Category Archives: ARC
Review: Wicked as Secrets by Shayla Black
Wicked as Secrets
Wicked Lovers: Soldiers for Hire Series, Book 7
Matt and Madison part 1
May 16, 2023 by Shelley Bradley, LLC
He’ll do anything to protect her from danger…but it will cost her everything.
Security specialist Matt Montgomery has never forgotten—or forgiven—Madison Archer for walking away and ripping out his heart. Three years later, she crashes back into his life, terrified that her wealthy husband is trying to kill her. Matt vows to protect Madison…but there’s a price. He’ll have revenge by making her submit to his every sexual demand.
Part of a powerful, ruthless political dynasty, Madison’s soon-to-be ex has deep, dark secrets. When uncovering them nearly proves fatal, she turns to the one man she knows can protect her—the lover she’s never been able to forget. Matt’s ultimatum is both shocking and intoxicating. But if she wants to keep herself and her ailing father alive, he’s her only option.
As the danger escalates, so do Madison and Matt’s feelings. But navigating their rocky past while trying to stay one step ahead of her deadly husband proves perilous. Will their forbidden love survive the danger and give them a second chance at happiness?
**Wicked as Secrets is part of the Wicked Lovers: Soldiers for Hire romantic suspense series. Stories in this series are told in a duet of two full-length novels. Each duet can be read as a standalone. Includes strong language, sexy times, alpha male attitude, and a guaranteed happily ever after. Enjoy!**
Matt and Madison had that kind of connection that you know it’s something special. Chemistry was only the beginning. They had a connection on a level that was deeper than either one of them now. And then it just ended. Did he break her heart or did she break his period?
Fast forward a few years, and Madison finds herself in the deepest of deep trouble. On the run, and no one to trust there’s only one person that she knows can even begin to help her. Matt finds medicine outside his window and knows in an instant that she is in trouble, and he must help her.
Full disclosure for this review. This book ends in a cliffhanger.
Secrets and lies, on the run and danger just behind. Wicked as Secrets starts was so packed action and doesn’t let up. Madison and Matt begin to deal with her unresolved issues while still feeling the connection that has never burned out. With serious danger just over their shoulders, they work together with some of our favorite Shayla black characters to find a way to get Madison safe. Just when they think they have some things figured out, everything hits the fan and puts everyone in a position they would rather not be in. Madison knows everything is hanging on a person she can’t trust. Matt is about to lose his mind over something. He should be able to help control.
As a general rule, I am not a fan of cliffhanger books, but yet I love this series. Fortunately, Miss Black is kind to her readers and doesn’t make us wait too too long.
Review: The Ghost Goes to the Dogs by Cleo Coyle
The Ghost Dogs Goes to the
Haunted Bookshop Mystery Series, Book 9
336 pages, Mass Market Paperback
First published May 2, 2023
A stray dog leads bookseller Penelope McClure and her gumshoe ghost on a chase for a clever killer in this brand-new entry in the “utterly charming” (Mystery Scene) Haunted Bookshop Mysteries from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle.
Pet Mystery Week brings brisk business to Penelope’s Rhode Island bookshop, but a real mystery comes barking at her door when a lost dog turns up in a panic. Pen and her son Spencer follow the furry fugitive to a wooded area where the dog’s owner lies unconscious. Mrs. Cunningham is a warm-hearted widow who volunteers at the animal shelter and runs Buy the Book’s pet lovers book club. Why would anyone shoot such a sweet soul?
The police believe it’s an accident, a shot by a careless deer hunter, but Pen remains skeptical. To straighten out this doggone mess, she whistles for the ghost of PI Jack Shepard, an expert in hounding as well as haunting. Jack has a dog story of his own, a case from the 1940s that may help Pen sniff out clues to her present predicament. Yet even with Jack’s hard-boiled help, Pen may not be able to stop the killer from striking again or letting this whole case go to the dogs…
Penny and Jack are not your average team but they get it done.
It’s pet mystery week and business has picked up for pennies Rhode Island book shop. However, the real mystery comes in the form of barking when a lost dog turns up at her door. Penny and her son hop on the case and follow the dog to where its owner is laying on the ground and unconscious. The dog’s owner, Mrs. Cunningham is a wonderful volunteer and animal lover. Now they have a mystery on their hands of who would want to hurt the sweet, wonderful woman. Penny calls on the help of her ghostly PI friend Jack Shepard, who has a story of his own involving some dogs from the 1940s. Together in the past, and in the present, they put together the clues to figure out who the culprit in his doggy caper is.
Cleo Coyle has put together another fine masterpiece in the haunted bookshop mystery series. Penny and Jack are something very unique, and the way the story unfolds through the past, and the present is something truly special. Penny is too smart to think that this was just an accident for Mrs. Cunningham. She is determined to find who tried to hurt this wonderful and sweet woman. While hunting down clues and trying to figure out who is behind this mass, Jack shares with Penny, his own doggy caper from back in the 40s that Jess may have left its mark on her present. This is a fun and entertaining, cozy mystery. When that truly keeps you turning the pages. Whether you’re in the past tense or the present you’re entertained on all fronts.
Review: At First Meet by Carrie Ann Ryan
At First Meet
Carrie Ann Ryan
First published February 27, 2023
NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan continues the Montgomery Ink Legacy series with an emotional, friends-to-lovers romance where second chances begin with a promise.
I fell in love with the wrong man and learned the hard way to ask for help.
I don’t plan on falling again and have no intention of trying.
But when I get invited to a high-powered CEO retreat, I know I can’t say no.
And I can’t go alone.
When my frenemy, Nick, invites himself as my escort, I should walk away.
But there’s no stopping the connection we’ve both ignored for far too long.
Only Nick’s past is far darker than he lets the world know, and the shell he encased himself in is stronger than my own. And when the pain from my past comes back with a force, I’m afraid that walking away will be the only choice—even if it breaks us both.
Lake is the definition of a girl boss. She’s an amazing businesswoman who finds ways to be able to help other women succeed in their business. Lake has recently gone through some personal trauma. That way is heavy on her mind. She does her best to focus on work to help her get through. However, when a business event requires her to have a plus one her good friend Nick volunteers. What should be a simple networking business trip turns into something a little more complicated and a lot more adventurous.
Nick has always been close to the Montgomery’s. Whenever he needed a safe space or to get away when he was younger they always welcomed him with open arms. Nick carries some issues from his past but yet he tries his best to move on with his life. When a friend is in trouble, and he’s a helping hand, he’s the one willing to step in.
At First Meet is another great story in the adventures of the next generation of Montgomerys. Laken, Nick have a complicated relationship. Everyone around them sees there’s more to them than what there is but yet that stubborn side of themselves doesn’t want to admit anything. They love to argue, but underneath it all, they have chemistry that even those around them can see. Considering they’re both pretty against anything happening between them. When they do let the chemistry do what it does. It gives them both some thing they didn’t even know they were looking for.
Review: Rum and Choke by Sherry Harris
Rum and Choke
Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon Mystery Series, Book 4
Meanwhile, Chloe’s friend Ann—a descendant of the famed pirate Jean Lafitte—asks her to come along for a boat ride as Ann dives into the Gulf of Mexico. She’s found some old papers that may identify the location of sunken treasure. Instead, she finds a sunken body—of one of the ringers hired for the Barback Games. Now that murder is in the mix, Chloe has to figure out whether one of the competitors went overboard . . .
Let the games begin.
In the newest installment of the Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon Mystery Series RUM AND CHOKE, our lead lady finds herself in the middle of some bartender games that she has been recruited for and is on the hunt with her friend for some
Chloe Jackson bartender extraordinaire is about to take part in some pretty intense games. Bartender games that is. The competition is tough, and in some cases even deadly. When Chloe and her friend Ann stumble upon a dead body while looking for some of her families buried treasure.
Sherry Harris always brings an interesting story when Chloe Jackson is involved. I absolutely loved Rum and Choke. You get a beautiful setting, a fun and engaging story, and a mystery that keeps you thinking. Chloe Jackson is a fun protagonist. She brings humor and excitement to the stories and I can’t wait to see what her next adventure is going to be.
Review: A Hard Day for a Hangover by Darynda Jones
A Hard Day for a Hangover
Sunshine Vicram Series, Book 3
Like we said, the new day can take a hike.
A Hard Day for a Hang brilliantly ties up all lingering questions while giving us mystery, romance and humor.
Waking up with a hangover is only the beginning to what Sunshine‘s day entails. Finding a young woman who’s been assaulted and barely conscious, a daughter, who is just as smart and intuitive as she is starts, digging into the case from a different angle. Not to mention the ongoings with the Ravinders, and her feelings for one in particular. The town of Del Sol is an interesting place, and Sunshine is the one that keeps it running.
Darynda Jones perfectly concludes this series in the best ways possible. With humor, emotions, and just a bit of weirdness to tie it all together. Del Sol is a unique town as are the people that live within it. Without giving too much away let me just say that we are given a story that also wraps up a series in a way that is perfectly fitting for the story. A Hard Day for a Hangover has mystery, action in a story that connects a family together. Darynda has the way that makes us fall in love with her characters and that doesn’t fall short here with Sunshine and her crew.
Review: You Can Hide by Rebecca Zanetti
You Can Hide
Laurel Snow Series, Book 2
What do you do when a sociopath loves you? Rising star FBI profiler Laurel Snow is about to find out …
Calling Laurel Snow’s relationship with her newly discovered half-sister challenging is an understatement. Not only does Laurel suspect Abigail is behind the mysterious disappearance of their father, but her erratic behavior also makes life in Laurel’s small hometown interesting, to say the least. Still, when Abigail claims someone is now out to kill her, Laurel’s instinct to protect her sister goes into overdrive. Then things get even more dicey as dead bodies start turning up in the icy waters of the Sauk River and there’s only one connection among them: Abigail . . .
Having Fish and Wildlife Captain Huck Rivers bringing in those bodies with his dive team only complicates matters. Huck is as impulsive and fiery as Laurel is coolly analytical, which makes their alliance risky at best. But standing up to such a demonically brilliant killer is going to take all the help Laurel can get. Because Laurel’s attempt to save her troubled sister’s life might cost her own . . .
Edge of your seat suspense, a thrilling mystery with a touch of romance…. You Can Hide is a wild read.
Laurel Snow is not your average female lead character and I think that’s one of the things I like most about her. She is beyond smart and holds more degrees than several people combined. She doesn’t see the world as the average person does. She doesn’t experience emotion in the same way that you were I would. It’s almost as if she can separate herself from them. It’s not that she doesn’t feel them. They’re just not the same to her as they are to us. With that being said, she is one of the best profilers the FBI could ever have on their side.
You Can Hide is truly a suspenseful read. It’s thrilling with a touch of romance and a lot of things that are making you think. There’s a psychological aspect to this one that really draws the reader into the story and makes them really pay attention. Or was that just me? Rebecca Zanetti takes readers on a journey of mind boggling events that I thought I had figured out only to find out I was wrong. I liked the progression of Laurel and Huck’s relationship. With both their personalities, I felt that this was gonna be one that moved a little slow, but yet be intense at the same time. I enjoyed seeing them make the next step.
If you were looking for a read, that will have you on the edge of your seat and make you think look no further. You Can Hide will do all that for you and a bit more. I highly recommend going back and reading the first book in the series, You Can Run. I promise you you will not be disappointed.
Review: Baked Offed by Maya Carrigan
A Five Ingredient Mystery Series, Booke 8
When the Deadly Desserts bake-off lives up to its name, Val and Granddad turn up the heat on a killer . . .
The Maryland Mystery Fan Fest sounds like exactly the fun getaway cafe manager Val Deniston and her grandfather could use. Granddad will even compete in a dessert competition in which contestants assume the roles of cooks to famous fictional sleuths. Playing Nero Wolfe’s gourmet cook Fritz is an exciting challenge for Granddad. A restaurant manager is playing Lord Peter Wimsey’s valet and cook Bunter. But Granddad is steamed to learn who will be playing Sherlock Holmes’s landlady, Mrs. Hudson–his nemesis Cynthia Sweet, who he believes ripped off his five-ingredient theme from his column “Codger Cook” to use in her own recipe column.
Apparently, he isn’t the only one who has beef with his not-so-sweet competitor. When she’s found dead in her room with the teakettle whistling, it’s up to Val and her grandfather to sort through the festival goers to find out who was most definitely not a fan of Cynthia Sweet . . .
What a fun, creative and unique, cozy mystery.
The Five Ingredient Mystery series is offering up Baked Offed for our reading pleasure. Café manager, Val, Denison and her grandpa are attending the Maryland mystery fan fest. Both of them are lucky enough to be taking part in events that are happening within the conference. Val will be taking part in the mystery trivia contest, and grandpa will be taking part in a dessert cooking contest based on recipes from old books. Which should be a fun event turns into a big mystery that some people aren’t even sure is actually a real event. Sometimes that’s what you get at a mystery conference. Val and Grampa put their skills to the test to figure out why a woman ended up murdered.
This was a different type of cozy mystery at that I thoroughly enjoyed. Val and her grandpa are great characters. I love how thorough they were trying to get to the bottom of the mystery that turned into a couple mysteries. I love the homage to the classic mysteries that we have all come to love. I love that what could be an insignificant clue became something that actually made a major part of the puzzle come together. There was lots of personality and charisma in the pages of Baked Offed. Also, I should mention I love it when a book is based in my home state. This was my first read in the unique series and it definitely won’t be my last.
As someone who goes to book conventions, Baked Offed give the reader all the fun of going to the book conference, minus the murder. It is a very fun experience to be able to get to spend time with the authors that you enjoy reading and partake in different fun activities with them. I really love how this book showed that experience.
Review: Garrett’s Destiny by Rebecca Zanetti
Dark Protectors Series, Book 15
Love and danger . . .
For most of his life, Vampire-Demon Garrett Kayrs, nephew of the King of the Realm, has carried a heavy mantle of responsibility with ease and control. Fate declared him heir to the throne, Fortune marked him with the power of the mysterious circle of Seven, and Chance promised more surprises to come. Nothing deterred him from his path. Until the nightmares began–agonizing dreams of having a female, the female, his mate, on the back of his motorcycle—only to have her torn away from his protection. He feels the menace around her, the danger she’s in, and he can’t rest until he finds her . . .
Duty and desire . . .
Destiny Applegate bears the weight of her name with a respectful balance of fear and purpose. She has been given some direction, but not nearly enough to truly understand her duty, what she was born to do. Even as a child, she had a sense of him. The him, her mate. A dream moment or two with him that might have saved her—or possibly cursed her. So now, when he finds her, she has no choice but to jump on the back of his bike and do her best to hold on until she discovers her path—even if that means ending his.
Garrett’s Destiny is one of those books that is extremely hard for me to be able to give any kind of justice with a review. I feel like this is a very big moment within the series and going into too many details even slightly would give away something that I was very excited to read. With that being said, I absolutely loved this book.
Garrett is a character we have seen grow up throughout the series. His devotion and loyalty are some of the things that we absolutely love about him. Not to mention he is all alpha, he’s sexy as hell and what can I say? I wouldn’t mind riding on the back of his bike. He’s fierce, all alpha, but yet gentle, compassionate and cares so deeply.
Destiny was a mystery from the get-go. I found her extremely intriguing. Everything about her was mysterious, but yet the shining light came from within her and proved that something good lies within.
From the moment that Garrett and Destiny met it was intense. From needing to save her to wondering if she was out to get him. It’s an interesting roller coaster ride that all I’m gonna say is I enjoyed reading as they were experiencing it. Destiny and Garrett are well matched for each other. Their story has many ups and downs, but in the end they have each other.
As for the overall story arc of our beloved, Dark Proctors hang onto your hat readers, this is a big one. And with that I highly recommend if you like this series at all, you should definitely dive in quickly and hang on for the ride.
Review: A Trip with Trouble by Diane Kelly
A Trip with Trouble
The Mountain Lodge Mysteries, Book 2
When the ladies of the Dangerous Curves Motorcycle Club take over the Mountaintop Lodge for their annual autumn ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Misty Murphy couldn’t be more thrilled. Every room is full and the adventurous women even invite Misty and her assistant Brynn to join them on a ride to admire the colorful fall foliage. Hotel handyman Rocky Crowder is happy to keep an eye on the lodge for the day, and the ladies set out for a fun ride on the scenic road.
The skies are clear, the air is crisp, and the leaves are gorgeous. But what starts as a perfect ride turns worrisome when the tail gunner – the last rider in their group – fails to show up at the Craggy Gardens overlook. Cell phone service is spotty in the remote, mountainous area, and the group is unable to connect with their friend. Might the missing woman have simply run out of gas? Or is something far more sinister afoot?
The ladies are determined to locate their ride or die, and Misty is equally determined to help them. But will they be able to solve the mystery when the scenic route seems intent on hiding its secrets?
Diane Kelly combines the beauty of the outdoors, a cozy and comfortable lodge, and a good heaping of mystery to keep you entertained with A Trip with Trouble.
Returning to the Mountaintop Lodge is going to be a wild ride. Misty is sold out for the week. Dangerous Curves, a lady’s motorcycle group, has reserved every room in the lodge for a week. Misty can’t be more excited. Upon checking in the group of ladies seems to be nice, charismatic and genuinely a good bunch of people looking to have some fun. Misty and her assistant Brynn even get asked to accompany the group on a ride, which to my delight they did indulge in. However, things go south when one of the members does not show up at an overlook where everyone has stopped. Misty helps the ladies look for their friend and unfortunately find her dead. Was it an accident or was it foul play? Misty with the help of Brynn and her handyman Rocky, try to get to the bottom of what’s going on with this mystery
I love when I’m reading a book and a place that pops up in the story. The tail of the dragon is a fun and beautiful ride although I have never done it on a motorcycle I understand the thrill behind it. Now, with that being said, Diane Kelly knows how to bring the loveliness of the outdoors into the story. I love the fact that the majority of the story does take place outside. From fires and roasting marshmallows to fun motorcycle rides there is atmosphere all over this book. Now, there is kind of a twofold mystery within the story, and I enjoyed both of them. At one point I wondered if they were connected and was surprised when I realized the answer. The story told primarily from Misty’s point of view, but those few chapters that we get from Yeti make me laugh every single time. and I love every single one of them. Diane Kelly knows how to draw the reader into the story, keep them entertained all the while, making them laugh and enjoy the experience all in one.
Review: Live and Let Grind by Tara Lush
Live and Let Grind
A Coffee Lover’s Mystery Series, Book 3
Laid-off journalist Lana Lewis is thriving as the proprietor of Perkatory, a coffee shop on quirky Devil’s Beach island, Florida. She’s juggling a relationship with police chief Noah Garcia, enjoying the company of her best friend, Erica, and relishing the companionship of her golden Shih Tzu, Stanley. Only problem is her neighbor, Gus, who incessantly uses his leaf blower, disturbing everyone in the neighborhood. Lana has learned to tune it out, but Erica’s rage boils over and she confronts Gus.
Then Gus is found dead, killed when his leaf blower explodes. Erica immediately becomes suspect number one. But there are plenty of other candidates as well: Gus’s soon-to-be ex-wife, Honey Bailey, who thinks she’ll be written out of his will; Mickey Dotson and Doug Beck, who were scalded financially after purchasing a pirate-themed tourist cruise business from Gus; and plenty of angry neighbors who’ve had run-ins with him.
As the clock ticks down will Lana get someone to spill the beans on the killer so she can clear her friend’s name, or will Erica go to jail for a crime she didn’t commit?
Live and Let Grind takes readers back to Devil’s Beach with our favorite barista Lana Lewis and her fun yet quirky friends for another fun filled mystery adventure.
It’s no secret that I love coffee and coffee related cozy mysteries are what got me started reading the genre. I have been fortunate enough to read every book in the Coffee Lover’s Mystery series. I am happy to say each one gets better as we go. Live and Let Grind has Lana and Erica rooming together, while repairs are happening on Erica‘s houseboat. Things that purgatory are fine and Stanley is as cute as ever. However things get shaken up when Lana’s neighbor, Gus is found dead. Gus has made a reputation for himself for being a nuisance amongst the neighborhood. Erica recently, having had a confrontation with Gus finds herself in the hot seat as a suspect. Lana does all she can to help clear Erica’s name and discover more suspects are popping up then she realizes.
Oh my latte. Live and Let Grind is a fun and entertaining, cozy history. With each book in the series is just getting better and better. Lana is a natural snoop, it comes with being a reporter. It’s kind of funny when she gets upset that she can’t do more than what she does. The cast of characters for the series is top notch. With a hippie father and a Goth for best friend it says it all right there. Tara Lash gives us another fast paced, caffeine infused entertaining read.