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.

 

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Best Day Ever Kaira Rouda

Best Day EverBest Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

I glance at my wife as she climbs into the passenger seat, and I am bursting with confidence. Today will be everything I’ve promised her…and more…

Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever.

But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really?

Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion. In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is what I would call a strangely compelling read. I absolutely detested the main character and wanted to see the worst happen to him throughout the entire book, and yet–I found it impossible to stop reading no matter how annoyed or disgusted with him I found myself. I have to hand it to the author, she has written a very memorable book.

From the beginning, you know that this is one of those novels where appearances from the outside can be deceiving and that the happy couple you first meet probably aren’t all that happy. When that is confirmed and then reinforced later in the story, you might find yourself looking at the people around you and wondering if you really know them as well as you think you do. Any book that can do that, must be a good one, in my opinion.

I was curious to see how this would all end, there is a lot of build up throughout the story that leads you to believe there is going to be a dramatic ending and I had hopes that it would end with the main character fully getting what he deserved, but things didn’t go as I expected. I didn’t necessarily dislike the ending of the book, but I didn’t feel like it was a good as it could have been. I think I wanted to see the end be worthy of the rest of the book and I didn’t really think it was. Perhaps there is a reason the author chose to go the way she did with it, but for me it was a bit of a let down.

Still, this book is different and that was refreshing. it will keep you wondering what is ahead the whole time and will probably keep you up at night. It did that to me. One thing is for certain, I won’t forget about it any time soon.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher. 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.

Tangled Moon by Olivia Stocum

Tangled MoonTangled Moon by Olivia Stocum

She could feel her blood pulsing through her veins. Her heightened senses had turned inward and all she knew was this moment and what he was doing to her. She held him tightly, wishing she could pull him inside of her. Pull her inside of him. Something. Someplace where the unrelenting tug and pull between them could finally end…

Danielle Howard likes her life, as strange as it is. For her, this is as good as it gets. Who needs things like family, a home, and romance, anyway?
She spends her days as a mortal woman, and her nights as a wolf, killing vampires for a living. What could be better than that?

Well, maybe there is one thing missing…

Danielle thought one day she and her hunting partner, Lothar, would be more than friends. But some things just can’t be. Lothar is next in line for the High Council seat, and that means he is way out of her league. She’s talked herself into doing her job, with or without his love. He’s still her alpha, and that has its own appeal.

Nick Shepard knew there was more to life. He’d just never been able to find it. When the sexy Danielle comes into his life, everything changes.
All he’s ever wanted is to know who he is, and why he’s different.
Being unprepared for the truth, isn’t going to stop him from embracing it. Whether Danielle is a part of his future or not, he’s not sure, but he knows one thing…

He is never going back.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are a lot of books out there with werewolf and vampire characters, but few of them hold my interest. This one did. I liked the way the author handled the story, making sure this was not just another repeat of other books that have come before it.

Lothar, Nick and Danielle are all really interesting characters and the strained relationship between them gives this series a solid foundation to work from. As is the norm with this author’s books, you know from the beginning that you are in for some serious surprises and she doesn’t let you down. There is plenty of action in this novel to keep you whipping through pages, but she also gives you the emotional aspects of her characters and their relationships to one another. Even the side characters come off as important and integral to the overall plot.

There is enough steam in this novel to keep the romance readers happy, but not so much that it is intolerable for those of us that don’t want to read a book with a million pointless love scenes. The descriptions of the scenery and the shifting in this book are fantastic. I could feel the atmosphere from the first page, perfectly appropriate to the plot.

If you are looking for something paranormal but different, this will satisfy the craving. I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes next.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Education of a Coroner

The Education of a Coroner: Lessons in Investigating DeathThe Education of a Coroner: Lessons in Investigating Death by John Bateson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are tired of TV shows getting it all wrong and sugar coating what a real coroner does, read this book and you will come to a new understanding of how it all works. Ken Holmes built his career in Marin County and has been through it all. This collection of his experiences is not only interesting, difficult to read at times, perhaps, but also makes you think about the realities of the world we live in.

From inner office politics to the actual hands on job of dealing with bodies and investigating, the author leaves nothing out of this gritty book. I found that once I began reading this, it was impossible to put down. The pages flew by until I reached the end. In some ways, it’s hard to believe that these cases could be real, but they do say that truth is stranger than fiction. The level of human depravity and violence that Ken encountered day to day would break most people. You have to respect him for what he’s seen during his career.

Overall, I thought this was a fantastic book filled with interesting details that will likely make most people stop and think, perhaps even appreciate the lives we lives each day. This is eye opening and terrifying, well-written and thought provoking. Definitely worth the time to read.

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

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Why do you read?

books and flowers

As an author, I am always curious about what motivates people to read. I’ve done posts before about how people choose books, about covers and colors and what you seek in a blurb, but this post poses a simpler question with perhaps an opportunity for more complex answers.

Why do you read?

Sometimes I read to learn, sometimes to go on an adventure in a far away place I will probably never get to in real life. Occasionally, I read because it is such a part of me. Whereas some people enjoy movies, music or the theatre, favourite sports or socialising with others, I like books. I love the feel of them, the scent of them, the way they make you feel like someone understands when no one else does.

Sometimes I read to improve my craft. There are so many reasons. I also love the feeling of finding a new book–you know the rush of wondering what is inside the cover and if it will be as good as it sounds. The excitement of a new book can be better than…

My heart flutters and I dance from foot to foot until I can get the book home and see what it has to offer. I might be a little obsessed.

So what about you? What makes you return to the pages of a book? Why do you read?

The Big Little Festival

The Big Little Festival (Rabbit's Leap, Book 2)The Big Little Festival by Kellie Hailes

Join the whole village at The Big Little Festival for the perfect summer day out!

With only weeks until the little Devon village of Rabbit’s Leap holds its first ever festival, Jody McArthur is desperate. She – more than anyone – wants to raise the funds to rebuild the local swimming pool and when she fell pregnant with her twin boys, it was the village who was there to support her. So, to stop disaster in its tracks, she brings in bigshot London events manager Christian Middlemore to make The Big Little Festival the huge success everyone deserves.

But Jody is totally unprepared for the impact reserved-but-gorgeous Christian has on Rabbit’s Leap – and her heart! Except Jody has avoided relationships for so long, and anyway, she’s sure romance between a country-born-and-bred single mum and a career-focused city boy would be impossible – wouldn’t it?

As tensions rise along with the home baked scones and miles and miles of bunting, Jody is about to find out!

The second book set in the picture-perfect Rabbit’s Leap, this little village is where love blooms!–from goodreads

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was adorable and a fun way to pass a couple of lazy afternoons. I liked Jody and Christian both and they had plenty of chemistry to keep the romance reader in me happy. There are a lot of small, English village romances to choose from these days, but I thought this one was better than most. These characters had real struggles to overcome and mistakes in their past that haunted them. It was nice to see some depth rather than the fluff that a lot of romances are made up of.

The twin boys were fun and I enjoyed their antics, having twin boys of my own, I could relate to the things the main character went through and how she felt about the possibility of a new relationship. The author did a great job with descriptions and I like the way she made the secondary characters feel so real and full of life.

This is a really cute story with a bit of steam and a story line that won’t let you down. Recommended for those who like romance with a cosy feel.

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

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Leave the Night on

Leave The Night On (Cottonbloom, #4)Leave The Night On by Laura Trentham

Love, betrayal, and sweet revenge–life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .

Sutton Mize is known for lavishing attention on the customers who flock to her boutique on the wealthy side of her Mississippi town. So when she finds a lace thong in her fiance’s classic cherry-red Camaro, she knows just who she sold it to: her own best friend. In an instant, Sutton’s whole world goes up in flames. . .

Wyatt Abbott has harbored a crush on Sutton since he was a young kid from the other side of the tracks. He witnessed Sutton’s shocking discovery in the Camaro at his family-owned garage–and it made him angry. What kind of man could take lovely, gorgeous Sutton for granted? But then Sutton comes up with an idea: Why not give her betrothed a taste of his own medicine and pretend that she’s got a lover of her own? Wyatt is more than happy to play the hot-and-heavy boyfriend. But what begins as a fictional affair soon develops into something more real, and more passionate, than either Sutton or Wyatt could have imagined. Could it be that true love has been waiting under the hood all along?–Goodreads

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Such a great book! It is no secret that I have issues with a lot of romance novels because I feel like they aren’t really going anywhere or because I feel like they have all been done before, but this one I loved.

The romance between Sutton and Wyatt was electric from the beginning and the other elements of the story that included his family and her relationship with her best friend made this one worth reading. In fact, I read it nearly in one sitting, not wanting to put it down to get back to real life.

I love the kind of romance that starts out as a slow sizzle and builds and builds, taking the reader along for the ride and this novel does that perfectly. I didn’t feel the sex scenes were added as an afterthought, they were perfect for the book and matched the personalities of the characters. I was rooting for their love affair from the very beginning and was satisfied with the way things worked out for everyone involved in the story.

The author is great at dialogue and the characters felt very real. I like the way she expressed their emotions through their actions as well as through their thoughts. Reading this book made me forget about everything else for a while. That’s how I measure a good novel. I was sad when it was finished because I wanted more.

A small town. well–two I guess, actually, and characters that will touch your heart. Definitely recommended for those who love romance.

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

Hum if You don’t Know the Words

Hum If You Don’t Know the WordsHum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais

Perfect for readers of The Secret Life of Bees and The Help, a perceptive and searing look at Apartheid-era South Africa, told through one unique family brought together by tragedy.

Life under Apartheid has created a secure future for Robin Conrad, a nine-year-old white girl living with her parents in 1970s Johannesburg. In the same nation but worlds apart, Beauty Mbali, a Xhosa woman in a rural village in the Bantu homeland of the Transkei, struggles to raise her children alone after her husband’s death. Both lives have been built upon the division of race, and their meeting should never have occurred . . . until the Soweto Uprising, in which a protest by black students ignites racial conflict, alters the fault lines on which their society is built, and shatters their worlds when Robin’s parents are left dead and Beauty’s daughter goes missing.

After Robin is sent to live with her loving but irresponsible aunt, Beauty is hired to care for Robin while continuing the search for her daughter. In Beauty, Robin finds the security and family that she craves, and the two forge an inextricable bond through their deep personal losses. But Robin knows that if Beauty finds her daughter, Robin could lose her new caretaker forever, so she makes a desperate decision with devastating consequences. Her quest to make amends and find redemption is a journey of self-discovery in which she learns the harsh truths of the society that once promised her protection.

Told through Beauty and Robin’s alternating perspectives, the interwoven narratives create a rich and complex tapestry of the emotions and tensions at the heart of Apartheid-era South Africa. Hum if You Don’t Know the Words is a beautifully rendered look at loss, racism, and the creation of family.–Goodreads

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While this book is based on tragic events, the author did a good job of making it beautiful, too. The novel has more than one main story line to follow, although one is focused on more than the other. If you are familiar with any of the events that this book is centered around in South Africa, then you will probably go into this knowing that some parts of it will be difficult to read. That said, this is an engaging, interesting book with a lot to recommend it.

I felt horrible for what the characters had to go through, but the author was also good at helping the reader retain hope that something might change for them in the future. This book prompted me to learn more about the actual events the book mentions and I found there was a lot that I didn’t know. It’s great when a fiction novel can be so realistic that it makes you feel things on the deepest level, and this book certainly did that for me.

Emotionally moving and thought provoking, this is a book that will stay with you once you finish reading it. I believe this is the kind of book that you will want others to read and would be a great choice to share with reading groups and book clubs. You won’t run out of things to discuss once you finish reading this.

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