Shadowboxer by Jessica L. Webb

If you start by just looking at the front cover of this book, you’ll notice a few things. Now sometimes a cover doesn’t do the book justice, this is absolutely not the case for Shadowboxer. The cover is dark and gritty. The focus is on heavy boxing gloves that have been battered and bruised, much like the kids that face life in the foster care system, on the street, and in abusive homes.

Jordan McAddie was raised in a home by two parents who abused alcohol. Her father was an emotionally abusive drunk. He took is abuse out on the mother of his children and well as the kids, finally going so far that Jordan was removed from her parent’s custody. We meet Jordan as she is well into her career as a child advocate and social worker in Halifax. Jordan uses her past experience as a professional boxer as a way to connect with the local kids. After working grueling hours she spends all her free time opening up her boxing gym to local kids interested in the sport and needing a place they can feel wanted.

When new funding for her gym comes available from a large corporation, Jordan is faced with a face from her past. Ali Clarke is back in Halifax as a representative for Centera Corporation. Her job is to learn from the youth at Jordan’s gym and create some good PR for her company. Ali is the one Jordan let go of so long ago. Her first and only love is back in Halifax. To see Ali again is a blessing, but also brings back all those old feelings. These two have a new chance at love if they are willing to risk it.

As heavy as the subject is about kids that are in desperate need of better representation and social services this book gives you lightness and hope as well. Ali and Jordan have a fabulous chemistry and it’s a delightful slow burn romance. At times this book is heavy but the counterbalances are done well. The secondary characters add so much to the book but never out shadow the mains. That is hard to pull off and Webb did it flawlessly. More than anything this one keeps you hooked.

4.5 stars out of 5

  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
  • Purchase: https://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/books/shadowboxer-by-jessica-l-webb-2675-b

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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

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

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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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

Collide-O-Scope by Andrea Bramhall

So you just what happens when a virtually unlikable business owner is found murdered on the beach in a small English town. Read Collide-O-Scope and you’ll find out just how crazy things are going to get in this small coastal community.

Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon is on the case of the homicide of Connie Wells. She must find out why the reclusive business owner was murdered. There are no witnesses, no real motive, and the only real clues are a missing high-powered camera and a bunch of random numbers written down in a journal. Kate spends her days investigating the small community members for clues.  Many disliked Connie, but why kill her she was planning on moving anyways.

Gina Temple is the manager of the camp grounds that was owned by the deceased. She is one of the few people that called Connie a friend. Gina is the one community member that is really helping Kate with her investigations. She knows all the movers and shakers in the small town, and she isn’t afraid of sharing background information about each. Gina and Kate have an instant connection, but Gina has secrets of her own.

What makes this book really good is that it’s realistic. You feel like all the pieces are 100% plausible. Never did I feel like the author was grabbing at straws or making things too convenient for the cops or the killer. As the story unfolded all I could think is yeah I’m pretty sure this could happen in real life. This is a police crime drama with a side of romance. The romance unfolds in a way that was sweet and perfect for this book and fits  with the story. Kate and Gina, while instantly have a spark, they also dance around each other enough to keep the reader guessing will they or not ever find their way to each other. Great book by an author that always delivers!

4.5 stars

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

  • Publisher: Ylva Books
  • www.ylvapublishing.com