Secrets in a Small Town by Nicole Stiling

Nicole Stiling’s debut novel Secrets in a Small Town is a dynamic romance meets mystery that keeps you on your toes yet smiling page to page. No worries with this one, you won’t be scared to turn out the lights but you will be enchanted and thoroughly entertained.

Savannah Castillo is the town manager of a sleepy little community of fewer than 1,500 people. She picked this small town specifically because it was an ideal place to raise her daughter, Eliana. Savannah is 100% an ice queen. She lets no one, other than her little one, close to her. This control fanatic is disturbed by the sudden onslaught of mysterious gifts. They arrive at her office and home at all given times with no sender to be found. The gifts start increasing in frequency as well as becoming more and more threating. Savannah thinks she can handle this on her own until her assistant goes over her head and involves the one person Savannah wants to avoid more than anyone, the chief of police, Micki Blake.

Micki loves working in Winter Valley. She was worried when she left the hustle and bustle of the city she would be bored. Come to find out she likes the slow pace of small-town life. The only thorn in her side is that the town manager seems to loathe her for reasons she can’t quite grasp. Micki takes Savannah’s attitude in stride and throws it right back at her needling the uptight town manager whenever she gets the chance. You really can’t rule this lighthearted good-natured police chief. When Micki’s friend and Savannah’s executive assistant, Chloe, brings the gift situation to Micki’s attention, the chief is bound and determined to help her abrasive nemesis.

Nicole Stiling can write a damn good book that is for sure. My mind is still boggled a bit that this is a debut novel. It really has a good flow, the plot is dynamic and the dialogue reads very natural. From the very first page, I was drawn to the story and the main characters. As caustic as Savannah was at times I still liked her and Micki is just a main you are immediately drawn to. There were enough twists and turns in who the stalker might be that I was guessing to the end. I will definitely be reading what Nicole Stiling has to offer next.

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Bring Holly Home by A.E. Radley

A.E. Radley knows how to deliver a great story. Her newest book, Bring Holly Home is one of her best yet! A great ice queen romance gets me every single time.

Victoria Hastings is one of the world’s most influential people in the world of high fashion. As the editor-in-chief of an international fashion magazine, Arrival, Victoria is busy, demanding and an absolute ice-queen. Her assistants are known for fleeing, and if they don’t get away first they are often times fired for inconsequential reasons. Under all of her tough exterior, there is a sweet woman who loves fiercely. You just have to break down the massive concrete barriers around her heart.

Holly Carter is one of the few assistants that handled working with Victoria with ease. Victoria threw every challenge her way and Holly met expectations with ease and excellence. So when Holly up and walked away during Paris Fashion Week, Victoria was surprised and unbelievably hurt. Twist! Holly didn’t leave to quit, somehow she was injured and developed amnesia. The young assistant has been living in Paris for a year now.

This ice queen age gap romance will keep you on your toes all the way to the end. Radley keeps the tension taut all the way through the last chapter. My only grievance with this book is that I wish there had been more one on one interaction between the two leading ladies. A little more dialogue would have launched this book into the next stratosphere. With that being said, this book is a really great read, and I sincerely hope that we get another book featuring Victoria and Holly.

3.75 out of 4 stars

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Bait and Switch by Blythe H. Warren

Basically, I started writing this blog as a cathartic way of getting my feelings out about what I. So many times, especially after Kindle Unlimited unrolled, I would read a great review, purchase a book and then go WTF. So many bad book suggestions by Amazon and so much money wasted. A few months ago, I get nailed by a reader on the blog, just ranting at me about a bad review and how mean and awful of a person I was. That book was special to her and how dare I claim that it was not an amazing, fabulous read. It wasn’t that bad a review either, 3 stars actually. To me, the book was not to my taste and I pointed out the reasons, always trying to be fair but honest. Why I’m saying this is in such a convoluted way is that it’s funny, awesome and so fascinating to me how some books can be one person’s treasure and another person was like blah, next, please.

Bait and Switch by Blythe H. Warren is one of those books that I went in with high hopes and came out on the other side wondering what did I miss. By no means a lacking book, but I did not resound with me personally. My biggest reason, I did not really connect with the main character, Liv. I for the life of me could not see why Mira would be interested in her, other than being good at her job, character wise she was flat and uninteresting. I felt like as the reader I was supposed to already get and like Liv. Other than working at an aquarium, and a love for beer, I don’t know much more about her. The book is told from her POV so I would hope to have more understanding of this character and what makes her tick.

Just because Bait and Switch wasn’t my cup of tea and Liv wasn’t the protagonist of my dreams doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t read this author again. I absolutely would. Thanks for reading my rant!

3 out of 5 stars

The Last First Time (Norfolk Coast Investigation Story #3) by Andrea Bramhall

The third installment of the Norfolk Coast Investigation Story series is gruesome, gory, violent, enchanting and heartfelt. So many feelings all rolled into one magnetic story. Kate and Gina are back and life keeps throwing them into chaos and danger. It also brings them closer than ever before.

The book starts with a bang. Literally, unfortunately. Gina and Kate’s co-worker Stella are shopping for Christmas presents at the local mall. While deciding on presents and Stella notices something off about two of the other shoppers. By the time she relays the message to Gina, the bombers have set off a massive explosion that takes the lives of many. Terrifying, gut-churning fear jumps right off the page and lands in the pit of your stomach. You feel and see the horror of the crime scene.

Kate joins the scene quickly, only to find out in the midst of the rubble that Gina and Stella were in the very store where the bomb was detonated. These ladies cannot catch a break! This is where the story begins to weave one of the many subplots into the story.

Bramhall brings the past and present to life. History is weaved throughout the story while Kate and Gina conquer the demons of both their past and present. While emotions rocket all over the place there is still time for that beautiful romance between the two leading ladies amidst the craziness and danger. Everything about this book is done very well. Even when it was hard to read, I wanted more. Kate and Gina’s softness was the perfect anecdote to the scary heart-wrenching crime portion of the book. I cannot wait till the next book.

4.25 out of 5 stars

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The Loudest Silence (Part One) by Olivia Janae

A great book to me usually has a few key elements. Dialogue is first and foremost the most important aspect. The dialogue in a story is absolutely crucial. Second, interesting characters. I want them to captivate me, I want to love them or loathe them, but please have them be amazing one way or the other. If I can get some tension and angst thrown in I will love you forever. So when you have it all wrapped into one delicious story, if you are me, your heart sings with happiness. The Loudest Silence has it all and sooooo much more. This book captivated me from the start and you couldn’t have pulled me away if you tried. I loved it!

Kate Flynn has just arrived in Chicago to join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She is a fill-in for a fellow cellist who had an unfortunate accident and will need an extensive recovery time. This is the first time in forever that Kate and her three-year-old son, Max will be able to put down some roots for longer than a handful of months. Kate is loveable, she’s down to Earth, an amazing mom and she doesn’t hold anything back. If something needs to be said, you can count on Kate to let you know exactly what she thinks.

Vivian Kensington is the ice queen of all ice queens. She is gorgeous, formidable, intimidating, abrasive, rich and above all else, she is the boss. Vivian, who lost her hearing is a young child, was raised by world-class musicians. Unable to go into playing music herself she went into the business side of the music world. You do not want to cross this woman, and of course, that is exactly what Kate does in their first interaction.

The ladies are opposites and it totally works. They butt heads until they realize neither is as bad as the other one has made her out to be. An unlikely friendship strikes up and the love of young Max solidifies this bond. Of course, nothing is easy and there is the not-so-sane, bass player Ash Campbell for their romance to deal with.

I know that this at one time was a SwanQueen fanfic. I know that I read it, but it doesn’t feel the same, and I mean this in the best possible way. I felt like I was getting a new story that was so fantastic just every once in a while I had an, oh yeah, I remember this moment. This book is wonderfully written and will grab your attention and keep it until the last page is turned. It is part of a series with a bit of an angsty ending. So, be prepared to start counting down the days till Olivia Janae releases the next one. I was glad this wasn’t over, I need more of this in my life.

5 out of 5 stars

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Letter of the Law (Lone Star Law Series, #3) by Carsen Taite

I loved Bianca’s character in Above the Law, so I was super excited to see that she was the headliner for Letter of the Law. Bianca Cruz is a federal prosecutor who works diligently to keep the bad guys off the streets of Dallas. She works hard and when she isn’t saving the world she is the mother to a pre-teen girl. Bianca is spunky, this a ball of energy in a beautiful package has a sharp mind and holds nothing back. If she thinks it you can bet she is going to say it. I’m totally smitten with this character.

Our other main is tall and broody, Jade Vargas. If you have been following this series, you know the name Vargas is synonymous with her two uncles and their crime syndicate currently evading the law. Jade doesn’t associate with her uncles, their business is well known and she stays far away. What she does is spend her time breeding horses.

Bianca and jade run into each other and Jade is less than thrilled to find out about what has been happening back home while she was away on business. She doesn’t want anything to do with her uncles or the federal prosecutors trying to find one. Fiery clashes and lots of chemistry, you betcha!

My only complaint is I wish more time would have been spent just between Bianca and Jade. There is a lot of story, crime wise we are working through and I felt their buildup was a bit cheated. Overall a good story as always by Carsen Taite.

4 out of 5 stars

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Falling Hard by Jae

First off let me say I am a huge fan of Jae’s work. As I have said before she is an author you can count on to deliver you a quality read time and time again. With that being said, Falling Hard, her latest novel is probably my least favorite of her books thus far. Don’t freak out, this is a good book, don’t get me wrong, it really is, but overall I felt uninspired reading it. Here are my thoughts as to why…

Dr. Jordan Williams is a general surgeon how lives her life with a no strings attached look on love. You got it! Her bedroom has a revolving door of ladies. She doesn’t hide it and is honorable in the fact that she lets her lovers know exactly what to expect, a good night or two and then adios on to the next one.

Emma Larson is a recently divorced, single mother who has recently had her heart shattered by a cheating wife. Emma picked up what was left of her after catching her wife with another woman, in her own bed nonetheless, and moved from Portland to her childhood hometown of South Pasadena, CA. Emma isn’t looking for a good time between the sheets, she isn’t going to give her heart away for the second time and unless it is true love. One thing that throws everything off is she is ridiculously attracted to her new next door neighbor, Jordan.

You can basically guess how the plot is going to go. Player meets hot single mom, mom rebukes all advances, the player can’t get mom out of her head and stops sleeping around, mom falls for the player, the player falls for mom and viola and a new family is made. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s a good story. You have well thought out characters with a solid beginning, middle, and end. What it is though, is lackluster. There is nothing that sets this book apart from a dozen others that have the exact same plot. There is no tension, no angst, no thoughtful dialogue, nothing that makes the story or its characters jump off the page. It gave me no feels, and after Jae’s last novel, Heart Stop, which gave me all kinds of delicious emotions, I wanted more. This is a light sweet romance, one I am glad I read, but not one that will leave much of a lasting impression.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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