Saturday, January 28, 2023

5 Stars for Don't Open The Door by Allison Brennan

 


A family torn apart. A botched investigation. She’ll stop at nothing to get answers.

US Marshal Regan Merritt never bought the FBI’s theory that her ten-year-old son’s murder was tied to her job. Yet as leads went cold, she’d had to walk away from the marshals, the case and her now ex-husband, Grant, who blamed her for Chase’s death.

After Regan receives a chilling voice mail from her former boss, Tommy, claiming new information about Chase’s murder, she can no longer stay away from her pain-filled past. Especially when Tommy’s murdered before she can return his call.

Now more than ever, Regan’s determined to find the truth, but the more she digs, the more evidence points to Grant as the killer’s true target. But Grant isn’t talking. As she tries to pin down her ex, Regan discovers something much bigger and far more sinister is at play—and she’s running out of people she can trust.

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What I thought about Don't Open The Door

I was definitely intrigued with the character Regan Merritt in the first book in this series, and I was thrilled to see there was a follow up.  The blurb does a good job with the synopsis, so I'm not going to give many details past that, except to say that I really like Regan Merritt.  I get her.

Of course this is an emotional journey for Regan, looking for her son's killer and some clues pointing to her ex-husband.  But all is not quite what it seems and it does take many pages for all the clues to come into view.

The book starts out with a devastating scene that hooked me for the next 24 hours as I devoured this book.  The pace of this was much quicker than the first book in the series, and I liked that very much, although sometimes the clues of the story were a bit hard to follow.  No matter.  I still had a great experience reading this book.

This book just blew me away with it's action and Regan's relentless pursuit of the truth, no matter how much danger she may have been in.  The pace of this is terrific, and I didn't want to put this down.  A terrific crime drama thriller with a strong female character. 


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


ALLISON BRENNAN is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over thirty novels. She has been nominated for Best Paperback Original Thriller by International Thriller Writers and the Daphne du Maurier Award. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, Allison lives in Arizona with her husband, five kids and assorted pets.


Social Links

Author website: https://www.allisonbrennan.com/

Facebook: @AllisonBrennan

Twitter: @Allison_Brennan

Instagram: @abwrites

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/52527.Allison_Brennan

Friday, January 27, 2023

Release Week Review: Accidentally Famous (Hideaway Harbor #2) by Marissa Clarke

 

Jack Winston may be Hollywood’s biggest action hero, but he’s seriously burned out. He can’t even save himself from his PR team’s latest scheme: dating a starlet. But when his assistant accidentally tags Cassidy James from Blink, Maine (wherever that is) on social media, the paparazzi decide that she’s Jack’s latest fling. Now Jack needs to do some serious damage control…starting with the adorable home reno pro in paint-splattered overalls.

Cassidy is not prepared when the Jack Winston shows up in her quiet little town—and whew, he is that gorgeous in person. Before she can pick her jaw up off the floor, his PR team is bombarding them with a whole new plan involving “fake girlfriend,” “optics,” and “sign this NDA” (whatever that is). But no one warned her that Mr. A-List Action Star is hot, funny as all get out, and loves old houses as much as she does.

Now they have two weeks to convince everyone they’re in a fake relationship—two weeks that will drive Cassidy’s reno business through the roof and help Jack reclaim his “spark.” The plan is going fine, dare she say, perfectly...until she discovers something that will change everything.

Each book in the Hideaway Harbor series is STANDALONE:
* Accidentally Perfect
* Accidentally Famous

 

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What I thought about Accidentally Famous

An accidental tagging has a whole pile of paparazzi showing up in small town of Blink, Maine to follow actor Jack Winston to where they believe he's got his mystery girlfriend.  But things go awry when Cassidy James, the tagged girlfriend must deal with a fake relationship and her business which is now booming thanks to the mix up.

This was a very sweet, low angst sort of contemporary romance.  Jack has a heart of gold and loves small town life. Cassidy likes Jack and the extra work her fake relationship has generated. So it's all good, clean, sweet fun.  Sometimes I'm just looking for something that doesn't have a huge amount of drama, and this one fit that nicely.

Jack and Cassidy are adorable together and even their conflict makes sense and is resolved quickly.  While their chemistry isn't a huge bubbling caldron of emotion, they are both looking for something they find in each other and I liked that about it.

Overall, an entertaining, low conflict, low steam contemporary romance.


About the Author
 

Marissa Clarke is a multi-award-winning, RITA nominated author of romance for adults and teens. She lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with her ever-patient husband, two cantankerous Cairn Terriers, and twenty-six bossy chickens.

She loves to connect with readers, so follow her on social media or shoot her a message through the contact page.

 https://marissaclarke.com/

 

 

 

 

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Release Week Review: Come What Maybe (Seaside Cove #1) by Kerri Carpenter

 

Social media strategist Lauren Wallace plans everything. But when she returns to the charming—if not too small for comfort—town of Seaside Cove, it’s only about a second before her tough-love Grams is already on her case. So when Grams tells her not to go to that bar, Lauren decides it’s time for a temporary rebellion. Which is exactly when the trouble starts.

Grams was right. The bar was not a good plan. Because suddenly super-cute bar owner Ethan McAllister has gone from being Lauren’s (kind of) high school nemesis to a very unexpected one-night stand. And worse, Lauren’s attempts to resume her ultra-responsible life keep getting thwarted by more unwelcome spontaneity. And a pregnancy.

Now there’s a baby on the way, Lauren’s the talk of the entire town, and all her planning has gone right out the window. All that’s missing is childbirth to make her pain complete. But it’ll be nothing compared to Grams’s reaction when she finds out that Lauren broke the biggest rule of all…falling for the wrong guy.

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 What I thought about Come What Maybe

In this first book in the Seaside Cove series from Kerri Carpenter, social media strategist Lauren Wallace comes home to Seaside Cove. When she meets her old high school nemesis Ethan McAllister as an adult, things sure look different for her when they end up unexpectedly in bed together.

And that has consequences. Like an unexpected baby. I love the unexpected baby trope and this is a good one.

There's some cute conflict between the main characters as Ethan and Lauren are very different in their approach to life. I liked that they showed each other a different side of things. Lauren also has two sisters that provide some sisterly type loving bickering. I did like the family aspects of this romance and situation very much.

There's plenty of flirting and the banter is light and fun. I could have liked a little more steam with this one but it was a bit tame in this regard, which was okay and didn't detract from the story. It's just sweet and cute and can be read quickly, which I liked about it. This story had me smiling and I liked that too.


 

 
 
 About the Author

Award-winning romance author Kerri Carpenter writes contemporary romances that are sweet, sexy, and sparkly. When she’s not writing, Kerri enjoys reading, cooking, watching movies, taking Zumba classes, rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams, and anything sparkly. Kerri lives in Virginia with her family. For the latest updates on her books or to see pictures of her adorable dog, Harry, visit Kerri at any of the places below.

Connect with Kerri Online

Facebook          Twitter          Instagram          Amazon

 

Review: Forever Bound by Jessica Dall

 

Set among the rolling green Irish hills, Kelkerry Castle is something out of a dreamy fairy tale. For hotelier Bridget Marshall, however, it's a dream come true...once she’s sorted out the mold, lead paint, and ancient plumbing. And she’ll prove to everyone in the nearby village of Shansally (pop. 119) that she’s not just another silly, dreamy-eyed American—including her curt (if utterly gorgeous) new neighbor, Liam O'Flannagain.

Only, this breathtaking castle has far more secrets than expensive repairs. While someone—or something—here desperately wants Bridget to give up and walk away, there’s another force tugging Bridget to stay. Because whenever she’s with Liam, the ancient past seems to come to life again, sweeping them along in a story they’re apparently destined to relive.

Now, Liam and Bridget are caught up in a long-ago tale filled with love, danger, and betrayal. The past seems to be working its magic on both of them, pulling them into a love story they’re helpless to resist. And they’ll have to uncover the truth of what happened all those centuries ago before history—and tragedy—repeats itself.

 

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What I thought about Forever Bound

In this fish out of water story,  American hotelier Bridget Marshall dreams of turning a castle in a tiny village of Shansally into a hotel.  But weird things start happening between her and her grumpy neighbor that lead them both to believe there's a whole lot more to the castle and their situation than meets the eye.

Whenever Bridget and her neighbor Liam are together, it seems they experience something that has them dealing with the past. It's unsettling and Bridget is compelled to learn more about the castle and in the process, learns more about what might be happening between her and Liam.  Turns out it is a time-slip situation, and things could get very interesting for them.

I really did find this entertaining as a fantasy, especially the way Bridget and Liam are linked in the past and present.  There's a nice build as they start to understand what is happening around them and how some of what was happening to them was inevitable.  An interesting take on the time travel romance.  There's a bit of a mystery and suspense element to this read that I liked as well.

An entertaining, easy to read romance with historical elements.


About the author

Jessica Dall

Jessica Dall is the author of such novels as Forever Bound and The Stars of Heaven. She has written across an array of genres, though her love of history and romance always seems to find a way into her work. Born and raised in southern California, she now resides in Maryland with her husband and daughter. When not living vicariously through her characters, she enjoys travel, crafting, and helping others with their own writing journeys.

Instagram :  https://www.instagram.com/JessicaDallAuthor/

Website : https://jessicadall.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessicadall


Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Release Day Review: The Backup Plan (Sunrise Cove #3) by Jill Shalvis




An unexpected inheritance might be the gift of a lifetime.

The Back Up Plan, an all-new second chance standalone romance in the heartwarming Sunrise Cove series from New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis is now available!

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis returns to Sunrise Cove with a heartwarming tale of three people who are bought together when they’re bequeathed an old Wild West inn that has the potential to pull their lives apart, but instead turns into the gift of a lifetime.

When Alice receives a call about an unexpected windfall, she’s stunned to learn the gift is a falling-apart-at-the-seams old Wild West B&B she once considered home—and she’s inherited it along with two strangers. Except they weren’t always strangers. Once upon a time, they were friends. One is her ex-BFF Lauren. The other is Knox, the only guy to ever break her heart, all while never even knowing she existed.

It turns out their lives are unknowingly entangled because they once separately helped the same woman without expecting anything in return. Years later, Alice, Lauren, and Knox are broken in their own way, with their own history—and secrets— causing them to start out on the wrong foot with each other. But according to the will, they must renovate and be partners in the inn for one year or else lose their inheritance.

Stuck together, they make a list of rules to keep the peace—rules that end up doing the opposite, but by some miracle they find what they didn’t even know they were looking for—acceptance, true friendship, and in a case (or two!), true love.

 




Fall in love today!

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What I thought about The Backup Plan

In this third book in the Sunrise Cove series set in the Lake Tahoe area, Lauren, Alice and Knox reunite at the rustic hotel where Alice and Knox spent their younger years.  They all have lots of past heartaches and situations to recover from and resolve.  This is typically what I expect from a Jill Shalvis book and I wasn't disappointed.  It's really all about these three people, connected by the loss of the hotel owner Eleanor and now tasked to make the location work in thirty days as part of their inheritance. 

I felt this really was mostly Alice's story as she is the most damaged and hurt by what happened in the past.  She has suffered some serious loss that has colored her life and her relationships.  I really liked her. She also had a major crush on Knox which is not over -- and was one of the nicest parts to this story.

Lauren's situation is a bit different as she is related to Eleanor, yet never had a relationship with her.   She's also thought of as the town's widow, even though she lost a boyfriend, not a husband.  She's searching for her place in Sunrise Cove and managing the new inn may just be what she is looking for.

Knox is successful, but yet he's missing something too... or may it's someone.  As I mentioned, Knox and Alice come together in a way that is just absolutely lovely in this story, because of course, everyone gets a happy ending here.

I did think the book had a slower pace that what I typically like, that being said, I did finish this in about 24 hours, which is how I usually read a JS book, so the pace does pick up along the way.  Each of the characters learn a secret about Eleanor's manipulations that has the potential to really knock them down.  They all take it in stride, and the friendship between Knox, Alice and Lauren is super sweet and I just loved them and how they did support each other through this journey.

Overall, I enjoyed this story, even though I felt it was a bit slow in spots.  I loved these characters and their journey, especially how they supported each other.  An entertaining story about three lovely people finding their way home.


About Jill Shalvis


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis writes warm, funny, sexy contemporary romances and women’s fiction. An Amazon, BN & iBooks bestseller, she’s also a two-time RITA winner and has more than 10 million copies of her books sold worldwide.

Jill lives with her family in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters (Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is mostly coincidental). She does most of her writing on her deck surrounded by more animals than humans. Which is quite astonishing considering she’s a city girl who was plucked from the wilds of L.A. to the wilds of the Sierra’s. Most of her books come from a combination of hard work, cookies, and hot guy pics, and not necessarily in that order.

Jill often travels to reader weekends & conventions where she LOVES getting to meet and hang-out with readers. The only problem being she tends to get lost in her hotels. So if you ever see NYTimes Bestselling author Jill Shalvis roaming the halls, someone please return her immediately.

 

Connect with Jill

Website: http://jillshalvis.com/

Tumblr: http://jillshalvis.tumblr.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JillShalvis/[

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jillshalvis/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JillShalvis/

Newsletter: http://jillshalvis.com/faq/newsletter/


Thursday, January 5, 2023

Blog Tour: The Wrong Kind of Weird by James Ramos


 
The Wrong Kind of Weird
James Ramos
On Sale Date: January 3, 2023
320 pages  

A high-energy YA contemporary love story, following multicultural geek and nerd club member Cameron Carson... and his secret relationship with school queen bee Karla Ortega.

Cameron Carson has a big senior-year secret. A secret with the power to break apart his friend group.

Cameron Carson, member of the multicultural Geeks and Nerds United (GANU) club, has been secretly hooking up with student council president, cheerleader, theater enthusiast, and all-around queen bee Karla Ortega since the summer. The one problem—what was meant to be a summer fling between coffee shop coworkers has now evolved into a clandestine school-year entanglement, where Karla isn’t intending on blending their friend groups anytime soon, or at all.

Enter Mackenzie Briggs, who isn’t afraid to be herself or wear her heart on her sleeve. When Cameron finds himself unexpectedly bonding with Mackenzie and repeatedly snubbed in public by Karla, he starts to wonder who he can truly consider a friend and who might have the potential to become more…

What I thought about The Wrong Kind of Weird

I don't read a lot of YA but occasionally a blurb intrigues me.  I'm always on the lookout for something I can read with a family member and this looked very interesting in that respect, a good book to talk about some of the social things that tend to happen in high school.

Namely, high school popularity.  Seems like there is always a group that is at the top of the pecking order and goes out of their way to judge others according to that yardstick.  This book captures this perfectly with Cameron Carson's story.

Cameron is your average senior.  He's not the most popular, but he has his group of friends.  Others might call them nerds for their love of gaming and anime and all sorts of things that I wasn't familiar with having graduated many years ago, but that didn't matter.  It was easy to get the idea of the way the lines were drawn here.  The story is told in Cameron's point of view and I really liked that about this story.  I felt I really got to know him and his life through his eyes.  And I liked this character and his group of friends. I felt at home with them.

Things get interesting when he starts a secret relationship with Karla Ortega, one of the most popular girls in school at the same time he is developing a relationship with Mackenzie, the sister of Karla's back-and-forth-ex.  It's not as complicated as that sounds and again, I could recall things like this happening in high school, even at my ripe age. 
 
You just know it's going to blow up in his face at any moment, yet, he can't seem to extricate himself. He thinks about dumping Karla until she decides she wants them to lose their virginity together.  But he's really compatible with Mackenzie.  It's all so dramatic and realistic for the YA crowd. 

A class production of Pride and Prejudice becomes the backdrop for all this drama and I thought the author handled this is a very sweet way as unexpected relationships form.

While it's not a linear telling of the story and it jumps around a bit, I did enjoy Cameron and his friends and thought this story captured the drama that is high school.  We all know it. There is a diversity of characters that I really liked the most about this one.  Perfect for the YA reader and their friends as it makes for good discussion. Cute story, likeable characters.  A good reading experience -- I will be watching for future work from this author.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


 James Ramos (he/they) is a nonbinary, unapologetically dorky Minnesota native who now calls Arizona home. Weaned on a steady diet of science-fiction, comic books, and classic literature, James wrote his first story at eight years old and hasn’t stopped writing them since. He counts Jane Austen and Frank Herbert as his biggest literary influences, and believes in the unifying power of the written word. James is passionate about storytelling, particularly stories that give voice to marginalized people, especially those within the LGBTQ+ community and people of color. When he isn’t writing he can usually be found cosplaying with his friends or surrounded by his amazing family of cats.

 

SOCIAL LINKS:

Linktree: https://linktr.ee/thejamesramos

Twitter & Instagram: @thejamesramos

5 Stars for Don't Open The Door by Allison Brennan

  A family torn apart. A botched investigation. She’ll stop at nothing to get answers. US Marshal Regan Merritt never bought the FBI’s theo...