Secret Hearts by Radclyffe

A classic Radclyffe is what Secret Hearts is. A sweet story, with well-developed characters and enough chemistry to keep you 100% committed to the end. You know what you’re getting with this author and she doesn’t let you down.

Catherine “Kip” Kensington hails from a very prominent, well to do New York family. Her last name and the work she does for the Department of Defense forces her to keep a low profile. Unfortunately her brother, Randy does not follow her lead. Addicted to drugs and “borrowing” cars, lands not only himself but Kip in lockup. A childhood tragedy shaped both Kip’s and Randy’s life, and the young man has taken refuge in nefarious activities as a way of masking his pain. Kip plays the mother role and tirelessly tries to help Randy out of jams even though the price she pays is a criminal record and a ton of heartache.

Jordan Rice is developing a community garden project in the heart of Manhattan. She works tirelessly to plant her crops and make contacts to supply her produce to the city’s restaurant industry. With a heart of gold, and an iron will to succeed, Jordan doesn’t make room for anything else but work in her life. She’s given up on meeting anyone and fills her time with making the world a better place.

Jordan and Kip meet in a super awkward way. Kip is assigned by the courts to do 400+ hours of community service for driving a stolen vehicle (thanks Randy!). This caring do-gooder takes her licks and heads over to the community garden, unbeknownst to Jordan that the garden was getting a helper. Tension increases as the office building has just been broken into, which causes Jordan to almost attack Kip, the perceived thief.

This age gap romance has a lot going for it. You have two level-headed, intelligent leading ladies who really work well together. Life throws them some curveballs sure, but these to have a synchronicity and a natural flow. They just work well together in all sense of the word. Even though Kip is used to holding a bit of herself back, Jordan has a way of looking past that and finding out who Kip really is. Through Jordan, Kip learns to let Randy stand for himself, even if it’s a painful process, to watch someone you love take the hard road. This is a feel good story that is most definitely worthy of your time.

 4 out of 5 stars

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Worthy of Trust and Confidence (Agent O’Connor, #2) by Kara A. McLeod

Kara A. McLeod knows how to write a great story with characters that have strength and at the same time are vulnerable. A hard mix but when is done well gives the reader a character that is absolutely captivating. Worthy of Trust and Confidence, gives you not one but two leading ladies that will capture your heart.
First off if you haven’t read Actual Stop you need to stop right here and go read it. You cannot read this one first, you’ll be totally lost. Take it from me it’s damn good and you want this in your life.

We pick back up with Special Agent Ryan O’Connor recovering from bullet wounds after the assassination attempt on Iran’s president. Ryan is haunted by the death of her former lover and riddled with guilt because she survived and Lucia didn’t. She holds back her pain from everyone, including her now girlfriend, Special Agent Allison Reynolds. Why to be tough? No that’s not it, but because she doesn’t want Allison to feel guilty as well. Her text message saved Ryan but cost Lucia the ultimate price. Ryan wants to shoulder that guilt all herself, even though she desperately needs to talk about it. She also is walking on eggshells with Allison. Old wounds from the past keep her from leaning too heavily on the love of her life. She doesn’t want to screw it up when they just go back together. All the while Allison’s heart is breaking Ryan won’t open up, she is also dealing a boss that is causing her hell on Earth.

So while the last book was a little heavy-handed on secret service procedures, this one is not. Not at all, this is an action-packed adventure with two badass female leads with smoldering hot chemistry. Once I got started, there is no way in hell you could have dragged this book from me. I needed to finish this one. It is that good! You have a fantastic mystery, a ton of corruption and a love story that just won’t quit. This one surpasses the first in the series and is every bit deserving of its five-star rating.

5 out of 5 stars

Troop 18 (A Dr. Kate Morrison Mystery, #3) by Jessica L. Webb

I really could go on and on about how much I have adored Jessica L. Webb’s novels. Every book has been just outstanding.

Troop 18 comes from Andy’s perspective and picks up fairly soon after Kate left Andy in Pathogen. Right out of the gate you feel Andy’s despair of their quasi-breakup. She has counted the days that Kate has been gone with no contact. Not a phone call, nor a text to let her know where they stand or how she is. Andy’s heart is broken and she is terrified of a future without Kate. Her pain is palatable, you feel it just radiating right of the page. Jessica Webb, you are so good! I love a book that makes you feel, even if it hurts. Of course, Andy turns to work as her salvation, and this takes us right into a bizarre case dealing with a group of RCMP cadets, who may or may not be up to something nefarious. Andy is needed to root out what they are hiding and whether this troop needs to be allowed to continue their training. Not life and death craziness of like the past two novels, but interesting nonetheless.

When Kate does come back to Andy, well I could just gush about their reconnection. These two ripped their hearts out, spoke the truth and held nothing back. Their reconciliation was done masterfully! Emotions, oh the emotions! This is basically the heart of this one. While the mystery is very mysterious, it’s the emotional journey of the Andy and Kate that is the main focus. Of course, I love it, total romance junkie here.

Is this the last of the series, if I was a betting woman I would say yes if felt like the end of the road to me. The characters of Kate and Andy have been phenomenal. What a fantastic series this has been. It is definitely a series to treasure. Webb is easily on of the best authors in this genre, I can’t wait to see where she takes us next.

4.75  out of 5 stars

Troop 18

The Sniper’s Kiss by Justine Saracen

Justine Saracen writing is very in-depth. You know going into them they are superbly well researched and you most likely will be a bit smarter by the time you finish. Saracen’s attention to detail and an inclusion of historical facts in her novels, help make the stories and characters riveting.

Mia Kramer immigrated to the United States as a young girl. Mia, 29, comes into the story with a lot of baggage. She was raised by an emotionally abusive father, upon his highly questionable death, (was it murder or suicide), Mia takes control over her life and flees her father’s home to work for the government to support the war effort. Her vast knowledge the Russian language and culture ends her a prime job as an accountant for the Lend-Lease program under Harry Hopkins and right inside the Whitehouse.

The other main player in the book is Alexia Vassilievna Mazarova. A former teacher, Alexia enlists in the Red Army to help her country anyway she can. Striking good looks leads her to a plush assignment guarding the Kremlin and or course, Joseph Stalin. This is how she meets the Mia, and they strike up an unlikely friendship.

This book is a fascinating tale of history and friendship’s born out of horrifying circumstances. A historical fiction with just a hint of romance, while at times a bit unrealistic, overall this was a fantastic read.

4 out of 5 stars

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Tread Lightly by Catherine Lane

Tread Lightly by Catherine Lane is an absolute delight. You have fairy godmothers, guardian angels, and a whole lot magical moments. Not only are these ladies fighting demons from another dimension but they also have to dance to the tune of self-absorbed millennials.

Claire is a fairy god-mother, who has been helping to create the greatest love stories. She helped Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Kate Middleton all find their perfect match just to name a few. Lately, it hasn’t been so easy, her charges aren’t as interested in their soulmate as past princesses. They have demands and want proof you say who you really are. They also want Jimmy Choos!

Claire becomes entangled with a guardian angel, Tamiel on a case that has a ton of red flags. First off the fairy godmothers are strictly prohibited for fraternizing any way with a guardian angel, who knew! Of course, this just adds to Tamiel’s intrigue. Together these two fight not only demons but alternative facts that both of their organizations have been peddling for centuries. It’s a grand adventure!

This book is light, it’s fun and features one bad ass wand. Yup, you heard it here, a wand! Who knew an inanimate object could steal the show, but it does. This novella was a little gem.

4 out of 5 stars

  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing
  • www.ylva-publishing.com

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You’re Fired by Shaya Crabtree

Sarcasm is often hard to get across in daily interactions. It’s great for banter with your close friends, but can often make you look like a negative ass in other social situations. People often misinterpret this form of communication negatively. This is enhanced even further when writing. Slipping a sarcastic comment in dialogue adds to the dialogue between characters, add too much and your character just looks like a prick.

Rose Walsh works a part-time as a data entry clerk for Gio Corp. She hates her job, often wishing she could just quit and find something else just as meaningless but more fun to do. 28 days to go and she will have saved enough money to go back to just focusing on grad school. As the office Christmas party nears, Rose decides to liven up the event by giving her secret Santa an 8-inch dildo as a gag gift. Unknowingly, she gives the gift to the company president, Vivian Tracey.

Rose as a character is a conundrum. She is said to be super intelligent, an applied mathematics major, but talks like a super sarcastic teenaged boy. She takes nothing seriously, especially work, which to me rang false for a character that is said to be working diligently to finish her masters and pay her own way through school. If you are mere semesters away from graduating, and all you need is less than a month’s pay to take care of tuition and bills why you would jeopardize that with a dumb prank? Then once you do pull the prank and it backfires, like everyone said it would, why freak out on how you are going to support yourself, school and an unemployed mother. This isn’t a logical sequence of emotions or reactions. This is just one of many where Rose just doesn’t come across a realistic character.

Vivian is the head of the D.C. branch of Gio Corp. She is serious, stern and all business. She sees Rose as a ridiculous annoyance and is ready to terminate her after her little present stunt. The only reason Rose doesn’t get her walking papers is because of her schooling. Vivian needs someone to find out who is embezzling from the D.C. branch of the company.

Vivian is hard to imagine as the president of a major company. She is super serious, all business but sleeping with not one but two subordinate co-workers. Again a conundrum.

This book was very little substance and a whole lot of sex. Sex scenes were completely unrealistic. Tell me again how to lick a g-spot, no seriously, please tell me! I think humor was supposed to be interjected throughout, but it was hard to take. I don’t know about you, but ass breath in the morning isn’t a turn on, well to Vivian it is. Instead of being sexy, or funny, it was more of a WTF.

Overall, this book needs more character development. The main characters both come off as shallow and sophomoric. Neither their personalities nor their love story was convincing.

2 out of 5 stars

  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing
  • www.ylva-publishing.com
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Rook Takes Queen by Em Stevens

Rook Black has lost her way in the world. She perpetually pissed off and has no outlet for her emotions. The thing about Rook that sets her apart from any other loner fueled on too much caffeine and surliness, is she is a Grandmaster chess player. She gave up chess as a way to break free and find herself outside of the game, but with limited skills, Rook’s options are pretty limited. A trip to the clink for public gambling ends up killing her already limited finances. So Rook ends up taking the only job available, a chess tutor.

Carmen Barnes is the current Miss USA. This beauty Queen takes her role seriously, with three months left with the crown, she wants to go out with a bang and raise some serious money for a cause that is very dear to her. Carmen sets up a major chess tournament to benefit a local homeless shelter that caters to young people. The money she raises will make serious improvements to the shelter and prove to all the naysayers that she is more than a pretty face.

When Rook and Carmen meet to discuss the tutoring position it’s a combination of sexy fireworks and sticking your foot right in your mouth. Comical and cringe worthy! Initially, Rook falls back on her frostiness and defense mechanisms when she feels backed into a corner, Carmen never lets her get away with it, though. As time progresses and they spend more time with each other you, as the reader, really see how these two characters just fit. They see each other without all the pretenses, being judged by their titles rather than who they really are. It really makes for great reading and the chemistry is very apparent.

The chess aspect of the game was thoroughly entertaining without being too heavy handed in the technical aspect. You found out just enough about the game to keep it interesting. Rook and Carmen are delightful characters and their romance was super cute and at the same time sexy as hell. Em Stevens writes a fantastic story that is entirely entertaining and I was thoroughly hooked to the very end.

4.25 out of 5 stars

Rook Takes Queen
by Em Stevens et al.
Amazon Link: http://a.co/iCmSZXj

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