Review: Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart

Oh the drama! Quinn and Nora are distant sisters who would still do anything for each other. Tiffany is Nora’s bff… and a messed up drug addict with an illegitimate daughter. When Nora texts Quinn that she and Tiffany need her help, Quinn steps up. But it’s hard to know how to do the right thing when Nora won’t give her any details, and Tiffany is nowhere to be found.

I was psyched reading the first half of this book – there are good guys and bad guys, weak women and strong women, loving yet dysfunctional mothers, and a criminal so disgusting he turned my stomach. Baart weaves them all together in a dramatic and suspenseful plot, a story you don’t want to stop reading because you can’t believe what’s happening next.

And then — I’m not sure if it was my particular frame of mind, or if I’ve just read way too many books — I by mistake figured out the one big unknown. The mystery. The root of the drama. The guy who caused the secrets to grow bigger and bigger. And I hate that I figured it out, because it ruined the rest of the story for me. I skimmed the last half of the book, just in case there were some worthy plot points (and there were).

Baart is a master at expressing the love and confusion and envy and all the emotions in a sisterly relationship. What I appreciated most is that Baart lets her female characters be unapologetically themselves. There are no victims here, except maybe a little girl. The grown women own their choices, support each other, and make their own new beginnings.

-calliope

Buy LITTLE BROKEN THINGS (publishes on Nov.21, 2017)

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Murder Over Mochas by Caroline Fardig

Solid, cute, cozy mystery with a dead guy, an amateur sleuth, an ex-fiancé, an ex-boyfriend, a potential boyfriend, and a couple of cops. Oh – and a coffee shop! I’m going to admit, I often choose books based on their covers, and I chose this one for the coffee. #yesidid

The protagonist Juliet is likable and genuine. I liked that I could envision her expressions and feel her exasperation. The police officers and a few other secondary characters were a little bit one dimensional to me, but I didn’t mind, as I was busy trying to solve the mystery before they did. I liked Juliet’s best friend Pete, also. He’s a sturdy, reliable dude – and every cozy mystery needs a Pete.

Fardig did a nice job weaving a creative, fresh mystery with just enough twists and turns to keep it interesting. I was onto the perp before Juliet was, but it still took me a good while to do it, and I had fun from beginning to end.

-calliope

Buy MURDER OVER MOCHAS

Review: Thief’s Mark by Carla Neggers 

Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan finally get some alone time … and what happens? Their FBI duties call, and in a big way. Their pal Oliver York finds himself in some hot water, and he might not be able to get out of it himself. 

This adventure was full of good nuggets… Irish history, family secrets, betrayal, art, and the sanctity of Catholic confession. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get as much of the Emma-Colin banter I’m used to. These newlyweds had to put up more of a united front in this book… and good thing for Oliver that they did! 

To add to the “more mystery, less romance” tack, Neggers wrote some quirky characters that threw me off my Sharpe&Donovan game.  I expected the usual one or two odd ducks, but Neggers painted quirkiness over pretty much a whole family. It’s a great character study for sure. 

This is a terrific series if you’re a fan of romantic suspense, Ireland, New England, and the FBI. Start with the first book, because you don’t want to miss the fun tension. 🙂 

-calliope 

Buy THIEF’S MARK

Review: The Hero by Donna Grant

hero What an exciting start to this new series!

Usually when I read a second chance love story, one of the participants is a little slow to embrace the re-connection. In The Hero, it seems that both really want a second chance. While it may not be the best of times, with a kidnapping, attempted murders and government conspiracies, but the heart doesn’t listen to anyone’s timeline.

Owen and his three brothers haven’t been home in over a decade, and when they do it’s to find their aunt and uncle murdered and their dad kidnapped. So now they must come together and put aside all their past feelings and find their dad and figure out what kind of trouble he’s gotten himself into. What it didn’t anticipate was seeing his one and only love after 14 years. How’s he supposed to keep his eye on the prize when he can’t take his eyes off of her?

Even though Owen shattered Natalie’s heart 14 years ago, seeing him again brought all those past feelings right up to the surface. She’s been dragged into the family drama and now must rely on Owen to keep her safe. Too bad he didn’t keep heart heart safe all those years ago. Kinda hard to trust him this time around too.

Donna Grant steps away from her usual paranormal stories to bring us a new romantic suspense series. This installment was non stop action and intrigue mixed in with a nice dose of romance. I am so very curious to see where this series is headed. I can’t until the next book!

~Melpomene

Book Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28220643-the-hero

Buy Links:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2faUBSm
BN: http://bit.ly/1WiqBWU
Nook: http://bit.ly/1YIv2cC
BAM: http://bit.ly/1Tjsx1V
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/1TuprXe
iBooks: http://apple.co/1WGpiSy
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1WGjJUX
Tantor Audio: http://bit.ly/2cIuTar

Pre-Order Incentive Information:
There are TWO pre-order incentives going on now for Donna’s new military romance series!!

If you pre-order THE HERO you will be entered for some seriously cool prizes including the **entire** Dragon King series (Dark Heat – Smoke and Fire – including novellas) signed to you, winner’s choice of a bundle of books, Darkest Flame (signed) and some swag, and swag and a coveted DK t-shirt!

But to be entered, you MUST FILL OUT THE FORM. All pre-orders are acceptable as long as you have an order number from the retailer you purchased from.

Pre-order form to THE HERO: http://bit.ly/TheHeroPO

If you pre-order THE PROTECTOR you will receive a bonus scene that features Owen and Natalie from THE HERO. The scene will NOT be shared anywhere else. It will be exclusive to those who pre-order THE PROTECTOR and fill out this form:

Pre-order form to THE PROTECTOR: http://bit.ly/TheProtectorPO

Links for THE PROTECTOR:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29875933-the-protector
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2g57DS7
BN: http://bit.ly/2d49mro
Nook: http://bit.ly/2cG4Ld5
BAM: http://bit.ly/2dmIe9e
iBooks: http://apple.co/2cUHbL7
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2d4a34e
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2cG4ozv
Powells: http://bit.ly/2d49NSv
Tantor Audio: http://bit.ly/2d7g7Md

image006
Date: Thurs., 12/1/2016
Time: 7pm CST / 8pm EST
Link to the FB Event is https://www.facebook.com/events/267169100347430
Hash Tag: #TheHeroDG

Review: He Will Be My Ruin by K.A.Tucker

01 a1Have you ever been afraid to read a book? I gotta admit, I’ve had this book, sitting on my kindle, for almost three months, but I was too scared to read it. Like legit scared. Why? Well, it’s because I love love stories. Suspense gives me the willies and makes me need to grab a couple of Xanax. But, since I love KA Tucker and all of her books, I had to dive in and get over my fear. And, boy, am I glad I did.

SYNOPSIS
Twenty-eight-year-old Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a bottle of Xanax and a handle of vodka, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers secrets in the childhood lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man who Celine herself claimed would be her ruin.

On the hunt for answers that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.

From the very beginning my heart was racing. I honestly don’t think it calmed down until an hour after I finished. This book was filled with twists and turns and head on collisions. My word. Just when you thought you knew who did it, the board was cleared and you started back up again.

I felt like a cop taking notes. I have all these little bits and pieces and was drawing my own conclusions and now I look back and laugh. I was clueless. I would make a horrible cop!! I suspected everyone. And you will too.

~Melpomene

Buy He Will Be My Ruin: A Novel

Review: Heartsong Cottage by Emily March

  
Shannon has a broken heart – and a secret. Daniel has a broken heart – and is a detective.  It’s up in the air whether they can find healing and solace together, or if their trust issues supercede their chemistry. 

Heartsong Cottage is the latest in the Eternity Springs series, which I find charming and heartwarming. 

Romance? Check. A wedding? Check. A drunken mess? Check. Good friends? Check. Celeste working her magic? Check and double-check. 

When Shannon and Daniel wade through uncertainty, the Eternity Springs community comes through for them. Love from their friends and the healing spirit of the town are more than these broken people hoped for. And I appreciate that kind of charming embrace. 

But the trope has been overdone. I’ve read too many stalker-traumatizes-and-detective-saves-the-day suspenseful romances. I skim-read about a dozen pages in the middle of the book because I felt like I had read them before – in a half dozen romance novels in the last five years. 

March’s writing is excellent. The characters are loveable. Eventually there’s resolution and a nice, tidy, happy ending. But the journey there wasn’t the fresh new adventure I was hoping for. 

-calliope 

Buy HEARTSONG COTTAGE ($5.99 today)

EXCERPT: The Shadow, by Sylvain Reynard

The Shadow I am so excited to post this excerpt!! I can’t wait for this new book to come out! I am a HUGE fan of Sylvain Reynard and I know I’m going to love this one as well.

EXCERPT
Raven watched as William efficiently disrobed, neatly folding every article of black clothing (with the exception of underwear, which he never wore), and placing it on the vanity.

She brushed imaginary lint from her dress as he stood in front of her, naked.

He was under six feet in height, his body lean and strong. Raven took a moment to appreciate the definition of his muscled chest and abdomen, and the strong cast to his thighs. Not even a statue carved by the most talented sculptor could create a being with so much perfection.

His face put her in mind of an angel with intense, gray eyes that now looked at her expectantly.

She hid her face. “You said you loved me.”

“I did. What’s more, I meant it.”

“Love is a peculiar thing. I’ve seen it. I’ve even cheered for it. But I never believed it was for me.”

“Why shouldn’t a beautiful, fierce young woman hope for love?”

“Because, as you put it, human beings are shallow.”

“Love is deep.” His rich voice echoed in the bathroom.

“Love is having the power to destroy another person.”

William stepped closer. “Are you afraid of being destroyed?”

“Destroyed, consumed, betrayed.” She fidgeted with the neckline of her gown.

William placed his hand over hers, stilling it. “Love creates; it doesn’t destroy.”

His lips found the place where her neck met her shoulder. He kissed her leisurely, tracing the path of her bared collarbone with his mouth.

His fingers brushed her zipper. “Let me.”

He undid her dress, dropping it to the marble tiles.

Her bra followed. She was as naked as he.

His eyes roved her body appraisingly. His pale fingers caressed her cheek, her mouth, and her neck. His strong hands cupped her breasts, her abdomen, and her hips.

His gray eyes met hers.

“The power you describe is the power you have here.” He touched her forehead before moving his hand to cover her heart. “And here. It’s the power you have over me. Power I haven’t yielded to another since I was human.”

He brought his lips to her ear. “Your fears are shared.”

With a slow kiss on her neck, he led her into the shower, standing behind her underneath a tropical rainfall showerhead.

Raven closed her eyes and lifted her face, like a flower following the sun. The warm water soaked her hair and streamed down the generous curves of her body.

“I’ve never showered with another person. What happens next?” William rested his hands on her shoulders.

She wiped the water from her face.

“Whatever you want. Just don’t let me fall.”

William’s gaze dropped to her right leg, which she was favoring.

“Is the pain terrible?”

“It’s worse after I’ve been lying down. Sometimes I topple over.”

William spread his arm around her waist, drawing her back to his chest. “Then I must be sure to catch you.”

She kissed him, reaching up to run her fingers through his wet hair as the water poured down their shoulders.

Her motions were fraught with an eagerness born of love and affection and the relief of remembering she hadn’t lost him.

He was hers.

Even now, naked, with a myriad of flaws few men overlooked, he embraced her. He embraced her imperfections.

He loved her.

His cool hands scorched her skin, splaying fingers wide over her abdomen and bringing her backside into contact with what rose between his hips.

She gave him her weight and he held firm, nipping and licking at her lips before enticing her to enter his mouth.

He entertained the intrusion for a moment or two then, with a growl, he spun her around, pressing their chests together.

Raven looked up into blazing gray eyes.

“Are you certain?”

She nodded.

“I need the words, Raven. I need to know you want this.”

“I want you.”

He took her mouth, his tongue alternately penetrating and retreating in a sensual rhythm.

She tilted her head, welcoming him, as the water continued to rain down.

Hands roamed over slick skin as their lower bodies came into alignment. She touched his neck, his shoulders, his biceps, holding them tightly in an effort to remain upright.

William was not a tame lover.

In his arms, she sensed his control, his desire, and the war that waged between the two. But he’d never harmed her and had always focused his attention on giving pleasure before taking it. Usually more than once.

“You’re a dream,” she sighed. “A dream of love I never thought I’d have.”

His eyes burned into hers.

Without warning, he lifted her, tugging her thighs around his hips.

He lowered his mouth to her breasts, tasting and teasing before sucking droplets of water from her eager flesh.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, feeling him eager between her legs.

He lifted her higher, hands beneath her backside, making sure he was correctly aligned.

“Breathe,” he commanded, his eyes boring in to hers.

Here was the vampyre, proud and powerful, teetering on the edge of control. He bared his teeth as if on instinct and his chest rumbled.

“Just don’t break me,” she whispered, pushing a lock of blond hair from his forehead.

William’s expression grew even more fierce.

“I won’t break you. Whatever harm I bring to you I vow to heal.”

He swallowed her reply with his kiss. Then with a single thrust, he entered her.

His kisses were as fierce as his movements as he pushed inside and withdrew, over and over. His grip on her backside tightened as he lifted and moved her in concert with his own motion.

Raven clung to him, her hand trailing to his lower back so she could urge him deeper.

Not that he needed the encouragement.

Her breasts brushed against his chest, the friction teasing and arousing.

She ignored the warm spray of the water, the scent of soap and William, and the nagging discomfort in her leg and ankle. Her focus was on feeling as he brought her swiftly to the brink of orgasm.

Before she could signal how close she was, she climaxed, her hand clutching his neck as she threw her head back.

William continued his pace until she’d finished, his mouth dropping to her breasts, drawing one of them into his mouth.

When she opened her eyes, she found him staring at her hungrily.

“I have only begun,” he rasped. “Breathe.”

Be sure to preorder The Shadow (Florentine series)

Make sure you get caught up with the series first.
Prince
The Prince: A Gabriel’s Inferno/Florentine Series Novella
USTR
The Raven (Florentine series Book 1)