Category Archives: ARC

ARC Review: Silver-Tongued Devil by Lorelei James

 

Silver-Tongued Devil

Lorelei James

Rough Riders Series, Origin Novel

Published June 9, 2020

Their love story sparked a brushfire that grew into the legacy of Lorelei James’s Rough Riders series. This standalone historical romance is a prequel to the McKay family saga.

The West doesn’t get much wilder than Silas McKay. He’s earned his cowboy reputation not just as a rancher, but as a brawling card sharp who’s short on cash but long on charm. And just as soon as he claps eyes on the pretty new schoolteacher? Well, Dinah Thompson is about to discover what courtin’s like McKay-style—sweet, hot and passionate.

Luckily, Dinah’s got the sass and sense to stand up to Silas’s shenanigans. She relocated to rural Wyoming to teach and become a self-reliant woman, not to spend her nights dreaming about that blue-eyed rogue and his ranchwork honed-body. But Silas McKay’s powerful appeal and tempting promises convince Dinah to recklessly go all in with him.

When Silas’s long-standing rivalry with Zeke West puts Dinah, Silas and his twin brother Jonas in danger, each one is forced to make difficult decisions about taking a chance to build their legacy . . . and a love that transcends time.

 

 

 

5 Stars

 

Silas McKay was living the single cowboy life to the fullest. He’s a charmer with the ladies, knows his way around the ranch with his eyes closed and the luck of the draw seems to always be on his side. Silas is a smart man and is trying to build something lasting. Being on his ranch was his favorite place to be until he sets his eye on the new teacher,  Ms. Dinah Thompson. I loved how this big strong rancher became putty anytime he was near her.

 

Dinah Thompson it’s a woman ahead of her time. Moving to rural Wyoming was a step for her to become independent and self-reliant. She didn’t need anyone to take care of her, she was perfectly capable of taking care of herself.  As a teacher and a nurse, her doors are opened and the possibilities endless. That is until a silver tongued cowboy makes his intentions known.

 

Oh how I loved Dinah and Silas together. Their relationship was hard but that didn’t stop them. The distance that separated them made the time they spent together treasured and special. Silas is a true romantic and I loved how he asked Dinah to read to him. Dinah has this sassy streak that allows her to put Silas right in his place. I also love that she wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty and do what needed to be done whether it be on the ranch, with a patient or for one of her students. 

 

And wait,  we are not done yet. 

 

Jonas McKay is the town Deputy and twin brother to Silas. A man whom everyone believes is married to his job. The reality is the job keeps him close to his brother and the one his heart wants most. Ruby Redmond is the madam of the Miss Ruby Red’s Boarding House.  Knowing what people think of her, and loving Jonas as she does, Rudy stands the higher ground to avoid any harm her reputation could do to Jonas.  So so loved the pairing of the law and the harlot. Jonas and Rudy were intense and their chemistry was explosive. Maybe not a conventional pairing but one that will stand the test of time. 

 

Ms. James has given readers something truly special in the pages Silver-Tongued Devil. We get not just one but two beautiful and intense love stories. We see a family legacy at its infancy stage. We get unlikely friendships and what it truly means to be family. To see what the truth of brotherhood means. I laughed and cried. Felt the happiness and loss right along with our couples. Silver-Tongued Devil is a beautiful written historical romance that will make you feel like you have been transported to another time. Well done Ms. James, well done. 

 

Reviewer’s note: 

 

A few years back a dear friend introduce me to Ms. James’ Rough Rider series. I was not a fan of cowboy romance. I was told I would not be disappointed. I would also like to note that I’m not a fan of historical romance at all.  So with that being said, Ms. James not only got me to like her brand of Cowboy romance, she got me to love a historical as well.

 

Review: Graveyard Shift by Darynda Jones

 

Graveyard Shift 

Darynda Jones 

Charley Davison series, Book 13.5

Paperback
Expected publication: June 9th 2020 by Evil Eye Concepts, Incorporated

Guarding a precocious five-year-old who is half-human, half-god, and 100% destined to save the world is no easy feat.

Garrett Swopes was the ultimate skeptic until he met a certain hellion and her husband. They vanished after stopping a catastrophic event and left him, a mere mortal, in charge of protecting their gift to mankind. But when she disappears as well, he needs the help of another breed of hellion. One who can see past the veil of space and time. One who betrayed him.

She will get a truce in the deal, but she will never earn his forgiveness.

Marika Dubois’s son—a warrior in the coming war between heaven and hell—was foreseen long before his birth. But to create a child strong enough to endure the trials that lay ahead, she needed a descendant of powerful magics. She found that in Garrett Swopes and tricked him into fathering her son. A ploy he has never forgiven her for. But when he knocks on her door asking for her help, she sees the fierce attraction he tries to deny rise within him.

And Marika has to decide if she dares risk her heart a second time to help the only man she’s ever loved.

Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.

 

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

Darynda Jones just knocked my socks off. Graveyard Shift is a must for any fan of the Charley Davison series. 

 

Garrett is a human charged with a godly mission. When said charge is as unpredictably predictable as her mother, Garrett knows the lengths he may have to go to keep her safe. Or so he thought. When Beep vanishes and can’t be found on any plane of existence, Garrett swallows his pride, so to speak, and asks the one person for help who both makes and breaks his world.

 

Garrett is so much more than I gave him credit for. His layers are deeper than I could have put together. Marika was something more than what allows people to see. Together they were each other‘s best friend and worst enemy. Working together to find Beep shows them just what they truly were for one another. 

 

OMG- I even begin to describe this book. So much OMG. Darynda Jones gives fans a caffeine fueled, action packed, moment we have all been waiting for kind of story with Graveyard Shift. Reunions, epic battles and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.  Anyone who is a fan definitely needs to read this one as soon as they possibly can.

 

Review: Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse by Kate Young

Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse

Kate Young

Marygene Brown Mystery Series, Book 2

Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 26th 2020 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

 

 

On Georgia’s picturesque Peach Cove Island, a killer is serving up a two-for-one special . . .

After their mama’s passing, Marygene Brown returned to Peach Cove Island to help her sister Jena Lynn run the family diner, renowned for its homemade peach desserts. But Mama is never too far away–her sassy spirit haunts the island, and more specifically Marygene. Lately Mama has been warning her that the dead will seek her out to solve their murders, an idea Marygene is far from peachy keen on.

But that prophecy appears to be coming true when she goes skinny-dipping off the island and swims right into a woman’s charred corpse floating in the waves. And when Marygene and her brother Sam come upon a second burned bodSoury in a wine cellar at an event they’re catering, it appears they have a double homicide on their hands. It soon turns out the victims have more in common than their charred remains, and Marygene will need to double down to find a killer who has no aversion to playing with fire. Good thing Mama has her back . . .

Includes Seven Recipes from Marygene’s Kitchen!

 

 

4 Stars

A highly enjoyable small town cozy with a paranormal twist.

Marygene Brown is a strong woman, who has seen and been through a lot. She has returned home to take her place in the family business while the ghost of her mother guides her in an unknown family legacy. Still feeling the effects of a divorce and settling into a new way of life Marygene takes on the task of helping departed spirits pass on and bring justice to the crimes committed upon them. Willingly or not.

It’s one thing to stumble upon a body while swimming in the ocean but stumbling upon another while doing your job makes you think a bit harder. Marygene finds herself right in the middle of a decades-long mystery. With two dead bodies, her father being the local law, a new officer that she can’t quite figure out in the spirits of those departed knocking on her door, while reluctant when it comes to the spirit side Marygene proves to be a fantastic amateur sleuth in her own unique way. She learns Quickly that the little town she lives in has more secrets than she could’ve known.

Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse is a fun and unique cozy mystery. Marygene and her sister Jena Lynn are a fun and entertaining pair. Along with Eddie(father), good friend Besty who is hysterical, the cast of characters alone are entertaining. The story is filled with southern charm and a lot of sass. The mystery has some twists that definitely keep you thinking yet add to the entertainment value of the story. Kate Young made a fan of me with just one read.

 

Review: Killer Chardonnay by Kate Lansing

Killer Chardonnay

Kate Lansing

A Colorado Wine Mystery, Book 1

Paperback, 304 pages
Expected publication: May 26th 2020 by Berkley Books

A young winery owner won’t let one sour grape ruin the bunch in the first installment of this exciting cozy mystery series.

Parker Valentine has always dreamed of opening her own winery in her hometown of Boulder, Colorado. But she gets more than she bargained for when a food and wine critic unexpectedly shows up at Vino Valentine on opening day. A negative review could be fatal for her business, and not only does he seem to hate her chardonnay, he also collapses and dies shortly after drinking it.

Although Parker hoped that the attendees would put a cork in it, soon her winery is at the center of a social media firestorm. With #killerchardonnay trending online, Parker’s business is in danger of closing, and she has no choice but to investigate the murder herself.

To restore her reputation, catch a killer, and keep her struggling business open, Parker needs only one thing: some good proof.

 

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

Parker Valentine is about to see her dream come true. Her winery Vino Valentine, is opening its door. The wine is ready to flow, allowing Parker’s talent shine through grapes and fruits she blends. Opening day is not quite what Parker envisioned when a local food and wine critic unexpectedly stumbles into Vino Valentine. Not being too found of Parker’s Chardonnay, Mr. Critic doesn’t manage to stumble his way back out of the winery when he ends up dead on the floor. Creating the hashtag #killerchardonnay. Parker is caught in the middle of a hot mess as she instantly goes from a new business owner to one trying to save her business.

Parker rocks! I love how she approached everything that was happening around her. She was smooth, just like her wines. She could’ve fallen apart at many points in time yet she held her head high and made it her mission to get to the bottom of it. The descriptions of the wines alone make me wanna run to my local vineyard and see if I can find something even remotely close. I could totally see myself hanging out at the Vino Valentine. The mystery is well written. The story flows easy and just when you think you have it figured out, nope. Kate Lansing throws that twist that changes the game. The story flows so easily and the characters entertain and intrigue before you know it you have become fully invested in Parker. Killer Chardonnay is a mystery, with a good deal of suspense and a great heaping of romance added in. We all know I love the romance, Ms. Lansing blended it perfectly making it an enjoyable part of the story.

Killer Chardonnay is an easy lighthearted enjoyable cozy mystery that is just the beginning to what I’m sure is going to be a fantastic series.

The cat, Zin!!!! That cat, any cat owner will completely understand.

 

 

Review: Read or Alive by Nora Page

Read or Alive 

Nora Page 

Bookmobile Mystery Series, Book 3 

Hardcover
Expected publication: May 12th 2020 by Crooked Lane Books

A match-made in cozy heaven for fans of Jenn McKinlay, Kate Carlisle, and book lovers everywhere, Nora Page’s third Bookmobile mystery will (book)worm its way into your heart.

 

 

Two wrongful accusations has librarian Cleo Watkins and her loved ones booked for trouble.

It’s springtime and septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins is celebrating new blooms and old books. To her delight, the Georgia Antiquarian Book Society has brought its annual fair to Catalpa Springs in honor of Cleo’s gentleman friend, respected antiquarian bookseller and restorer, Henry Lafayette. But trouble rolls in with the fair when a flirtatious book scout makes the rounds, charming ladies of a certain age out of prized books.

Among the conned is Cleo’s cousin, Dot, who relinquished a signed first edition of Gone With the Wind. With no proof the scout took it, Dot is at a loss. And when he’s found dead the very next morning, without Dot’s first edition or other valuable books reported missing in his belongings, Dot’s freedom is on the line. Cleo is flummoxed in discovering too that the scout’s body is found behind Henry’s shop, and the murder weapon identified to be Henry’s bookbinding hammer.

Although books are at the heart of the crimes, Cleo feels dizzyingly out of her depths. Someone is setting up the people she holds dearest and with the authorities on the wrong trail, Cleo has no choice but to catalog the evidence herself. Along with the help of her trusty bookmobile cat Rhett Butler, it will be up to Cleo to book the real killer for good.

 

 

3.5 Stars

 

It’s springtime, the excitement is in the air and old books are about to become someone’s newest great treasure. Librarian Cleo Watkins and her dearest friends are beyond themselves with Anticipation for the antiquarian book festival. That excitement comes to a quick halt when a body is found and the clues are pointing right back to Cleo’s dear friend. She knows this can not be so she does what a seventy something book mobile library does best, gets to the bottom of it.

 

Nora Page’s Read or Alive was a very enjoyable and entertaining read.  Cleo is a fun character who is smart, personable and extremely loyal. She’s confident and takes on whatever life throws are her. Cleo’s sleuthing style is unique and unlike anything I’ve read before. Being the bookmobile librarian means she has many connections and knows lots of people throughout the town. She doesn’t necessarily go looking for the answers, they  just seem to find her. Doesn’t hurt that she has the ear of the better part of the local law.  Ms. Page’s style of writing is fun and allows a reader to fall deep within the story. The characters are interesting and entertaining, the plot is good and keeps you thinking. The setting is a quaint small town that is inviting with tons of charm. The friendships run deep and the antics of pets will definitely make you laugh.  Read or Alive is a fine read for anyone who enjoys book themed cozy mysteries.

 

Review: A Spell for Trouble by Esme Addison

A Spell For Trouble 

Esme Addison 

The Enchanted Bay Mystery Series, Book 1

Hardcover
Expected publication: May 12th 2020 by Crooked Lane Books

 

Alexandra Daniels hasn’t set foot in the quiet seaside town of Bellamy Bay, North Carolina in over twenty years. Ever since her mother’s tragic death, her father has mysteriously forbidden her from visiting her aunt and cousins. But on a whim, Alex accepts an invitation to visit her estranged relatives and to help them in their family business: an herbal apothecary known for its remarkably potent teas, salves, and folk remedies.

Bellamy Bay doesn’t look like trouble, but this is a town that harbors dark secrets. Alex discovers that her own family is at the center of salacious town gossip, and that they are rumored to be magical healers descended from mermaids. She brushes this off as nonsense until a local is poisoned and her aunt Lidia is arrested for the crime. Alex is certain Lidia is being framed, and she resolves to find out why.

Alex’s investigation unearths stories that some have gone to desperate lengths to conceal: forbidden affairs, family rivalries, and the truth about Alex’s own ancestry. And when the case turns deadly, Alex learns that not only are these secrets worth hiding, but they may even be worth killing for.

 

 

 

4 Stars

An enjoyable cozy paranormal mystery.

The new Enchanted Bay Mystery Series introduces readers to the small, corky town of Bellamy Bay and Alexandra “Alex” Daniels. Alex is a former risk manager from New York returning to see family that she hasn’t seen in two decades, and to help with the family Apothecary. Little does she know, but is soon to find out that there are reasons that Alex’s father kept her away.

A Spell for Trouble is a light, entertaining and fun paranormal cozy mystery with lots of twists and spunk. From the picturesque descriptions of this beautiful town, to the way the magic is woven through the plot and the way the characters charm their way into your liking. The world building is off to a fantastic start and within one book you really get a feel for the personality of the characters. Alex may have made some not so great choices at times but I did love her tenacity and will do what she needs to do to achieve her goals. Esme Addison has caught my attention and I’m eager to see what she has in store for The Enchanted Bay Series.

 

 

Review: Embraced in Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan

 

 

Embraced In Ink 

Carrie Ann Ryan 

Montgomery Ink: Bolder Series, Book 3

Paperback, 250 pages
Published May 12th 2020 by Carrie Ann Ryan
The Montgomery Ink saga continues with an unforgettable romance where two best friends make a bet that could change their lives forever.
Bristol Montgomery and Marcus Stearn have been best friends for so long, they sometimes forget when they weren’t as close as they are now. While friends and family think there’s something beneath the surface of their friendship, the two have always been steadfast in their stance on no heated looks or deeper feelings.
The problem? Years ago, they promised each other that if neither of them was married by the time Bristol turned thirty, they’d marry each other.
Even though both have long since decided never to force the other into an arranged marriage, circumstances and sheer stubbornness force them to refuse to back out of their deal.
Now, they’re determined to get married—even as dangerous exes and feelings they deny, block their path

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

Bristol Montgomery has traveled the world playing her music and sharing that passion to all kinds of people.  Yet all the places she has traveled, she was always willing to come home.  Home is with her beloved family and a best friend that is always there for her.  Marcus Stearn is truly the best friend that a girl, or anyone for that matter could ask for.  Loyal and devoted are the foundation of his being. The man has a huge heart and wears it on his sleeve.  Ten years prior a promise was made so that two people would never be lonely. Those years have passed and a promise is never taken lightly.

 

Embraced in Ink may just be the sweetest and most romantic Montgomery book of them all.  Friends to lovers is one of my favorite troupes out there. Marcus and Bristol’s friendship is rooted deep with trust and time, Years together, they formed a bond that was special and equine. Over time it developed into something indescribable for them.   Seeing them realize that they can’t fight the feelings that are harder to hide by the day is touching..A promise or a bet, or feelings that they just didn’t understand.  Their journey together changes. I love how they balanced  each other in a way that brings out their best while complementing one another at the same time.  Bristol and Marcus have their moments, like all good couples do, yet the tender way they are with each other is so worth the read. Family plays a big part for both Marcus and Bristol, and I loved how close both families are. Ms. Ryan delivers a sweet and tender edition to the Montgomery Ink: Bolder Series with Embraced in ink.

 

 

Review: Butterfly Bayou by Lexi Blake

Butterfly Bayou 
Lexi Blake 
Butterfly Bayou Series, Book 1 
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 5th 2020 by Berkley

New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake is back with an all-new heartwarming, small-town contemporary romance series set against the spicy southern backdrop of Louisiana’s Butterfly Bayou.

Life in Dallas took a tragic turn for nurse practitioner Lila Daley. In need of a fresh start, she retreats to Papillon, Louisiana, a tiny town on the bayou. Sure she’s greeted by a gator, finds herself in the middle of golf cart wars, and unwittingly adopts a scruffy dog, but Lila remains undaunted. She’s focused on running the town’s medical clinic, but fitting into the quirky community is harder than she imagined.

As a single dad, Sheriff Armie LaVigne embraces routine. But there is nothing routine about the town’s newest resident. Lila is a gorgeous fish out of water and he’s ready to catch her. In fact, in no time at all, Armie knows Lila is the woman for him and he plans to win her heart. But when the past threatens their happiness, Armie will have to decide if he has the courage to trust Lila enough to find a true happily ever after

 

 

 

 

 

4.5 Stars

 

 

Lexi Blake just rocked my reading world with Butterfly Bayou.

Lila has moved to the small town of Papillon, Louisiana(also known as butterfly bayou) to restart her life after a tragic Incident. She learns fast that small town folk do not like change and for her to take over the clinic in more than just ownership she has to earn the respect of the locals. Her big city ways may prove to be a bit much. Lila comes off a bit gruff at the beginning yet as we get to know her we learned that she takes her job more than seriously and is willing to put it all on the line for the safety and care of other. She’s as loyal and deep as they come. Even those moments when she may seem high and mighty, Lila is truly one of those really really good people.

Armie is the town sheriff and a single father who is dedicated to his daughter in every way. Armie’s I wonderful man who is kind and gentle yet strong and stern when he needs to be. He too, has some tragedy in his past that keeps the guilt right in front of his face. His guilt makes him look at things differently or not always see what’s right in front of his face. Like most men he is stubborn but truly his heart is in the right place.

Butterfly Bayou was just what I needed in my reading world. This small town is filled with colorful characters with a lot of personality and pizzazz. Ms. Blake touches on a many different issues that may not be pretty yet does it with a grace and elegance. We see Lila at her lowest of lows, fight through it and find a partner worth fighting for. Armie and Lila see things very differently yet when they figured out how to communicate with each other they learn the things aren’t always as they perceived. Butterfly Bayou is A fantastic beginning to what I’m sure is going to be an emotional and heartwarming series. I would like to add and I absolutely loved the scene at the end where the readers learn how Butterfly Bayou got its name.

Review: Proof of Murder by Lauren Elliott

 

Proof of Murder

Lauren Elliott

Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery Series, Book 4

Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 28th 2020 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
Bookshop owner Addie Greyborne must solve a locked-room murder in a supposedly haunted mansion to recover a priceless Sherlock Holmes original in the fourth book of Lauren Elliott’s literary themed Addie Greyborne Mystery series.

Bookshop owner Addie Greyborne must solve a locked-room murder in a supposedly haunted mansion to recover a priceless Sherlock Holmes original . . .

The seaside New England town of Greyborne Harbor is home to many grand estates, including the Queen Anne Victorian Addie inherited from her great aunt. Now one of those mansions is holding an estate sale, which is just what the bookshop owner needs to replenish her supply of rare editions–even if the house is rumored to be haunted. Assisting an overwhelmed insurance appraiser with the inventory, Addie discovers an 1887 magazine containing Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet, which she estimates to be worth over one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

But when Addie later finds the appraiser dead in the estate’s private library, with the door bolted from the inside, and the priceless edition missing, it’s a mystery worthy of the Great Detective himself. She’s certain the death and the robbery are connected–but who, other than a ghost who can walk through walls, could have gotten in to do the deed? It’s up to Addie to find the key to the crime–before she’s the next one cornered by a killer . . .

 

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

Rare books, a locked room and a dead body, all the makings of a great mystery.

 

Addie is smart, witty, has a stubborn streak and is head strong woman who has a fountain of knowledge about rare books. She’s persistent and thinks outside the box. I absolutely loved her.  Even when faced with a murder charge the woman kept her head held high and did everything she could to prove her innocence. Even if it did find her in a hot mess a time or two.

 

Proof of Murder is an entertaining and well written cozy mystery containing all those complexities that a mystery reader enjoys.  From the quaint setting, to the personalities of the characters, to a plot that keeps you guessing keeps readers engaged in the story from beginning to end. Lauren Elliott was able to get me hooked on her writing with one book. She is able to spin a mystery that kept me guessing until the very end. I loved the romance within the story and I loved how the author kept giving us the feels throughout. I also love that we saw a lot of personal growth within the characters of the story. That’s not something you see a lot of in mystery books, but that was very prominent throughout this one. With romance being my primary reading category I love when I see the things that I love from that genre fall into the mysteries that I am learning to love more and more.

 

Review: Sun Broken by Yasmine Galenorn

Sun Broken 

Yasmine Galenorn

Wild Hunt Series, Book 11

Kindle Edition, 273 pages

Expected publication: April 27th 2020 by Nightqueen Enterprises LLC

 

Life isn’t easy when you bear the mark of the Silver Stag…

Typhon, the Father of Dragons, is rising, and in his wake so are throngs of the departed. Amid the fallout, a serial killer emerges, targeting necromancers, psychics, and anyone dealing with the dead. Ember and the Wild Hunt head out on the trail of the killer, only to find themselves drawn into the dark underbelly of the Vampire Nation as they try to prevent the assassin from striking again. But the killer’s far more dangerous than anyone predicted, and now he’s got his sights set on his next target—Raven BoneTalker. Can Ember and Herne keep her safe, or will the killer slide beneath their radar and claim Raven as his next victim? 

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

Yasmine Galenorn grabs the reader’s attention with a fast paced story embedded with legend, lore, magic and mayhem with her own unique twist. Sun Broken is the latest tale of the exciting Wild Hunt series.

So much happens within the pages of Sun Broken, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading. Chaos is on the rise as a series of murders involving victims who practice some form of death magic. The Wild Hunt crew find themselves dab smack in the middle of one of the most dangerous places they could possibly be to put an end to this craziness. When one of their own becomes the next target, The Wild Hunt team comes full force. While the world around Ember is changing and preparing for what is to come, she is embracing both sides of her heritage. She is finding who she is and what she is truly capable of.

Sun Broken is highly entertaining and a fast read. Ms. Galenorn weaves a fantastic read.