Book Review: Beloved Beast by Karyn Gerrard

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

WOW! My preconceived notions for this book where blown away. I went looking for a book with a different twist and this was definitely it. BELOVED BEAST (The Ravenswood Chronicles, #2) by Karyn Gerrard is a mix of gothic horror, historical WWII romantic suspense and historical WWII spy novel. Even though this is the second book in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone with all the information the author has seamlessly peppered throughout this book.

The debauched Viscount Ravenswood Lucas Madden died from a carriage race accident in 1895 only to be revived in a Mary Shelley like experiment. Unlike Shelley’s beast, Lucas has become a man with heightened senses, strength and possible immortality, but he has also become outwardly disfigured, and cool to the touch with a strange gray cast to his skin. He hides his face as much as possible and explains away his strange coloring as ‘photophobia vitium’.

Working with his nephew in the emerging MI-6, with his new identity as Luke Newman, he helps relocate returning spies from the war zones in Europe. He is assigned the safety of Gillian Browning, who seduced a German business man for information on the Enigma machine, returned to England, and is suddenly in danger from a German spy.

As the two return to Luke’s former home in the country to wait for transport to Canada, Luke cannot believe that Gillian brings warmth back into is body and life. He never believed he would find love again after the death of his wife. Gillian wants the truth about Luke’s past and no longer wants her time with him to be limited, but the threat to their lives is catching up to them.

I could not put this book down. The concept made it unique and yet it also read as a traditional historical romantic suspense. There is explicit sex, because the beast has a heightened libido and yet it never felt gratuitous. The plot was well paced and the characters where all fully fleshed out and believable, well as far as you can believe in a reanimated man. I really enjoyed this book and I will definitely be looking for the next in the series!

Thanks very much to Kensington Books and Net Galley for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Loved it!

Book Review: Unpunished by Lisa Black

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

UNPUNISHED is the second book in Lisa Black’s Gardiner and Renner series and it really brings Maggie and Jack into focus as fully developed characters to follow. The plot of this book can be read as a standalone, but the first book “That Darkness” should be read before this to understand the complicated history and stand-off between these two.

Forensic investigator, Maggie Gardiner is called to an apparent suicide of the copy editor of the Cleveland Herald, the struggling daily newspaper. Maggie notices an inconsistency and realizes that this suicide is really murder. Jack and his partner, Riley are assigned the case and already at the scene.

Homicide Detective Jack Renner is a serial killer. If the courts cannot keep the worst of the worst locked up and away from innocent citizens, Jack personally takes care of them —permanently. Maggie is the only one who has been smart enough to figure out his secret. Their truce has held so far, but Maggie still has her doubts about him stopping his personal form of justice.

As another body of a Herald worker is found, Maggie and Jack have to work together to find the killer and figure out what is going on at the Herald.

This book gives a lot of information on the current state of print media in this country. Maggie takes us through the interesting steps of the forensics of the case which I am sure are realistic since that is Ms. Black’s specialty. The plot is fast paced and interesting throughout. Ms. Black has really breathed life into Maggie in this book. That was my only problem with the first book in this series and I am very happy with Maggie’s character development.

Maggie and Jack are great characters and I am looking forward to many more books in this series!

Thank you very much to Kensington Books and Net Galley for a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. It was great!

Book Review: While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

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RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

I now understand why there are so many conflicting reviews for this book.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING by Kathryn Croft is a psychological suspense/thriller that is fast paced and a page turner, with many red herrings and twists. It will keep you reading until the end, but it was not my favorite.

When Tara Logan wakes up naked next to her dead neighbor in his bed, she has no memory of how she got there or what happened. She dresses, runs across the road to her own home and decides not to say anything.

She has a husband, Noah, who has cheated on her, a teenage daughter, Rosie, who has a history of lying and stalking and her young son, Spencer. As the investigation into her neighbor’s death progresses everyone comes under suspicion for differing reasons. The picture of the perfect family is no longer perfect and Tara no longer knows who to believe. Besides the family, there are secondary characters that are creepy and questionable.

This is a well written plot that constantly keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat and the ending was a big surprise but it didn’t deliver. It just sort of fell flat for me and then it is the end very quickly. I also had a huge problem with the DCI working the case. He gives a suspect information and becomes involved with her, but then he is worked out of the story. If his purpose was just to deliver info, it wasn’t realistic and another way should have been considered.

Very interesting premise and plot, great use of plot twists, interesting characters, just not a good ending for me.

Thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley for allowing me to read a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Serenity By Craig A. Hart

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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!