Book Review: Last Rights by Ava Bradley

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I have just finished a story by another fabulous new-to-me author who had me on the edge of my seat in suspense, crying and laughing, morally debating cloning and hot and twitchy with short, but steamy sex scenes.

LAST RIGHTS by Ava Bradley was a romantic suspense set in the future that starts from the very first page at jet speed and does not let up.

P.I. Fallon Monroe is sent by her sister to retrieve her nephew’s clone for life saving heart transplant surgery. Fallon soon comes to realize this clone is not just a lump of cells, but an exceptionally gifted little boy who calls himself, Jamie. The cloning company does not want people to know the true reality of the clones and a terrorist group wants to set this child up as a symbol to get the country to change the cloning laws.

Special Ops Lieutenant John White is awakened from a medically induced healing coma as Fallon and Jamie burst into his hospital room attempting escape. He does not know why, but he knows he has to protect these two above all else. John and Fallon will do anything to protect Jamie, but each is also harboring a secret that they fear could change the feelings that are beginning to blossom between them.

I did not want to put this book down. The chase and suspense were always constant. Fallon, John and Jamie are wonderfully realistic characters that I fell in love with. Cloning is debated, not just in the hypothetical, but by making you fall in love with characters it effects and makes you think about what you would do and how you feel. I never felt it was preachy because the author made you feel Fallon’s heart wrenching decisions as she made them.

This story had everything I am looking for in a romantic suspense and more. I highly recommend this story and I will definitely be looking for more from this author.

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

 

Book Review: Hold ‘Em: A Gambling Hearts Romance by Jacquie Biggar

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

HOLD ‘EM: A GAMBLING HEARTS ROMANCE by Jacquie Biggar is a contemporary romance that has a cast of characters that are heartwarming, caring, funny and just all around wonderful! The hero and heroine find they have an instant attraction and even though they are opposites, they both have caring hearts and strong family attachments.

Matthew “Matt” Shaughnessy is a high-stakes poker player winning his way up to the World Series of Poker. Just when he thinks he may have lost a huge stakes game, his opponent cannot cover his makers. What Matt needs is a fiancée to make his dying grandmother happy so a deal is struck.  Gardner offers in payment his daughter’s heirloom wedding ring and one week of Cassandra playing his fiancée on his family’s Texas ranch.

Cassandra Gardner knows her father has a gambling problem, but she never imagined it would lead to her playing the part of a finance on a ranch with a stranger, when she is supposed to be getting married in two weeks in Las Vegas to someone else. She is a city girl through and through and knows nothing about ranching or the great outdoors. She also has very strong feelings against lying to Matt’s grandmother, family and friends who accept her on sight.

Matt has one week to convince his grandmother he is settling down and found the love of his life, which if he keeps enjoying Cassandra’s looks and spirit may be true in reality, but can he keep her on the ranch? Cassandra cannot believe the intense feelings that started as annoyance and now are so much more for this cowboy, but she has a fiancée waiting in Vegas.

Ms. Biggar has written an easy to read, heartwarming, sexy and funny, opposites attract hero and heroine that could walk right off the page and into your heart. There is sexual tension throughout, but Cassandra never breaks her promise to her real fiancée and there is no sex in the story. Matt’s grandmother, brother and sister and his care of them all and the ranch at a young age shows the depth of his character, while they are all interesting characters on their own.

Right now this book is a standalone, but the story definitely is set up for Matt’s brother and sister to have their own stories in the future. I really hope they get them because this is a family that I want to check back in with in the future.

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

Book Review: One Wrong Turn by Deanna Lynn Sletten

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Sometimes an author can take the simplest plot and it will pack an emotional punch that resonates with the reader to their core. You follow normal, flawed people and you cry, get mad, become disappointed, have empathy, have sympathy, laugh and feel joy. That was the journey I took with Deanna Lynn Sletten’s novel ONE WRONG TURN.

Jess Connors is renovating her grandparent’s old home into a B&B as she raises her two daughters, Madison “Maddie”, age twelve and Jilly, age seven. She has become a friend to many in the community over the last two years, but all it took was one wrong turn of her steering wheel as she was rushing to pick up her daughters after school to change all of their lives. Now Jess lies in the hospital in a coma.

Clay Connors has been estranged from his wife and daughters for two years until he receives the call notifying him of his wife’s accident. Clay is a talented studio and live musician, but he also let his alcohol addiction destroy his family and his own personal belief in himself. After this third try at rehab and AA, Clay knew it was his last chance to prove himself to Jess. He was afraid to join them at the B&B and lose them forever, so he kept convincing himself to put it off for another day. Now he has to earn the trust of his oldest daughter once again, reintroduce himself to his youngest and remain sober under this stress while reuniting his family and waiting for Jess to wake from her coma, if she does.

The author writes Clay and Jess’ meeting, courtship and family life up to their separation in flashbacks told by Clay interspersed throughout the story. Clay’s alcohol addiction is written with truth and empathy. All his fears and failings are exposed, along with his daily battle to remain sober. The interactions between Clay and Maddie are extremely emotional because she was so close to her father and yet she was too young to understand what addiction is and so she has a severe lack of trust and a huge feeling of abandonment in regards to her father. The author offsets the difficulties with her father, with the care and understanding she shows her younger sister. Jilly is lovable, happy child who is trying to deal with all that is happening.

This book has the story of a couple that has always loved each other, but addiction divides them. For me though, the main characters that I empathized with and cheered to a happy ending were Clay and his daughter, Maddie. The dialogue is realistic as well as the emotions. All of the secondary characters were perfectly placed to add to the story, but never took the main focus off of Clay, his sobriety and/or his daughters as they dealt with their family in crisis.

This book is an emotional roller coaster that is beautifully written. The strength, love, perseverance and forgiveness of the characters will stay with me long after I finish this review. I am looking forward to reading more of Ms. Sletten’s books in the future.

Book Review: The Saboteur by Andrew Gross

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

THE SABOTEUR by Andrew Gross is an intense historical fiction based on the true life stories of the Norwegian Freedom Fighters assigned the seemingly impossible task of destroying the Nazis’ supply of heavy water before it could be used to produce an atomic bomb.

Kurt Nordstrum was an engineering student in Oslo in 1940 when the Nazis invaded. His whole life changes as he fights with his friends in the Norwegian resistance. The friendships, bravery and strength of these men and women is highlighted in this story.

Dieter Lund is a Captain in the Quisling, which is an arm of the Gestapo made up of Norwegian collaborators. Kurt and Dieter attended school together in their small hometown. With the murder of another Quisling onboard a ferry, the long resentment and envy that Dieter feels towards Kurt manifests itself and the chase is on. Good versus evil, protagonist versus antagonist.

In 1943, Kurt and his highly trained fellow Norwegian teammates are parachuted back into Norway from England for the specific purpose of destroying a heavily fortified hydro plant’s capability of producing heavy water and destroying any already produced. They must also stop any from leaving Norway and making it to Germany.

Between the seemingly impossible missions that this team takes on and the continual chase of the Quisling it was hard to put this book down.  The tragedies and triumphs of ordinary people during a horrific world war are highlighted in this book. As the author notes in the end, this story is based on real people, which makes it all the more amazing.

*(I want to make one personal comment on this book and other reviews I have read. I agree with everyone that this author’s previous book “The One Man” was an exceptional historical thriller. I feel that any comparisons to this book though short changes this book. This book is based on true people and is a historical fiction novel. Yes, it has thrills and suspense throughout, but there is a difference between the two types of books. I did not compare the two when I rated my review.)

Thank you very much to St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC.

Book Review: A Drop of Paradise by Alex L. Michaels

RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars

A DROP OF PARADISE by Alex L. Michaels is a contemporary romance that has a fun premise and is set in paradise, but also has a few problems that some may not be able to ignore.

Jessica Slade is a librarian turned successful romance writer. After ten books, she is having trouble finishing her current book and believes that maybe taking herself out of her comfort zone will help. A Drop of Paradise was supposed to give her quiet and island beauty, but it turns out to be a crowded resort.

Mike Stone looks like a romance cover model brought to life. He moved to the island and stayed as captain on his own ship that transports tourists around the other islands for day trips. When he sees Jessica, he knows he has to have her.

On a group day trip that Jessica gets coerced into taking, she and Mike end up stranded on a deserted island and the battle begins between these two. Mike likes to rile Jessica and Jessica thinks Mike is nothing, but a muscle bound, overbearing jerk. Can these two see beyond the surface and turn anger and lust into love?

The first portion of this book has a lot of fun banter and quips between Mike and Jessica. Think Taming of the Shrew or War of the Roses. It was fun and entertaining, but for me lasted a little too long before transitioning into the next portion of the book even when you find out why Jessica was holding out for so long. No sex in this part of the book. Then it suddenly turns into an erotica romance that is all about explicit sex scenes with no emotional investment or discussion.

Throughout this book there are quite a few grammar, word usage and spelling errors. Even with these problems, it was a fun read. I feel it would be an even better read if it was proofread and/or edited again and transitioned more smoothly between the battling and sex portions of the book. The H/h and the secondary characters saved this from receiving a lower rating.

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

Book Review: The Lost Letter by Mimi Matthews

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

THE LOST LETTER: A VICTORIAN ROMANCE by Mimi Matthews is a beautifully written historical romance set in the Victorian era. The story flows between the hero and heroine, past and present, as they are given a second chance at love. The story is captivating and only a little longer than a novella. I just kept turning the pages and was done before I knew it in just one sitting.

Sylvia Stafford was the beautiful and charming daughter of a Baron. She had many suitors, but the man who claimed her heart was a dashing career Calvary officer and second son of an Earl. Before his return to India, Sylvia shares a chaste kiss with her dashing soldier and gives him a lock of her hair. As Sylvia waits for her word from her love, her father’s gaming debts become too much and he commits suicide leaving Sylvia with nothing and no one. Sylvia becomes a governess to a merchant family away from the society and friends she grew up with.

Colonel Sebastian Conrad returns from India a badly scarred and tormented man. He retreats to his family’s estate to hide. His father and older brother have died and that leaves Sebastian as the Earl. One day, his little sister is visiting and spies on Sebastian crying over a lock of hair and asks his man-servant who it belongs to and after some questioning finds where Sylvia now resides as a governess and invites her to Hertfordshire to help her stop her brother from doing something drastic.

The two are reunited, but under very different circumstances and each believes the other did not truly share the same feelings three years ago. As the two each learn truths about the intervening years, their love begins to grow once again, but will it be enough to clear up all the misunderstandings and let these two have their HEA?

This is an extremely romantic and emotional story in all its simplicity of plot. The characters are so realistic and just walk off the page and into your heart. This love story will stay in my memory for some time to come. This is a definite keeper that I can highly recommend.

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