Book Review: Christmas Surprise on MacLean Mountain by Randi Alexander

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Not only is this the most emotional Christmas novella I have read this year, it is one of my favorite contemporary romance novellas of this year! CHRISTMAS SURPRISE ON MacLEAN MOUNTAIN by Randi Alexander is a lot of emotion packed into a very few pages.

Doctor Booker MacLean gets a call three days before Christmas from his estranged wife for a meeting. He hardens his heart for what he expects to come, but he is completely unprepared for he finds.

Sybil MacLean knows she made a horrible mistake in not trusting her husband over rumors and leaving seven months ago. She wants him back, but she wants his forgiveness and love, not just acceptance due to her secret.

This is a powerful story of a man raised to be logical and unemotional in his decisions. His pride could be the end of the happiness and love her truly wants. It is also a story of forgiveness and understanding of differences. Ms. Alexander’s usual stories are hot and steamy. This novella has no sex and yet is not really sweet because it is so emotionally charged with real feelings and emotions that make the H/h come to life. This HEA had me in tears, in a good way. A beautiful Christmas story good for the whole year!

Written for The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: Swerve by Vicki Pettersson

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

SWERVE by Vicki Pettersson is one of the best thrillers I have read all year! Extremely fast paced plotting and action even with flashbacks into Kristine’s childhood. No one in this story is to be taken at face value. There is always a twist that pulls you in to continue reading, make you cringe, or make your heart rate rise. This book does have graphic violence and is not for the faint of heart.

Kristine Rush is a surgical tech traveling from Las Vegas with her surgeon fiancé, Daniel, to visit his mother and friends in California for an engagement party on the 4th of July. Daniel swerves on the interstate and Kristine spills coffee everywhere, so they pull into a deserted rest stop to clean up. Kristine is attacked and knocked out in the ladies room. When she returns to Daniel’s car, he is missing, but his cell phone has been left in plain view on the driver’s seat. Then comes the call from a mechanically disguised voice that if she wants to see her fiancé alive again she must follow all of the following instructions.

The plot takes off from there and never slows down. This book was hard to put down, but I had to at times to get my anxiety level back to normal. The scenes of graphic violence are not gratuitous in this story, but they are explicit. Make sure your doors are locked and to clear a block of time because you are going to have a hard time putting this one down!

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: Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by B.A. Paris is definitely be one of my favorite psychological thrillers this year! I find it hard to believe this came from a debut author. The author had me completely engrossed. I devoured this book in one sitting!

Jack and Grace appear to be the perfect couple. Jack is a successful attorney for domestic abuse victims who has never lost a case. Grace is the gracious hostess, superb cook, talented painter and gardener with green fingers. In the eighteen months they have been married, you never see them apart. The perfect couple or is it only a façade?

Grace tells her story alternating between the Past and the Present. She is a successful buyer for Harrods and has complete responsibility of her younger sister, Millie who has Down’s syndrome. Then she meets Jack. She is lonely and he is perfect in every way. He is attentive to both her and Millie. The two come together quickly and Grace soon learns after the marriage that Jack isn’t who or what he seemed. She must find a way to get away from him before Millie is due to live with them and he destroys them both.

Every single scene and narrative in this book shows how Grace, or any woman, can become isolated, controlled or abused both physically and mentally. You see the escalation and signs and keep praying for Grace to escape, but Jack is such a controlling and scary psychopath that you don’t know how she will do it. Her fear keeps you turning the pages because you just have to know what happens. I also loved that this author did not dismiss Millie as a stereotype.

Intense, psychological thriller is the perfect description of this quick, must read!

Book Review: True Crime Addict by James Renner

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

This book was not what I was expecting; it was so much more! It is the personal story of an investigative true crime reporter, James Renner, and the cold case disappearance of a UMass student, Maura Murray, from a rural New Hampshire road. Both stories intertwine with each being intriguing, sometimes disturbing, and completely compelling as we follow the search for Maura and Mr. Renner’s descent into a dangerous true crime addition.

James Renner has had a lifelong obsession with true crime beginning with his following of the Amy Mihaljevic case when he was just eleven years old. He turned that obsession into a career as an investigative journalist and true crime writer. Mr. Renner is open about his problems with PTSD due to his delving into the dark side of crime and as he investigates the 2004 disappearance of Maura Murray it also effects his judgement, personal well-being and family. Maura’s story isn’t all it seems and the questions become an addiction to Mr. Renner, his online followers and me, as the reader.

This is a must read for the true crime lover. It is also a candid look into the mind of one of the addicted that try to solve these mysteries. Maura’s story is still unsolved and gives all who read this story a chance to come to their own conclusions based on the information given.

Thanks very much to St. Martin’s Press and Net Galley for allowing me to read this ebook in exchange for an honest review. It was my pleasure.

Book Review: Night Film by Marisha Pessl

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

NIGHT FILM by Marisha Pessl is the perfect book for October! Part horror, part mystery, part psychological suspense and all around thought provoking, intense read. This one will stay with you for quite some time.

The beautiful, talented and some say disturbed, Ashley Cordova is found dead at the bottom of an empty elevator shaft in a deserted building in lower Manhattan. She is only 24 years old. Was is suicide or was it murder?

Veteran investigative journalist, Scott McGrath has been discredited in the past while investigating Ashley’s father, famed film director, Stanislas Cordova. After a few main-stream films, Cordova disappeared into legend as an underground film director of horror cult classics and a recluse from all society. His life and films are wrapped in darkness, witchcraft, horror and life-changing fear.

McGrath just can’t let this death go. Ashley haunts him. He is driven by revenge, curiosity and a need for the truth that will either destroy him and the ones he loves or set him free.

This book had me engrossed! I loved how the mystery is handled with the reader receiving pictures of all the documents, photos and web pages that McGrath is privy to while investigating the Cordova family. You are masterfully led by this author from extreme skepticism to believing in everything that goes bump in the night and back again. The characters are all fully fleshed and believable. This author knows how to involve the readers’ emotions in every way! Great read!