I strongly recommend.

DCI Ericka Foster  is back on the job after terrible personal tragedy to investigate the death of the socialite daughter of a rich, political family. Politics and class hamper their investigation at every turn because the dead girl is somehow tied to the murder of three prostitutes murdered in a similar fashion. The killer knows Erika and her team are close to uncovering the truth which means Erika needs to be eliminated from the case, permanently.

DCI Erika Foster is a strong female protagonist. The cast of supporting characters in her investigative unit are all interesting in their own right and I can’t wait to learn more about them in future books. The plot was fast paced and besides the investigation into the murders you get a glimpse of how the rich and powerful can interfere with justice. Excellent start to a new series!

Book #2 – The Night Stalker

I am in love with DCI Erika Foster and all the wonderful, flawed characters and suspenseful, exciting plots. This book had me reading past my bedtime and checking all my doors and windows.

The very first chapter raised my blood pressure. Don’t we all worry about the shadows in our room or under our beds? The Night Stalker has a list and is ready to eliminate each in turn. As Erika and her team try to figure out a motive and find their suspect, The Night Stalker contacts Erika personally. Is The Night Stalker a stone-cold psychopath or a victim out only for revenge? Erika has to decide, but her own feelings are not as clear cut on this subject as she would like. The chase to stop a killer and save her friend, Isaac Strong, from prosecution for these murders is on and you will not want to put this book down.

I cannot recommend this author and series enough! Mr. Bryndza writes a British police procedural with characters that I feel are so lifelike that I can see them really working away in England to solve murders. The plot pace is fast and his writing crisp. I am going to be anxiously awaiting the next book and what decision Erika makes in regards to her future.

This is a must read series for me!
 

 

 

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.

Book Review: The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

The Dead Key is D.M. Pulley’s first book and the winner of the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award-Grand Prize and Mystery Thriller Fiction Winner. After reading and being immersed in this mystery, I can understand the awards. I lived and worked in Downtown Cleveland during both protagonists’ time periods and find this to be an intriguing fictional history and mystery of what happened to the old bank in 1978 and 1998 at 9th and Euclid.

Two timelines and protagonists come together to solve the mystery of the bank’s safe deposit boxes. In 1978, Beatrice Baker takes a secretarial job at 16 and begins to find that there are secrets to kill for at the First Bank of Cleveland. In 1998, Iris Latch is an engineer sent to the bank to do a floor to floor survey for buyers interested in the old bank building. She finds many rooms, offices and files exactly as they were the day the bank locked its doors in 1978. Even though there is a twenty year time span, both young women become endangered as they try to understand the importance of the keys to the safe deposit boxes in the vault.

I really enjoyed the two intertwining timelines and protagonists. Beatrice was a much more sympathetic and strong character. She faces extremely difficult personal problems and dangerous situations for her young age. Iris hates her job, parties too much and is not very responsible. I feel many of us at that age can relate to boring first office jobs, wanting to get away from home and few friends which can lead to bad judgement at times. Plot twists, spooky atmosphere and an interesting mystery makes for a very happy reader. I recommend this book highly.

Book Review: Blood Lines by Angela Marsons

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Brilliant! Thrilling! Suspenseful! Gripping! Intriguing! There are not enough adjectives to describe how I feel about this fifth D. I. Kim Stone book, BLOOD LINES by Angela Marsons. When I think Ms. Marsons has given me everything in a mystery/thriller/British police procedural I could possibly want, she surprises me once again with even more.

Kim and her team start investigating the stabbing death of an apparent carjacking victim, but something just doesn’t feel right to Kim and soon they have more victims with the same stab wound, but nothing else to connect them. No evidence at any of the scenes leaves the team struggling.

Adding to the stress of a tough case, the sociopath psychiatrist, Alex Thorne is back and has worked out a plan to eliminate the roadblocks to her release from prison, permanently. Kim barely kept her sanity dealing with Alex in book two and knows that another sparring match may push her over the edge, but she feels she has no choice. Alex has manipulated everyone around her again, even while in prison and Kim needs to figure out her end game and stop her no matter the cost.

The two plot lines intertwine to perfection in this book. The theme runs through both, but I can’t say more without giving a spoiler. Even the title is perfect for this book. I feel this book is perfectly plotted and paced. I put it down once only due to work. I would have been compelled to read it through in one sitting otherwise.

The characters are realistic and as in all the previous books, I look forward to what new insights Ms. Marsons will reveal about each. Kim is once again facing psychological implosion from her interactions with Alex Thorne and she also throws in the possible release of her mentally ill mother. Bryant is proving once again to be Kim’s rock and best friend besides her partner. Stacey and Dawson also continue to grow into their roles.

This book can be read as a standalone, but to understand the richness of Ms. Marsons’ characters, you really should start at book one and read how they grow. I cannot recommend this series enough! This is a must read series for me!

A huge thank you to Bookouture and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. Perfect!

Book Review: Play Dead by Angela Marsons

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Play Dead is Angela Marsons’ fourth book in the D.I. Kim Stone series. This series just keeps getting better and better, which is amazing because it started out great!

The main setting of this book is a ‘body farm’ and who, but Kim Stone could find a corpse that doesn’t belong? When a second body is found with the same injuries, but not quite dead, Kim knows she and her team have a serial killer to stop. As they try to connect the victims, reporter Tracy Frost drops a cold case in Kim’s lap that she knows the Inspector will be intrigued by and want to solve because Kim feels she must always find the identity of victims of crime. What Tracy fails to tell Kim is that she knows the victims of her ‘body farm’ case and when she goes missing, Kim knows she has a limited amount of time to find her alive.

The mystery/thriller plot and subplot both have several twists and tie together in a surprising climax that had me guessing until the reveal. There are a lot of interesting forensic facts and information involved in this book. All of the characters are very well developed and three dimensional from Kim and her team to all of the bad guys. Kim and Tracy both have more of their back stories revealed, which leads to more understanding of their characters and how they became the way they are now.

This series is a must read for me! I always want more of Kim and her team.

Thank you very much to Bookouture and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I love this series!