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Owl and the Electric Samurai, Kristi Charish

Owl and the Electric Samurai, Kristi Charish

Owl and the Electric Samurai (The Owl Series) by [Charish, Kristi]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy

I loved the first two novels but this one was, to be honest, a bit of a slog 😦
I’ve loved Owl, her kind of skewed world views, and yet underneath you know she cares deeply for her friends, that she’s moral, will always do the right thing, for people anyway even if artifacts are a bit of a grey area….but in this book she came over as a bit self centred, kind of blowing off issues that her best friend Nadya was dealing with, acting pretty cold towards Rynn at times.

I love Rynn, but in this book they felt more like two people working together who didn’t really like or respect each other, and though its clear Rynn cares deeply for Owl, would do almost anything to keep her safe she really wasn’t looking out for what was going on in his life, seeing his POV, seeing what he was worried about, didn’t really take Nadya’s issues seriously, only as far as they affected her.
This book seemed to be Only Worry About What Concerns Owl…and I didn’t like that, that wasn’t the person I knew from book one.
Then too there’s the whole Electric Samurai…its not Owl V the ES, its Owl searches for the ES. The Electric Samurai itself doesn’t really come into play til the end.

I had issues with Owl and Rynn jumping form one hot-spot to another, escaping by the skin of their teeth, jumping from country to country, and the non stop action that was hit, done and over just in time for the next issue got dull.
I wanted more in depth detail, to know exactly how they did things, how they escaped, not toss in a few whiz bangs and they’re out, but that’s how each drama began to feel to me. Just more of the same, another place where everyone wants a piece of Owl and she escape barely to fall into the next drama.
I’d have liked a bit more day to day details, more conversations that didn’t just involve “how are we getting out of this mess” type of thing. Less skin of teeth and bombs, less Carpe doing some amazing tech stuff, characters suddenly dropping in unexpectedly and a little more reality.
Back to one of my bugbears, the This just couldn’t happen problem. There’s an IT Acronym IFTTT (If this then that) where if one thing happens its the trigger for another action, and when I’m reading I want to believe that if this one thing/action/event is real it could trigger a defined reaction, but too often in this story I didn’t feel the first issue could be real, it lacked that believability factor, which meant that the action that followed felt wrong to me.

There were parts I enjoyed, and the whole story is so unique that it was really refreshing to read when the series started, but now its seems to have moved away from that and I just need a little less action a little more conversation….A bit more reality even though its fantasy.
How does Owl get from country to country without getting stopped at usual channels ect, without ever having any luggage? She never seems to eat or drink, need to shower, sleep, feed Captain, you know, all the everyday dross that makes a story feel real.
I don’t need loads, just a little to ground her, make things feel real.
She just flips from one country at the end of a chapter and on first page of next chapter she’s where she needs to be, and I’m thinking “but how??” Especially given Captain is with her. Travelling with a huge cat isn’t easy…and where does she keep getting cat carriers?
It is a very complex world blending real world with the fantasy game playing base Shangri-La, but it felt increasing detached to me from the characters and settings we started out with in book one.

Then the ending…no………How could Kristi leave us like that? I’d almost decided this was it for me, wondering whether I really wanted to continue with the series but I can’t stop at this point, I’ll have to see how it plays out and hope a return to the styles of books one and two are forthcoming.

Stars: Three, a bit hard going this installment. Hopefully book four will bring a return to the style of the first two.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Obsession, A shocking psychological thriller where love affairs turn deadly, Amanda Robson

Obsession, A shocking psychological thriller where love affairs turn deadly, Amanda Robson
Obsession: A shocking psychological thriller where love affairs turn deadly by [Robson, Amanda]

Genre: General Fiction (Adult) , Mystery & Thrillers

This is an amazing debut book but a very, very uncomfortable read. The characters are not exactly likable, yet at the start they could be any of us, they’re fairly ordinary types, there’s nothing to suggest just what is going to unfold, how dark their lives are going to turn.
Its not a happy ever after read, so take note! It is a rivetting read though, I found myself saying internally “just one more chapter” as I just had to see how things would progress. And of course that led to one more and then one more chapter after that 🙂

We meet Carly and Rob on holiday, he’s a GP, she works on the practice part time and looks after their kids with her mother Heather’s help. They seem innocuous, though its clear Carly doesn’t feel motherhood particularly satisfying. there’s lots of parents like that though, its not all Johnson’s baby powder and sweet kisses in real life, and not everyone is cut out to be a full time parent.

She’s an odd woman is Carly, feels a bit…brittle and insecure though pushes this outward appearance of being very confident and capable. Then she asks Rob That Question, and the answer has repercussions you just can’t imagine. Would things have turned out differently if he’d answered another way? Would something else have been the catalyst, and events happen regardless?
There’s any number of points where looking back one of them could have said “if only I’d done/hadn’t done… ” Hindsight is a wonderful thing as the saying goes.

I didn’t really like Carly but I did feel for her unhappiness. Rob was just a typical busy parent and didn’t look far into what was going on underneath. Like most people he was satisfied by the surface appearance of everything and assumed they were all happy.

Then there’s the second couple, Jenni and Craig. Jenni, she seemed such a gentle, quiet soul and deeply adored her family. Is that love or smothering? Was she as she seemed, content, happy to be a parent, basking in husband Craig’s adoration?
They were two very different people – Jenni was quiet, shy, strongly religious, while Craig was handsome, outgoing and a real play -the-field guy. What brought them together? And could they have stayed in that same happy state they seemed to be when we first met them or were threads already unraveling?

Its a tough look at human nature and behaviours, depression, family life, how we’re all tightly knit in groups and one thread unwinding affects the whole group. Like I said its really uncomfortable reading. I kept thinking “no, she/he wouldn’t do that” and if we’d been plunged right into those dramas I could believe it, but we’re led carefully and slowly down a path of destruction, til almost without realising everything we thought we knew about the characters had changed, and I really couldn’t predict how things would pan out.
Stars: five, a fabulous debut, but its dark and definitely not a HEA! Its not one I’d reread, tending to only read again the lighter, happier ones. there’s enough dark in my life without reading it too often!

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Curse Mandate, (The Dark Choir 3), Book THREE of The Dark Choir, J.P. Sloan

The Curse Mandate, (The Dark Choir 3), Book THREE of The Dark Choir,  J.P. Sloan

The Curse Mandate (The Dark Choir Book 3) by [Sloan, J.P.]

Genre:  Horror, Sci-fi and fantasy

Currently on KU

I NEVER read horror, and if I’d seen that I wouldn’t have come to this series. Its not a gory, blood-fest read though, and for me the horror is more of the “could this happen” type and I can deal with that. I really enjoyed books one and two, and was keen to get on to this.

Poor Dorian, you really can’t help but like him. He’s a very moral person in so many ways, just wants to live his life, earn a living and have fun, but he’s a magnet for trouble and sometimes his sense of morality leads him to tread very close to the permitted lines in magic.
He’s still searching for his soul, lost in book one, well – more he was tricked out of it than he lost it. Once more his need to help others got him into danger.
Alongside that though he’s got other problems, he’s got a new pupil, her brother needs help as he’s been cursed, there’s some wierd Chaos magic targeting people and places, and he’s trying to get to the root of that, trying to stop more people being hurt, and on top of that he’s a bar to run as part owner! Just another day for Dorian then..He feels like he’s always trying to catch up, and the next huge crisis is just aroubnd the corner.

As before the story is packed with magical terms, spells, curses, hexes and explanations of how different historic (genuine – they did/do exist) factions fit into this story. He’s an amazing man with incredible knowledge of his craft and its history, and I found myself constantly flicking the paperwhite Look-up function 🙂
The fact there is so much of this book based on genuine societies gives it a very realistic feel.
I love the detective (Hunter?), assigned to help him, a sceptic who by the end had changed his tune and looks to become a future ally.
One issue I did have is the cast of characters has grown huge, and I found it hard to recall who connected where, why, to which group, which section of magic they practiced or whether they were of the innocent of magic group, normal humans who’ve no idea what really goes on in their world. Lots of backtracking for me, and I’d have appreciated an index to keep them straight.

As always the plots are fast and furious, Dorian is racing against time, chasing clues and help, trying to sort out who are the good guys and what the others are up to, and still trying to help his friends and track down his soul.
There some really sad parts here too, both in his personal life and for me having grown fond of a certain person 😦 but sometimes that just makes it all the more real, when the unexpected happens, when the good guys don’t always come out on top.

Its a great read once more and the reason its four and not five is that I spent so long looking back at who did what, and how they fitted in to the story, plus checking out the many different terms and groups that it affected the flow of the story.
Actually that’s a bit unfair to drop a whole star, maybe just a half, as the idea and plots are excellent.
I loved the way the little side issues ended connected to the larger picture, and the detailed explanations of what the curses and spells could do, how they were constructed and at what cost. I enjoyed being completely off course in who was behind things, I like the unpredictable!

Stars: Four and a half, another action packed adventure, spell binding (!) saga, full of  power filled plots.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Fearful Symmetry, The Secret of the Journal Series, C. F. Dunn

Fearful Symmetry, The Secret of the Journal Series,  C. F. Dunn
Fearful Symmetry (The Secret of the Journal) by [Dunn, C.F]

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, General Fiction (Adult)

Well, I almost missed out in what has been a fabulous five books! Thankfully I didn’t 🙂
When I started the first waaay back I just couldn’t get into it, kept stopping, putting it aside and finally gave up.
Fast forward about three months and I was looking for something new to read. I’d really liked the sound of this, felt a perfect fit for me and I was disappointed I hadn’t got into it so decided to try again – and became hooked.

There have been comparisons to the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness, but I feel that does both books a disservice. To me they are both very great reads, have a paranormal/thriller aspect, a romance and they span several books with an ever growing cast, but the comparison stops there.
As a story they are so very, very different.

There a brief recap at the beginning, and as so much has been covered in the last four books I found that really useful. Its not a complete rehash, just a few pages reminding the reader of the important details.
What I would have liked to see in each book is a cast list. I did keep getting Matthew’s family confused, with who was who – son/daughter/granddaughter/niece/nephew etc. For practical reasons Matthew had to pretend to be other than the oldest, looking as he did.
I had wondered how on earth this was going to end, whether there would be a real conclusion, or if Ms Dunn would take the ambiguous route, where we never really know what happens in their future but have to make assumptions about Matthew and Emma’s future. I’m not keen on those, like a tidy ending, preferably the one I want:-)
Read the last in a trilogy recently where the romance didn’t end in a HEA or even a HFN and was so gutted. It was a great ending, just not the one I ( along with other readers) expected or wanted.

Ms Dunn does it though, and in such a perfect way, bringing the story full circle, and now the first and last titles make sense to me! I like endings that feel real, that feel as though if X was possible then Y is a natural conclusion.
Yep – even in fantasy and paranormal reads I have to feel that things could happen as we read, that if people like Matthew and his family existed then things could happen in the way its written.

Its a book that spans several years, with Matthew always searching for answers, Emma still pursuing her research and university work, but their family is always changing and extending. There’s the issue of Ellie and her pregnancy to deal with, Maggie’s very clear hatred of Emma, Emma’s family that have to be kept free of all the secrets, along with their freinds at uni too.
It’s a tough time, always watching what she says and does, and Emma finds it very hard.

Then it seems like the dangers they’ve always worried about, the fear of discovery and what will happen to the family is finally catching them up.
Its a scary time, Matthew doesn’t want to move them too soon, creating new identities and finding them homes and work, but also he has to not wait too long. They have to be ready to run at any time and that puts a huge strain on a family already bending under the burden of so many secrets.

Its another read full of discoveries and surprises, all the old characters we’ve met so far, Matthews ever growing family, and the story builds upon the previous books.
When I think of the Emma I first met in book one it seems she’s come such a long way, grown so much through her at times horrific experiences.
Matthew never really seems to change and I so feel for him, he’s full of guilt for the burden the secrets have put on his family, and he’s so full of love for them all.

The finish is perfect, doesn’t come racing up, but graduates all through the book, with little parts falling into place just at the right moment.
I am so in awe of somoene who can write a story like this, where tiny moments, throwaway remarks from parts of the story in earlier books suddenly turn out to have been leading up to major revelations. That takes immense plotting and must mean a wall full of notes and cross references!!
I have enough trouble keeping my normal life organised, and planning how to fit things in, doing a fictional one with much less restrictions would be a nightmare for me, but I’m so glad others can do it, and do it well, giving us these perfect, dense and complex stories.

Stars: Five, incredible finish, perfect ending and one to savour and reread right through all five books.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

The Curse of Tenth Grave, Darynda Jones

The Curse of Tenth Grave,  Darynda Jones

click image for amazon link

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers, Fantasy, romance

Well, when I look back to book one what a long, long way Charley has come. I still love her kookie ways, love her big, big heart and then of course her irreverence, her snark, those endless one liners that have me sniggering. What a difference to how she was though, how she’s grown to accept her role as Grim Reaper and a God without losing the essential “Charley”. She’s still busy naming everything – I love that Reyes’ shower is called George. I’ve always named cars, but furniture? Never occurred to me.

There’s still that awful but necessary separation from Beep though, Charley knows it has to be done to keep her safe, but what heartbreak for her and Reyes.
Reyes *drool along with countless readers* he’s amazing, adores Charley, will do anything to keep her and Beep safe. His is an incredible story too, and again looking back to those early books, what changes this series has been through and yet it keeps the essential spark of fun, great characters and genuine plots which drew me in to the start.

We didn’t see so much of Strawberry Shortcake, Rocket, Osh and Angel this time. That boy makes me laugh, thirteen going on thirty, all his flirting with Charley. Osh – well, when he was introduced several books back I wasn’t sure about him, didn’t know if we could trust him – he’s a Daeva after all. He too has joined Beep’s Army though, and there’s a hint towards the end here of just how strong its become.

So as usual Charley’s running round like a headless chicken, but collecting needy people ( a 12 year old girl this time), and sorting everyone’s problems despite being under pressure from so many sources. She’s a huge worry here though, Reyes hasn’t touched her, seems to be avoiding anything sexual except a few heated kisses. Usually he can’t keep his hands off her *and don’t we just love that??* and they’re making love at every opportunity ( and making ones where there aren’t any!!) Is he tired of her she thinks, fed up of her and the issues that go with her, irritated at always having to gett her out of trouble, resentful because she forgot him when she lost her memory, found someone else maybe?
Poor Charley, she just doesn’t think she deserves him, doesn’t think she’s good enough – and the weird thing? Well, Reyes feels the same…You want to lock them both in a room to sort things out don’t you? Yep, well Cookie has the answer 😉

I really don’t know how Darynda comes up with all this – its something that amazes me about authors, how they pull stories out of nothing, create people and situations that feel so real. When Charley’s dad died in the last book I cried, finally she realised just how much he loved her despite his actions at times.
Once more this book too had me laughing and crying, its so emotive sometimes, so deep and then open the next chapter and there’s a heading that makes me smile and lightens things. I love those headings, look forward to each new chapter.
There’s secrets and revelations here, the future of the world, the dangers to Beep, whether Reyes really is one of the baddies now Charley knows his true origins, that he’s a God too….it just makes me wonder what else is going to come out.
I love what’s possibly lined up for Osh, want Beep home, but before that can happen there’s the Big Battle – Charley will do anything for her family, and we know Reyes will, severing spines seems to be his favourite hobby sometimes!

It could so easily descent into triteness with Charley’s practicality and need to work her day to day jobs, or maybe go the other way and turn all Sci-fi, Star Trek, interplanetary plots etc. but Darynda straddles the lines beautifully to bring out another fascinating read, one packed full of fun and humour, dangers and drama, and once more ties everything in this book neatly together,  but with yet more revelations and hints of what’s to come.
I don’t know how many more books are planned, I’ll be sad to leave Charley, Reyes and the gang, but the final war, the big battle seems to be on the way, the lines have been drawn and action is starting.

Darynda, you’re an amazing author, given us a fabulous story with characters that have stayed true to the ones we knew when the series began. So often in long running series the characters become ones we don’t recognise as time passes, and the main plots veer away into strange areas, just for the sake of stringing out the drama, turning out another book, but the plots and characters here feel as fresh and true as they did with that very first book. ( Anita Blake? A series I loved at first but abandoned about book 14 when she became someone I didn’t recognise, didn’t like)

I love this series, love the characters – even the bad ones 😉 they’re needed. I really want to know how its all going to go down, who will pull through and what the future looks like, but can’t imagine how on earth – or any other dimension! – its going to work out. Glad I’m a reader not a writer, I can just enjoy it, not worry about writing it!
Please Darynda – don’t kill off Reyes, we love him, love his panther like graceful way of moving,he doesn’t ever walk, nothing so mundane,simply glides through everywhere, sexuality just oozing from him, every female – and a few males – drooling at him, and yet he’s got eyes only for Charley. Give them a happy ending, and let us please have lots of Reyes before we get it 😉
Its a series that’s definitely on my re reader list for when all the books are out. I’ll have a week of so if indulging in nothing but Reyes and Charley, a real Grave-fest marathon.

Stars: Five, another riveting novel, another page turner full of action, humour, sensuality ( Reyes!!) that kept me glued to my kindle.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Last Kiss, Laurelin Paige

Last Kiss,  Laurelin Paige

Genre:  Romance,


I struggled with parts of the first book, wasn’t sure of either Emily or Reeve, but they grew on me slowly and I began to understand them.

In book two though there’s still that dichotomy for me of how they both enjoy sex. I know there are people for whom sex like this is what they both want – I just find it hard to understand why? And it makes me feel a bit uncomfortable that there’s such a thin line between giving and taking,.doing what each wants or becoming a manipulative bully. Its something that demands so much trust, and yet these two don’t trust each other. Even now after so much has happened between them there’s still a myriad of secrets and both are still uncertain of each other – and yet I can feel that they’ve both fallen in love. There’s a complication now though – Amber.

Its safe to say I really didn’t like her, saw her as someone who used Emily to back up her own demands and lifestyle.

I’m not really sure why I felt that way – there’s no real evidence, but then that’s true for so much of this story, lots of inferences, hints, trails leading to another secret, bits of stories revealed that turn out to be misleading – a lot of the time I’m lost, trying to understand the hidden messages, read between the lines, understand the subtext underlying what’s actually being said. It seems every conversation between Emily, Reeve and Amber has at least two meanings, and often more and I struggled to work out the truth. That’s clever writing at its best 😉

I did get the ending right, did guess some of what was happening, but not because the plot let the story out, just wishful thinking and a need for a HEA on my part, which led me to look for the parts that would back up my supposition. Lucky guess really!!

Its a drama filled read, full of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. Its a story that kept me reading, desperate to keep Reeve and Emily together even while I felt so uncomfortable about what they were doing sexually that spilled over into areas outside the bedroom.

I guess unless you’ve those tastes sexually it is hard to understand, and its not the first book which has left me wondering why on earth someone finds being treated so harshly, with words and actions is such a turn on – each to their own though and if it works for them that’s fine. I’d be gutted, devastated at some of the things Reeve says and yet he knows its what Emily wants to hear, what turns her on, and she in turn wants to please him.

The biggest issue I have with stories like this – and I’ve another very similar storyline part two read on review at the moment which gives me the same issue – is that the impetus that built up in first part has dissipated now, and its quite hard to pick up the story and feel the same as if I’d read it all as one book. Its been months and a few hundred books since I read First Touch, and all the drama and excitement I felt then has gone.

*sigh* I really, really wish these stories were just one read. I know that I’ll get so much more from it if I could read it in one go, now its finding time to do that when I’ve so many others waiting 😦

Great read, full of twists and turns, drama and danger, spicy, scorching sex and wonderful HEA.


Stars: Five, just need the time to read both parts in one go now.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Walker, (Bad Boys of X-Ops 1), Rie Warren

Walker, (Bad Boys of X-Ops 1), Rie Warren 

Genre:  romance

I enjoyed reading some of Rie’s Carolina novels, and was looking forward to this. I’ve decided though that in general the Military/Black ops type reads aren’t for me. I get kind of lost in all the talk about guns, explosives, and machinations of missions and rescues. Some people adore them – that’s great of course, but for me they’re not really a genre that works. I’ve only read a few, and of course you need to be sure its not just one or two books that put you off a whole genre, but after getting lost – not in a good way – in this story I shall avoid this type of read in future.


Aside from my personal feelings about plot type Rie’s writing is spot on. Even though the plots were over my head much of the time I admire the tight way they’re connected. The way one part leads on to two more, that in turn circle round and bring in other people, places and sub plots. I always am able to feel what type of character Rie is portraying from the way she makes them speak, so Walker you just know is one very cocky, confident Alpha male person. He’s not one to sit back on the side-lines, say nothing when he disagrees with a course of action, and as an Alpha male ladies are automatically under his protection, whether they think they need it or not! Its just who he is, his nature to protect those he sees as weaker. He isn’t the Grunt type though, is confident enough to appreciate and use their skills when needed, and to let them share in the risks.


The sexual tension between him and Jade simmers intensely right from the start, and you know when they get together its going to be incredibly intense. Those parts Rie writes so well, no squirmy “damp panties”, mealy mouthed, twee alluding to sex, the stuff that makes me roll my eyes, but a full on, incredibly sensual and explicit tension that jumps off the page it’s so hot.

I did feel at times the sex took over the story, whether that’s just because this type of plot seems not to work for me or whether it really does dominate I’m not sure.

Stars: Three, great characters but the story didn’t really work for me.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Dangerous to Know, Dawn Ryder

amazon UK buy link   Amazon com link


Genre:  Romance,

I’ve read a few of Dawn’s novels now, and looked forward to this. It had a lot more of the suspense angle than I expected, but not so Ops heavy that I couldn’t follow it. Sometimes suspense novels get so detailed on the equipment, guns etc and where and when everyone is placed that I get lost. One character says some cryptic sentence, the other nods knowingly and I’m left thinking “What??”

Thankfully that doesn’t happen here. There is lots of drama, lots of danger, but at all times I felt I could follow it, which meant I felt I was there with the characters. They’re the best reads for me, the ones where I get totally absorbed into the story, feel what they feel, happy, sad, scared or angry.

Zoe is a great lead, strong, opinionated and confident.With her dad and brother both in the services she knows how things work, knows when they’re deep in the field not to worry if they’re out of contact, and not to bother them with petty issues when they do call. Then Mercer comes into her life. She doesn’t let anyone in, let anyone get close, ever, but somehow he worms his way into her life and then….Well, she can’t believe what she’s hearing, that valuable and confidential info is being routed through her PC. She knows her dad and brother are loyal, knows it’s not her either but how can she prove it when all trails seems to stop at her. Then the dangers step up too, and the action gets really complicated.

She feels angry at Mercer, at the way he took her in, but she knows how things work, knows that when its essential her dad or brother would have sanctioned the same thing, but knowing that and being subject to it are two separate issues. She can’t help feeling stupid, taken in, she really though Mercer wanted her, and not that he was looking for a way into her home 😦

I so felt for her, that must have been gutting. Its a fine line though, and I’m not sure how I feel about this sort of action. Given the current issues here in the UK where operatives deliberately cultivated relationships with women in certain politically sensitive groups or who were thought to be involved in some way, and then some went on to have children, get married even under false IDs, and the poor women were kept in the dark til it all blew open. It makes me very uncomfortable. Many of these ladies had done nothing except campaign on animal welfare issues, things like that and something I’ve certainly done, it seems very extreme. What about the kids, what about the families created who later find dad has just disappeared, or who they’ve been told is dead only to find he wasn’t who they thought, and it was all a set up. Horrible experience but as in this book it happens.

Then of course you have people like Mercer who go on to develop real feelings for the target…what then? Can they pick up when everything dies down? Can they make the lady believe they are genuine this time? I’d be really cautious and so was Zoe. Mercer has his work cut out protecting her, tracing who’s behind everything, convincing his boss and colleagues he can still do his job even when they see his feelings for Zoe are real…

It wraps up in a very active climax, with deeper secrets coming out too, and a good opening left for the next book. Sometimes series like this are ones where each book is complete and a new story each time but characters are loosely connected. Here it looks like its to be same main characters and a continuation of this plot, which seems to have opened up a larger one.

Oh – I loved the parrot – and the way her dad treated him!

Stars: Four, a great read

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.

Find Me (The Donovan Family Book 3), Margaret Watson

Find Me (The Donovan Family Book 3),  Margaret Watson

amazon UK buy link

Genre: Romance


I didn’t realise this was book three in a series, but each book is complete, it’s one of those series where characters are connected but the books can be read as a stand alone. I was able to follow the story easily.

It jumps into the drama very quickly with poor Lizzy witnessing a horrific murder, a man pushed over multi-storey carpark and just as she’s leaving the station after telling what she saw, discovering its another FBI agent that’s the killer. From her past she knows cops protect their own and fearing for her life she flees.

Mac, he was attracted to her in a visceral way from the first sight and can’t get her out of his mind. The three months she’s been gone he’s been busy tracking her down. He’s tenacious, comes from a background of police, with his family all involved in law enforcement some way. By fleeing Lizzy looks guilty, not of the murder but maybe she’s an accomplice? That seems to be the thinking, and as no signs of her turn up the case gets further down the pile making way for newer ones.

Mac works on it in his own time. The murdered man was his friend, and he can’t quite believe Lizzy was an accomplice, but she clearly knows more that she’s told them and one way or another he’s bringing her back.

When he finds her though….well its dramatics all round and somehow they end up hot and heavy very quickly. It seems the attraction isn’t one sided, and Lizzy surprises herself by her actions. She doesn’t know who Mac really is though, and when she discovers that…well, it brings lots of questions to the front, including her safety.

It’s a neat story, tightly held together with plots that make sense, and  feel real. I love the chemistry between the two, the way they first came together, being close to death does that to people. They want to reaffirm their lives and sex seems to feature in that very often! I love Frannie too – Lizzy’s dog, she was a real star.

Its a good read, not overly complex but one to relax with when you want a romance with some hot action and a proper suspense in the story. I enjoyed it very much despite not having read earlier ones. It’s not one I’d reread though.

Stars: Four. A good read, well plotted and realistic action.

ARC supplied by author

Play to Win, Tiffany Snow

Play to Win,  Tiffany Snow

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Genre:  Romance, Romantic Suspense,

Well, the last book ended on a real cliff-hanger – and I hate those. Sage thought Parker was dead….it certainly seemed as if he’d been killed, but we knew there was book three to come so Tiffany would find him some way out of his predicament 😉 Now book three is here, and for me its another cracking read.

Parker, Ryker, Ryker, Parker – Sage just can’t choose and can’t have them both ( *shame* Two hot men…buuut its not that sort of book). For now though they seem to have called a truce, for tonight at least. So much has gone on that Sage needs them both right now. Tomorrow will be soon enough to pick up the animosity. Sage makes a choice that astonishes them though, she chooses neither of them, they were torn apart by a woman before, Natalie was the one to ruin their years of brother like friendship. Sage won’t do that again, so leaves them both.

She’s broken hearted, has quit her job with Parker and turns to her parents. Dad is happy, he wants her to work for their family business, and she soon starts there. There’s drama though from the off when there’s a drive by shooting and her dad is badly injured. Parker was out with them, he’s responsible for their business finances put through his firm, and they’d had a dinner business meeting. Ryker as a cop gets pulled in and they feel Sage could be at risk too. All drama and danger once more, and Sage’s attempts to stay away from them gets blown out of the water. Then someone unexpected turns up and throws them all into more confusion. I didn’t not like this woman, was so suspicious of her like Sage, and yet Ryker and Parker seemed taken in by her charm, her damsel in distress situation. That’s the kind of men they are though, gallant, gentlemanly, and like many men, taken in by some timely tears and distressing tale.

The story cracks on quickly, getting more and more involved and after a while the predicament Sage and her father are in, where someone seems to be looking for revenge and to close their business, seems tied to the past. It seems too that this new lady’s situation is strange, doesn’t seem to add up, and Sage can’t resist doing her own bit of snooping into her and what’s happening with her dad’s business, to the point of being foolhardy at times. I wouldn’t be able to just sit back and let things happen either, take her story at face value the way Ryker and Parker seem to, to leave it to the men to take all the risk, when its her friends being taken in, and her family, her firm that’s at risk of going under. There’s still the conundrum at first of them both wanting Sage, and being aggressive with each other but slowly we see things working out, with one of them being a definite choice although Sage still isn’t sure if his feelings are really genuine.

Then just when I think its all over, all settled, we find it’s not and there’s another whacking dose of drama and danger to Sage. This time she doesn’t escape so well, but what comes out does a total wrap up, closing all the lose ends. I enjoyed that extra part, felt like a bonus and certainly had me fooled. ( not that that’s hard!!) There was a section from about 60 – 80% when I thought Why? Would he/she really? Without questioning anything? Why is she still? And lots of similar questions I can’t write as it would give away too much, but I was so puzzled at why things had been left a certain way, and like Sage I just couldn’t understand what was happening or trust it would work out. All gets explained in the final moments though and then I could see exactly why the story was laid out that way.

When I started this I was a bit worried as its another romantic suspense, one woman, two guys, and sounded very similar to the Kathleen Turner series. Recently I’ve got a bit tired of this with other romantic series/trilogies where its been just like reading the authors earlier books, same character types but different names, same basic plots, just places and small business changes, even the same sorts of dangers…Its not at all the same here though, both series feature the two guys/one woman conundrum,  and action, drama and danger wrapped around big business and the shady side of life but they are very different. Tiffany makes both series work well and feel very individual. I enjoyed the KT series in a back to back reading fest recently, and when there’s time I’d like to do the same with these three books.

Stars: the magic five for me, a terrific read and one to keep.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers for review purposes

J.A. Hazel

Author of Siren's Wave, a rock romance novel

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