Thursday, December 29, 2022

My Favorites of 2022

It's not easy to pick just a few favorites out of 104 books read in 2022, but I've whittled down the list to these favorites and memorable reads. I read more romantic suspense and thrillers this year, too.
 
 There are some new authors here, and that makes me happy. And there are authors whose work I devour whenever a new release pops up. 
 
These stories represent hours of escape and I thank all the authors for the entertainment. And there are so many other great authors and stories out there! What was your favorite(s) this year?
 
(Links to my review appear below the graphic.)

Happy Reading to all in 2023!



   
 
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Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Release Day Review: 5 Stars for One Last Secret by Adele Parks

 

One Last Secret

Would you kill to keep it?

One last client

A week at a beautiful chateau in the south of France – it should be a straightforward final job for Dora. She’s a smart, stunning and discreet escort and Daniel has paid for her services before. This time, all she has to do is to convince the assembled guests that she is his girlfriend. Dora is used to playing roles and being whatever men want her to be. It’s all about putting on a front.

One last chance

It will be a last, luxurious look at how the other half lives, before Dora turns her back on the escort world and all its dangers. She has found someone she loves and trusts. With him, she can escape the life she’s trapped in. But when Dora arrives at the chateau it quickly becomes obvious that nothing is what it seems…

One last secret

Dora finds herself face-to-face with a man she has never forgotten, the one man who really knows her. And as old secrets surface, it becomes terrifyingly apparent that one last secret could cost Dora her life…

From the Sunday Times Number One bestseller Adele Parks comes a blisteringly provocative novel about power, sex, money and revenge.

 

BUY

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  Kobo

Add to Goodreads

What I thought about One Last Secret

Theadora (Dora) is a sex worker. A high class sex worker, but as the story unfolds, it doesn't really matter much -- she still risks quite a bit for this choice of profession. After a particularly brutal evening on the job, her best friend takes care of her and convinces her to leave the profession. 

Evan is Dora's best friend.He loves Dora and cares for her. When he finally convinces her to leave her job behind, it looks like things might work out until Dora accepts one last job.  I think I was about to throw my e-reader when she agrees to play a part for a weekend.  What she finds is that everything is creepy from the start and she's in deep do-do pretty quickly with help from her hosts.

Things get even worse for Dora when the owner of the chateau shows up. And there's more.  The end of this book is FULL of revelations, until the final secret is exposed.

I really liked this.  First, it was easy to feel sympathetic toward Dora. The story is told in her voice, so the reader gets to know her quite well at the start of the book. Her hesitancy to enter a relationship beyond friendship with Evan makes sense as she knows his rich family would not accept her. When he leaves on a business trip, she is coerced into one last job, which becomes a setup with devastating consequences for Dora and Evan.
 
I don't want to spoil this suspenseful domestic thriller for you, but I will say that the secrets revealed are big ones and they keep coming until the final pages.  I really loved that about this book.  I'm still trying to piece some of it together in my head, as to who did what and when, but One Last Secret is a well-crafted story with lots of reveals and it evoked plenty of emotions from this reader.  Even though I finished this a few days ago, this book is still in my head.
 
Overall, a well-crafted domestic thriller that will leave you guessing until the end when some of the reveals are shocking.  Really enjoyed this story. 

 About the Author



Adele Parks is the #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of twenty novels, including Lies Lies Lies and Just My Luck, as well as I Invited Her InJust My Luck is currently in development to be made into a movie. Her novels have sold 4 million copies in the UK alone, and her work has also been translated into thirty-one languages.

 Author Website

Twitter: @AdeleParks

Instagram: @adele_parks

Facebook: @OfficialAdeleParks

Goodreads

Monday, December 26, 2022

ARC Review: 5 stars for Rancher After Midnight by Karen Booth

 


Can this tenacious beauty tame Royal, Texas’s savage beast? Find out in the latest Texas Cattleman's Club: Ranchers and Rivals novel from Karen Booth.

One New Year’s Eve kiss is all it takes…

To tame a handsome beast.

Thanks to a bogus inheritance, rancher Heath Thurston has a score to settle. Seducing his sexy land surveyor, Ruby Bennet, is not part of his revenge plan…nor is the snowstorm that leaves them stranded with nothing but a connection they can’t deny. As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, will Heath’s icy heart finally melt, or will he remain a vengeful beast for good?

From Harlequin Desire:
A luxurious world of bold encounters and sizzling chemistry.


You’ll be swept away by this bold, sizzling romance, part of the Texas Cattleman's Club: Ranchers and Rivals series:

Book 1: Staking a Claim by Janice Maynard
Book 2: Boyfriend Lessons by Sophia Singh Sasson
Book 3: On Opposite Sides by Cat Schield
Book 4: Rivalry at Play by Nadine Gonzalez
Book 5: Vacation Crush by Yahrah St. John
Book 6: An Ex to Remember by Jessica Lemmon
Book 7: Cinderella Masquerade by LaQuette
Book 8: One Christmas Night by Jules Bennett
Book 9: Rancher After Midnight by Karen Booth

 

Buy Links / PRE-Order Links

Book release date: December 27, 2022

Harlequin.com

Amazon | Google Play | Kobo

Barnes & Noble | Apple Books

 


 What I thought about Rancher After Midnight

I  haven't read any of the other books in this series and Rancher After Midnight works well as a standalone.

This was a quick, easy and satisfying romance between two adults -- one of which has a big axe to grind and isn't about to forget it.  Heath Thurston is looking for revenge against the people he thinks swindled a family member, but when a survey comes back that leads the investigation in a different direction, he also meets the smart and sexy surveyor, Ruby Bennet. 

I adored Ruby.  She's such a sweet person and she has Heath's best interest at heart, even when he may not think that's true.  But she does manage to get him to think about things differently, and see what's really important.

Overall, a very nice holiday themed romance, with a pleasant heat level and two characters that were fairly easy to relate to at some level.  The story moved along quickly, which I really like and the characters both do some growing along the way.  It was easy to want them to get their HEA.  Win-win. 


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Karen Booth is a Midwestern girl transplanted in the South, raised on '80s music and repeated readings of Forever by Judy Blume. When she's not writing about dreamy fictional men and the women who test them, she's in the garden, obsessing over college basketball, or spending time with her husband, college-age kids, and bratty cat.

https://karenbooth.net/ 

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Release Week Review: 5 Stars for A Wolfe in Winter: A Christmas Novella by Tiffany Reisz

 


Famous actress and secret submissive Sheridan Stratford can’t wait to collect her Christmas gift from Mistress Nora—a two-hour session with the Big Brad Wolfe, one of New York’s top male dominants. But when she’s snowed in with Mr. Wolfe for the night, Sheridan is forced to reckon with the sacrifices she’s had to make for her career. She expected to get eaten by a wolf, not fall in love with one…

 

Amazon USAmzn CAN Amzn UKAmzn AUS AppleBN NookGoogleKoboSmashwords

 

What I thought about A Wolfe In Winter

It's always terrific to visit with Tiffany Reisz's original sinners characters, and A Wolfe In Winter captures everything I love about this series. These are characters I always want to spend time with.

Actress Sheridan Stratford has a lot on her mind. She's worried about Mistress Nora's move to New Orleans and what that means, and she's also questioning how she is living her life. It's becoming clear that her career comes first over what she really feels and needs for herself. I really felt her anguish over these two things in just a few short pages.

Mistress Nora gifts her a session with Big Brad Wolfe, an accomplished male dominant. He's dealing with a heartache of his own, and in typical Nora fashion, she knows that Sheridan is just the person to help heal Brad's heart. I hadn't realized what a match maker Nora is until this story, and what she accomplishes here is very sweet (for Nora, lol!)

I loved this story. It's steamy, spicy and sweet at the same time, as Brad and Sheridan navigate a potential relationship. And is there any better ending than the main characters getting their HEA and what they truly want in life? Not for this reader. I loved this story. I'll probably read it again, just to visit with the Tiffany's sinners one more time.

 


 
About Tiffany Reisz

Tiffany Reisz is the USA Today bestselling author of the Romance Writers of America RITA®-winning Original Sinners series from Harlequin’s Mira Books.

Her erotic fantasy The Red—the first entry in the Godwicks series, self-published under the banner 8th Circle Press—was named an NPR Best Book of the Year and a Goodreads Best Romance of the Month.

Tiffany lives in Kentucky with her husband, author Andrew Shaffer, and two cats. The cats are not writers.

Follow Tiffany on Social Media: FacebookInstagram

About 8th Circle Press

8th Circle Press is a Louisville, Kentucky-based publisher of literary friction. For more information, visit our website at www.8thCirclePress.com.

 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Release Day Review: A Mother Would Know by Amber Garza

 

A woman questions everything she knows about her son when a local woman is found dead.

Valerie has been forgetting things. Her daughter worries about her being on her own in her big Victorian house—one rumored to be haunted after a tragedy decades earlier—and truth be told, she is a little lonely. With few options, she asks her adult son to move home, but it’s not quite the reunion she hoped for. Hudson is taciturn, moody and frequently gone.

The neighbors already hold a grudge against Hudson, and they aren’t happy about his return. When a young woman is found murdered a block away, suspicion falls on him immediately, without a shred of evidence. While Valerie fights to defend her son, she begins to wonder who she really invited into her home.

It’s a horrible thing for a mother to even think…but is it possible she’s enabled a monster? A monster she is living with, alone?

 Buy Links 

Harlequin  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo

 Add to Goodreads

 

 What I thought about A Mother Would Know

So, where do I start with this title? It's going to be very difficult to review this without giving any spoilers, but I'm going to give it my best!

The current day story is told through the eyes of Valerie, a widow and former singer/songwriter. She thinks she might be coming down with a degenerative disease that's causing her to forget. After all, it runs in her family. You'll have to get through a number of pages before anything starts making sense, but I must say that at about 7 percent, I was wondering if I was going to finish this because there is such a creepy vibe to this story, I didn't know if I would like it. But the fact that this book was able to pull that emotion from me in the earliest of pages told me to keep reading and I did.

I loved the pace of this book. I was to the ending before I realized it, and that's always a great feeling. The story of this family and their neighbors is well-crafted, leaving tidbits of clues along the way. There are some nice twists and red herrings too.

A Mother Would Know is an entertaining story about a creepy family. It shows just how messed up people can be and how events can shape and trigger behaviors in later life. I felt sorry for Valerie in the end. This book really did evoke some emotions in this reader and I really liked that about it.


About the Author

 

 

Amber Garza has had a passion for the written word since she was a child making books out of notebook paper and staples. Her hobbies include reading and singing. Coffee and wine are her drinks of choice (not necessarily in that order). She writes while blaring music, and talks about her characters like they're real people. She lives with her husband and two kids in Folsom, California.

 

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @ambermg1

Instagram: @AmberGarzaAuthor

Facebook: @AmberGarzaAuthor

Goodreads


Release Day Review: The Five Year Lie by Sarina Bowen

Bestselling romance author Sarina Bowen’s debut thriller, about one woman’s search for the truth after receiving a text from her deceased ex...