Sunday, July 28, 2013

Midnight Secrets (The Wildefire Series #1) by Ella Grace

Midnight Secrets: The Wildefire Series

( I received this for free at a convention.)


On a hot southern night, with a storm on the horizon, a family is shattered. Three beautiful daughters—Savannah, Samantha, and Sabrina Wilde—go on with their lives, each significantly changed, as they bear the memory of the murder-suicide that killed their parents. For years, they have stayed away from Midnight, Alabama. Until Midnight calls them home.

Savannah is the first one back, when a grueling case in Nashville leads the young prosecutor to seek shelter in the quiet of the once grand Wilde mansion. But when she finds letters casting doubt on her family’s dark, shameful past, she realizes that peace in Midnight is a shallow fa├žade and sinister secrets lurk beneath the surface. Zach Tanner, once the town’s bad boy, is now the new police chief and still has a wild hold over her. Zach can feel it, too, but he hurt Savannah once. As teenagers, they broke every rule together. Now it’s his job to keep her safe, even though he isn’t sure who her enemies are—or which ones might be his own

Midnight Secrets was suspenseful, gritty and intense, and so sexy it had me on the edge of my seat. Savannah and Zach are well-developed and so real, I feel like I know them and I really cared about them.  Savannah has returned to Midnight after a ten year absence, forced to hide in her hometown after her Nashville prosecutor job endangers her life, and Zach, who is now Midnight's police chief, must gradually earn back Savannah's trust after his apparent betrayal ten years ago, the morning he left to join the military. Savannah has been dreading seeing Zach again, knowing that in her small hometown they'll run into each other.   When they see each other their intense attraction is still alive and well and it's obvious to all that they belong with each other.  Savannah's aunt and the town's mayor and his wife are soon match-making like crazy, trying to get these two back together.
But then, about 2/3 of the way in, when Zach has earned back Savannah's trust and everything is going smoothly and they are having wild, fantastic monkey sex, the author throws in a blatant plot device to create artificial-seeming tension.  Savannah has not told Zach that she is investigating her parent's deaths after reading her grandfather's old letters mentioning his suspicions over the official murder-suicide ruling.  She has been reading old newspaper reports and asking the older folks in town what they remember for old gossip, and wanted to be sure the deaths looked hinky before confiding in Zach.  But Zach finds out she's investigating her parent's deaths and FREAKS out, declaring that she obviously doesn't trust him and they'll never have a relationship again until she does. His behavior is so extreme, childish and unreasonable it comes off as contrived and awkward.  Savannah's behavior at this point in no way equals Zach's from ten years ago.  Apples and oranges.  Reading this felt  awkward and unnatural - I literally stopped reading and said "WTF?".  Up until this point I absolutely loved this book, and I did finish it, but I felt disappointed, because the rest of the novel was the perfect romantic suspense.  However, the writing was so good I will definitely read Midnight Lies and check out other books by the author (Ella Grace is a pseudonym for Christy Reece.)

Buy at Barnes & Noble
Buy at Amazon
Check out at Goodreads

Check out the author's website HERE.

The 2nd book in the series is Midnight Lies (Samantha's story) and will be released on September 24, 2103.

Midnight Lies: The Wildefire Series  Sweet Justice (Last Chance Rescue Series #7)  Rescue Me (Last Chance Rescue Series #1)  CHANCES ARE  No Chance (Last Chance Rescue Series #4)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Private Deception by Tamara Ward (Jade O'Reilly #1)

Private Deception (a Jade O'Reilly Mystery)

(I purchased this book.)

Back of the Book Blurb:
Sassy private investigator Jade O’Reilly thinks she’s hit rock bottom when, in the midst of obtaining photos of a cheating spouse in a second-story apartment, she falls off a swing set to the feet of an attractive mystery man. But the next day, when Jade discovers the man’s identity—he’s a detective with the local Sweetwater, NC, police—she learns that the cheating spouse was murdered and Jade herself is a suspect. Rock bottom just got a new definition.

Private Deception is the first novel in the Jade O’Reilly Mystery series by Amazon Bestselling Mystery and Romantic Suspense Author Tamara Ward. The novel’s prequel, the short story Jade O’Reilly and the Ice Queen, joins Jade O’Reilly and the Mysterious Musician, a short story that follows Jade on an adventure after this novel. In all three, action and light romance combine with engaging characters and humor for page-turning whodunits set in the fictional coastal town of Sweetwater, NC.

Private Investigator Jade O'Reilly is a pretty tough young woman with a bunch of older brothers. This was self-published in July of 2012 and is a really well-written mystery with humor, a realistically sexy potential romance, and interesting characters.
But the best aspect of Private Deception is Jade herself.  The author has created a complicated, emotionally wounded young woman who is trying her best to make a life for herself.  She is smart, funny, a little nuts, and completely likeable.  Jade is navigating the tricky waters of adulthood, as she has recently broken up with her fiance, a really great guy and her brother's best friend.  The entire town thinks she should stay with him,but Jade doesn't love him, she just really likes him.  Trying to stay true to herself against her brothers, her ex-fiance and her hometown puts incredible pressure on her, but she hangs tough.  The fact that nobody approves of her chosen profession frustrates her as well, but Jade is strong (and stubborn) enough to stick to her path.  Along the way she has adventures and misadventures, starts dating the sexy new cop in town, and begins to put a painful family past behind her.
Really enjoyable story - I'm looking forward to reading the author's other books.

Click here for more information about Tamara Ward.

Amazon Bestselling Mystery Author Tamara Ward’s storylines and characters combine for fun, fast-paced, can’t-put-it-down reads. Her published mystery novels include Private Deception, Storm Surge, and Silver Flashing. In her mysteries, you’ll find characters who keep readers hooked, strong-willed women sleuths, and a sprinkling of humor.

Click on the pictures below to go to the book page at Barnes & Noble:
Hidden Betrayal (a Jade O'Reilly Mystery)  Jade O'Reilly and the Mysterious Musician    Jade O'Reilly and the 12 Days of Christmas (A Sweetwater Short)  Jade O'Reilly and the Ice Queen (A Sweetwater Short Story)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fearless (Harlequin Intrigue #1434) by HelenKay Dimon

 Fearless (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1434)
(I purchased this book.)

His job had once torn them apart… but now it was the only thing that could bring them back together
Davis Weeks had a sterling reputation for high-priority, under-the-radar rescue missions. His role in the prestigious undercover agency Corcoran Team trumped everything. Even Lara Bart. Though his loyalty to his position had once driven her away, Lara knew she had to tame her emotions if she wanted to survive. Whether she liked it or not, he was the only man who could protect her.
Showing up at his door after dodging one attempt on her life, she knew Davis had the tools to make sure the next one failed, as well. But was his past to blame for the sudden attacks? Or was the answer, just like their intense relationship, not so clear-cut?

Published in June 2013, this is an entertaining and sexy romance.  It's a fast read, and Davis is a great hero.  Strong, smart, highly trained in all the alpha male arts, and very protective.  But it was his protective nature that drove a wedge between him and Lara.  His efforts to keep her safe also kept her in the dark, and she'd had enough.  But when she really needed him, she made the decision not to give him all the information, keeping him in the dark as well.  Fearless picks up several months later, and Lara and Davis are still in denial and still in love. 
As they try to figure out which of them is the actual target of the assassin, Davis calls in his brother and his team.  Pretty soon there's even more murder and mayhem, the plot gets more complicated but effectively forces them to stick together and work on their relationship.  Lara manages to hold her own in the action scenes, and the mystery of who is behind the murder plot and why was satisfying and kept me guessing until the end.

Join HelenKay Dimon on her website.

Check out HelenKay Dimon on Goodreads.

Just What He Wanted  Switched (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1387)  No Turning Back  A Simple Twist of Fate  Copy That (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1369)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Graveyard Speaks by Hunter Shea

The Graveyard Speaks

(I downloaded this book during a free offer.)

Some secrets can’t stay buried.
Deep in a dark, snow-covered cemetery, a terrifying, moaning apparition rises from the same grave night after night. Even the most hardened caretakers won’t go near the Spooner gravestone on their midnight rounds. Only one ghost hunter has the will to face the unknown, but at what price? In the chilling blackness, only Jessica Backman is prepared to answer the spectral cry from beyond when the graveyard speaks

I downloaded this little 52 page gem for free, and am so pleased I did.  Hunter Shea is a horror writer, and according to his bio he was raised on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of.   Any fan of Kolchak is going to be cool.  I still have a fond spot in my heart for Darren McGavin.  But anyway.....The Graveyard Speaks is a great little spooky story about a college student and ghost-hunter (except she calls them EBs) named Jessica.  Jessica is following in the footsteps of her deceased father, and she also seems to have the ability to send ghosts......somewhere, simply by naming them and ordering them to leave.  She has no idea why she can do such a thing.  Jessica is asked to investigate a haunting in Woodlawn Cemetery by one of the night watchmen, and she quickly learns that something is definitely going on at the grave of one Meredith Spooner.  But is the black mass and screaming woman's voice that of Meredith?

As much as I love the novella format (kids, work, pets, yadda-yadd-yadda, you get the idea), it's really hard for an author to develop a believable, detailed world of compelling characters and a tight plot in just a few pages.  But Shea nails it in this atmospheric story.

Check it out!

Check out Hunter Shea's website.
Follow Hunter Shea on Goodreads.

Sinister Entity       Swamp Monster Massacre       Forest of Shadows        Evil Eternal  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

FREE Book Alert! DEATHSCAPE by Dana Marton

After a near-death experience, artist Ashley Price is compelled to paint visions of the dead. Then she paints a man buried alive and, recognizing the  surroundings, she rushes to save him.

Instead of being grateful to her for rescuing him, Detective Jack Sullivan accuses her of being in league with a serial killer. He swears he will put her behind bars. Except, the more time he spends with her, the more he falls under her spell. Can he trust her, or is he walking into another deadly trap?

DEATHSCAPE is available for FREE through July 26,  2013. Click HERE to order!
With over 270 reviews and an average rating of 4.5, this is one great deal.

Captain Bing's story, DEATHTRAP, is now available!

Product Details

If you enjoy fast paced thrillers, try Dana Marton's suspense bundle: AGENTS UNDER FIRE  
On sale for a limited time for 99 cents! 
Check out my reviews of the Agents Under Fire novellas on this blog - I LOVED them!

National bestselling author Dana Marton writes fast-paced action-adventure romances that take her readers all over the globe. She is a Rita Award finalist and the winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence. She loves writing stories of intrigue, filled with dangerous plots that try her tough-as-nails heroes and the special women they fall in love with. Her books have been published in seven languages in eleven countries around the world.

Check out Dana on Facebook, or at her website.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood
(I purchased this book.)

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
Yet she spares Cas's life.

This was a delightfully creepy and intense teen horror novel that grabbed me from the beginning.  Cas is the narrator, a seventeen year old boy who has been killing dangerous ghosts for years, a skill he inherited from his murdered father along with a power-infused athame (ritual knife).  Cas and his mother move every few months as they hunt and kill ghosts who are killing humans.  They have a convenient and secretive extensive network of friends who know of their abilities, and many of their ghost tips come from referrals from previous exterminations.  Apparently Cas' father was part of some arcane college group providing Cas and his mother with support, and research when necessary.
Cas is a really interesting character.  Raised in the lifestyle of his roving ghost-killing father and witch-mother, he's never known another way of living, and his goal in life has been to kill the ghost that murdered his father.  For the most part, Cas doesn't act or think like a typical teenager, and going to school is just a necessary exercise in fitting in and making contacts to extract local ghost stories.  But when he moves to Thunder Bay to investigate a local ghost called Anna Dressed In Blood, his habits begin to change.  He actually makes a couple of friends, in spite of his arrogance and condescending attitude.  He observes his fellow students in a patronizing and superior manner, much like an observer from another species.  And in a way, Cas IS from another species.  He's not normal, his family's not normal, and his destiny and abilities set him apart from others.  But the world of the living is starting to reach out to Cas, just as Anna will reach out to him in a most unexpected manner.
I know this book has been out for two years, but to describe any more plot details would really be more of a spoiler.  So I'll focus on the writing.
Kendare Blake is a hypnotic writer.  The prose moves along in a rhythmic cadence that bespells the reader, cocooning them in a magical bubble that is the world of Anna Dressed In Blood.
Here is an example early in the story, shortly after Cas has arrived in Thunder Bay and is searching for Anna's house.

"I can feel her there, mingled into the mud of a hundred other ghosts, some shuffling and harmless, others full of rage.  I can't imagine what it is to be dead; it's a strange idea to me, having known so many ghosts.  It's still a mystery.  I don't quite understand why some people stay and others don't.  I wonder where those who leave have gone.  I wonder if the ones I kill go to the same place."

The near-hypnotic quality is enhanced by the author's use of the present tense, placing the reader in the story as it's happening and creating a sense of urgency.  I could not put this book down.

Is this a perfect book?  Nope, if there even is such a thing - books are too personal.  But the discrepancies and plot shortcuts (Cas gets letters everywhere he moves about ghost tips, but he lives a secret nomadic life? A mysterious mentor of his father's who gives out tidbits of info at critical times. How come Cas and his mother talk about their cat being able to see ghosts, but ignore the poor feline when he is FREAKING OUT about their new attic?) are happily overlooked by the magical world of Anna Dressed In Blood.
Read it!

Join Kendare Blake on Goodreads.
Check out Kendare Blake's website.

Girl of Nightmares  Antigoddess  Sleep Walk Society