Book Review: Serenity By Craig A. Hart

serenity

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Serenity turns out to be anything but serene for Shelby Alexander.

This is the first book in The Shelby Alexander Thriller Series and I can’t wait for the next! Shelby is an ex-boxer and a former fixer, who has retired to his old hometown of Serenity, Michigan. All he wants is a little peace and what he gets is a young woman who dies in his arms and a drug war in his backyard between the local Ellis family who have always been in trouble with the law and a new group trying to take over from Detroit.

This thriller takes off right from the start. It is extremely fast paced and full of action for its short length. In between the bullets flying, you get to know Shelby and a great cast of memorable secondary characters. Shelby has a bartender girlfriend, Carly, who is 30 years younger and the same age as his daughter. He has a long-time friend, Jerry “Mack” McIntyre, who is a retired Detroit policeman. Jerry’s wife, Gloria is best friends with Shelby’s ex-wife, Helen. The Ellis clan is savage and the local sheriff is questionable.

Craig A. Hart has written a debut to this series that satisfies on every level! Action packed, a cast of characters that are colorful and three dimensional, a unique setting, and a protagonist that I want to continue to follow.

Thank you very much Mr. Hart for allowing me to read an eARC of this book for free for an honest review! I can’t wait for more from Shelby!

Book Review: Dark Water by Robert Brynzda

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Once again, Robert Brynzda has me reading late into the night on the edge of my seat!

DCI Erika Foster is back in DARK WATER, the third book in the DCI Erika Foster series. This is one of my favorite British police procedural series. Erika is an amazing character who is flawed, driven, and at times extremely brusque and yet I cannot stop wanting her to succeed in her personal life as well as professional. She also has a great cast of secondary characters surrounding her that are all unique in their own ways.

At the beginning of this story, Erika is in a new district and no longer working murder investigations but instead is working major organized crimes. To put a major drug dealer behind bars, the local quarry is dredged to recover drugs hidden in the depths. The drugs are found, but so is the wrapped skeleton of a child. Erika cannot get the sight of those small bones out of her mind and fights to get the case assigned to her and to have Peterson and Moss moved to be on her team once again. The bones are 26 years old and the case has already destroyed one DCI’s career, but Erika and her crew refuse to quit.

This is a complex case with many plot twists and surprises. When you think you have it figured out, it takes a sharp turn in another direction and yet in the end, all the little threads come together in a very satisfying climax. With a fast paced plot and interesting, intriguing characters, Mr. Brynzda has delivered another exceptional addition to this series.

Thanks very much to Bookouture and Net Galley for allowing me to read and review this eARC in exchange for an honest review. This is an excellent book and series!

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: An Amish Family Christmas by Shelley Shepard Gray

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

AN AMISH FAMILY CHRISTMAS (The Charmed Amish Life #4) by Shelley Shepard Gray is the last book in The Charmed Amish series, but it can be read as a standalone. When you get to the last chapter wrap-up though, you are going to want to go back and read them all. Ms. Gray’s writing about an Amish family is entertaining and heartwarming, but she also portrays her characters with all the good and bad characteristics of all humans.

Levi Kinsinger has returned to Charm still trying to deal with the death of his father and wanting to find and fit into his place in his family’s business and home. He decides to live on his own because he can’t face the memories in his family home and meets the young widow across the street when she locks herself and her young daughter accidently out of their home. Friendship grows and Levi begins to have feelings for this mother and daughter, but there are secrets to be learned that may change those feelings.

Julia Kemp has been living a lie and running from her past. Having had an abusive fiancé and being pregnant out of wedlock sent her on the run to start over away from her life and family. It has been very difficult, but she has survived and raised her daughter on her own pretending to be a widow in the Amish community in Charm. Levi has made her want to reveal her secret and hope for a better life. Her past is starting to catch up with her and it is time to decide if she will run again or fight for her future.

Levi and Julia are fully developed characters and not just Amish caricatures. That is what I love about all of Ms. Gray’s characters. The plot is realistic and emotional. This is a fast read that will leave you with your HEA and a Kinsinger home full of family and love on Christmas day.

Book Review: A Frost Family Christmas Anthology (Frost Family & Friends, #1-3)

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

If you want to read one sweet contemporary holiday romance or have time for all three in this anthology, plus the added bonus short story, this is a wonderful collection. A FROST FAMILY CHRISTMAS ANTHOLOGY (Frost Family & Friends, #1-3) contains the romance stories of all three Frost siblings, set in small town Vermont around Christmas with a connecting mystery that is solved in book #3. They can be read as standalone books, but I hope you take the time to enjoy them all as I did.

Book #1 – What Child Is This by C.J. Carmichael

Garrett Frost has taken over the full-time operation of the family maple syrup farm from his father. As a widower with a small son he relies on his mother and he hasn’t really moved on since his wife’s death two years ago. His new PR manger, Lily Parker has moved from New York City and is doing a great job, but she doesn’t let anyone get too close. When Lily finds an abandoned baby in the Nativity scene at the farm, it brings her emotional past to a head. Both Garrett and Lily have a lot of past emotions to deal with before they can find a way to move forward together.

Book #2 – Home for Christmas by Roxy Boroughs

Jimmy Frost left town to prove his worth and rarely returns, because he has a secret that has always made him feel different. When he comes home this Christmas, it is for his job. As he stops on the town square, he runs into his high school love. April Rochester is back in town on her grandfather’s farm. She wants to start a school for autistic children, like her son. When Jimmy suddenly appears in town again all of the old feelings do, too. But will he stay or will he be gone again after his visit?

Book #3 – The Holly & The Ivy by Brenda M. Collins

Jocelyn ‘Joey’ Frost has made her dream of being a police office a reality in her hometown. She is up for an upcoming promotion so she is always working to prove herself. There have been a series of petty vandalisms all aimed at the mayor and he wants it solved. As she works that case, her best friend works the case of baby Holly found in the manger. When an ice storm hits, Joey pulls her returning high school flame out of a ditch. Noel ‘Fletch’ Fletcher is an Army brat who became a military policeman and served in Afghanistan. He is visiting his aunt and has come back to claim the only girl he has ever loved.

BONUS STORY – The Gift by C.J. Carmichael

Kindergarten teacher, Amy Frost finds a battered and neglected little child at her door on Christmas Eve. Has her one Christmas wish come true? And how can she explain this to her deputy boyfriend, Gray Cassidy?

These are all fast, easy to read stories with a lot of heart and small town charm that will entertain you on a cold winter night.

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.