Sawmill Springs by Gerri Hill

Gerri Hill is one of my favorite go to writers. She has beautiful style and while every book might not be a 5 star it’s almost guaranteed a four star, that saying something pretty spectacular, right? That you can rely completely on her books being quality reads time and time again.

Mandi Murphy moves from Houston to Sawmill Springs after a horrible case goes wrong and ends up resulting in the death of a friend. She decides a slower pace is needed and she takes a job offer in sleepy Sawmill Springs. Expecting to give traffic tickets and break up the occasional bar fight, Murphy no way expects to start her career with a murder case that continues to escalate daily.

Kayla Dixon is the Police Chief’s daughter, she just happens to be a former FBI agent as well. Kayla leaves Dallas to escape a terrible breakup and the frantic pace of the FBI. Her dad offers her a job on his staff and she jumps at the chance to come home. Thank goodness she does, because Murphy and Kayla are the only officers in town that can handle a killer on the loose.

Kayla and Murphy are partnered together. They both are new on the Sawmill Springs police force to solve a multiple murder case. This case is one with very little clues, and a whole town frightened by the turn of events. As the case increases in intensity, so does their friendship and attraction.

This one is a great murder mystery with a heavy dose of romance. The interaction between our two mains is cute and the dialogue is well written and believable. A really good story, my only complaint, and it is pretty small, it I wish just a little more time was spent on the mains interacting with each other outside of solving the case. Take that chemistry up one notch and it would have been stellar.

4 out of 5 stars

Sawmill Springs - Paperback

The Scholarship by Jaime Maddox

This book is an excellent whodunit story wrapped into a delightful romance. Maddox does an excellent job of keeping you intrigued in the slow burn romance all the while knowing there is a cold case being unearthed simultaneously. While the love is brewing between our two mains there is a killer getting more skittish by the day.

Ella Townes spent weeks every summer in the Poconos at Lake Winola, as a young girl visiting her grandparents and making friends with the neighborhood kids at the lake they lived on. For Ella, this idyllic time in her life has a strong hold on her heart and at forty she jumps at the chance to move back to this beautiful lakeside town. Taking a new position as the VP of development at Poconos Mountain University, Ella accepts that her life will probably now include a special lady, she believes wholeheartedly that work will be enough to keep her satisfied.

Reese Ryan is a local ER doctor who has spent almost her entire life in her sleepy hometown. She loves her town, her friends, and her family. She is undeniably connected to this community. She has always been single, never thinking much about it. All of her relationships have been casual, except one, her childhood sweetheart, who was mysteriously murdered right before their high school graduation. When Ella Townes, moves in next door to Reese’s parents, all bets are off, this is one woman Reese cannot look over.

What’s great about this book is it has a well thought out plot, involving a murder mystery cold case wrapped around a delightful love story. Each part is done so well and balances each other beautifully. Ella and Reece’s romance is a slow burn filled with attraction and friendship. They circle around each other in the great push-pull that holds your attention and keeps you flipping the page into the night. All the while Maddox is slowly unraveling the mystery of Stephanie Gates death. A great romance with a smart mystery, this is one book of 2017 that you do not want to pass up. So good!

5 out of 5 stars

The Scholarship

Sins of Our Fathers by A. Rose Mathieu

Attorney Elizabeth Campbell is a fearless legal badass. Born into privileged upper crust family, Elizabeth was set to follow in her father’s footsteps. Much to her parent’s dismay, Elizabeth decided to work in a nonprofit legal clinic arena instead of corporate law. This character follows her heart, even when it leads her to scary dark basements chasing killers in the dead of night. She is a Sherlock Holmes with a side of Perry Mason. I’m not kidding when I say she is fearless! I will also say she is a character that steals your heart because she is so inherently good even when she is bending/breaking the law.

Assigned to review old cases for the mayor’s office, Elizabeth comes across one particular conviction that just doesn’t add up. A special needs man, Raymond, was imprisoned for the brutal killing a Catholic priest. Elizabeth follows her gut and digs for clues, demanding justice for the perceived innocent man. As Raymond’s case is re-opened as the murders start again, same modus operandi only this time Raymond was behind bars.

I’m not giving you anymore, the twists and turns in this story are fabulous. Sins of Our Fathers is well written and focused. This does not read like the work of a first-time author. Mathieu builds up the tension and throws you into the action. You feel your heart pounding right along with Elizabeth. This heroine needs no saving but there is the occasional help of a super cute but cantankerous police detective, Grace Donovan.

A romance this is not, oh it’s there, it’s just ultra-light. I feel like we may be building this relationship in a future book. What this is, is a well throughout mystery, with great details and enough curveballs to keep you guessing to the end. I’m hoping this is the first of many times we see Elizabeth and Grace in action.

4.25 out of 5 stars

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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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A Quiet Death (The Dark Peak, #3) by Cari Hunter

I have said it before, and I will say it again Cari Hunter writes fantastic books. She is hands down one of the best authors in this genre. The Dark Peak series has been an absolute delight. I completely adore the two main characters of this series, Meg and Sanne. I have loved seeing the progression of their relationship and the craziness that they have had to endure. With that being said, I was not floored by this particular book. To me it’s good. It’s just missing some of the sparks of the previous two stories.

A Quiet Death begins as Sanne and the other EDSOP crew uncovers the body of a teenage girl who succumbed to hypothermia out in the Peaks. This young malnourished woman was half dressed and had a multitude of injuries, including being sexually assaulted. This is the beginning of a much larger case, with a swarm of bad guys that are beyond horrendous. This case is gritty, dark and reeks of perversion. While Sanne is chasing clues, Meg is dealing with ER politics and helping Sanne’s mother cope with her husband’s alcoholism and the punishment it has done to his body.

The first seventy percent of the story to me was somewhat dry. The majority of time is spent with Sanne or Eleanor (Sanne’s captain) as they begin to try to unravel the possible sex trafficking ring linked to the young teen. Basically a police procedural,  involving questioning unsavory characters and of course a stakeout. This is very much a crime based book, if you are looking for romance you will find it scattered throughout the book, but it basically comes to Meg and Sanne cuddling in bed after dreadful days at the office. To me, this is where the book lacked from the other books in the series. That spark of these two was missing. Their interactions are limited and bland. I missed Meg and Sanne together and their banter and wit.

The last 30 perfect goes into hyper drive and how the case is resolved in stellar. It was done masterfully and you could see every part as Hunter unraveled this tangled web. The ending is fantastic and really takes you on a wild ride full of twists and turns.

I may be the only person on the face of the Earth that doesn’t love this one. Its good, it truly is but it’s just not great. Cari Hunter has set an exceptionally high bar, though.

3.75 out of 5 stars

A Quiet Death (Dark Peak)
by Cari Hunter
Link: http://a.co/1pt284u
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Requiem For Immortals by Lee Winter

Requiem For Immortals by Lee Winter is easily one of the best books I have read in some time. The characters are fascinating. The writing is superb and the story , absolutely captivating. Some adjectives right! This book will stay with you in and leave you wondering what’s next. Not in the frustrating cliffhanger kind of way, but in write another one already, I need more kind of way.

The story is center around our two main characters, Natalya and Alison. These two are your yin and yang. Natalya Tsvetnenko is a classical musician, a cellist, who plays for the Victorian Philharmonic Orchestra in Melbourne. This is one-half of who this woman is. The other, almost like another personality, is Requiem. Requiem is an assassin for hire. A cold blooded killer, that will do whatever the highest bidder needs. Both sides of Natalya’s life are regimented, consisting of extreme discipline and control, just with very different outcomes.

Alison Ryan is your basic, Melbourne woman. Average in every way, she goes to work, Monday through Friday. Miss Ryan does her eight-hour shift and then heads home to care for her disabled, abusive mother. Her only passion is music. She has no lovers, no unseemly vices, so why on Earth does Requiem have a contract to kill her for double the average payment?

Oh my, the tangled web, Lee Winters has weaved with this one. This psychological thriller throws curve ball after curve ball leaving you on the edge of your seat the whole book. Oh so good!

5 out of 5 stars

Requiem for Immortals (The Law Game Book 1)
by Lee Winter
Link: https://amzn.com/B01JK1NN2Q

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Deception by VK Powell

The cover of this book almost made me shy away, but the subject of this book intrigued me enough to give it a go. Was I disappointed, no quite the opposite actually.

DEA Agent Colby Vincent volunteers for her first undercover assignment. Being a veteran of the Armed Forces has given her the edge in landing this assignment. Colby is to take the role as a homeless veteran to uncover a drug smuggling operation in Greensborough.  The DEA is convinced that homeless vets are being used to distribute large amounts of prescription drugs on the streets.

Adena Weber part-time lawyer, part-time philanthropist has devoted her life to helping the disadvantaged of her beloved hometown. Her father has just been murdered, and she will stop at nothing to uncover this crime as well as continue his life’s work of running a resource center to help get people off the streets and into jobs.

This book does an excellent job of describing what life could look like on living on the street. You see through Colby’s eyes exactly how hard it is to stay under the radar of the police, the predators and find food and shelter. How life’s basic needs become paramount, and wants are a distant memory. You cannot help but be moved by the misery Colby faces as she hides in parking garages, fells unspeakable hunger and literally fights for survival daily.

When Adena and Colby meet it is that instant attraction, neither can take their eyes off each other but the timing is all wrong. Colby isn’t the successful DEA Agent, no she is on if Adena’s clients, and the timing is off for these two. This attraction must be squashed until the case is solved.

The mystery portion of this book is really good. You are never sure what is going to happen and Powell does a fantastic job of creating the scene and dragging you into this world. I loved seeing and feeling how Colby felt invisible and criminalized because of her being part of the homeless population. You could not help but feel her pain, even though you know it’s temporary. You really felt an understanding of the struggle it must be to be in this dire situation. What I did not feel a connection to was the romance. While I felt like it started to take shape in the beginning, ultimately it fizzled and fell flat. I didn’t feel the love over power these two, and I really did not care much for how they finally came together. It felt very anticlimactic and very rushed. Leaving me kind of on a sour note.

3.75 out of 5 stars

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

Deception
by VK Powell
Link: https://amzn.com/1626395969