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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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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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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The Butterfly Whisperer by Lisa Moreau

I read the news every day. Every day lately, I wish this was a habit I could break. As much as I try every morning at 5 AM, I’m up, back at inundating myself in the latest world crisis or political snafu. I decompress/escape by heading out for a run or grabbing a book. The Butterfly Whisperer was just what I needed after a long week of craziness that just won’t quit. A great escape, that didn’t overthink what it really was, two girls with a life-long bond that even after ten years of separation, the love was still there.

Jordan Lee owns one-half of a matchmaking company that is super successful, and super exclusive. Her clients are Hollywood’s elitist. A self-made woman, Jordan left her home at the age of 18 just months away from graduating from high school. Her father threw her out when he discovered her personal journals. Only through her writing could Jordan admit the truth. She was undoubtedly head over heels in love with her best friend Sophie.

Sophie Sanders is a lepidopterist. Her work and life’s passion is running a local Monarch butterfly sanctuary in her hometown of Monarch, CA. Sophie is a character that is ruled by her spirit, she has this great zen-like approach to life. She is literally adored by the entire town. The only thing she hasn’t been able to find is her true love. She is hobbled by the fact that Jordan took off and never looked back. Jordan doesn’t know it but she took Sophie’s heart when she ran away.

Add a bit of conflict, add a bit of angst and you have a really good read. Is this anything revolutionary, nope, but it’s not intended to be either. What this book is a great escape. A few hours or days (depending on your speed reading capabilities) to decompress for life’s craziness, and enjoy a quality story with cute characters. Not to mention butterflies, who doesn’t love those.

4 out of 5 stars

To Purchase on Amazon: The Butterfly Whisperer29502529

Into Thin Air by Jeannie Levig

Two things are apparent to me after reading Jeannie Levig’s three novels. 1. She is an absolutely fantastic writer. 2. She is anything but formulaic. Every single one of her books has been good, but all so different. This writer knows how to drawn emotion from her readers.

Infidelity, a hard subject to tackle, right. You want to hate the cheater, you want them to be punished and feel remorse, because, well they suck as a human. You want the cheated to find happiness, to move past her pain and soar to new heights. That’s what have in Into Thin Air, but in a dark, gritty way.

Hannah Lewis and Jordan Webber have been together three years. The high school guidance counselor with all-American good looks with the broody, but kind civil rights lawyer. Sounds great on paper. Here is the caveat. Jordan likes Hannah, but she doesn’t love her. She has a dark side that demands being fed. So while Hannah lives in her happy, self-absorbed bubble, Jordan cheats with every woman she can. She keeps a part of herself removed from Hannah and their easy/fun relationship, she doesn’t feel remorse, she is who she is and she will have what she desires. Sooooo, Jordan is a giant a$$hole. She also vanishes into thin air one morning. Gone!

Nicki Medina is Jordan’s bestie. She is the one person who knows how Jordan really operates. She doesn’t know all of the secrets of Jordan, one can only imagine how many there really are, but she does know more than anyone else. Nicki had pulled away from Hannah and Jordan the couple, not willing to watch the betrayal of a good woman from the sidelines. She comes back into Hannah’s life when Jordan goes missing without a trace.

This story is truly multifaceted. You have the loss of Jordan to Hannah and Nicki and the panic as to what has happened. Was she killed, abducted, has she run away. Where is she, why… This panic state of emotions. You also have the uncovering of absolute betrayal that Hannah is completely blindsided by and the conflicting emotions that come with it.

Hannah and Nicki are bonded by this nightmarish event. They become to rely on each other for strength and support. You feel them changing over time and becoming more than just friend. Leving carefully crafts this relationship and you, as the reader, are absorbed in their slow burn romance.

Where is a$$hat Jordan? That’s where it goes dark and sinister. I’m not going to tell you this part, I will say you wouldn’t wish this on your worst enemy.

I told you it was multifaceted! Leving challenges you with this book. This story is like a pendulum of emotions, so well crafted that you can’t stop even when it gets difficult to read Jordan’s plight. This is a really fantastic book, you haven’t read anything like this one, I promise.

4.25 stars out of 5

To Purchase from Amazon: Into Thin Air

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Amounting to Nothing (Tacoma Mounted Patrol #3) by Karis Walsh

Karis Walsh is known for quality books. Her characters are likable and well developed, her stories have interesting/realistic dialogue. She is one of my go-to authors for an easy, enjoyable read.

Billie Mitchell is one of the mounted patrol officers for the Tacoma Police Department. As a former soldier, Billie suffers from PTSD from her time in the Middle East. She uses her past to help others as an in-house counselor of sorts. She is readily available for the department to help victims who have experienced trauma and grief. This skill leads her to Merissa Karr.

Merissa has just witnessed a murder. Driving around a less than desirable inner city neighborhood, Merissa and her boss, David were scouting locations for their newest housing development. As Merissa leaned down to pick up a dropped piece of paper, David was shot and killed. Why would a successful architect be murdered for no apparent reason? Billie becomes Merissa’s contact with the TPD, trying to find bits of information that may help uncover the killer’s identity.

This is a mix of mystery and romance. Each part is done with enough balance for the other. As the mystery is uncovered piece by piece, you have the two main characters moving closer together to solve the crime. Their interactions with each other a cute and slowly draw you into the story and hold your attention. The book was slower than expected for a murder mystery, but I found myself enjoying it’s less than frantic pace. The story and the romance build slowly and cautiously. Overall, I really liked this one more than I suspected I would.

4 out of 5 stars

To Purchase: Amounting to Nothing (Mounted)

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