Right Where We Belong Brenda Novak

Right Where We Belong (Silver Springs, #4)Right Where We Belong by Brenda Novak

New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak returns to Silver Springs with a moving story about rebuilding your life when you’ve got nothing left to lose 

Savanna Gray needs a do-over. Her “perfect” life unraveled when, to her absolute shock, her husband was arrested for attacking three women. With her divorce settled, she takes her two children home to Silver Springs to seek refuge between the walls of the farmhouse where she was born. It needs a little TLC, but she’s eager to take control of something.

Gavin Turner understands the struggle of starting over. Abandoned at a gas station when he was five, it wasn’t until he landed at New Horizons Boys Ranch as a teen that he finally found some peace. He steps up when Savanna needs help fixing things—even when those things go beyond the farmhouse.

Despite an escalating attraction to Gavin, Savanna resolves to keep her distance. She trusted her ex, who had a similarly tragic background, and is unwilling to repeat her past mistakes. But it’s hard to resist a man whose heart is as capable as his hands.–Goodreads

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You can always count on Brenda Novak to write a compelling book that makes you want to keep reading regardless of your other responsibilities. I was so happy to be settled down with another of her books and immediately felt hooked. This is far more than your average romance.

As someone who makes a hobby out of reading true crime books, the threads of that theme that I found in this fiction book satisfied me far more than a basic boy meets girl romance. Still, as a romance, this is fantastic. The steam level was perfect. The sex scenes weren’t overdone and didn’t feel pointless, the sparks between the main characters were genuine and they were the kind of people that it isn’t hard to like. The relationship didn’t feel forced and I thought their personalities meshed really well. Plus, the kids tugged at my heartstrings. I may or may not have shed a few tears during this…

I loved the way the author interwove the stories from Savanna’s married life and her suspicions about her husband into the plot, using them to create tension for the current love affair in the story. This is a wonderful book and was full of unexpected twists and turns. There were times during reading this that I was holding my breath waiting to see what would happen next.

This is one of the best romance books that I have had the pleasure of reading all year long and I happily recommend it to others, particularly anyone that is looking for a suspenseful romance. Also, I want to move to Silver Springs, California now, too.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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Wyoming Winter by Diana Palmer

Wyoming Winter (Wyoming Men #7)Wyoming Winter by Diana Palmer

There’s something about those Wyoming men… New York Times bestselling author Diana Palmer returns to the Cowboy State with a brand-new tale of desire and deception

Cultivating his vast Wyoming ranch is all security expert J. C. Calhoun wants. His land is the only thing the betrayed rancher can trust in after discovering his fiancee was pregnant by another man. But all J.C. holds dear becomes compromised when a lost little girl leads him to Colie Jackson, the woman who destroyed his life.

Colie stops at nothing to protect the people she loves. Years ago she left J.C. for his own good. Now, for the sake of her daughter, she must depend on a hard-hearted man who won’t forgive her. As a band of ruthless criminals tracks their every move through the frozen Wyoming winter, Colie and J.C. will be forced to confront the lies that separated them–and the startling truth that will bind them forever…–from Goodreads

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love these ranch and western themed books. Diana Palmer is an amazing author that has a true knack for telling a story that will melt your icy heart and this book is no exception.

I have to be honest, in the beginning I didn’t think this book was going to work for me. I didn’t Like JC very much and thought the potential for him to become the hero of the story seemed thin. He had such an attitude problem and I didn’t see how it could work, but once again, this author proved that not everything is what it seems.

If you like your romance to come with some thrills, this would be a good book for you to choose. The love story elements are all there, but this is more than just a simple boy meets girl romance. There is danger and excitement, a bit of mystery and hard feelings to take you on a ride that you won’t forget when you’ve finished.

In order for a romance to work for me, there has to be a decent amount of believable tension between the characters and this one has it in spades. The Wyoming air is so thick with the chemistry between these characters you could cut it with a knife. With both of them suffering from memories of their pasts and afraid to move forward, this book got it just right.

Overall, I really liked the characters by the end, and am happy to recommend this book to other romance readers. This is a complex story that a lot of thought went into and it shows in the tight plot and solid writing.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

 

Christmas in Icicle Falls by Sheila Roberts

Christmas in Icicle FallsChristmas in Icicle Falls by Sheila Roberts

When Muriel Sterling released her new book, A Guide to Happy Holidays, she felt like the queen of Christmas. She’s thrilled when the new tree she ordered online arrives and is eager to show it off–until she gets it out of the box and realizes it’s a mangy dud. But rather than give up on the ugly tree, Muriel decides to make a project out of it. As she pretties up her tree, she realizes there’s a lesson to be learned: everything and everyone has potential. Maybe even her old friend Arnie, who’s loved her for years. Except, she’s not the only one seeing Arnie’s potential…

Meanwhile, Muriel’s ugly-tree project has also inspired her friends. Sienna Moreno is trying to bring out the best in the grouchy man next door, who hates noise, hates kids and hates his new neighbors. And while Olivia Claussen would love to send her obnoxious new daughter-in-law packing, she’s adjusting her attitude and trying to discover what her son sees in the girl. If these women can learn to see the beauty in the “ugly trees” in their lives, perhaps this might turn out to be the happiest holiday yet.–from goodreads

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you want a feel good book this upcoming holiday season that will make your heart melt, this is the one you want to get. There are a bunch of different story lines going on all at the same time in this novel and the author manages to tie them together perfectly by the end.

Even with so much going on, it is easy to keep what is happening straight because the characters are so varied. Each of them has an “Ugly Tree,” situation that they must overcome in order to follow the helpful hints in a new book released by one of the members of the community. I loved the way the author used Cratchett as a name in the book and showed that even the most unlikely people can sometimes be redeemed with a bit of generosity.

There are a few different romances developing simultaneously in this novel and other friendships and family relationships building and being tested as well. This is the kind of novel where there is something for everyone. I thought this was a wonderful book and look forward to recommending it to others.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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Lilac Lane

Lilac Lane (Chesapeake Shores #14)Lilac Lane by Sherryl Woods

At the heart of Lilac Lane is Keira Malone, who raised her three children alone after her first marriage broke apart, and who, after years of guarding her heart, finally finds love again. But that love is short-lived when her fiancé suffers a fatal heart attack. Grieving and unsure of what’s next, Keira agrees to move from Dublin to Chesapeake Shores, Maryland, to spend time with her daughter, Moira, and her new granddaughter, Kate, as well as to help her son-in-law, Luke, with his Irish pub, O’Briens

Not wanting to live underfoot, she rents a charming cottage on Lilac Lane, replete with views of the ocean and her neighbor’s thriving garden—not to mention views of the neighbor himself. The neighbor is none other than Bryan Laramie, the brusque and moody chef at the pub, with whom Keira is constantly butting heads. But things get real when Bryan’s long-lost daughter, whom he hasn’t seen since she was a baby, shows up out of the blue. As Bryan and Keira each delve into their pasts, reopening wounds, the rest of the town is gearing up for the Fall Festival Irish Stew cook-off, and making no bones about whose side they’re on. It’s Kitchen Wars meets This is Your Life—a recipe for disaster…or a new take on love?

You won’t want to miss this epic return to Chesapeake Shores, a place we’re betting you’ll want to stay forever.–goodreads

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you want to fall in love with the characters and setting in a book and be treated to an escape without having to leave the comfort of your favourite chair, this is the book to do it.

I loved the characters right away and found myself engrossed in this story before I was even finished with the first chapter. Keira is the kind of character that will make you nod your head in agreement as you relate to what she’s going through. I loved learning more about her and her family.

One of the things that impressed me about this book was how full of important characters it was. Everyone had a purpose and everyone was lovable in their own way. The story of Bryan captured my heart and kept me excited to see what was going to happen next. This novel is also filled with delicious sounding food–I dare you to read it and not walk away hungry for some Irish Stew and soda bread.

This book made me laugh and cry in all the right places. If you are looking for a romance with some substance and a lot of reasons to read it, may I recommend this one. Lilac Lane is a wonderfully rich, atmospheric novel you are sure to enjoy. I know I did.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Hello Again (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles, #2)Hello Again by Brenda Novak

From NYT bestseller Brenda Novak comes the next installment of Dr. Evelyn Talbot and her murderous home for psychopaths in Hello Again.

SHE CAN MAKE SENSE OF A COMPLEX CRIMINAL MIND.
Evelyn Talbot, a psychiatrist at a maximum-security prison in Alaska, studies some of the world’s worst serial killers. But she’s about to meet her most elusive patient at Hanover House yet: Dr. Lyman Bishop, AKA the Zombie Maker given his fondness for performing ice-pick lobotomies on his victims. A brilliant cancer researcher, Bishop is either the most cunning psychopath Evelyn has ever encountered—or he is wrongly convicted.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CRIMINAL CAN SEE INTO HER OWN?
When a new ice-pick fatality occurs, it seems Bishop really was wrongly convicted. Except…Evelyn has a personal connection to the victim and that suggests the killer may be someone from her own past: Jasper Moore, her high school boyfriend who tortured her and left her for dead when she was only sixteen. Jasper also murdered three of her friends—and was never caught. Is he trying to send a message with this copycat crime? The only thing Evelyn knows for sure is that if Jasper is on her trail, she might not be able to escape again . .–goodreads

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is shaping up to be a very interesting series with a complex plot that keeps getting more dangerous and compelling. I liked Evelyn Talbot in the first book, but in this one she gets even better. The author offers us a chance to get to know her main character much better, recounting the events in her past and showing us glimpses of what could be in store for her future.

Brenda Novak handled the murders in this book with grace. They aren’t overly graphic or disgusting, but she gives just enough to terrify you and make you want to double check the locks on your doors at night. I liked the way she depicted the strain on the relationship between Evelyn and her boyfriend, caused by the stresses of the jobs they hold and other, outside factors.

You can tell that a lot of research into criminology went into this book and I found the entire thing interesting and well-written. This book has a tight plot and makes you want to keep turning pages. The ending was unexpected and left me wanting another in the series as soon as possible.

This is the kind of book that will not fade from your memory and will keep you checking to see when the next novel is out. Definitely recommended for those who like suspense thrillers.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. Al opinions are my own.

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The Surrogate by Louise Jensen

The SurrogateThe Surrogate by Louise Jensen

‘You know that feeling? When you want something so badly, you almost feel you’d kill for it?’

Be careful what you wish for…

Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream.

But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets.

And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye.

As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must face her fear of the past to save her family…

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book will keep you up at night.

I found myself lost in the pages of this book right away, literally within the first few pages. I loved the writing style as it made me feel close to the story and like I was experiencing everything the characters experienced.

From the beginning I felt bad for the main character, wanting her to make her dream of becoming a mother a reality, but not knowing what the future held. All the struggles she and her husband faced made me empathetic to her situation and feel like she was someone I could trust–until later in the story when I wasn’t sure who to believe.

I love stories where you aren’t sure if the main character is really experiencing something out of the ordinary or if they are simply losing their grip on reality. This was a very well written and compelling book with the perfect amount of suspense to keep me right at the edge of my seat. If you enjoy books where the past comes calling, this is one that you won’t want to miss out on.

I really liked the way the author ended this book–with as many questions as there were answers. I definitely recommend this book as being one of the best of 2017.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Sugar Pine Trail

Sugar Pine Trail (Haven Point, #7)Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne

An unlikely attraction brings comfort, joy and unforgettable romance this holiday season!

Librarian Julia Winston is ready to ditch the quiet existence she’s been living. She’s made a list of new things to experience, but falling for Jamie Caine, her sexy military pilot neighbor, isn’t one of them. Julia’s looking to conquer life, not become the heartbreaker’s latest conquest. But when two young brothers wind up in Julia’s care for the holidays, she’ll take any help she can get—even Jamie’s.

Happy to step in, Jamie reveals a side of himself that’s much harder to resist. Not only is he fantastic with kids, he provides the strength Julia needs to tackle her list. She knows their temporary family can’t last beyond the holidays, but the closer she gets to Jamie, the more she wonders if things could be this merry and bright forever… goodreads

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book from the first couple of pages on. Julia is a great character, especially if you are a rather introverted sort that likes your romance heroines to be a normal person that could be any one of us.

Jamie is a sweet and charming hero with a lot going for him but isn’t just good looks and loads of cash. The author made sure he had a background worthy of reading about and that he came to the table with his own bundle of insecurities. This book made me laugh on more than one occasion but also made me tear up a few times. Reading this long into the evening was a great experience that took me out of everyday life and allowed me to focus on something else.

If you are worried about reading this book if you haven’t read the rest of the series, don’t be. It still makes perfect sense even if you haven’t read all the other books. I’ve missed a couple but it wasn’t a problem.

This is a sweet and yet sexy, fun book to read any time of year. I loved the cats and the two little boys at the heart of the story and recommend it to all romance readers. Perfect.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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The Plague Diaries by Ronlyn Domingue

The Plague Diaries (Keeper of Tales Trilogy, #3)The Plague Diaries by Ronlyn Domingue

The astounding, epic conclusion to the Keeper of Tales Trilogy brings together the cryptic prophecy in The Mapmaker’s War and the troubling mysteries in The Chronicle of Secret Riven—leading to an unforgettable reckoning between lies and truth.

We are all born made of gold.

Secret Riven—the mystically gifted heroine who now represses her uncanny telepathic power—works for the mysterious magnate Fewmany as an archivist in his private library. There, she stumbles upon the arcane manuscript that had vanished following her mother’s untimely death. She suspects the manuscript contains a profound secret, and she is yet unaware of its link to a thousand-year-old war and her own family’s legacy.

The tasks before her are clear: Secret must finally learn what Fewmany wants from her as well as the meaning of a strange symbol she’s dreamed of since childhood. At last, she must confront the questions haunting her and depart on a quest to find the truth about herself, her dead mother, and her fate—to unleash a Plague of Silences meant to destroy, and transform, the world as all have known it.

A dazzling, genre-bending masterwork, The Plague Diaries illuminates the power of our choices, the scars they leave, and the wounds they heal.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ever get to the end of a really great series and desperately want to read the last book, but not want to at the same time because you don’t want it to end? That was me with this book. I knew it would be great, and it was even better than I thought, but I feared turning that last page because I knew once I did I would feel a bit lost. Now what am I going to read that will be this good?

In this final book of the series, a lot of things have happened that will make the reader want to find out more. There’s magic and mystery, events from the past that surface and change the outcome of the future and at the center of it all is Secret, a perfect name for a character that must deal with just that–many secrets. I loved the genre boundaries that this book pushed. It is the kind of story that will make you think, make you question what you know about the world of the characters and their lives and even your own.

The writing is clear and concise, the best words chosen to help the reader see the surroundings through the character’s eyes at all times. There are lines in this novel that are so flawlessly beautiful that you want to print them and tack them up on the wall and that, to me, is the sign of a very talented writer. I loved the descriptions of the library, the grounds and the overall atmosphere of this book. I was able to get lost in it and forget that anything else existed. if you enjoy books where you are never quite sure what is going to happen to the characters you have come to care about, this book will be a great addition to your collection.

I was pleased with the ending, finding myself satisfied (if a little misty-eyed) with the way the author chose to conclude her series. Loose ends were tied up nicely and I walked away happy to have had the opportunity to read this final book and hoping for more from Ronlyn Domingue in the near future.

This is a wonderfully imaginative series and “The Plague Diaries,” is the perfect conclusion. You would be remiss not to read this book. Recommended to everyone that wants a good, strong story to get your mind’s cogs turning.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan

**One of my favourite books of the year thus far. Creepy and spine-chilling and totally worth the read.

The Doll HouseThe Doll House by Phoebe Morgan

You never know who’s watching…

Corinne’s life might look perfect on the outside, but after three failed IVF attempts it’s her last chance to have a baby. And when she finds a tiny part of a doll house outside her flat, it feels as if it’s a sign.

But as more pieces begin to turn up, Corinne realises that they are far too familiar. Someone knows about the miniature rocking horse and the little doll with its red velvet dress. Someone has been inside her house…

How does the stranger know so much about her life? How long have they been watching? And what are they waiting for…?–Goodreads

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You shouldn’t read this book unless you want to give up everything else in your life until you are finished with it. It really is that good.

From the beginning, you are aware that there is something strange going on with Corinne and her sister, Ashley, but you don’t know quite what. As the story progresses, you glimpse the past and things begin to make sense, but only just. This story is told from different points of view, but instead of making it confusing for the reader, I thought it added to the overall atmosphere and feeling that not everything is what it seems.

I liked the way the author used a red herring or two in order to throw the reader off the trail. I figured out who was responsible before the halfway mark of the book, but it didn’t matter because in the end it didn’t go the way I expected it to. Knowing who did what was only half the excitement.

All of the unimportant things in life–you know–like eating, sleeping and bathroom breaks were shoved to the side while I read this compelling book. I could not stop turning the pages. Yep. I loved it. I suspect you will, too.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

The girl who came back

The Girl Who Came BackThe Girl Who Came Back by Kerry Wilkinson

Thirteen years ago Olivia Adams went missing. Now she’s back… or is she?

When five-year-old Olivia Adams disappeared from her back garden, the small community of Stoneridge was thrown into turmoil. How could a child vanish in the middle of a cosy English village?

Thirteen years on and Olivia is back. Her mother is convinced it’s her but not everyone is sure. If this is the missing girl, then where has she been – and what happened to her on that sunny afternoon?

If she’s an imposter, then who would be bold enough to try to fool a child’s own mother – and why?

Then there are those who would rather Olivia stayed missing. The past is the past and some secrets must remain buried.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book. Even from the very beginning you know there is something interesting going on but throughout most of it, you’ll be hard put to figure out exactly what it is. The characters were intriguing and I liked the fact that the author kept the dark and mysterious ambiance going throughout the novel all the way to the end.

The main character was exciting because I wasn’t sure if she could be trusted or not and if she was who she said she was. I liked the way the author intertwined more than one story together and made me question whether or not the two different stories would tie neatly together in the end.

This is the kind of book that will keep you up at night thinking about the story even after you have closed the book. The descriptions were good and the ending was surprising. I thought I had it all figured out, but it was a little different than I expected. Overall, I thought this was a great book and would recommend it to others that enjoy mystery and suspense.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.