Review: AIN’T NOBODY NOBODY by Heather Harper Ellett {giveaway}

BNR Ain't Nobody Nobody

AIN’T NOBODY
NOBODY
by
HEATHER HARPER ELLETT
Genre: Murder Mystery / Southern Noir / Dark Humor
Publisher: Polis Books
Date of Publication: September 24, 2019
Number of Pages: 336
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Named a Best Debut of Fall/Winter 2019 by Library Journal, Ain’t Nobody Nobody is the story of a disgraced East Texas sheriff, his dead best friend’s surly teenage daughter, and a naive ranch hand who find unlikely redemption in a murdered hog hunter on a fence. 
 
Part Breaking Bad and part Faulkner, this tragi-comic mystery is perfect for readers who enjoy dark humor (think Fargo) and like their crime fiction with a literary flare. 
A Best Mystery of 2019 by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
~~~
~~~

Twisty. Witty. Darkly Humorous.

This debut from Texas native, Heather Harper Ellett, sets itself apart from other Southern Noir with its deeply developed characters and authentic setting.  Ellett has created a vivid story chock full of the scenery and problems of the everyday lives of folks living in rural East Texas. Throw in a dead body, and we’ve got ourselves a twisted tale of “Whodunnit?”.
Ellett’s writing is incredible.  She is skilled at bringing her characters to life on the page, and they drive the story.  The setting evokes a true feeling of living in the small, turbulent town where Dr. Pepper is still king, and feral hogs nearly outnumber the residents.
I highly recommend this book to fans of other Southern Noir greats, such as McCarthy and Burke.

 

~~~

 

Born and raised in East Texas, Heather Harper Ellett is a graduate of SMU and a therapist in private practice. She lives in Dallas with her husband and son.

 
 

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Review: WILDFLOWER WEDDING (The Sisters, Texas Book 8) by Becki Willis

 

 WILDFLOWER WEDDING:

WITH A KILLER RECEPTION

by

Becki Willis

Genre: Cozy Mystery / Romance / Women Sleuths
Publisher: Clear Creek Publishing
Date of Publication:  June 1, 2019
Number of Pages: 284

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It’s the most anticipated wedding of the year in The Sisters, when Madison Reynolds and Brash deCordova finally tie the knot!

Wedding preparations are underway, but the aisle to the altar gets rockier by the minute.


Their support is humbling, but the community’s enthusiasm soon threatens to hijack the wedding. Squeeze in a suspicious death during a Texas Independence Day celebration, the needy new widow Madison befriends, and an unscrupulous politician trying to unseat Brash as chief of police, and the path seems littered with obstacles. 

Madison will move mountains, however, to marry the man of her dreams. All they really need is each other, their children by their side, and a preacher to make it official. In an effort to please everyone, the couple opts for a private ceremony followed by a public celebration. It’s the perfect Wildflower Wedding, but who knew it would end in a killer reception?


Cantankerous Nigel Barrett hired In a Pinch Professional Services to find his estranged family, but it takes more than a home DNA test to locate his next of kin. Madison suspects he was searching for an heir, but when the wealthy rancher is killed at their reception, she’ll settle for finding someone to attend his funeral.

From the author of Forgotten Boxes, Plain Roots, and the Spirits of Texas Cozy Mysteries, enjoy book eight of the award-winning reader favorite The Sisters, Texas Series. 

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Becki Willis takes us on a wild ride in this eighth installment of her Mystery series, THE SISTERS, TEXAS.  And true to the heart of this series, there are colorful, dynamic characters, small town drama, and lots to warm you from the inside out. 
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WILDFLOWER WEDDING begins with Madison planning her wedding to her long-time crush, Chief of Police Brash de Corodova.  But as is Maddy’s nature, she just can’t stay out of trouble too long.  While attempting to help an elderly client locate his long-lost family, she encounters one danger after another.  Then when her client drops dead at their wedding reception after gifting the couple very generously, the whole town grows suspicious of the newlyweds.   Maddy goes on a mission to find the person responsible and clear her new husband’s good name.  As usual, trouble finds her.  And unraveling the mystery nearly costs her everything.
The characters from the town appear in each of the stories, adding so much flavor to the Texas setting and small town charm.  The twists and turns of the story keep the reader on their toes, trying to guess what’s next. Willis tells a great story, peeling off the outer layers of the mystery while savoring the romance and relationships between the people of The Sisters. The setting plays such an integral part of the story, thickening the plot and moving it along because of its nature.
Prior to reading this installment, I had only read one other of the books in the series. Although, each book could be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading the rest of the series to get the true flavor of The Sister, Texas and its inhabitants.  Such a fun story, and I’m definitely going to go back to the beginning of the series to read them all.
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Becki Willis, best known for her popular The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series and Forgotten Boxes, always dreamed of being an author. In November of ’13, that dream became a reality.
Since that time, she has published numerous books, won first place honors for Best Mystery Series, Best Suspense Fiction, Best Women’s Detective Fiction, and Best Audio Book, won the 2018 RONE Award for Paranormal Fiction, and has introduced her imaginary friends to readers around the world.
An avid history buff, Becki likes to poke around in old places and learn about the past. Other addictions include reading, writing, junking, unraveling a good mystery, and coffee. She loves to travel but believes coming home to her family and her Texas ranch is the best part of any trip. Becki is a member of the Association of Texas Authors, Writer’s League of Texas, Sisters in Crime, the National Association of Professional Women, and the Brazos Writers organization. She attended Texas A&M University and majored in Journalism.
Connect with Becki below. She loves to hear from readers and encourages feedback!
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Review: TANGIBLE SPIRITS by Becki Willis {giveaway}

 BNR Tangible Spirits JPG
TANGIBLE SPIRITS 
by
BECKI WILLIS
Genre: Paranormal / Thriller / Suspense 
Publisher: Clear Creek Publishing
Date of Publication: May 13, 2017
Number of Pages: 316
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Reporter Gera Stapleton has a difficult choice to make: write the story of a lifetime or save the legacy of a town and a man she has come to love. Assigned to a piece in Jerome, Arizona about a once-friendly ghost gone on a crime spree, Gera stumbles upon an amazing tale of greed, deception, and family honor and murder. When the killer targets her as the next victim, an unlikely savior comes to her rescue. Smart dialogue, plenty of action, and a touch of the supernatural make this a must-read novel.
“Becki Willis blends bits of history with bits of fancy and weaves a tantalizing tale you won’t soon forget.”
2018 Best Paranormal Fiction
by The Association of Texas Authors 
2018 RONE Award Finalist for Paranormal Long
Crowned Heart Recipient from InD’Tale Magazine

 

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Review
A fine blend of mystery, suspense and romance with a touch of the unknown.
Journalist Gera Stapleton becomes part of her story as she visits the infamous town of Jerome, Arizona to investigate its paranormal legacy.  Fluff story turns big time as she rolls into town on the heels of a murder.  What she uncovers is greed, power and a sick sense of family honor, but there is more to Jerome than just crooks.  Gera goes from skeptic to believer over the course of her stay all the while falling in love with her host and the history of this wonderful town.
TANGIBLE SPIRITS lives up to it’s awards!  Like a perfect recipe, it blends a bit of mystery and suspense, fabulous descriptive scenery, a pinch of history, vivid characters and a dash of romance.  The result is an excellent storytelling experience.
I was immediately drawn in by Gera’s voice as she arrived in Jerome and dove into her work.  The story kept its pace and the plot soon thickened.  I did guess the ending but that never stopped me from enjoying a really good read, which this was.  As a die-hard romance lover, I was THRILLED to see Gera get a happy ending, as a good cozy should be. I highly recommend this fun but suspenseful story, even if you aren’t a “ghost” person.  There’s plenty more to the story to keep you reading!
To the delight of readers around the world, Becki Willis writes memorable characters in believable situations. Best known for Forgotten Boxes and  The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series, Becki has won numerous awards, but says her biggest achievement is her family and her loyal reader base.

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Review: THE WIDOW’S WATCHER by Eliza Maxwell {giveaway}

BNR Widow's Watcher JPG 

THE WIDOW’S WATCHER

by

ELIZA MAXWELL

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publisher: Lake Union Press

Date of Publication: March 29, 2018

Number of Pages: 286

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From Eliza Maxwell, the bestselling author of The Unremembered Girl, comes a gripping novel about the mysteries that haunt us and the twists of fate that can unravel them…

Living in the shadow of a decades-old crime that stole his children from him, reclusive Lars Jorgensen is an unlikely savior. But when a stranger walks onto the ice of a frozen Minnesota lake, her intentions are brutally clear, and the old man isn’t about to let her follow through.

Jenna Shaw didn’t ask for Lars’s help, nor does she want it. After he pulls her from the brink, however, Jenna finds her desire to give up challenged by their unlikely friendship. In Jenna, Lars recognizes his last chance for redemption. And in her quest to solve the mysteries of Lars’s past and bring him closure, Jenna may find the way out of her own darkness. 

But the truth that waits threatens to shatter it all. When secrets are surrendered and lies are laid bare, Jenna and Lars may find that accepting the past isn’t their greatest challenge. Can they afford the heartbreaking price of forgiveness?

PRAISE FOR THE WIDOW’S WATCHER:

“There was a moment I had to tell myself that this is just a book…”

– Goodreads reviewer

 

“A well-paced story of healing, forgiveness and tragedy, with enough unexpected twists to keep readers guessing.”

— Amber Cowie, author of Rapid Falls

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Review

Eliza Maxwell hits one out of the park with THE WIDOW’S WATCHER.

A tale of the bond formed when two lost souls find strength and redemption in one other.

 

Jenna Shaw has lost everything in one tragic moment.  Hopeless and defeated, she sets out across a frozen pond to meet the darkness.

Lars Jorgensen has spent half a lifetime in the shadows of an unsolved crime that took two of his children from him, and put his wife in a mental institution.  The curmudgeonly and reclusive Lars spots Jenna on the ice and stops her from ending her life, despite her determination to rid herself of guilt and grief.

Lars is undeterred by Jenna’s resentment for putting a halt to her plan, and the two form an unlikely friendship as she learns about his past and works to help solve the mystery of his missing children, all the while working through her own guilt and grief.

The twists and turns as Jenna begins to unfold the mystery of Lars Jorgensen’s missing children bring the story full circle and face to face with the truth, and learning forgiveness.  It is a roller coaster of emotions and satisfying tale of redemption.  Highly recommended to those who love a mystery with a lot of heart.

 

 

Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with her ever-patient husband and two kids. She’s an artist and writer, an introvert and a British cop drama addict. She loves nothing more than to hear from readers.

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Review: STOLEN OBSESSION by Marlene M. Bell {giveaway}

 

BNR Stolen Obsession JPG

STOLEN OBSESSION

Annalisse Series, Book 1

by

Marlene M Bell

Genre: Spicy Romantic Mystery; Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing

Date of Publication: March 20, 2018; Number of Pages: 284

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STOLENOBSESSION EBOOK COVER forupload low res

PEOPLE DIE, BUT LEGENDS LIVE ON.

 

Manhattan antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury dreams of a quiet life on the family farm among the sheep she loves, when her best friend is murdered. The police assume robbery is the motive because her friend’s expensive bracelet is missing. But the 500-year-old artifact is rumored to carry an ancient curse, one that unleashes evil upon any who dare wear the jewelry created for the Persian royal family—and Annalisse believes her friend is the latest victim.

Weeks later, Annalisse sees a necklace matching the stolen bracelet at a gallery opening. Convinced the necklace is part of the deadly collection, Annalisse begs the gallery’s owner to destroy the piece, but her pleas are ignored— despite the unnatural death that occurs during the opening. With two victims linked to the jewelry, Annalisse is certain she must act.

Desperate to keep the gallery owner safe, Annalisse reluctantly enlists the owner’s son to help—even though she’s afraid he’ll break her heart. Wealthy and devastatingly handsome, with a string of bereft women in his wake, Greek playboy Alec Zavos dismisses Annalisse’s concerns—until his parents are ripped from the Zavos family yacht during their ocean voyage near Crete.

Annalisse and Alec race across two oceans to save his mother, feared dead or kidnapped. As time lapses, the killer switches mode and closes in on the man who’s meant for Annalisse with the lifestyle she wants most.

 

But when it’s her turn as the hunted, will she choose to save Alec and his mother, or sacrifice everything to save herself?

Hold on for a heart-thumping adventure through exotic lands in this fast moving, romantic suspense mystery by Marlene M Bell.

 

 

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Review

Stolen Artifacts. Ancient Curse. Murder and Suspense…and Romance.

 

Annalisse Drury is a sheep-loving antiquities appraiser in New York.  Her best friend is murdered and she believes that the five century old bracelet that she was wearing might be the source of an ancient curse.

When she discovers an identical bracelet at a gallery opening, it thrusts her into a world of danger and intrigue with the gallery owner’s Greek playboy son, Alec Zavos.  As the two of them work together to save his parents and stop the killer, they become closer.

What starts off a little slow and cloudy turns into a wild high-speed ride of danger and mystery.  I found the blend of history, intrigue of ancient artifacts/curses – like an Indiana Jones adventure, and romance, quite satisfying.  Annalisse is a smart, likable heroine.  The plot twists and turns kept me turning pages and always guessing at who the murderer could be. A quite satisfying ending.

If you like a page-turner or a wild ride, I recommend STOLEN OBSESSION.

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Marlene M Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as, Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested at www.marlenembell.com or www.texassheep.com.

Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in East Texas with their 50 head of Horned Dorset sheep, a lovable Maremma guard dog named, Tia, and 3 spoiled cats who rule the household.

 

 

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Review: BEYOND SCANDAL AND DESIRE by Lorraine Heath {giveaway}

BNR Beyond Scandal and Desire JPG

BEYOND SCANDAL AND DESIRE

Sins for All Seasons, Book 1

by

LORRAINE HEATH  

Genre: Historical / Regency Romance
Publisher: Avon

Date of Publication: January 30, 2018

Number of Pages: 320

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At birth, Mick Trewlove, the illegitimate son of a duke, was handed over to a commoner. Despite his lowly upbringing, Mick has become a successful businessman, but all his wealth hasn’t satisfied his need for revenge against the man who still won’t acknowledge him. What else can Mick do but destroy the duke’s legitimate son—and woo the heir’s betrothed into his own unloving arms . . .

Orphaned and sheltered, Lady Aslyn Hastings longs for a bit of adventure. With her intended often preoccupied, Aslyn finds herself drawn to a darkly handsome entrepreneur who seems to understand her so well. Surely a lady of her station should avoid Mick Trewlove. If only he weren’t so irresistible . . .

As secrets are about to be exposed, Mick must decide if his plan for vengeance is worth risking what his heart truly desires.

 

PRAISE FOR BEYOND SCANDAL AND DESIRE:

“Heath builds a community of fascinating, intertwined characters that readers will be eager to get to know as they cheer for the driven hero and the spunky, smart heroine.” — Publishers Weekly

“RITA Award–winner Heath’s new Sins for All Seasons series is off to an impressive start with an unforgettable, emotionally charged love story that will dazzle and delight readers with its exquisitely crafted characters, deliciously sensual romance, and impeccably rendered historical setting.” — Booklist/ *STARRED* Review

 

“For the first book in the Sins for All Seasons series, Heath returns to the world of dark London — a world she understands as well as Dickens. Heath illuminates the city’s underbelly with a powerful romance of healing and redemption. Her talents for drawing readers into the era with her well-drawn, three dimensional characters and realistic dialogue sets her novels apart. The unexpected twists and turns of the plot guarantees it will be placed on your keeper shelf.” — RT Book Reviews/ “Top Pick” Review

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A satisfying story of love and revenge.
What is there NOT to love about this book!?! One of the best portrayals of a revenge romance trope I’ve ever read, wrapped up in a story of world where birthright means everything, and class distinction is never questioned.
Mick Trewlove is the bastard son of a duke, a man who sent him away to be raised as a commoner as an infant.  Despite his success in business, he still wants revenge against the man.  He plans to ruin the Duke’s legitimate son by stealing his fiance away.
Lady Aslyn Hastings has grown up as ward of the Duke, being orphaned in childhood.  She is betrothed to his son, and has always assumed this would be her fate, until she meets Mick Trewlove and finds herself unable to resist him.
Mick finds his plan at revenge at odds with his growing attraction to Lady Hastings.  He must decide whether love or revenge is most important, in the end.
I highly recommend BEYOND SCANDAL AND DESIRE to lovers of a well-written historical romance.  This story has everything you’d expect from a regency romance, as well as the excellent storytelling by Lorraine Heath.  Can’t wait to see what the rest of the series brings!
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Lorraine Heath always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals, press releases, articles, and computer code, but something was always missing. When she read a romance novel, she not only became hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She’s been writing about them ever since. Her work has been recognized with numerous industry awards, including RWA’s prestigious RITA. Her novels have appeared on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists.

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Review: FALLING UNDER by Lisa Renee Jones

FALLING UNDER by Lisa Renee Jones

JANUARY 23, 2018

Falling Under New.jpg

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ABOUT

A new sexy standalone from Lisa Renee Jones…

Ex-special forces, Jacob King, is a man who keeps to himself, having learned the hard way that letting people close to you, trusting them, might just get you killed. A lesson he learned when members of his Special Ops team turned dirty, while others, men he considered friends, died. He made them pay. He made them hurt. He put them in jail. And so he doesn’t trust anyone anymore. He keeps his women hot and fast, his friends few to none, and his clients through the elite Walker Security at a professional distance, but safe.

It works for him. Until it doesn’t.

His newest job should be simple and cut and dry. Jewel Carpenter, the daughter of the CEO of Carpenter Enterprises, is receiving death threats. He’s to protect her and find out who is issuing the treats.

Simple. Cut and Dry.

Until it’s not.

Until the chemistry between he and Jewel is all about love, hate, and sex. But even as he fights the attraction to Jewel and discovers there is more to her than meets the eye, the real threat comes not from the threats she’s receiving, but the connection she has to him. Because his past has come full circle, and those men he’s made pay for their sins now want him to pay. And what better way than the woman in his bed?

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REVIEW

Another sizzler by Lisa Renee Jones.

Jacob King is serious about his job.  He does it well and doesn’t let himself get distracted.  That is, until he’s assigned to Jewel.

Detective Jewel Carpenter is far from excited about the new detail her father has put on her since receiving threats against her.  To add stress to the situation, her new “bodyguard” is hot as hell, and she can’t stop thinking of things she’d like to do with his body.

When Jacob discovers that the threat’s motive might have more to do with him than with her father’s company, along with their intense attraction, he’ll do anything to stop it.

Jones is the master of sizzle.  As with all of her books, the heat is on and cooking!  The sexual tension between the two main characters is palpable and kept me turning pages to see what was going to happen with them.  Throw in a little danger and some secrets in the past, and you have the perfect equation for an intense page-turner.

Well-done and highly recommended.

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EXCERPT

“Just to be clear,” he says, his voice low and rough. “I’m breaking every rule I own with you. I don’t fuck women I’m protecting.”

“You could hand me over to someone else,” I suggest, “and it won’t matter.”

“Not a chance in hell,” he says, his hand sliding under my hair to cup my neck. “We’ll break the rules together.”

“I’m not sure I like how you do ‘together’.”

“I’ll make sure you do,” he promises, his lips slanting over mine, and this time he kisses me like he owns me, like he wants to control me, and like I really am his, like I belong to him, and in this very moment, I can honestly say

I am. I want him, and I can’t get enough of him.

And how can it ever be enough when he’s this damn impossibly hot, and he’s such a damn good kisser. The way he makes me want his mouth on every part of me and the way he makes me want my mouth on every part of him. And so, there it is. I’m his, but I’m going to make damn sure he’s mine, too. I kiss him back as passionately as he’s kissing me. I meet him stroke for stroke, arching into him, telling him I am here and present, and I’m not even close to afraid of him or of this. He doesn’t get to control me. He isn’t making me do this. I control me, and I choose him and this.

Arching into him, his shoulder holster and mine are in the way, and I want them gone. I want him naked. Just to be certain that he knows that’s where I want this to go, my hand presses between us and I stroke the hard line of his shaft. He groans low in his throat, a sexy rough sound that tells me he gets the point. This isn’t his show. It’s ours. It’s us together, or there is no show, with or without our clothes on.

His reaction is to tear his mouth from mine, his lips lingering there though, as if he wants to kiss me again, and just when I would kiss him again, he leans away just enough to shrug out of his jacket. I take one step backward, and do the same with my blazer. I reach down and pull off my boots and he does the same. Next, we disconnect our shoulder holsters, and the truth is, it’s the first time I’ve ever been with a man who is probably more armed than me. That feels significant when it perhaps is not. He’s not a cop. He’s not that kind of career complication. He’s a Green-fucking-Beret, and one hell of a hot one, for that matter.

He sets his weapon on the couch and snags my hand, walking me toward him and taking my holster and weapon as he does. “Just making sure you don’t end up shooting me before this is over,” he says, setting it with his before shackling my hip.

“I told you I’ll wait until after the orgasms.”

“Careful,” he says, a hint of a smile on his lips again. “I might hold that orgasm and you captive.”

“You can try,” I say, but my head isn’t in the game in this moment, and somehow my hand is on his face, right by the almost smile, that seems to have complicated what should be sex, an escape, a way to pull back the emotions that umbrella stirred in me. That smile reminds me that Mr. Robot is his wall, his way to cope with death, with whatever makes him protect Jesse Marks.

He captures my hand. “What are you thinking?”

“That you have on too many clothes,” I say, before I let this go someplace emotional, somewhere that two people like us never want to go.

My hands press under his shirt, but he doesn’t immediately give me what I want. He studies me for several beats and then kisses me hard and fast. Too fast, but I get over it when he pulls his shirt off. He cups my face and kisses me, his hand sliding up my shirt, his touch fire that has me helping him pull my shirt over my head. Letting him drag me to him where he now sits on the couch. I straddle him, my bra somehow gone by the time I’m there. But my hands press to his shoulders, and I hold him at bay. “I will still arrest you if I need to,” I promise. “This doesn’t change that.”

“You aren’t going to arrest me any more than you hate me.” He glances down at my chest, his gaze a hot caress as it rakes over my breasts, my nipples, before his eyes meet mine. “Because you know I’m protecting you.”

I ignore the ache between my thighs. Or I try. “From what? The slayer or the Jesse Marks damage patrol?”

His hand slides between my shoulder blades and he molds my chest to his. “Do you really want to talk about Jesse Marks right now? Because if you ask me questions, I’m going to ask you questions when I’d much rather be inside you, giving you as many reasons as I can not to arrest me. But you pick. Conversation or fucking.”

“Both,” I say, because it’s the truth. I want answers and I want the conversation my emotions are having in my head to shut up. “Fucking first.” I push away from him and stand up, unbuttoning my pants, sliding them down my hips, and he watches me with that unreadable, robot expression that is admittedly sexy as hell. I press my lips to his and that’s all it takes.

We are crazy, hot, kissing, his hands on my breasts, my nipples, my neck. I can’t touch him enough. I can’t feel him enough, can’t get close enough, and that’s new to me. I don’t need anyone the way I feel I need this man. I don’t want to need anyone this much, but it’s too late. At least, right here, right now, I do. He rolls us to our sides, facing one another, the wide cushion of the couch more than holding us and the next kiss isn’t fast and frenzied. It’s long, drugging, and somewhere in the midst of his tongue stroking my tongue, I end up on my back with the heavy weight of him on top of me…

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Review: THE SECRET ROOM by John Alexander {giveaway}

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THE SECRET ROOM
(Amber-Autumn Series, #4)

by
JOHN ALEXANDER
  Genre: Children’s Mystery / Chapter Book
Date of Publication: October 14, 2017
Number of Pages: 159

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Amber and Autumn, elementary school sisters, don’t seek out problems to solve, but they often find themselves engaged in uncovering truths, solving mysteries, and helping others in the process. Autumn’s natural curiosity, combined with her boldness, leads her to push for answers to anything she does not understand. Amber, her older sister, more cautious and easily spooked, prefers to let Autumn drive ahead to solve mysteries which come their way, but her keen skills of observation often lead to the resolutions they seek.

In The Secret Room, the girls, during their stay at a  B&B, discover a long-forgotten room in the attic and uncover its secrets. The story takes place at the House of Seasons, a bed-and-breakfast in historic Jefferson, Texas. Their quest to uncover secrets takes the girls on a journey through Jefferson history including a cemetery, a river boat tour, and even an evening ghost walk.




PRAISE FOR THE SECRET ROOM:
“Great book, really enjoyed reading.  I’d guess a target audience would be 7 to 13-year-olds. Thank you for allowing me the honor to preview your book.  I look forward to purchasing your published work.” — Joseph (Teen Beta reader)

The Secret Room is a fun read. Not only is it a mystery; it also contains some of the history of Jefferson, Texas, and the surrounding area, as well as pictures of some special places there. Children and adults will enjoy reading it, just as I did.  — Carol (Adult Beta Reader)

“Overall I thought it was a great book. I would be excited to read the next book in the series.” –Madeline (4th grade Beta Reader)

 “The whole time I liked the suspense and the mystery side of it.” – Beta Reader

“I relate more to Amber because she doesn’t like a situation without light and she doesn’t like doing scary things first. She sends her little sister in to do it first and I do that. Amber is the older sister and so am I.” – Beta Reader

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Review
Wholesome Fun, for Middle Grade Girls or Boys, who love a good Mystery.

In a continuation of the Amber-Autumn chapter book series, we dive into the mysteries of historical East Texas through the narration of the youngest of the two siblings, Autumn.  The two curious young girls find adventure in solving the mysteries they encounter in Historic Jefferson and the Bed and Breakfast where they are staying.

What a great little book.  I enjoyed following the story of these two siblings through their adventures in the historic town.  In similar fashion to the great MG mystery series, the two inquisitive girls find one mystery after the next, keeping the reader’s attention going from one page to the next.  The photos added to the book add a perfect touch to give the reader a feel for the setting and mood in the story.  Quite fascinating to the adult reader, I can only imagine more so to the child reader.  Although it is book four in the series, it reads well as a stand-alone.

Highly recommended for your middle grade/upper elementary readers.  Mysteries always keep the reluctant reader turning those pages.

John writes chapter books that appeal to elementary school children to capture their imagination and help them discover the love of reading early in life. John lives in Frisco, Texas with his beautiful wife and his King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Charlie Brown.
John spent his childhood in a small town in east Texas. He attended college at the University of Texas earning a BS in Physics and a BA in Math (minor in Computer Science). His years in the high-tech industry, most of it on the “bleeding edge,” allowed him to develop new technology with software.
John had the privilege of co-authoring two editions of CallManager Fundamentals. The two books sold over 23,000 copies, exceeding the publisher’s goal of 8,000. Having discovered his love for writing while still working in high tech, he began writing fiction in his spare time and published The Enclave, a mystery / suspense novel, in 2010.
After leaving high-tech in 2014, he now spends full time pursuing his writing passion. He loves writing books that help children discover early in life that reading is a fun adventure. He recently released illustrated editions of the first three books in the Amber-Autumn mystery series: Christmas Garden Illustrated, Grandfather’s Blessing Illustrated, and Golden Campout Illustrated. The Secret Room is the fourth book in the series.
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Review: TOO FAR DOWN by Mary Connealy {giveaway}

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TOO FAR DOWN
Cimarron Legacy Book 3

by
MARY CONNEALY
  Genre: Western Historical Christian Romance
Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 322

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With Danger Drawing Ever Closer, The Boden Clan Risk Losing Their Ranch Forever

Having returned home to the ranch, Cole Boden finds himself caught between missing his time back east and appreciating all that New Mexico Territory offers. Sure, he fights with his siblings now and then, but he does care for them. He enjoys his new job running the mine and, when he’s honest, he admits that Melanie Blake captures his interest in a way no other woman ever has.

Melanie has been a friend to the Bodens forever. A cowgirl who is more comfortable with horses and lassoes than people, she never expected to find herself falling for someone, particularly for refined Cole Boden, a Harvard graduate who can’t seem to make up his mind about staying in New Mexico.
When a deadly explosion damages the CR Mining Company, the Bodens realize their troubles are not behind them as they thought. Shadowy forces are still working against them. Melanie is determined to help Cole and the family finally put an end to the danger that’s threatened all of them. But will putting herself in harm’s way be more dangerous than anyone expected?
PRAISE FOR TOO FAR DOWN
“Connealy crafts relatable characters who will inspire readers with their love, loyalty, and fortitude, and the mystery remains intriguing until the end.” Publishers Weekly 
“Recommended for those who enjoy a fast, smart historical-set suspense.” RT Book Reviews
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Review

A fine blend of suspense, action and romance, all wrapped up in classic Western fashion.

Cole Boden might have been raised on the Cimarron Ranch, but he left that behind for Harvard and a refined life on the East Coast.  Family duty has begrudgingly brought him back home to the New Mexico Territory and his new endeavor owning and running the gold mines on the family property.  Until he spends time with Mel, that is…Melanie Blake is the daughter of successful ranch owner, and a lifelong friend to the Boden family.  She’s 100 percent cowgirl, but finds herself falling for “city boy”, Cole.
The Boden family is fighting to save their ranch, and their lives from an outside threat.  Mel is determined to help Cole save his family, even if it means putting herself in harm’s way.
Another hit by Mary Connealy.  The story has the perfect amount of action and suspense to keep the pages turning. The story picks up after the Boden family has been targeted by kidnappers and several members of the family shot, in multiple attempts at their lives.  Cole is trying to make his way in back home by running the mine when the “bad guys” blow it up and try to shut it down.  The romance picks up naturally and develops as the two characters work together to find out who is fixed on ruining the Boden family and taking Cimarron Ranch.
I enjoyed getting to know the Boden family, and the romance between the main characters.  I did feel a little lost at the beginning, not having read the first two books, since I didn’t know much about what transpired previously or about the other Boden family members.  I’d suggest grabbing the first two books, because it looks like I missed some good stuff there!
I highly recommend TOO FAR DOWN to lovers of great Western romances.  You’ll be flipping those pages faster than a prairie fire with a tail wind!

Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.

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Review: :LAMAR’S FOLLY by Jeffrey Stuart Kerr

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LAMAR’S FOLLY

by
Jeffrey Stuart Kerr
  Genre: Texas Historical Fiction
Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
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Date of Publication: November 15, 2017
Number of Pages: 320
Mirabeau Lamar seeks nothing less than a Texas empire that will dominate the North American continent. Brave exploits at the Battle of San Jacinto bring him rank, power, and prestige, which by 1838 propel him to the presidency of the young Republic of Texas and put him in position to achieve his dream. Edward Fontaine, who works for and idolizes Lamar, vows to help his hero overcome all obstacles, including the substantial power of Sam Houston. Houston and Lamar are not only political, but personal enemies, and each man regards the other with contempt.
Edward’s slave Jacob likes and admires his master, but cannot share his hatred of Sam Houston. The loyalties of both Jacob and Edward are tested by President Lamar’s belief that a righteous cause justifies any means necessary to sustain it. Lamar becomes infatuated with a married woman who resembles his deceased wife. He sends the woman’s husband on the ill-fated Santa Fe Expedition, the failure of which humiliates Lamar and provokes a crisis in his relationship with Edward, who in turn jeopardizes the trust that Jacob has placed in him. Edward laments the waste of Lamar’s genius, while Jacob marvels at the hypocrisy of both men.
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Review
Growing up Texan gave me a certain deep-rooted respect for its history.  It’s like that with just about every Texan.  Just ask one.  So, given the opportunity to read/review a piece of historical fiction featuring this subject was not only an opportunity to read a story, but my duty as a Texan (I know, I know.  You’re rolling your eyes.  Seriously, go ask another Texan, and you’ll get the same thing.  It’s just how we are.)
I love a good fictional account of a period of history I know a lot about, and LAMAR’S FOLLY delivered.  As any good fictional account of real events should do, the story left me guessing.  Who were these people REALLY?  Texas history is always larger than life, as are the stories of the major players, such as Sam Houston and Mirabeau Lamar.  LAMAR’S FOLLY gave these characters back a semblance of realism, with character flaws and personality that the history books just can’t teach.  It was fun to imagine these men, especially through the alternating point of view of Edward Fontaine and his slave, Jacob.  What I really enjoyed was seeing what each character perceived from the same situations, each with their own notion of right and wrong, and each with their own hope for the future.  The alternating point of views gave this story the perfect balance of realism, keeping Fontaine’s aspirations from taking over the story with Jacobs straight-forward accounts of what he witnessed and felt in reaction to the same situations.
If you change the setting and characters of the story to another place in history, the story remains the same.  It’s the timeless story of ambition, pride and jealousy causing the ruin of a country, much like Napolean Boanaparte (how strange that Lamar’s shares this surname as his middle name).   Mirabeau Lamar, though portrayed as modest and humble at the start,  fed off the rank and power he gained as he climbed to the Presidency of the Republic of Texas.  This power was fueled by his disdain and all out contempt for the popularity of Sam Houston in the new republic.  What happens with the expedition to Santa Fe is the result of his ambitions for more power and his need to show up Houston, thus turning the outlook of a young nation very dark, and causes rifts in the foundation of his power, his relationships.  Poignant.
I recommend LAMAR’S FOLLY to anyone who likes a good historical fiction, but especially to those Texas History buffs who like to do a little bit of “what if” from time to time.
 
Jeffrey Stuart Kerr is the author of several titles, including Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas, winner of the Summerfield G. Roberts Award and a True West Best Western Book.
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