Book Review: More Than A Lawman by Anna J. Stewart

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Even though I read everything, Romantic Suspense is my favorite genre and when I find a great book and/or author to follow in this genre I shout it from the rooftops for my fellow readers. Here is MORE THAN A LAWMAN! The first book in the Honor Bound trilogy by new to me author Anna J. Stewart from Harlequin. Shouting from the rooftops!!!

This first book focuses on Eden St. Claire, who is a crime writer and a blogger dedicated to catching all killers, but especially serial killers after the death of one of her best friends, Chloe at the age of nine. Her remaining friends, Simon, now a prosecutor and Allie, now a criminal psychologist have all dealt with the trauma in differing ways. Eden has never forgiven herself for something she didn’t do the night Chloe disappeared.

Cole Delaney is a detective and was best friends with Eden’s brother growing up and has always cared about Eden. He wants Eden, but she has never wanted to be anything but best friends. When Eden’s blog “Eden On Ice” once again focuses attention on the serial killer known as the Iceman, Eden barely survives an attack and it will take all of Cole’s understanding and love to protect her from herself.

This book starts off with an amazing first scene and just keeps getting more intense from there. The plot has an original premise and keeps the twists and turns coming. The main Iceman plot is resolved along with the romance between Cole and Eden, but there is the trilogy plot of Chloe’s killer resurfacing which is carried over into the next book.

Eden’s reasons for not becoming involved with anyone and why she seems to have a death wish are so well written. She is an extremely complex character that even as you become exasperated with her, you understand her. Cole and Eden’s romance is well integrated into the plot and I feel was handled in a very realistic way. This romantic suspense worked on every level.

I can’t wait to get Ms. Stewart’s next installment of this trilogy!

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

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!

Book Review: Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I so love this author and series! Angela Marsons writes stories that pull you in, take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions and then leaves you with a satisfaction of justice served, but a hunger for the next story.

Lost Girls is the third book in the D.I. Kim Stone series and is about a subject that terrifies all parents, the abduction of their child. This plot is even more twisted because the kidnappers always take two girls and tell the parents that the couple that pays the most will get their daughter back and the other daughter will be killed. This is the second time this crime has been committed, and now D.I. Kim Stone and her team are assigned to the case. The clock is ticking.

Ms. Marsons knows how to write an English police procedural that is also thrilling and suspenseful. The plot has many twists and turns. Kim Stone is a brilliant character that tugs at your heart, but don’t tell her, she wouldn’t like it. Her team is a group of varied and well written characters. The criminals are as well written as the main characters, which makes them all the more chilling.

If you haven’t read this series yet you are truly missing out on great books!

Book Review: Among The Wicked by Linda Castillo

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I am never disappointed when I get my hands on a Kate Burkholder story by Linda Castillo. Among The Wicked is the eighth book and there are three novellas. It is as strong as the first in the series! Ms. Castillo’s writing style pulls me in and keeps me reading as Kate suffers the trials and tribulations of solving another crime involving the Amish. The climax had me stunned with a great plot twist!

Police Chief Kate Burkholder is asked to go on leave in Painters Mill, OH and go undercover as a plain widow in an Amish community in upstate New York to discover what happened to a young Amish girl found frozen to death and the possible abuse of children. As Kate becomes familiar with the Amish of this community, she is puzzled by the extreme reverence and/or real fear of the families towards their Bishop. She becomes aware of disappearances, physical punishments and strange youth counselling by or with the blessing of Bishop Schrock which would never happen in any other Amish community.

Kate’s questions not only focus on the possible crimes in the community, but are self-directed as well. She and BCI Agent Frank Tomasetti’s personal lives are moving along well, but she misses the sense of community the Amish women experience. She has to deal with her feelings about her Amish roots, which need to be made without blinders to keep herself safe and alive in the present. The evil in this Amish community is more than anyone was expecting.

Thank you very much to St. Martin’s Press and Net Galley for giving me a free eARC in exchange for an honest review. I love Kate Burkholder!

Book Review: The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons has to be one of the best debut mystery/thrillers I have read in a very long time. Great suspense, a rapid pace and bad people who will send chills up your spine. I found it very difficult to put this story down to go to work!

The book starts on the ten year anniversary of the disappearance of at the time Senator Lombard’s daughter. He has risen to Vice President and is now running for his party’s nomination for President. Growing up, Gibson Vaughn was the son the Senator’s chief advisor and best friend with his daughter, Suzanne, whom he called ‘Bear’. Gibson’s life at the time of Suzanne’s disappearance was a disaster and he still blames himself for not being there for her. When a picture of Suzanne’s backpack appears, it sets into motion all the moving pieces of this plot into several explosive revelations and dead bodies.

The characters in this story are all extremely well developed, good and bad. The ‘short drop’ scene is intense.  The plot is tightly woven with several subplots that do not confuse the reader and are all answered by the end. I cannot recommend this book enough!

I want to thank Thomas & Mercer and Net Galley for allowing me to read for free the uncorrected proof of this debut novel in exchange for an honest review. I hope there are many more to come from this author!

 

Book Review: When It Holds You by Nicki Elson

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Nicki Elson has become my MUST read new contemporary romance author!

WHEN IT HOLDS YOU, just like her previous book When It Hooks You, has characters that are fully fleshed out and true to life in both dialogue and plot. I can relate to these characters on an emotional level that has me up and down and turning the pages as fast as I can waiting to see how Ms. Elson works out the HEA.

Cliff Walsh is back as the main rather than the secondary character in this story. After the emotional roller coaster in the previous book you would think he would be wiser in this story. He is, but not right away. He has a lot of emotional discovery to go through. As he is healing his broken heart, he becomes more involved in online gaming as his social outlet. In the game, he meets a female character that makes him want to try a relationship again and the surprise is that she has been right in front of him for years.

Joanne “Jojo” has always been the wild party girl since college. Cliff had used her and forgotten her, but she never forgot him. Jojo is an amazingly true to life character that you have to get under her outer shell to find the true vulnerability inside. I believe so many readers will be able to empathize with her.

The romance in this book comes together at a realistic pace and has a little surprise twist. I thought the author was going to choose a different heroine, but she took the more difficult path and it worked beautifully. I love that Cliff found what is truly important and Jojo was willing to take a chance. The sex is hot, but the emphasis is on emotions in this book. They really are made for each other.

This book can be read as a standalone, but the characters are carried over from the first book and their back stories do help you understand more of their emotional growth. Fall in love with the characters and the author’s writing and read them both!

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com