A Heist Story by Ellen Simpson

I really like Ellen Simpson’s first book, The Light of the World. It captured my attention and gave me a fabulous story with captivating characters. So needless to say when her second book dropped I raced to get started on it.

Right from the beginning, I was like okay what do we have here and Ocean’s 11 type heist story, maybe some Keyser Söze big reveal type character. Nope, no we have none of those things. I’m really not sure what we have other than a lot of talking and characters that are just unlikeable. Marcey and Kat are just awful. So unpleasant, the more they hooked up the dirtier the story felt. You have to have someone for the reader to cheer for. The main players are so horribly dreadful. If the story ended with their demise I would have cheered.

I hate ragging on a book. I really do, especially when the author is obviously a very good writer. The problem everything piece of this book is so long, so confusing and then it’s just over. I am assuming this book was setting its self-up for a sequel, but it didn’t make me want to come back for more. I would love to read another book by Ellen Simpson, I just don’t ever want to read about Marcey or Kat ever again.

2.5 out of 5 stars


Where the Light Glows by Dena Blake

The story starts off when a hard to please repeat customer gives Chef Izzy Calabrese’s wait staff a hard time. Literally, no one wants to serve her, but she is a good tipper, so a double edged sword. Mel Thomas is the tough customer. As the story unfolds, we find out the Mel is in a loveless marriage and is just going through the motions, wanting a divorce but not wanting to admit to the world it didn’t work. Somehow she ends up crying in the arms of her favorite restaurant’s chef.

So when the book started I was intrigued. Bad marriage, chef wanting to be one lending tissues, but it all kind of got muddled with A LOT of moving pieces. I liked when Mel was the bitch on wheels. That all dissolved almost instantly and she became this soft friendly woman. Where is the cold hard character that everyone feared? I was confused as the character literally became someone else.

Then throw in Izzy’s crazy-ex with some severe mental instability. We had enough going on without this added drama. To me, it was distracting and exhausting to keep up with it. Too many moving pieces is not at all helpful to a cohesive story. I felt towards the end of the story everything and the kitchen sink had been thrown at me.

2.5 out of 5 stars


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
  • 33969080


Drawn Together by JD Glass

I love when I read a book that just makes your heart sing. Whatever the genre may be, it’s a great feeling when you find a book that you just connect with. They same cannot be said, obviously, when the book is just not your favorite. This, unfortunately, is the case with Drawn Together by JD Glass. Let me explain…

Zoe Glenn Edwards is one of or main characters. A graphic artist, who is very well known and respected in the comic book world. Her drawings are amazing! A loner by nature, Zoe connects through digital media with a relatively famous author to collaborate on a new book. The author’s writings move her so much, they take her art to another level.

Dion “D” Richards is that author. Dion is beyond flattered that the superbly talented Zoe Glenn would want to work with her. Through their project, these two become besties, even though they have never met in person. To her wife, Kerry’s consternation, Dion cannot help the connection she feels to the other artist.

My first issue with the book is character related. Never once do you know what Zoe looks like or what her backstory is. Dion’s character is much the same, maybe slightly more, but not nearly enough. Character development is essential for me to connect and to “see” the story. In Drawn Together the characters are very flat. Over and over I was told how a character feels, but you don’t feel the connection. Other than being talented in their craft, and working well together, you never know why these two are drawn together. The book starts out as gushing emails/texts/blog posts about their amazing work relationship. Then you have the same emails/texts/blog posts about how they are now BFF’s. Literally, the same conversation about how you’re my best friend happens over and over and over again. Like eleventy billion times. STOP! Best friends don’t do that…maybe once or twice, maybe if you have had way too many pints, but come on it was supreme overkill.

Second, this book is pretty dark. If I had known that from the plot description, I would have passed on it. I didn’t, so I went in pretty blind. Okay, I can put on my big girl pants and deal, but there are so many cringeworthy moments that are left as loose threads, oy vey. First, is the story these two are working on. The story characters are twisted. You have suicide attempts, cutting, physical/emotional abuse and quite frankly a rape scene that made me want to puke. I had zero clue it was coming, and talk about a WTF moment. Still makes my stomach hurt. That isn’t where the darkness ends either, the main characters have a lot of that in their own tale as well. Kerry, Dion’s wife is a straight up psychopath. [ She is a master manipulator, serial cheater, she drugs her wife continuously as a control method, she’s abusive and Oh this is the big one, she may have had her wife sexually assaulted to have a hero moment (with her father’s help no less). You’ll never know because this is one of the loose threads of the book. (hide spoiler)]

Third, when out two mains finally get together, they exude ridiculousness. I love you, turns in a baby this, baby that. Stop, stop, stop it now. It’s not cute, it’s back to that your my best friend weird. Cringe!

To be quite frank, I’m surprised I finished this one. I like the plot idea of two artists collaborating, and add into the use of digital media as a forum for their connection, but it just didn’t work character wise for me, and the gritty/darkness didn’t help the matter at all.

2 out of 5 stars

  • Ylva Publishing
  • www.ylva-publishing.com

To Purchase: Drawn Together



At All Costs by Micheala Lynn

Jess Bolderson is an athletic woman who happens to also be in wheelchair. An accident while running when she was in high school left her permanently paralyzed. This traumatic moment in her life has forced her to build emotional walls to protect her heart. Jess doesn’t date, ever. She has ruled this out as a possibility for herself. Dr. Alex Branson is the one woman she has met that makes her want to break her self-imposed rule.

Alex is an ER doctor who spends most of her life working. This ultra-competitive doctor doesn’t know how to relax. Her life is her job and she has a few friends in the mix to keep her grounded.

The book starts off with a huge misunderstanding between Alex and Jess at professional women’s meeting. The doctor makes an off-hand comment about drug seeking patients and Jess basically tears her a new one at the conference table. Alex kind of puts her foot in her mouth but she owns it and makes a personal apology the next morning. Right there is the reoccurring theme for the entire book. Alex says something, and Jess chews her out and storms off or kicks the doctor out. Alex god love, her can’t do anything right. Every step they take forward relationship wise, backfires and they have to start all over again. To be honest, Alex is pretty much unlikable. The book is a lot of telling, and the story feels very surface. You never understand Jess’s emotions, other than she is almost constantly offended. At the 90% mark I wanted Alex to escape from Jess’s bad mood. Jess needs a therapist not a girlfriend.

2.5 out of 5 stars

  • Publisher: Bella Books

At All Costs
by Micheala Lynn
To Purchase: At All Costs

Capturing Jessica by Jane Hardee

Communication is key to any relationship, am I right? Whether you are friends, family or lovers, open dialogue is vital to building and maintaining a healthy, solid foundation. In romance books, a common trope is miscommunication/no communication between the two leading ladies. I think this is a delicate balancing act if you too heavy handed, it just leads to the reader’s frustration and basically a lot of eye rolling. Create angst and tension, but don’t make it so unrealistic that it just becomes ridiculous. So how is Capturing Jessica by Jane Hardee, well, let’s just say lots and lots of eye rolling took place during my read.

Michael is a highly revered sculptor that is on the precipice of really landing major contracts. While her art has become wildly popular, her personal life is has intensified up to almost painful levels. She is desperately in love with her childhood best friend, Jess. Unwilling to chance their friendship, for love, Michael buries her feelings and turns to binge drinking when Jess is approached by any would-be suitors.

Jess, is your girl next door type, a sweet, thoughtful elementary teacher who literally everyone adores. Jess feelings for Michael, come about after a night out celebrating a mutual acquaintances birthday. Her feelings become pronounced and she begins to reach out to Michael in a multitude of ways, showing her interest and affection for the artist. Michael has the incite of a door knob and sees none of this, much to Jess’s dismay.

EYE ROLLS like a mo fo! Frustration, frustration and more frustration. The lack of even basic communication between the characters was astounding. You have two emotionally stunted protagonists, one way more than the other mind you, and it became hard to give a damn whether these two find their way to happy ever after. Basically, Jess needed to give Michael a high five, wish her the best and run for the hills.

2.25 out of 5 stars

Capturing Jessica
by Jane Hardee
Link: http://a.co/dS1W1nA


Courageous Love by K.C. Richardson

Slow, cliched, and flat…

Alex Taylor is an ER nurse at the local county hospital. This fun-loving lady enjoys her job, her friends and being an amazing godmother to her best friend’s little boy. While her positives are abundant so are her flaws when she deals with a crisis. Alex is fiercely independent, always helping others, but resisting when others do the same for her.

Francesca “Frank” Greco is an easy going, mild mannered police sergeant. Frank spends her days working or hanging out with her lab-mix, Bella. Frank has no family to speak of, losing her twin sister to breast cancer, caused irreparable damage to her relationship with her parents. The loss of her sister weighs heavily in Frank. (Rambling side note: Why in the world would a thirty-year-old woman go by the name Frank? Just, no!)

You may be thinking those aren’t very good descriptions of the two main characters. Well, that’s the thing. This book is kind of like a flat soda. You can still drink it, but you probably won’t get much satisfaction form it. Harsh, that was kind of harsh, sorry, but it’s true. This book is all telling, no showings. The characters are superficial and unlike an onion, there just aren’t many layers to them. The relationship between Alex and Frank takes off, boom there’s the cancer and we go into a public service announcement. It just doesn’t engage the reader, you are basically pushing through to finish the book. Frank is a doormat, Alex is all over the place emotionally, and neither character feels like a real person.

2 out of 5 stars

Courageous Love
by KC Richardson
Link: http://a.co/2bRPOq7


Class Act by T.L. Hayes

The cover of a book is often its first chance at selling itself. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you there are some awful book covers out there that have amazing stories within their lackluster cover. The opposite is true as well of course. The book cover for Class Act is quite well done.

Rory Morgan is not the girl on the cover of this book. When I look at the cover the cover I see a preppy, put-together young woman who probably buys a lot of her clothes at J Crew. That girl is not Rory Morgan, I for the life of me cannot figure out why this cover would be used for this book. Rory a self-proclaimed butch, whose daily uniform, consists of a men’s v-neck white tee, faded bootcut jeans and engineer boots with wild unruly curly red hair.  Within the first twenty minutes of reading this book I was actually over Rory, and quite frankly almost ready to DNF the whole book. The entire first two chapters are chock-full of so many stereotypes it was irritating. Her character comes across as kind of an ass, unrealistic ass at that too. She in no way sounds or acts like a twenty five year old, seriously how may college students sit around and listen to Simon and Garfunkel. (I am sure there are a few, but I am making a point here). Then, factor in that Rory consistently discredits all other female students, as giggling girls who only talk of whom they wanted to sleep with or they are all hipster lesbians with expensive coffee addictions who are offended by everything.  Seriously, come on! She doesn’t want to date a kid. Excuse me but when did college students, grad students specifically become children, especially to a twenty five year old. Rory does not embody a mature student. No she embodies a much, much older woman with a giant chip on her shoulder.

Dr. Margaret Parks is the other main character in this story. She also happens to be Rory’s Topics in Theater professor.  I don’t even know that to write about her to be honest. She’s meek at times when her character is supposed to have a hard no-nonsense approach to life. She’s indecisive and quite flat as a character goes.

I cannot recommend this one. Literally, the best thing about this book is the cover and it is not a reflection of either character. Blatant stereotypes annoy me. For the record, no, I am not a hipster with an expensive coffee addiction. I can drink Maxwell House quite fine, thank you very much.

1.5 out of 5 stars

I was given this book by Netgalley & Bold Strokes Books in return for an honest review.

A Class Act
by T. L. Hayes
Link: https://amzn.com/1626397015

A Class Act


Just Enough Light by A.J. Quinn

If you ask me if I like action adventure book my answer could vacillate between a yes or a no on any given day. I think what holds me back is that when you throw in a romantic element something has to give. Usually I find there be too much back story or too much adventure and not enough dialogue. It is very hard to fit in a quality romance in my opinion.

In Just Enough Light by A.J. Quinn your main character is a strikingly beautiful badass with a tortured past. Kellen Ryan is the woman you want to find you if you are trapped in a perilous situation. She is a master at rugged terrain and will not hesitate to risk life or limb to get the job done. Her career is one that few can do, mountain search and rescue. Life has been far from kind to Kellen, abused by her parents, a child runaway, and now a serial killer is hunting her.

Dr. Dana Kingston is a Harvard educated emergency room physician. Dana ups and leaves her life in Boston behind to avoid having to deal with her parents expectations and domineering personalities. Moving to the middle of nowhere Colorado is a chance for Dana to start fresh and stand her ground. The opportunity to practice the type of medicine she wants is the perfect opportunity to move across the country..

What really turned me off on this book, is the number of issues Kellen has. With every turn of a page there is a new trauma for Kellen to overcome, both emotionally and physically, but then you also a deranged serial killer on the loose. I feel like when there is too much going on you lose the story and it becomes ridiculously far-fetched. In my personal opinion, this book has way too much conflict. It seemed that every chapter had a new ordeal for Kellen to overcome. From my perspective as the reader, it became maddening. I could not invest any one issue, and some are horribly painful to read, because it was on to the next life altering moment. While the writing is done well, the relationship between the characters is lacking and I felt no chemistry between the Kellen and Dana.

A.J. Quinn is a good writer, there is no doubt about this. Unfortunately to me, this particular novel had way too much going on. The concept was cool, I loved the search and rescue idea, I really just thought the whole serial killer shooting was implausible and ridiculous. I would have loved for the focus to be on Keller overcoming her past while developing her relationship with Dana. That in itself was enough to fill a book.

2.5 stars out of 5

I was given this book by Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Just Enough Light
by AJ Quinn
Link: https://amzn.com/162639685X


Have a Bite by R.G. Emanuelle

I was drawn to this book by the cover. It was cool, it was different and I thought why not. I like vampires! Chefs are badass! So let’s give Have a Bite a role.

Delphine Bouchard is chef and a vampire. You of course already know this but, hey I had to start somewhere.  This vamp she eats, she drinks and she creates culinary masterpieces at her ultra-cool Brooklyn restaurant, Vie Sang. Del avoids love and relationships at all cost. She prefers quick hookups with groupies and vampire submissives. Quick, easy, no mess at all, that is her style. All of this changes, well kind of, when she meets and instantly falls head of heels for another vampire,  Jocelyn.

To be honest I expected more from this book based on its premise than what was delivered. The book at times is a little bit confusing when all of the characters, food descriptions and the evil food critic wanting to destroy Del’s life. A lot is happening in a very short amount of space. Jocelyn, Del’s main love interest is virtually unknown other than meeting Del and making her rethink her vow to never fall in love again. I guess in terms of romance if someone affected you that much, why would you continuously hook up with random strangers. Obviously I can get it to some extent, but in terms of the story I felt it left me a little cold toward the character of Delphine. The action was lacking, the romance was missing and overall none of the characters were developed enough to really make you understand their actions or root for their success.

2.5 out of 5 stars

  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing
  • www.ylvapublishing.com

Have a Bite (The Vampires of Brooklyn Chronicles Book 1)
by R.G. Emanuelle
Link: https://amzn.com/B01F4D48O6