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

Grounded (The Flight Series, #2) by A.E. Radley

Olivia is back, Olivia is back! If you liked or loved Flight SQA016, just get ready because Grounded is a sequel that completely surpasses its predecessor. I know, this is a rare feat, law of diminishing returns and all, but I am here to tell you it has been done.

Well, you know Olivia is back. She is also a bit broken. Where we left her in Flight SQA016, she has just royally screwed up with Emily. Remember, she railed Emily for being a neglectful parent for putting her son in a coach seat on a transatlantic flight. She was an ass and she knows it. Where we pick up a few months later in Grounded is where you start to see some of her character development begin to really flesh out. She accepts her mistake but her heart has been filleted. Losing Henry and Emily in one fell swoop has taken her down several pegs and given her more humanity. She is in emotional pain but has resounded herself that her misstep with Emily has lost her chance with them forever. She totally deserves whatever heartache she must endure. Life has a funny way of bringing folks back together and when her plane crashes into the tarmac, yup it crashed, a set of events unravels to bring these two leading ladies back together.

When we meet back up with Emily, she’s blocking her emotions about Olivia out. Unfortunately for her, sticking your head in the sand ostrich style doesn’t really work with five-year-olds. Henry wants his friend back, and to say he is persistent is an understatement. Her life hasn’t got any easier either. The debt is only growing exponentially, and even with a new day job, she not putting a dent in it. You got it! Emily is no longer serving drinks to the high fliers. Henry’s less that scrupulous grandfather has come into the picture demanding visitation for himself and his wife with the young boy. Emily, not wanting another drawn out custody battle, acquiescingly agrees to his request and in return is awarded a desk job with one of his cronies. Strings attached, boy are they attached, and it gets ugly!

No worries though for all the drama surrounding the two leading ladies their chemistry is still off the charts. It takes a bit for out two mains to come back into each other’s lives, no too long, but once they do you have that epic back and forth dialogue that makes you fall in love with them all over again. Olivia’s quirkiness is still infuriating and adorable to the quick-tempered single mother. Henry and Simon, of course, are there to give the story more depth and lightheartedness.

If you were worried on how Radley would seem the two book together after Flight SQA016’s unsatisfying ending, I’m here to tell you she did it better than I could have ever imagined. Grounded has fantastic pacing, and the layers of the story build to give you an amazing love story. Oh, you’re worried about the ending? Well, don’t be, I promise this one will leave you with a smile and some tiny butterflies.

5 out of 5 stars

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

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Blind Side of the Moon by Blayne Cooper

Blayne Cooper is an amazing writer. Her books are so good! Her latest book, Blind Side of the Moon, I literally bought without even reading what the plot was about. I didn’t need to, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that this book would be amazing. I was absolutely right, it was!

Samantha Blackwell is a high school junior that has recurring dreams that she knows are important. She just doesn’t know why or what she’s supposed to do with what she has seen. As the dreams begin to get more frequent and more detailed she learns through her mind’s eye that her dreams are about a classmate being stalked. She knows without a doubt she has to help, but she doesn’t know who she can get anyone to believe her.

Jane Hutchens is from one of the most prominent families in town. She feels like an outsider in her perfect little family. Her siblings, the twins, are the most popular kids in school. Jane is lucky if anyone even looks her way. Super smart Jane spends most of her time in a book. So when Samantha drops a bomb on her about being stalked she balks at the outrageousness of the situation. that is until the notes and text messages become so frequent and intense that she just can’t ignore the danger lurking.

So the premise of the book is a stalker on the loose and Samantha, who can at times foretell the future befriends Jane to help catch the madman before he hurts her. Oh, but it’s so much more than that. This book has amazing characters who have depth and soul. While they are young these two are also mighty. Both, Jane and Sam are so well developed and you really get to know their emotions. These are strong young women that you cannot help but love and root for.

While Blind Side of the Moon is a mystery filled with twists it also has a romance that is every bit the mystery’s equal. The love story is so sweet, it pulls at your heart strings time and time again. While the two characters are young, they are both wise in so many ways. The ending is left open a bit, so I hope that we will see more of this dynamic duo.

A Big 5 stars!

  • Publisher: Bella Books

Blind Side of the Moon
by Blayne Cooper

To Purchase: Blind Side of the Moon

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Breaking Legacies by Zoe Reed

Breaking Legacies by Zoe Reed is phenomenal! It has everything you want and need all wrapped up in one glorious tale. This is easily, EASILY one of the best books I have read in 2016! The romance gives you the feels, the characters are strong dynamic women, it’s just so freaking good.

Kiena Thaon is a nineteen-year-old woman who is beyond skilled as a hunter and tracker. Her family is dirt poor, left to starve after her father was killed after being labeled a traitor to their king. While the family’s name has been ruined, Kiena has learned to provide by taking what she can from the forest. Her family would die if not for the provisions that she provides. Her skills have been honed out of the direst necessity. What is amazing about Kiena is her graciousness and selflessness. She is one of those characters that while her life has been so difficult, she never lets those hardships jade her. Her spirit captivates you as the reader. Think of her as a Katniss Everdeen type character. She takes the role as the hero, not because of machoness but because that role falls on her. You love her for her vulnerability as much as her strength.

Ava Gavestonis is the other main character in Breaking Legacies. When we first meet her she is a runaway princess that Kiena has been hired/forced to find. Her father, King Hazlitt wants her brought back to the castle immediately. Ava is nothing like the stereotypical princess Kienna thought her to be. Ava is witty, smart, compassionate and by no means Kienna’s sidekick. No, this woman matches her, they are so different but absolute equals. There are no little women in this book y’all! When Kienna realizes why Ava is running from her father, she must help her on her quest south. This is where a domino effect happens, and a revolution becomes their reality.

I think what really sets this book apart from so many others is how multilayered it is. Zoe Reed has given you a long detailed story. She never cut corners to save space. Seriously this book is way bigger than 99% of others in the genre. Reed takes her time and draws the characters out. Backstories are cleverly crafted, the scenes are set, and you feel the story as much as see it as you read. What I loved most of all, and I am talking really loved, is how the character’s chemistry between each other is just dynamite. It just jumps right off the page! You have sexiness, cuteness, agonizing loss and courage all rolled into one epic adventure. Just so damn good!

Breaking Legacies
by Zoe Reed
Link: http://a.co/iVF9dwu

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Pathogen by Jessica L. Webb

Pathogen by Jessica L. Webb picks up not long after the conclusion of Trigger, the debut novel in the Dr. Kate Morrison Mystery series. If you haven’t read, Trigger, stop, go read it and then jump right into this one. These two need to be read in sequence. Otherwise, you will be wading in the dark. My rview of Trigger can be found here: https://theromanticreaderblog.com/2016/03/07/584/

In Trigger, Dr. Kate Morrison and RCMP Sergeant Andy Wyles were thrown together to solve a medical mystery of humans being used a scary ass bombs.  The race against time and an evil villain brought these two unlikely women, threw them into a harrowing situation and they both came out alive, scarred and totally head over heels in love. Such a good book!

Pathogen picks up in the aftermath of said event. As Kate returns to being an ER doctor at Vancouver East, she is struggling a bit with being out in her relationship and wrestling with the demons of what happened in Seattle. On the flip-side, she is deliriously in love with Andy. The small moments these two have with each other at the beginning of the book give you a window into their relationship.

Where the tension begins…Andy is called up to the Whistler area to investigate an outbreak of a mysterious flu-like virus. Why is RCMP involved, and not the Public Health Agency of Canada? The mystery seems to increase as a politician’s daughter is one of the sick. Is this political warfare breaking out? The RCMP brings in Kate to assist Andy on finding out what this virus is, who designed it and for what purposes. The mystery of this book is fantastic. Webb hits you with details and facts that have been meticulously researched. The story has many layers, but the heart of it all is a riveting medical drama.

I think what I loved the most about this book though is the protagonists. Kate is such a multifaceted character. She is deeply wounded, but so strong at the same time. Her complexity and resiliency draw you in, and you can’t help but root for her success and at the same time feel her pain. While Andy is the strong protector you sense her wariness as to when the other shoe is going to drop. Will the outside pressure be too much for Kate and Andy to handle? Her wariness of their future is palatable, but her heart is beyond invested. Their relationship, to me, is what makes this book great.

5 out of 5 stars

Pathogen
by Jessica Webb
Link: http://a.co/cJO7xlU

The Lavender List by Meg Harrington

The Lavender List is set in 1946, just a year after the Nazi regime has defeated and the Americans have left Europe. This was a time of economic prosperity for many Americans after years of tumultuous foreign affairs and finally fully recovering from the Great Depression. You also have the beginning of the Cold War and the undeniable fear of the Communist regime. Why the history lesson, cause welcome to a book that is going to tackle it all while wrapped up in a delicious story filled with spies and Hollywood beauties.

Amelia Maldonado is a starving actress working at a local diner to pay her bills. She spends her days wiping down tables, pouring coffee and waiting for her crush, Laura Wright, to walk through the door. Her dream is to finally make it on Broadway. This Brooklyn girl has spunk in spades. She knows what she wants, who she wants and has dogged perseverance of making it as an actress. Amelia also has an another side to her, a rough and tumble girl, who’s past involves robbing banks and driving the getaway car. This Brooklynn girl knows the local mob boss, well because he is her uncle. This character is one to cherish, she’s multifaceted, she has depth and she is no one’s damsel in distress. She’s pretty easy to love!

Laura Wright is an undercover spy for the CIA. Laura spent her youth in the war, fighting Nazi’s and doing whatever it takes to win the war. She’s intelligent, she gorgeous, she is literally James Bond in a skirt (minus the British accent of course). While Laura is emotionally distant, Amelia is the one person that can crack her ultra-tough exterior. Amelia can see who she really is, and notices just the slightest of changes in her demeanor that cue her into to how Laura truly feels. She sees past the character she often plays and often calls her out on it often. My perspective is that Amelia is the one person who is Laura sees as her equal.

As serious as the issues of war, McCarthyism and a litany of others the book at is core is not really about that. As serious as those issues were the book has a lighter tone. The book is more a fun action packed adventure with two leads that have serious chemistry. This story is unique in so many ways. The best part though is it grabs your attention and your heartstrings, it doesn’t get much better than that. 5 stars

**I have been borderline obsessed with the presidential election for months. Needless to say, my mind was blown and my heart was broken when I realized that Mr. Trump would be our 45th president. My emotions have been all over the place, and still are, to be honest. I picked up this book as a way to escape the turmoil. So if you read this review, Meg Harrington, I just wanted to thank you for giving me a great book to escape into during really shitty week.

5 out of 5 stars

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

The Lavender List by Meg Harrington