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.

Book Review: The Hamilton Affair by Elizabeth Cobbs

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

I have always been a history lover. Give me a factual, scholarly, historical tome or a historical fictional story of a time, place or person and I can sit and disappear into that time or place for hours.

Due to the Broadway musical “Hamilton” many people are being introduced or reintroduced to one of the brilliant founding architects of our republic and THE HAMILTON AFFAIR by Elizabeth Cobbs is an enjoyable historical fiction overview of Alexander and Elizabeth Hamilton’s lives and their love.

The beginning of the book alternates between Alexander’s harsh life on St. Croix as a boy. He and his brother were declared bastards as they were born into a second marriage by his mother. He refused to let anything stop his ambitions and arrived in the colonies to educate and better himself after his mother’s death. In the alternate chapters we get to meet Elizabeth “Eliza” Schuyler and her privileged family of wealth. From her life on the family farm and love of animals to her very open and honest opinions.

When the two come together in marriage, the book follows the couple through the remainder of the Revolutionary War and the author does an informative, yet entertaining, job of describing the establishment of our federal government with all of Hamilton’s achievements and also all of the political intrigue and mud-slinging. This is balanced well by the author’s descriptions of the Hamilton home life, children, extended family and friends. Hamilton’s affair that almost destroyed his marriage and most definitely put a stop to his further political ambitions is also covered.

I really enjoyed this book. It is well written and covered Alexander and Elisabeth’s lives in an easy to read historical fiction format.

Thank you to Skyhorse Publishing, Arcade Publishing and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Paul Cleave is now on my MUST READ list and I feel he should be on every fan of thrillers book shelves, too!

I read “Trust No One” and loved it, so I was very happy to get this ARC of his new book. Now I can add A KILLER HARVEST to this year’s list of my favorite books. I am in love with this author’s writing, plotting and pacing. When you think you are at the climax or you have everything figured out Mr. Cleave continually throws another plot twist, big or small, into the mix which makes you even more anxious and desperate to continue reading.

Joshua Logan believes he is cursed. He was born blind and lost his biological parents at a young age. He was taken in by his uncle and aunt, who he now calls mom and dad, but he can never take his happiness for granted.

While investigating a suspect believed to be a serial killer, Joshua’s detective father is killed. His partner kills the killer, but the curse has struck again. Joshua’s dad left a specific request in his will. If he was ever killed, his eyes would go to Joshua for a transplant and a chance at sight. As the donated eyes are transported to Joshua’s operating room, there is a mishap and Joshua receives one of his father’s eyes and one of the serial killer’s eyes which were also taken for donation.

After the surgery, Joshua begins to have strange and disturbing dreams. Sometimes he feels like he is seeing his father’s death from his father’s perspective and sometimes from the killer’s. He is also able to identify people that he has never seen before. As Joshua tries to deal with all the changes in his life, the serial killer’s accomplice is out to avenge his friend’s death. Joshua and all those close to him are in danger.

You may believe that you know how this will end from the brief summary above and past thriller plots, but in the hands of this author, you are so wrong! I could not stop thinking about this book when I had to put it down and could not wait to get back to it. Mr. Cleave knows how to masterfully take the reader on a journey that makes the unbelievable possible. I definitely need to start working my way through this author’s past catalogue. I highly recommend this book to all and especially those who love older Dean Koontz and Stephen King works that take a normal situation and twist it.

Thank you so much to Atria Books and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. It was my pleasure!

Book Review: When Darkness Whispers by Lisa Carlisle

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

WHEN DARKNESS WHISPERS by Lisa Carlisle is a mix of military romantic suspense, paranormal/urban fantasy and serial killer thriller all woven together to make an AMAZING book!

Eva Montreaux is a biologically enhanced Marine. She leads the NEO (Night Eagle Operations) team 17 sent to Okinawa to investigate who or what is brutally murdering American servicemen. With the increased tensions between the American military and the Japanese it is essential to solve and stop these killings as soon as possible. As she works with her special team, she runs into military colleagues from her time in Afghanistan, but her enhancements have made that portion of her memory incomplete until she sees Gunny Delacruz.

Gunnery Sergeant Marcos Delacruz has had three years since Eva left Afghanistan to come to terms with promises not kept. When he runs into Eva on Okinawa, he cannot believe she shows no emotion at seeing him again. The past will have to be dealt with, but right now he is on a mission. With his special ability to communicate with spirits, his superiors hope he can solve the serial murders. What he does not expect is to continually cross paths with Eva during the investigation.

Eva and Marcos both have secrets that cannot be revealed to others in regards to their missions. They also have misunderstandings that are tied to their pasts in Afghanistan. As Eva struggles to remember Marcos and their shared past, they both have to find a serial killer that does not appear to be human.

I loved this whole book. Eva and Marcos are great main characters that are fully fleshed with flashbacks that in no way confuse or interfere with the main plot. Trust is a huge issue for them in the past and present that has to be resolved for them to work together. Their romance is written past and present and grows throughout the story. There is great sexual tension as well as tender yet hot sex scenes.  I also really enjoyed the last chapter of this book which is unique.

Ms. Carlisle has delivered a well written military romantic suspense with paranormal characters. She has then intertwined the whole story with Japanese folk lore that adds to the uniqueness of the story. This is a book that I highly recommend!

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

Book Review: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars

I was a huge fan of B.A. Paris’ “Behind Closed Doors” and was anxious to read her next release.

THE BREAKDOWN was a letdown for me. I did finish reading it and was pleasantly surprised by a tiny plot twist in the ending, but the main character’s overall responses and reactions to what was happening to her were repetitive and wore very thin by halfway through the book. I believe I would have enjoyed it more if it had been a tighter plot and novella length.

The story is told by Cass, who returns home on stormy night via a road through the woods. She almost wrecks avoiding a car pulled to the side. She stops, but when the driver doesn’t come to her car, she continues home and forgets about it. She is later horrified to realize the woman in the car was a new friend that was murdered sometime later that night in her car. She is wracked with guilt and tells no one, not her husband or best friend, who worked with the murdered woman.

The reader also learns that Cass has been forgetting small things and is worried that she may be experiencing early onset dementia like her mother. This makes Cass a possible unreliable narrator. As she becomes more afraid and paranoid some of her reactions are just not believable. This is when I would have liked less Cass and fewer pages.

I finished to see if my assumptions were correct and they were. There are not that many characters in the story, so it is not hard to figure out, especially if you read a lot of this type of book. As stated earlier, there is a small plot twist at the end that did surprise me, but there is a lot of emotional drama to get through for the surprise. This was just an average thriller for me.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review.