Meant To Be Me by Wendy Hudson

Darcy Harris has a great job, an adorable countryside cabin, and part ownership of a sailboat. Life is good, almost perfect except for two issues. One, this beautiful hopeless romantic is looking for that perfect someone to fill her heart with love, laughter, and companionship. The second is a bit more pressing. Darcy has a stalker, who is hell-bent on running off every potential suitor and whose anger and erratic behavior is escalating quickly.

Eilidh Grey is on the road to recovery. Eilidh was attacked as she attempted to help a homeless man escape a brutal beating by a gang of thugs. They killed the man and nearly killed Eilidh as well. After months of recovering both physically and emotionally, Eilidh has finally she has broken up with her unloving girlfriend, returned to work and has her sights set on really living her life to the fullest.

The story is set in Inverness, Scotland and begins with a chance meeting between Eilidh and Darcy. These two immediately hit it off and a date is made. As smitten as these two are with each other, Eilidh needs to get her affairs in order after her breakup and Darcy is dealing with a demanding best friend whose marriage has just dissolved and the stalker issue. There is a romance and it is so sweet and cute but this book is all about the thriller.

What is really cool about this book is that it has multiple points of view. You read through Darcy, through Eilidh, as well as the demented stalker. You see what they see, feel that they feel and really get into their headspace. This book takes you on a roller coaster of emotions that keep you tangled up till the very end. Wendy Hudson did a bang up job with this one and every character is so well.

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Cash and the Sorority Girl by Ashley Bartlett (Cash Braddock | Book 3)

This is the third book in the Cash Braddock series. I live for this series. Live. For. It! I love the paradox that is Cash. This amazing human being with her genuine spirit just pulls to me. On the flip side, she’s a drug dealer so there is there conundrum you find yourself as the reader in. It’s glorious. Totally love Cash, you get it.

In this one, Cash is still a CI for the Sacramento PD, and her handler Laurel, the detective she is head over heels in love with. Cash’s cash flow is stagnant, she wants to get back at the rival dealer that has snaked all her old clients, she has no idea what her future outside of dealing hold yet she is drawn to helping Laurel and her colleagues track down a fresh batch of bad guys. Ketamine is being used at the local university to drug and rape young women specifically at frat parties. It really hits the fan with Laurel’s younger sister, Lane is raped.

If I can say one thing about this book is that Cash and Lane’s friendship and their time together is breathtakingly beautiful and totally awesome. You really feel that bond come right off the page. Cash is there for Lane in a way not many people can understand. Of course, Cash and Laurel are amazing too. Their chemistry just pulls at you. These two have so much baggage and issues yet they get each other. Laurel is having hell with this case, her feelings of how to cope with what happened to Lane. It’s a lot but it is a great read. I desperately need the next one. I cannot say enough good things about this book. I am absolutely addicted to this series.

5 out of 5 stars

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A Curious Woman by Jess Lea

I picked up A Curious Woman by Jess Lea on an impulse. I was looking for something different and was struck by the book’s description of quirkiness and fun. I’m down for a good rom-com and I am always curious about a new author from Ylva Publishing.

Bess Campbell is learning to live a grounded grateful life. She has an off the grid tiny house, a handful of chickens and a job she absolutely loves at a hip and zany museum of oddities. Bess is a total hipster who lives her life quoting self-help mantras. She is a ray of positivity and light, with a heart of pure gold.

Margaret Gale is Bess’s direct opposite. Margaret is stern, rigid and has guarded herself against everyone in her small seaside town. She is an outcast whose past is shrouded in gossip and rumors. Margaret comes across very cold and unforgiving but really has built a fortress around herself not to let anyone hurt her again.

These two are thrown together when Bess’s boss and Margaret’s rival, Leon is murdered. Everyone in Port Bannir immediately thinks Ms. Gale is the killer and is ready to pin it on her. Bess comes to Margaret’s defense and they begin a journey of uncovering who done it in this sleepy small town.

What I liked about this book is 100% about Bess and Margaret. They were fascinating characters and their interactions together were delightful. The murder mystery was interesting but nowhere near as gripping as the romance. I wish there had been more of it. I’m hoping that this is a series where we get to see Bess and Margaret take on the bad guys again. For Jess Lea’s first book I thought she produced an amazing debut. She is definitely an author whose works I will be reading again.

3.75 out of 5 stars

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Payback by Charlotte Mills

Oh wowzers! Payback is a solid whodunit with smart twists and turns that keep you turning the page. You are working just as hard as the detectives to keep up with this one. Charlotte Mills has written a delightful police drama filled with romance, banter, and suspense. Did I mention this book was smart?

Detective Constable Kate Wolfe has been sent to Warner, a small rural town as punishment for a screw-up. We don’t know what Kate did but it must have big enough for the brass to send her away far away from London. She super sullen about being sent away and her attitude towards everyone speaks volumes about her level of pissed off. Kate’s arrival just happens to coincide with an unexpected rash of crimes. So she might be mad but she’s also busy.

Detective Chief Inspector Helen Taylor had her time in a big city. For years she worked in Manchester but decided to leave the urban epicenter for the laid back life of Warner. While Kate is sullen and prickly, Helen is cheeky and fun-loving. She knows Kate is mad and she prods her with humor and sass until she finally chips away at the walls of the new detective. From the moment these two formidable ladies meet there is heat and attraction. How Mills writes the interactions between Kate and Helen is skillful and dynamic. It keeps you on your toes much as the crimes everyone is trying to figure out.

You really feel like you are in the investigative process of two highly skilled detectives juggling multiple cases. Often times in crime based novel the romance is a lesser part of the whole story. Not this one! Charlotte Mills does a fantastic job of balancing both the romance and crime aspects and weaving them together to make an excellent story. Not to mention there is a monster holy moly guacamole moment. Damn, I never saw it coming and that was awesome. This is a great book you will not regret picking up.

4 out of 5 stars

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Secrets of the Last Castle by A. Rose Mathieu

Welcome back Grace Donovan and Elizabeth Campbell, two characters who I have missed. These two badasses have a murder to solve in Secrets of the Last Castle and unfortunately this time around they are on opposite sides. Drama, suspense, betrayal all with smoldering hot tension, you really cannot ask for more. A. Rose Mathieu comes out swinging with her sequel to Sins of Our Father.

Elizabeth is asked to take the case of a young African American male that is accused of murdering an elderly Caucasian woman in an alleyway. The young man swears he didn’t do it and Elizabeth has full faith in his denial. Grace is on the other side of the coin. What evidence the police do have unfortunately points right to Elizabeth’s client. They are both in a rock and a hard place and this case will take its toll on their romantic relationship. It’s and tense and bumpy ride for these two leading ladies.

This book has twists and turns all over the place. This is a fascinating story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. This mystery has tons of history woven throughout this who done it. You will be so glad you read this one. Oh, and if you have not read Sins of Our Father, don’t skip it. You can read these out of order, but really you don’t want to. Both are fabulous reads.

5 out of 5 stars

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Love’s Verdict by Carsen Taite

Carsen Taite always delivers a great read. She is consistent in giving you a lot of legal drama with characters who are insightful, well thought out and noteworthy chemistry. You know when you pick up one of her books you are getting your money’s worth time and time again. Love’s Verdict is no exception! This story has a cloud of mystery, did he really do it, with a side of I think you’re so hot but I can’t date you.

Carly Prachett is a fifth-year associate at Sturges and Llyod, a boutique law firm in Dallas. She excels at negotiations but is has trouble loosening up and bringing in high-dollar clients. She wants to make partner more than anything. This driven young lawyer has put work before everything else.

Landon Holt is the daughter to one of the wealthiest families in Texas. While Landon is one of the heirs to the Holt dynasty she wants to make her own way without her father’s help or influence. When her law firm forces her to return to Dallas for a big case involving a Dallas Cowboy, Landon reluctantly agrees but it only the lure of being Sturges and Llyod next partner that she agrees.

Right from the bat Carly and Landon are pitted against each other. Their boss gives them the reins on this high-profile murder case with the caveat of working together but only one will come out as partner. The stress is high, the tension is high but so is the attraction.

This book has legal drama in spades, a developed love story, and charming characters. You can’t help but like this book, it’s solid on all fronts and well worth your time. My only complaint is that I wish we had just a dash more time between the two main characters. A few more down moments of them with dialogue would have been fantastic.

3 out of 5 stars

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Alias by Cari Hunter

Cari Hunter gas a new book out, Alias. You don’t need to read further to know that this is a damn good book. It was written by Hunter, a damn good book is guaranteed each time she puts one out? I will expand because this is my review, DUH :), but one thing you can count on is that when you pick up a book by Hunter it is going to be awesome. She is an amazing author that weaves intricate tales and keeps you right on the edge of your seat.

Alias introduces us to a woman, Rebecca Elliott, who has been severely injured in an automobile accident. She has large gaps in her memory and has no clue who she is and how the accident happened. The passenger how was riding with her is deceased and the Welsh police are asking questions about what happened on that fateful night. The clues just aren’t adding up, something is definitely off. I won’t go into more details, I’ll just leave you with this Rebecca is not who she seems and there is a big ol’ can of worms about to get opened.

Detective Bronwen Pryce was the first one on the scene. She has a gut instinct that this automobile accident is way more than what it seems. Nothing fits and something continues to niggle at her mind. Pryce refuses to let things go and write this off as an accident. She needs to know more about Rebecca Elliott and why she was headed out of town in such a hurry.

In Alias, I loved the mystery, crime, suspense of the book. I thought it was done fabulously. Perfect if you will. What nags me about this book is I thought the romance was misplaced, ill-timed and surprisingly unnecessary. If it wasn’t a romance it would have been better, it just didn’t help the book at all. It felt like an afterthought that was pasted into the book and didn’t really jive with the characters or the flow of the story. It would have been so much better if the characters had a moment in the end when everything was squared away and all the I’s were dotted and the T’s were crossed.

Overall a fabulous mystery that I highly recommend.

4.25 out of 5 stars

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