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.
Shadow Fallen by Sherrilyn (Kenyon) McQueen
Sherrilyn (Kenyon) McQueen
Dream Hunters #6
New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon returns with Shadow Fallen, a brand-new entry in her Dream-Hunter series.
For centuries, Ariel has fought the forces of evil. Her task was to protect the souls of innocent mortals when they die. Captured by a powerful sorceress, she is transformed into a human who has no memory of her real life or calling.
And is plunked into the middle of the Norman invasion of England.
Cursed the moment he was born with a “demonic deformity,” Valteri wants nothing of this earth except to depart it and will do his duty to his king until then. When a strange noblewoman is brought before him, Valteri realizes he has met her before…in his dreams. When others come for her, bringing with them preternatural predators, he is faced with a destiny he had no idea was waiting. One he wants no part of.
The truth is that Valteri isn’t just a knight of William the Conqueror. He is the son of one of the deadliest powers in existence, and if he doesn’t restore Ariel to her place, she is not the only one who will be in peril. The world itself hangs in the balance, and he is the necessary key to hold back the powers of evil. But only if he can find a way to work with the woman who stands for everything in the universe he hates.
Sherrilyn is back
Fallen Shadow marks a comeback with everything that I have come to love from Sherrilyn’s writing.
In a medieval setting, the Battle of good and evil continues. Valteri has known nothing from life other than sorrow, pain and battle. Born with different color eyes made him an outcast from the beginning. Some say he was evil, others say he was a demon and some call him as a son of the devil himself. He is brother to the king and undefeated in war. A hardened man who is whispered about behind his back does nothing to change what people think of him. Knowing nothing of the good side of life, the Temptations of a beautiful woman make Valteri think quite differently than he normally does.
Ariel has been a part of the battle of good and evil for as long as she knows. Her job is to collect the souls of the dying on the battlefield for the unknown war of good and evil that’s going on. Ariel finds herself bound to the earth knowing nothing of who she is and with a curse because of the grief of a mother’s loss. Not knowing who or what she is Ariel stumbles onto the lands of a feared man but yet she embraces him. Sewing is not something Ariel knows but skill with a sword can’t be denied. Ariel is about to embark on something she’s never known but yet can’t seem to say no to.
As a long time fan I am very excited to see this wonderful author back in action. From beginning to end this book is classic Sherrilyn everything! Ariel and Valteri are perfect for each other. From the moment they met to the interactions they had there was no lack of chemistry whatsoever. I love the way they talked and interacted with each other. Whether it be funny, protective or sensual they seem so in tune to each other and just wanted the best for one another. A broken hero and a kick butt angelic woman find their happily ever after.
I know some will complain that this is not one of the big name characters that long time fans have been very patiently waiting for. However when a series is this long and has this many characters sometimes we have to be patient longer than we would like. Some wonderful bits of information are discovered within the pages Shadow Fallen And have some nice foreshadowing for one of those big names that we have been waiting for. And we even get treated with an appearance from one of the all-time favorite dark hunters. I very much enjoy the book and look forward to the things to come within the Dream Hunter/ Dark Hunter world.
Review: Honey Roasted by Cleo Coyle
Coffeehouse Mystery Series, Book 19
One night, a swarm of escaped bees blanket the Village Blend’s chimney, and Clare discovers Bea’s unconscious body after she seemingly fell from her high-rise rooftop-hive setup. The police want to rule it as a tragic accident or possible attempted suicide. But Clare doesn’t believe either theory. Like Madame, she knows this Queen would never abandon her hive. To sort out this mystery, Clare investigates a world of cutthroat chefs, culinary startups, and competitive urban beekeepers. But can she uncover the truth without getting stung?
What fun and cozy return to the Village Blend.
Claire Cosi is trying to plan her honeymoon which is not going as wonderful as she would have expected. Just as she is debuting a new honey roasted coffee blend and highly anticipated honey cinnamon latte to her staff a swarm of bees decides to make the Village Blend their new home. Come to find out these bees belong to none other than Claire’s honey supplier and close friend of Madame. Claire takes it upon herself to go and visit the Queen bee Bea Hastings to find that someone has tried to murder her. Upon finding Mrs. Hastings’ body on her balcony, Claire has no choice but to get to the bottom of the sticky situation.
The Coffeehouse Mystery series was one of the first cozy series I dived into. From book one I was hooked. How could I not be? Mysteries and coffee. Over the years I have read many books in this series, but not all. Coming back at book nineteen was like walking back into my favorite coffee shop and not missing a beat. Honey Roasted was a fun welcome back.
Honey Roasted gives a lesson in honey, more fantastic coffee knowledge and an intricate mystery that keeps you very involved. Clare is as sharp as always when it comes to putting the clues together, even though her mind is focused on other things. She’s tenacious in her sleuthing abilities and I love that she allows a little bit of danger to fall in the game but yet really lets her sense of danger go out the window if needed. I love how she sought out advice and then acted to smooth the riffs in her relationship. The Village Blend clew is always a delight and can count on them for a laugh. I love how not only has Claire been their boss she has been their friend through this crazy coffee and mystery adventure. Honey Roasted was an engrossing read that I absolutely enjoyed.
Review: Dark Alpha’s Need by Donna Grant
Dark Alpha’s Need
Reapers Series, Book 12
From New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant comes another gripping story in her Reaper series featuring a brotherhood of elite assassins who wage war on the Fae at Death’s behest—and the women who dare to love them.
There is no escaping a Reaper. I am an elite assassin, part of a brotherhood that only answers to Death. And when Death says your time is up, I’m coming for you…
The latest threat uncovered, it is my honor and duty to oust those responsible for the slaughter of so many and make the Fae Others pay for their crimes. However, nothing could have prepared me for the stunning and curious female that crosses my path. She’s an enigma: equal parts strength and vulnerability. She quiets the rage I’ve carried within me for so long and makes me question Death’s directives for the first time ever. Her tragic, emotional story touches something deep within me, and her bravery is awe-inspiring—which makes it doubly hard to let her return to the enemy and the dangers that await. I never expected her, but I need her. She is everything to me, and I will do whatever it takes to make sure she’s safe and by my side. Forever.
My first love in reading is paranormal. Donna Grant does it so right.
Dark Alpha’s Need is a fast paced, high intensity, quick read. Seeing Torin and Breda go from attraction to something much more in the middle of chaos. Breda is so much stronger than she gives herself credit for. What she’s endured from her own family and the others is something that no one should have to experience and yet she willingly holds her head high to make sure that no one else has to go through that pain. Torin knows the bitter taste of the betrayal and wishes that upon no one. Being a reaper allows him to be a protector in a way. But being a reaper had nothing to do with wanting to protect Breda. I loved their connection. They are truly something special together. We readers find out some indulging information concerning the others and find a personal mission has been granted.
Dark Alpha’s Need is a captivating read
Review: The Moonshine Shack Murder by Diane Kelly
The Moonshine Shack Murder
Southern Homebrew Mystery Series, Book 1
The Hayes family has made moonshine in Chattanooga since the days of Prohibition, and Hattie is happy to continue the tradition, serving up fun, fruity flavors in mason jars for locals and tourists alike. All signs indicate her new ‘shine shop will be a smashing success. What’s more, mounted police officer Marlon Landers has taken a shine to Hattie. For the first time ever, the stars seemed to have aligned in both her work and romantic life. But when a body ends up on her store’s doorstep alongside a broken jar of her Firefly Moonshine, it just might be lights out for her fledgling business.
The homicide detective can’t seem to identify the person who killed the owner of a nearby bar. The only witness is Hattie’s longhaired gray cat, and Smoky isn’t talking. When the detective learns that the victim and Hattie had a heated exchange shortly before his murder, she becomes her prime suspect.
Lest Hattie end up behind bars like her bootlegging great-grandfather a century before, she must distill the evidence herself and serve the killer a swift shot of justice.
A fantastic new cozy series.
Mystery and humor combined in one. You can’t ask for a better combination and a cozy mystery. The Moonshie Shack Murder is a great start to what I think is going to be an intriguing and humorous cozy mystery series.
Hattie Hayes is carrying on a long family tradition. She’s just doing it the legal way. Hence, The Moonshine Shack! Hattie is thrilled to be sharing her grandpa tradition shine along with her flavorful line of shine. During her grand opening party Hattie believes she has a local pub convinced to sell her shine but later backs out and just a bit later is found dead. On Hattie’s doorstep not less. And with a jar of her shine smashed on the ground next to him. To clear her name and save her reputation before it could even really start Hattie Puts her nose to the grindstone to distill the true culprit.
What a great start to a new series. Diane Kelly definitely has something special with this one. I love the family legacy being revived in a new way. The characters are amazing. Grandpa was a hoot. He was thoroughly entertaining every moment he was on the page. Whether he was strapping himself to his rocking chair or getting rowdy with the young folk he’s a true gem in the story. Hattie is still coming into her own and beginning to let her dreams flourish but she still has a lot to learn. Her determination and tenacity just makes you love her.
A little mystery, a little shine and a dash of romance, that a winner in my book.
Audio Review: Courage by Kristen Proby
Heroes of Big Sky Series, Book 2
Natasha Mills feels like she’s loved firefighter Sam Waters her entire life. Since she first met him during middle school, she’s harbored a secret crush on her best friend’s big brother. It’s just something she lives with every day—too bad he doesn’t notice her. To Sam, Tash is his little sister’s best friend and that’s it.
Disaster strikes the Waters family, leaving Sam’s sister and her husband dead, and their young children in the hands of Sam and Natasha. Suddenly, these two are navigating the loss of people they loved, while trying to figure out parenthood together. The grief is devastating, and raising twins is harder than either of them bargained for. But in working together, and leaning on each other, Sam and Tash learn that family comes in all different shapes and sizes.
The more time he spends with Natasha though, the more Sam realizes just how sweet and sexy she really is. He finds himself slowly but surely falling for her. But when the time comes for him to let her go—will he be able to walk away from the family he’s helped build?
Emotional and heartwarming.
Suffering the loss of a loved one is hard enough as it is but then having parenthood rusted into your hands it’s a bit more than anyone could possibly ask for. Finding a delicate way to balance your emotions while raising twins is almost impossible. Natasha and Sam are doing all the can to support, help and get this co parenting thing down. Both have had secret feelings for the other for years, the time spent together and all the emotions broke a barrier and they both gave in. As they navigate the waters and start to become a family parts of life that were put on hold leave a choice lingering.
Courage is an emotional ride of a story that leaves you feeling so good at the end. I got choked up so many times while listening. The amount of emotions that come through the words of the story are unbelievable. Natasha and Sam I have a unique situation that they try to make the best of. Feelings that they’ve had for one another for years come to the surface which is only natural considering the situation that they are now in. They came together as a family, And made a new family of their own. I have to give amazing credit to the narrators. Their talent through the audio narration of this book truly gives another layer of emotion to this Hit you hard in the heart story.
Review: Wicked as Lies by Shayla Black
Wicked as LIes
Wicked and Devoted, Series, Book 3
Expected publication: February 9th 2021 by Shelley Bradley, LLC
He’s reckless. She’s forbidden.
And he’s done caring that she’s the enemy.
Chase “Zyron” Garrett left a bloody stint with Uncle Sam for the personal security business. His employment agreement forbids hookups with co-workers, which isn’t a problem—until Tessa Lawrence, the office secretary and single mom, is harassed by her vengeful ex-boyfriend. Zy is assigned to protect her, but the moment he meets the gorgeous blonde, those contractual restrictions tighten around him like a noose.
Tessa Lawrence is alone in the world…except for her newborn baby, and she’s determined to survive without anyone’s help. Then Zy walks through her door. Fiercely protective yet tender, he’s everything she wants in a man, lover, and father for her daughter. But he’s totally off-limits. If she falls for him, she’ll be fired.
When a teammate is captured and the enemy predicts their every move, it’s clear they’ve got a mole. The bosses task Zy with discovering their traitor, and all clues point to the woman he’s losing his heart to. With danger lurking, he’s caught in a tangle of unquenched need and searing betrayal. Will their love be the greatest casualty of all?
Nothing like being put into the position of where the choices are bad and worse. So what is an alpha male to do? Give into the temptation and deal with the fallout, lose the woman he doesn’t have, possibly betray a friend, give the bosses a piece of his mind and mess up his own head in the process. Just for starters.
Wicked as Lies is a slow action packed, on the edge of your seat story with a slow burn romance. Tessa and Zyron are attracted to each other from the moment they meet. Being coworkers makes them off-limits but yet circumstances have put them together that has made a profound impact in both of their lives. Two very strong people are tested in ways they never imagined, yet keep their heads held high as they face the pain they can’t seem to do anything about. There is a wicked game afoot and telling the players from the pawns is cutting soul deep.
Wicked as Lies Will take you through the whole range of emotions from swooning at sweetness to wanting to smack someone upside the head because they’re acting like a fool. Tessa and Zyron are as intense as their story is dangerous.
Shayla Black has readers waiting on their knees, with bated breath, for the sure to be epic conclusion of Zyron and Tessa story in Wicked and True.
Review: The Forever Girl by Jill Shalvis
The Forever Girl
The Wildstone Series, Book 6
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis does it once again with a heartfelt story of family, forgiveness, and secrets that have the power to change the course of more than one life.
When Maze returns to Wildstone for the wedding of her estranged bff and the sister of her heart, it’s also a reunion of a once ragtag team of teenagers who had only each other until a tragedy tore them apart and scattered them wide.
Now as adults together again in the lake house, there are secrets and resentments mixed up in all the amazing childhood memories. Unexpectedly, they instantly fall back into their roles: Maze their reckless leader, Cat the den mother, Heather the beloved baby sister, and Walker, a man of mystery.
Life has changed all four of them in immeasurable ways. Maze and Cat must decide if they can rebuild their friendship, and Maze discovers her long-held attraction to Walker hasn’t faded with the years but has only grown stronger.
A deep emotional story that will have several characters finding their way into our hearts.
A family with a lot of love to give opens their home to three foster children. With the help of their own children, they show 3 lost souls what a loving family is and that didn’t have to be of their blood. One year together changed their lives. Then a tragedy struck which separated them. A family they were but their strings were getting thin. They have lived life, stayed in touch yet years later when their rock calls them home for her wedding, they come, some reluctantly. Opening old wounds and a new chapter for four somewhat lost and a bit broken people.
Cat- the rock and mother hen is about to get married and wants her family, all of her family with her. Maze- the one with a trail of chaos following behind. Walker- always has and will always be their mystery man. Heather- the youngest and their beloved has a few secrets in tow. Maybe they all have a few or more secrets or self hurting guilt they are carrying. They are bonded in ways few will understand. Yet are at times a mystery to each other.
Jill Shalvis delivers the emotions like a punch in the gut. The Forever Girl is a story of friendship, love and loss. A story of challenging oneself, learning to forgive yourself and learning to trust your heart in love. A family that made themselves a family. Through the course of this complex and emotional story four people found a piece of themselves that was missing. Learned it was ok to break down and asking for help is not a burden. Love is worth fighting for, worth working for. Grab some tissues and your drink of choice, settle in for an amazing, hit you in the heart story within the pages of The Forever Girl.
Review: Everspell by Donna Grant
The Kindred Series, Book 5
New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant “skillfully melds history and legend” (RT Book Reviews) in a brand new series – The Kindred.
To live in the light, they hunt in the dark…
Runa is used to mysteries. Fortunately, she’s skilled at using those things to her advantage. Until some truths about her past are revealed, and her world is shaken to its very core. Now, she has her sights set on finding and saving the family she’s never known. What wasn’t in her plans is the sexy, mysterious stranger who seems to find her over and over, taking her breath every time.
All his life, Brom knew he’d eventually have to find the Varroki and take his birthright. Then a witch lays out a nearly impossible choice before him, and Brom decides to follow his heart. The beautiful and enigmatic female he’s drawn to is more than captivating. She makes him want to reveal all his secrets. But doing so could be the difference between life and death—for both of them. Especially in the battle between good and evil where all of the relics of the First Witch are in play—and everyone has a hidden agenda.
Soulmates, secrets and magic… it’s epic!
Runa is a loner. A survivor, warrior and a woman who knows how to take care of herself. Runa walks a thin line with her feet dangling on both sides of the line and holds her secrets deep. She’s someone I definitely wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of her sword but yet hope she would join in on my side of the battle. Just learning of family Runa didn’t believe she had any longer, her world is shaken just a bit. Runa is now on a mission when an unexpected man drops into her world and never leaves her mind.
Brom chooses to be a loner because he doesn’t feel like he fits in anywhere. He dreams of a woman he has yet to meet but feels the overwhelming pull to find her. Brom hides his true nature of what he is at the moment he needs the woman he sees in his dreams. He knows he can feel something so much more and knows deep inside that he can be himself with her. There Is much more to her and them than the lady in his dreams.
Everspell was epic in so many ways. From the moment Runa and Brom meet to the struggle they face, together and apart, to the battles they face in the end are epic. I knew I was walking into a well established series but let me say the world building it top notch. I feel like I was truly carried away to another world. The characters are confident and strong. Willing to fight to the end and very likable. The magical element was exciting and in your face. The romance between Runa and Brom was fast and furious but fate has a way of doing that. They fought for their lives and their passion. That is a winner in my book. I very much enjoyed Everspell.