Monday, June 18, 2018

BRING ME BACK Review


She went missing. He moved on. A whole world of secrets remained—until now.

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Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone—never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story.
Ten years later Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister, Ellen. Their shared grief over what happened to Layla drew them close and now they intend to remain together. Still, there’s something about Ellen that Finn has never fully understood. His heart wants to believe that she is the one for him...even though a sixth sense tells him not to trust her.
Then, not long before he and Ellen are to be married, Finn gets a phone call. Someone from his past has seen Layla—hiding in plain sight. There are other odd occurrences: Long-lost items from Layla’s past that keep turning up around Finn and Ellen’s house. Emails from strangers who seem to know too much. Secret messages, clues, warnings. If Layla is alive—and on Finn’s trail—what does she want? And how much does she know?
A tour de force of psychological suspense, Bring Me Back will have you questioning everything and everyone until its stunning climax. (Synopsis from Amazon)


My thoughts....3.5 stars

Even though she's only written three books at this point, personally speaking there're some common themes they share...

-How well do we know those we invite to share our lives? The ones we intend to be most intimate with, do we ever truly know them?

-She makes the implausible, plausible.

-She keeps me guessing right to the end. Every time I think I know, I don't. That's such a thrill to me, the unpredictability and anticipation of the next twist. Where are we going & how are we getting there?  

-There's always a sense of justice being served, one way or another.

Ms. Paris delivered on the first two in BRING ME BACK. However, a page or two into Part Two and I knew with certainty who the "culprit" was. Never had a doubt. That being said there was one reveal at the end I hadn't guessed, but it didn't make a difference when all was said & done. Nor did I feel justice had been served, though I'm sure there are other readers who'll disagree.

While the sinuous creepy path Ms. Paris led me down made for a good read, the lack of the last two elements, especially the third, kept it from being a stellar read.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

JAR OF HEARTS Review


Jar of Hearts  

This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who's been searching for the truth all these years . . .
When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.
But fourteen years later, Angela Wong's remains are discovered in the woods near Geo's childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.
To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he's something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo's first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.
For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela's death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.
While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.
How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it? Find out in Jennifer Hillier's Jar of Hearts. (synopsis from Amazon)


There were parts of JAR OF HEARTS that I skimmed (I'm not that desensitized. There are still places I can't bring myself to go), but it's also a compelling read that made me think about so many things.

-How do you go on, day to day, living with guilt of that magnitude?

-Is Geo the only person Calvin, in his warped way, ever really loved? My conclusion would be a resounding yes. That in itself is creepy and scary. What about her touched him and exactly what part did it reach? Their relationship fascinated me, perhaps like an accident on the highway. You can't help but look and wonder.

-Forgiving, is it the only way to move on? Am I capable of that depth of forgiveness?

-They say, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions", and that's so true in JAR OF HEARTS.

-Nature or nurture?  A bit of both?

-Was there any other choice? How far is too far?

-Do we ever really know what we're capable of until we're up against it?

My imagination is vivid enough, so I would've preferred less of the graphic details, but overall JAR OF HEARTS is thought provoking and compulsive. Just when you think you know, you don't. That's always a good thing for me.
3.5 stars

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Blazing Summer Review


Summer Butler is killing it in the ratings—and all of America is tuning in as New York Timesbestselling author Denise Grover Swank greenlights a new season of TV’s hottest sleuth…


Blazing Summer by Denise Grover Swank



Summer Butler had no idea that Darling Investigations would be such a smash. But ratings don’t lie—fans love watching the former star solve real-life crimes in her hometown. With the first season wrapped, the reality-show PI is feeling the pressure to make the next one an even bigger success.
Though finding a new case won’t be easy—it’s not like another dead body will just fall in her lap—Summer’s willing to give it a try. Besides, reconciling with her family—not to mention her old flame, police chief Luke Montgomery—is a nice way to spend her downtime.
But Summer’s rekindled romance isn’t the only thing burning up Sweet Briar. It seems the town is harboring an arsonist, and all the smoldering signs point to the same culprit: her cousin Dixie. Although this case may be too close for comfort, it seems season two is already bringing the drama—and for Summer it could also be too hot to handle. (synopsis from Amazon)




4 Stars
Stellar second season for Darling Investigations. 
Summer is back for a second season of her hit Darling Investigations reality series. No pseudo cases for Summer. She prefers edgy & puts the real in reality. Nobody said doing the right thing was easy and it's often not likely to win you any popularity contests, that's fine with Summer. 
Summer and crew continue to clean up Sweet Briar; righting old wrongs, ticking off her enemies, and making a few new ones. You gotta do what you gotta do to make amends. 
Fans, among which I count myself, should enjoy Summer and Dixie's second season. Here's hoping for many more.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

THE HIGH TIDE CLUB Review


When ninety-nine-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick summons Brooke Trappnell to Talisa Island, her 20,000 acre remote barrier island home, Brooke is puzzled. Everybody in the South has heard about the eccentric millionaire mistress of Talisa, but Brooke has never met her. Josephine’s cryptic note says she wants to discuss an important legal matter with Brooke, who is an attorney, but Brooke knows that Mrs. Warrick has long been a client of a prestigious Atlanta law firm.
Over a few meetings, the ailing Josephine spins a tale of old friendships, secrets, betrayal and a long-unsolved murder. She tells Brooke she is hiring her for two reasons: to protect her island and legacy from those who would despoil her land, and secondly, to help her make amends with the heirs of the long dead women who were her closest friends, the girls of The High Tide Club—so named because of their youthful skinny dipping escapades—Millie, Ruth and Varina. When Josephine dies with her secrets intact, Brooke is charged with contacting Josephine’s friends’ descendants and bringing them together on Talisa for a reunion of women who’ve actually never met.
The High Tide Club is Mary Kay Andrews at her Queen of the Beach Reads best, a compelling and witty tale of romance thwarted, friendships renewed, justice delivered, and true love found. (synopsis from Amazon)
 4 Stars
I know I’m in for a good time whenever I crack the cover of a Mary Kay Andrews book, and THE HIGH TIDE CLUB is no exception. Reader’s are introduced to Josephine, Millie, Ruth, and Varina in the past, and the survivors or their descendants in the future sections.
With more twists and turns than a Southern back road, the past comes roaring into the future in ways the friends could never have envisioned.
Can you ever make amends for some trespasses?  What’s unforgivable and why is forgiveness so hard sometimes? 
Join Brooke, Liz, Marie, Felicia, Varina, and the indomitable Josephine as they stir up a hornet's nest, forever changing their lives and the lives of those around them.  

THE HIGH TIDE CLUB is as satisfying as a tall glass of sweet iced tea on a hot Georgia summer day.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

REVIEW. THE CURIOUS AFFAIR OF THE WITCH OF WAYSIDE CROSS

 “Witch!” cries the young man after stumbling unexpectedly into the London address of the consulting-detective partnership of Mr. Jasper Jesperson and Miss Lane. He makes the startling accusation while pointing toward Miss Lane . . . then he drops dead. Thus begins the strangest case yet to land—quite literally—on the doorstep of Jesperson and Lane.

According to the coroner, Charles Manning died of a heart attack—despite being in perfect health. Could he have been struck down by a witch’s spell? The late Mr. Manning’s address book leads Jesperson and Lane to the shrieking pits of Aylmerton, an ancient archaeological site reputed to be haunted by a vengeful ghost. There they sift through the local characters, each more suspicious than the last: Manning’s associate, Felix Ott, an English folklore enthusiast; Reverend Ringer, a fierce opponent of superstition; and the Bulstrode sisters, a trio of beauties with a reputation for witchcraft.

But when an innocent child goes missing, suddenly Jesperson and Lane aren’t merely trying to solve one murder—they’re racing to prevent another. been struck down by a witch’s spell? The late Mr. Manning’s address book leads Jesperson and Lane to the shrieking pits of Aylmerton, an ancient archaeological site reputed to be haunted by a vengeful ghost. There they sift through the local characters, each more suspicious than the last: Manning’s associate, Felix Ott, an English folklore enthusiast; Reverend Ringer, a fierce opponent of superstition; and the Bulstrode sisters, a trio of beauties with a reputation for witchcraft. But when an innocent child goes missing, suddenly Jesperson and Lane aren’t merely trying to solve one murder—they’re racing to prevent another.  (synopsis from Amazon)








My thoughts on THE CURIOUS AFFAIR OF THE WITCH OF WAYSIDE CROSS...3 stars 

Two mysteries in one.
What does a missing child in the countryside have to do with the death of a man in London, if anything?
Are the culprit(s) otherworldly or all too human?  
An interesting jaunt through Victorian England, urban and rural, and the striking attitudes and distinctions between the "classes".
I enjoyed the dynamics between Jesperson and Ms. Lane and will have to look up the first book to see how their relationship was established. Ms. Lane struck me as a tad prickly, but not annoyingly so. 
My curiosity about this paranormal sleuthing duo is certainly piqued enough to give the first in the series a read. 
Both mysteries have satisfying conclusions that fit perfectly with no overreaching or omission resolutions. 
Solid and enjoyable, and at this point, well balanced worldly/otherworldly series that should be easy to follow.

Friday, April 13, 2018

SPEAKEASY Review


 In this literate and action-packed historical thriller, set during World War II, a plucky code-breaker fights to keep a deadly secret as her Bonnie-and-Clyde past threatens to catch up with her.

Thirty-year-old Lena Stillman is living a perfectly respectable life when a shocking newspaper headline calls up her past: it concerns her former lover, charismatic bank robber Bill Bagley. A romantic and charming figure, Lena had tried to forget him by resuming her linguistic studies, which led to her recruitment as a Navy code-breaker intercepting Japanese messages during World War II.
But can Lena keep her own secrets? Threatening notes and the appearance of an old diary that recalls her gangster days are poised to upset her new life.
Whom can she really trust? Is there a spy among the code-breakers? And who is it that wants her dead? (synopsis from Amazon)


3 Stars
Lena Stillman has a knack for languages and breaking codes. These gifts have led to her being the top ranked woman in Canada's Examination Unit during WWII.

However, Lena's hiding from her past. Lena was a member of The Clockwork Gang, notorious bank robbers.
In the beginning it's difficult to make out who's "talking", and it's not due to the shifts between the past and present. However, once Lena's introduced into the gang it becomes easier.
I don't think I've ever read anything set during WWII from a Canadian point of view. It was certainly different.
To my thinking, this is one of the last time periods when an ordinary person could effectively disappear, re-create themselves elsewhere, and pull it off. That ability plays into several of the unanswered questions I had at the end of SPEAKEASY.
Lena is strong and independent now. The war offered many women unique opportunities and Lena steps up to grab them with both hands. Given her past and present situation I felt there were things she should have sussed out sooner, but that was a minor distraction as we all have our weaknesses. This may be something she'll overcome in future books.

SPEAKEASY reads and ends in a way that suggests at least one more book. Right now I'm of two minds about that, but curiosity will likely lure me to follow where Lena leads.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Christi Caldwell's HELLION Blitz Tour & giveaway!



Message From Heroine Cleopatra Killoran
A knife-fight in the Dials. Plucking a nob’s purse with a constable underfoot. Scaling a London rooftop.

Want me to go on, do you? Because I can go on and on with the list goes of things I’d rather do than live with the fancy nobs in Mayfair. Yet, that is precisely where I, Cleopatra Killoran find myself.

Nor is this just any fancy family I’m living with—this is the Black family, hated enemies. Our feud goes back to the streets of St. Giles when we were all poorer, powerless, and scraping to survive. Oh, don’t go thinking the Killorans want for anything—not now. Not any longer. We’ve built The Devil’s Den the most prosperous gaming hell that’s lined our pockets and kept us safe. But for my brother, Broderick—it’s not enough. It’s never enough. It’s why he’s determined to marry one of his sisters: me, Ophelia, or Gertrude, off to some toff.

And though I’d sooner split my side open than concede a point to Broderick or anyone—I not only see my brother’s fear, but I understand it. After living amongst the rats with an empty belly and a hard floor a person’s only mattress, that fear is with you. It’s always with you and keeps you on edge...if you’re clever. Terror that everything one’s built will be taken away and one will find oneself back in those hated streets, cloying to survive once more. Yes, Broderick was sending one of us and I’ll be damned if he sacrifices Gertrude or Ophelia. I’m the protector. The one who’ll keep them safe. And so I went.

I was prepared for everything I’d face.

Or I thought I was.

What I didn’t anticipate was Adair Thorne. Black’s brother of the streets. I see the way he watches me. Carefully. With suspicion. Anger. He no more wants me here than I wanted to come. It was clear from the moment I entered the house, and he made the mistake of trying to take my dagger from me. And yet, there’s something else, there, too in his eyes, every time he touches his gaze on me--desire. And god help me, I feel it, too.

Excerpt from The Hellion

At last they reached the far recesses of the townhouse: one of the last doors in the long hallway. Thorne shot a hand out, and Cleopatra stiffened. He merely pressed the handle. She hesitated. It would be unwise for Thorne to inflict harm upon her. That act would result in an all-out war of the streets. Nonetheless, she bore the scar upon her hand from having entered a room with far less caution than she should. Cleopatra ducked her head inside. 

Sunlight streamed through the windows, bathing the spacious, pale-pink chambers in a soft light. Pink. She curled her hands into tight, reflexive balls as a memory whispered forward. Cleopatra as she’d been prowling the streets of London, in search of unsuspecting lords, and seeing a fancy toff alongside a small girl in pink ruffles. The two had laughed and spoken with such a tenderness that, from that point forward, Cleopatra had come to abhor that soft shade of innocence because it reminded her of what she’d truly gone without—a loving parent. 

“Not to your liking, Cleopatra?” 
She started, grateful to Adair for pulling her back from the humiliating melancholy that struck. It was the first time he’d laid claim to her given name. Hearing him wrap it in his low baritone roused … something peculiar inside. A damned, unwanted fluttering that didn’t have anything to
do with hatred or danger, and all the more unnerving for it. She forced herself to look back at him. “That’ll be all,” Cleopatra said, dismissing him like a servant. 
Splotches of color suffused his cheeks. 

It was entirely too easy getting under this one’s skin. And for the first time in the whole of that miserable day, she felt the stirrings of amusement. 

“Turn around,” he said gruffly. 

“Wha—” Cleopatra gasped as he laid his hands to her waist. Her valise tumbled from her fingers, and God help her, the weight of his powerful hand upon her person brought her eyes briefly closed. She fought to draw in a steady breath, but it emerged ragged. 

“Wh-what are you doing?” She managed to complete her earlier question, reaching belatedly for her weapon. 

Adair gripped her two hands in a firm hold that also had a shocking gentleness to it. He lowered his lips close to her ear; the hint of coffee and cheroots stirred the sensitive skin of her nape. “Surely you don’t think we’ll not search you,” he muttered, wholly unaffected, as he patted her through her gown. 

She tried to squeeze out an inventive curse—and came up empty. 

Through the fabric of her satin skirts, the heat of his bold touch continued to burn her, holding her immobile. It had been almost ten years since a man had dared to touch her … in any way. That man had lost two fingers for that affront by Cleopatra’s hand herself. Adair’s touch, however, was nothing like that grasping, clumsy one of a toff trying to take a girl against an alleyway. His hand lingered on her belly, and her mouth went dry. In a bid for both nonchalance and control, she peeled her lip back in a sneer. “What good would a weapon tucked inside my gown do me?” 

Ignoring her, he dropped to a knee and tugged her skirts up. The slap of cool air on her exposed legs effectively doused whatever maddening pull his touch had inflicted on her senses. “Bastard,” she hissed, shooting her boot out. 

With his unencumbered hand, he caught her ankle. “No armed Killoran will sleep under our roof.” In quick order, he divested her of the sapphire-studded dagger and tossed it at the opposite side of the wall. 

She silently screamed at the loss of that weapon and struggled against his hold. “Give me my damned knife,” she railed, yanking her foot left and right. Propelling her body sideways, she made a futile grab for the blade. Adair tightened his hold and glanced over to the weapon they battled for. His gaze lingered on that piece she’d retained of Diggory’s. “Don’t even think of it ya lousy bugger,” she seethed. It was the only material item of any value to her. 

When he’d joined Diggory’s gang, Broderick had convinced that hated leader of uniform blades to mark their connection. However, with the Celtic symbol of inner strength formed with the gems upon it, the blade was a reminder of her strength and ability to survive in the face of ugliness and evil. She’d be damned if Adair Thorne or any other claimed it for their own. She opened her mouth to bring his ears down but registered his stillness. 

A flash of hatred flared in Adair’s green eyes. Did he recognize the blade for what it was? Then, how many who’d crossed unfortunate paths with Mac Diggory or his men had had a similar weapon touched to their throat at one time or another? Or in Cleopatra’s case, countless ones. 

Taking advantage of Adair’s distraction, she shot her boot out and caught him between the legs. 

The air left him on a swift exhale, and he immediately freed her to clutch at himself. Cleopatra dealt him another kick to his lower belly. She gasped as her toes collided with a hard wall of muscle better suited to a stone statue than a man. Nonetheless, her efforts had the intended effect, and another sharp breath left him. Cleopatra sprang into action and lunged for her dagger. She cried out as that firm, unyielding grip collected her ankle once more, upending her. 

Cleopatra pitched forward. She put her palms out to catch herself. Adair swiftly brought her atop him, breaking her fall. 

“Hellion,” he whispered, rolling her under him. 

Their chests moved in like rhythm as her panting gasps for air blended with his noisy inhalations. The heat and power of him doused her logic and drove back her fear. Unbidden, her gaze went to his lips. Only one man had managed to place his lips this close to her own. She’d been a girl and he’d been a blighter who’d liked to bugger children. At Broderick’s hand, that bastard had paid the price with his life. Yet, the hint of cheroots and coffee lingering on Adair Thorne’s breath was so very different. Intoxicating. His gaze lingered on her mouth. Did she imagine the way his throat worked? “Do not ever put your hands on me, hellion,” he whispered, and that slight movement nearly brought their lips into contact. 

Her heart thudded as he slid a hand about her, cupping her at the nape. He’s going to kiss me. He’s going to kiss me, and I want it… 
 About the Book
Title: The Hellion
Author: Christi Caldwell
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Wicked Wallflowers, Book #1 

Summary
Adair Thorne has just watched his gaming-hell dream disappear into a blaze of fire and ash, and he’s certain that his competitors, the Killorans, are behind it. His fury and passion burn even hotter when he meets Cleopatra Killoran, a tart-mouthed vixen who mocks him at every turn. If she were anyone else but the enemy, she’d ignite a desire in him that would be impossible to control.
No one can make Cleopatra do anything. That said, she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her siblings―even if that means being sponsored by their rivals for a season in order to land a noble husband. But she will not allow her head to be turned by the infuriating and darkly handsome Adair Thorne. There’s only one thing that threatens the rules of the game: Cleopatra’s secret. It could unravel the families’ tenuous truce and shatter the unpredictably sinful romance mounting between the hellion…and a scoundrel who could pass for the devil himself.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Author Biography
USA Today bestselling author Christi Caldwell blames Julie Garwood and Judith McNaught for luring her into the world of historical romance. While sitting in her graduate school apartment at the University of Connecticut, Christi decided to set aside her class notes and try her hand at tales of love. She believes even the most perfect heroes and heroines have imperfections, and she rather enjoys torturing them before giving them a well-deserved happily ever after. Christi makes her home in southern Connecticut, where she spends her time writing, chasing after her feisty young son, and caring for her twin princesses-in-training. For the latest information about Christi’s releases, future books, and free bonus material, visit www.christicaldwell.com and sign up for her newsletter.
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Sunday, March 25, 2018

THE ITALIAN PARTY Review



Newly married, Scottie and Michael are seduced by Tuscany's famous beauty. But the secrets they are keeping from each other force them beneath the splendid surface to a more complex view of ltaly, America and each other.
When Scottie’s Italian teacher—a teenager with secrets of his own—disappears, her search for him leads her to discover other, darker truths about herself, her husband and her country. Michael’s dedication to saving the world from communism crumbles as he begins to see that he is a pawn in a much different game. Driven apart by lies, Michael and Scottie must find their way through a maze of history, memory, hate, and love to a new kind of complicated truth.
Half glamorous fun, half an examination of America's role in the world, and filled with sun-dappled pasta lunches, prosecco, charming spies and horse racing, The Italian Party is a smart pleasure. (synopsis from Amazon)

3.5 stars


Secrets and communists abound. It’s the tail-end of the McCarthy era period of the cold war and communists are lurking everywhere or so many American’s believe. 
Scottie and Michael are newlyweds with more secrets than Carter has little pills. Scottie believes they’re moving to Siena to sell tractors to the farmers, bringing a bit of good ‘ol American capitalism to this area of Italy. Michael thinks Scottie has a trust fund she’ll be coming into any day.  Neither could be further from the truth.
Fascists, Communists, spies, double-agents and more populate Siena, Italy. Nothing and no one is what or who you think they are. Ms. Lynch takes readers back to an era that, despite its faults, many look back on with nostalgia as a simpler, better time.
Scottie and Michael have some growing up to do. The rose-colored glasses are shed as they make discoveries about themselves, each other, and the world around them.
Travel back in time with Scottie, Michael, and all the vivid characters they encounter, in this fetching and more realistic gander at an oft-romanticized era. You aren’t likely to regret it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Lisa Renee Jones, Melinda Leigh, and Elisabeth Naughton~What would their heroines do & giveaway

This month bestselling authors Lisa Renee Jones, Elisabeth Naughton, and Melinda Leigh are each releasing thrilling romantic suspense novels. But while they write in the same genre, you can expect very different stories.





Lisa kicks off her new Lilah Love series with a bang in Murder Notes. When copycat murders plague her hometown, FBI profiler Lilah Love is sent to investigate. But she returns to find hidden secrets from her past aren’t staying hidden and the danger swirling around her is just beginning.












Elisabeth continues her RITA award Deadly Secrets series with Protected. Fashion designer Kelsey McClane rolls her eyes when her overprotective brothers saddle her with a bodyguard while she is on a press tour, however, she’s more than thankful to have former Army Ranger Hunter O’Donnell on her side when a deadly explosion hits too close to home.







Morgan Dane is back in Melinda Leigh’s unforgettable new story Bone’s Don’t Lie. In this outing Morgan stands by her man as Lance attempts to unearth the secrets of his father’s decades old murder. Morgan quickly realizes that just because the case is cold, doesn’t mean the original killer isn’t out for more blood.

Interested in learning more about these books? Continue reading as the Lisa, Elisabeth, and Melinda play a not-always-nice game of “What Would Your Heroine Do?” that will give you an inside look at their characters and enter the giveaway to win copies of the authors’ full series.



What would your heroine do if she feels like someone is following her, yet she can’t prove it?
Lisa: Well funnily enough in the first book of my Lilah Love series, Murder Notes, Lilah is being followed, but she can prove it as her stalker is quite blatant and goading with their practices. However, if Lilah couldn’t prove it, she would probably cuss a blue streak, as she’s prone to do, and make herself bait in order to lure her stalker out. She’s definitely not afraid of any danger, she is an FBI agent after all, and she loves nothing more than to best someone at their own game.
Elisabeth: This actually happens in Protected! I don’t want to give too much away, but Kelsey would definitely turn to someone she trusts for help. In this case...Hunter O’Donnell...the hero of Protected.
Melinda: The first thing Morgan would do is determine if she was actually being followed. She'd make some turns then see if the car was still behind her. If it was, she would never drive home and lead a potential stalker to her family. Instead, she’d head somewhere public and call PI Lance Kruger. Together, they’d try to trap whoever was following her.

What would your heroine do if the man in her life was injured and in the hospital?
Elisabeth: Freak out. LOL Actually I think her reaction is dependent on how and when he was injured and whether she thinks she’s somehow responsible.
Lisa: Lilah’s man, Kane, is forbidden fruit. He brings out her dark side. He’s on the wrong side of the law. He helped her do something very bad and she wants to blame him, but really blames herself. She can’t really be with him but she loves him. If he were hurt, she’d try to play it cool. She would put on a strong face at first, but she would go to Kane and the minute he catches her showing that she cares, he’d point it out. He’d make her admit it. She’d, in turn, deny her feelings and tell him in no uncertain terms that he’s screwed with her schedule and he better not f-ing do it again. She’d tell him she hates him for making her worry but that means she loves him, and he knows it, too. She’d try to go after his enemy, and Kane, would go after her.
Melinda: Since, Lance frequently gets himself into trouble, Morgan has some experience with this. She is protective and loyal and always wants to be by his side.

What would your heroine do if she receives an anonymous text accusing her of committing a heinous crime?
Elisabeth: Kelsey would be shocked first. Then become angry and want to track down the sender of the text.
Melinda: Having been stalked in the past, Morgan takes threats seriously. She would want to find out who sent her this text. She would try to trace the phone number, enlisting the help of experienced investigator Lincoln Sharp or computer whiz Jenny Kruger if necessary. In the meantime, she’d be extra vigilant — and so would Lance.
Lisa: In the opening Duet that launches the Lilah Love Series, Lilah isn’t getting text messages, but rather notes, left for her. They are very “I Know What You Did Last Summer” since she really did something bad. She isn’t one to be played with though, so Lilah goes on the attack, seeking out her note writer.

What would your heroine do if she wins a surprise trip to a faraway tropical island?
Melinda: Single mom Morgan has not had a vacation in ages. She'd talk her sister into babysitting her three kids and pack her bags! Or… could she save the trip as a potential future honeymoon?
Lisa: I don’t think I can picture Lilah on a vacation, she’s such a workaholic! But as far as her response to winning it, she’d probably say she has far too many dead bodies to deal with and then handoff the winnings to someone else.
Elisabeth: Kelsey is skeptical of everything so I’m pretty sure she’d assume the surprise trip was a scam.

What would your heroine do if she has the choice to confront someone threatening her?
Elisabeth: The answer to this really depends on whether this confrontation happens at the before Protected or after. Kelsey’s journey through the book is really one of empowerment. At the start of Protected I don’t see her being confrontational with someone threatening her, but by the end she really comes into her own. She’s never going to be a kick-ass heroine like some of my other heroines, but she can definitely take care of herself.
Melinda: Morgan comes from a law enforcement family. Her father and grandfather, both former cops, taught her to defend herself when she was young. She would rather not get into a physical altercation unless it was absolutely unavoidable. She prefers to talk her way out of trouble. That said, she carries a gun and knows how to use it.
Lisa: Lilah does this on a daily, if not hourly basis. She sometimes even provokes the threat, so her response would be colorful, as are all of her responses, with a hint of condescending humor and her own threat in return.

About the Authors
Before topping multiple bestseller lists—including those of the New York TimesUSA Today, and the Wall Street Journal—Elisabeth Naughton taught middle school science. A voracious reader, she soon discovered she had a knack for creating stories with a chemistry of their own. The spark turned into a flame, and Naughton now writes full-time. Her books have been nominated for some of the industry’s most prestigious awards, such as the RITA and Golden Heart Awards from Romance Writers of America, the Australian Romance Readers Award, and the Golden Leaf Award. When not dreaming up new stories, Naughton can be found spending time with her husband and three children in their western Oregon home. Protected is the third book in her Deadly Secrets series, following Gone and Repressed, which was a 2017 RITA winner in romantic suspense. Learn more about Elisabeth at www.ElisabethNaughton.com.

Lisa Renee Jones is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the highly acclaimed Inside Out series; the Dirty Money series; the White Lies duet; the Tall, Dark, and Deadly series; and The Secret Life of Amy Benson series. Murder Notes is the first book in the Lilah Love series. Visit her at www.lisareneejones.com.

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh is a fully recovered banker. A lifelong lover of books, she started writing as a way to pre­serve her sanity when her youngest child entered first grade. During the next few years, she joined Romance Writers of America, learned a few things about writing a novel, and decided the process was way more fun than analyzing financial statements. Melinda’s debut novel, She Can Run, was nominated for Best First Novel by the International Thriller Writers. She’s also garnered Golden Leaf and Silver Falchion awards, along with nominations for a RITA and three Daphne du Maurier Awards. Her other novels include She Can TellShe Can ScreamShe Can HideShe Can KillMidnight ExposureMidnight SacrificeMidnight BetrayalMidnight ObsessionHour of NeedMinutes to KillSeconds to LiveSay You’re Sorry, and Her Last Goodbye. She holds a second-degree black belt in Kenpo karate; teaches women’s self-defense; and lives in a messy house with her husband, two teenagers, a couple of dogs, and two rescue cats. You can learn more about the author at http://melindaleigh.com.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

THE ENGLISH WIFE Review

From New York Times bestselling author, Lauren Willig, comes this scandalous novel set in the Gilded Age, full of family secrets, affairs, and even murder.

Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life in New York: he's the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dote, and he's recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and renamed it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she's having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors and people will gossip. But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned, and the papers go mad. Bay's sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel. Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips? (Synopsis from Amazon)

THE ENGLISH WIFE has a lot going for it. Ms. Willig adeptly captures the era and its societal mores and strictures well.The characters are relatable enough that readers can easily become vested in them and their situations. An engaging story with plenty of twists that flows seamlessly into the mystery, who killed Bay and where is Annabelle? Is she dead too? 
Now, I'm not sure if this was intentional but there's a pervasive sadness, from beginning to end. This sadness can also be used to describe the characters lives. It's as much a character as Amanda, Bay, Anne, Mr. Van Duyvil, or Janie. I've thought about it and the book wouldn't be the same, nor as good, without this sadness. For me, the sadness makes the book.
THE ENGLISH WIFE is a good solid read all around.
3.5 stars