Sunday, June 28, 2020

CROSS HER HEART by Melinda Leigh

Bree Taggert Series Book 1
Montlake Publishing
March 17th, 2020
Romantic Suspense, Mystery, Thriller Crime Fiction
Reviewed by Dawn (
Obtained by Self Purchase
4 Hearts


For Detective Bree Taggert, her life growing up was been rough as her parents’ deaths in a murder-suicide left a lasting impact on her and her two siblings. Now an adult, she finds herself back Grey’s Hollow and the memories there. Finding out her sister was murdered, her estranged husband missing, and considered a person of interest has Bree joining forces wit former deputy Matt Flynn to get to the bottom of the mystery. But as their investigation unfolds, Bree and Matt discover that danger lurks closer than they think as they close in on the murderer and this time the danger hits closer to home for Bree as her family is caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous individual determined to close all loose ends regardless the cost.

CROSS HER HEART is an amazing introduction to the new series by Melinda Leigh that is full of twists and turns that will leave the reader on the edge of their seat right up till the last page is turned. It is full of captivating characters, a mystery that will leave you guessing and a potential romance between Bree and Matt that will keep the reader glued to the pages. The story just flows smoothly and kept me glued to the pages, wondering what would happen next. I didn’t know who the bad guy was until almost to the end and was shocked by it. The twists and turns the author throws in the story were perfect and had me hanging on the edge wondering what would happen next.

Meet Philadelphia detective Bree Taggert. She left Grey’s Hollow after her parent’s murder-suicide as a child and hasn’t been back in years. Now with a desperate call from her sister Erin, Bree is back and determined to find her sister’s killer. I love, love, love Bree. She’s strong, relatable, and quite determined. Her vulnerabilities are mentioned several times and as the reader gets to know more about Bree and her family, you can’t help but find yourself sympathizing and rooting for them all. The characters are where the author shines the most in my opinion. Ms. Leigh creates strong characters who can stand on their own but also are able to accept a helping hand as well. They are complex, multidimensional, and relatable. I found all the main players in this first book of Bree’s series wonderful and unique in their own way.

CROSS HER HEART is a perfect introduction to the new series by Melinda Leigh and captured my interest right off the bat. I could not put this book down and can not wait for book two to get here. I see a winner in her new series and look forward to seeing where the author goes with this one. If you enjoyed past series like Morgan Dane or her Widow’s Island series she cowrites with Kendra Elliott, then you will definitely have to check CROSS HER HEART out and settle in, the story will leave you breathless till the very end.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

LIONS DEN by Katherine St. John

Publisher:  Grand Central
Published:      June 30, 2020
ISBN:      978-1538733639
Genre:    Suspense
Format:    Print from Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina


Belle has been invited on what is possibly the vacation of a lifetime.  Billed as a birthday cruise for her long-time friend, Summer, she and several others are going for an all-expense paid trip to the Mediterranean.  Who can beat that? Packed and ready to go there are some last minute changes to the itinerary, or at least what Belle thought was going to happen.  Aside from having to wait for the rest of the vacationers in the heat, there’s the arrival of an unexpected guest.  Apparently a pre-approved friend of Summer’s sister, had taken sick and she has invited her friend Amythest.  Yes, named after the stone but spelled differently.  As they board the private jet to head to the Med, their passports are confiscated and they have to sign NDAs.  It isn’t long before the rigid control of their host begins to show—assigned seats on the plane, no food or water and two tough looking body guards.  Arriving at their destination Belle begins to see a nastier side of Summer than she’d previously shown.  The death—alleged suicide of Summer’s ex-boyfriend may contribute to the controlling, vindictive person she’s become, but there is something more going on.  When one of the guests dies in a mysterious accident Belle has no doubt the cruise from hell has become even more so.

The blurb for this book caught my attention the moment I saw it.  It looked like a fabulous summer beach read.  I had imagines of imagining myself along for the cruise of a life time.  I set my expectations too high.

LION’S DEN by Katherine St. John wasn’t a bad read.  It was saved from that by the last 75 or so pages when the truth came out.  What wasn’t there to like?  Horrible characters.  The only one with redeeming qualities that I’d even want to meet would by Dylan—and he’s portrayed by Belle as questionable.  I don’t think he was.  You can have the rest of them.  Summer is your typical blonde bimbo who isn’t a bimbo at all, but a money grubbing bully who will step on anyone who gets in her way.  She is amoral and immoral with no redeemable qualities at all.  I disliked her from the first time we meet her and throughout the whole book wondered what someone as good hearted as Belle would even be around such a despicable person.  You can kind of forgive Summer’s mother and sister because of their background as St. John portrays them as low life trailer trash.  The rest of the “girls” are just along for the ride and are your typical high school girls who want to follow the popular girl (Summer) because she’s such a bully they have no choice. Wendy is the typical “good friend” of the bully.  Amythest has some decent qualities, but she’s no one I’d want for a friend, especially when she goes after someone else’s man, not because she wants him but because of the money.

For most of the book Belle came off as a spineless pushover.  Yes, she’s the character with the heart of gold that will do anything for her friends, but the way she let Summer walk all over her was ridiculous.  If she really wanted to make it as an actress she would have had some backbone.  We learn why at the very end, but by then it was too late to care about what happened to her.  A little showing of the core she had would have made liking her a little easier. 

The bits about the Med and cruising were easy to visualize.  The writing was okay.  Told essentially from Belle’s point of view, the flip flopping within paragraphs of first and third person was a little distracting. 

Initially I thought the book was going to take a Jeffrey Epstein like turn with something more dire happening to the girls.  What the actual plot was about turned out to be pretty good.  I wouldn’t say this was a total suspense although there were elements of it.  More of a chik lit with suspense overtones.

Because of the ending and how satisfying it was I did something I rarely ever do because there are so many good books out there just waiting for me.  I went back and re-read the parts that led up to the conclusion, reading between the lines this time.  It made Belle a bit more likeable which is why I rated this book a three instead of a two. Which brings me back to recommending this book.  I would – if you are looking for a beach read this is the one to pick.  Would I read St. John again?  Sure.  This was her debut and because the idea for this one was solid I’d give her another chance.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

A WOMAN ALONE by Nina Laurin

Publisher:  Grand Central
Published:      June 23, 2020
ISBN:      978-1538715765
Genre:    Thriller, Sci Fi
Format:    Print from Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina



Cecelia and Scott Holmes have stepped into the future.  Not literally, but figuratively with their move into Venture and their SmartHome.  Venture promises a safe almost carefree existence from day-to-day worries.  Their shower is programmed to just the right temperature and pressure, their coffee finishes brewing with the exact amount of milk, sugar or syrup they want, lights turn on as they approach the house at the end of the day.  And it guarantees safety from life’s seedier, more traumatic side.  It is this promise of safety from life’s ugly side like stalking and murder.  It is this that drew Scott and Cecelia to Venture and their home at 32 Rosemary Road.

Scott loves their new home.  Cecelia likes it, she feels safe, but sometimes she feels like something has been lost.  They don’t know their neighbors and Saya, their artificial intelligence unit knows a bit too much about their private lives.  But for Cecelia, the safety of Venture is worth it.  That is, until Saya begins to change their routines.  The water in the tub is suddenly too hot.  Instead of her regular latte the coffeemaker makes some oddly sweet drink.  That she can deal with…but when their three year old daughter becomes threatened by things the house is doing, Cecelia is ready to leave. She tries to tell Scott what is going on, but he doesn’t listen, instead he believes what Cecelia is experiencing is related to a home invasion that happened at their old home.  One where Cecelia killed the perpetrator.  But is that all there is?

Talk about a white knuckle, heart pounding read!  Somehow I missed Nina Laurin’s earlier books, GIRL LAST SEEN and WHAT MY SISTER KNEW, “finding” her only when I received STARER WIFE for review.  How I missed such a thrill ride writer I don’t know but you can believe I’ll be reading her earlier books and definitely anything she writes in the future.  As with STARTER WIFE I started A WOMAN ALONE one morning and read pretty much through the day not because I had time on my hands but because the book is so good I couldn’t make myself step away from it. 

At first I wasn’t so sure about this one because of the sci fi aspects – a totally house sounds great, but there was something creepy and unrealistic about it.  That changed as I read on.  Through her characters, mainly Cecelia but also Jessica and Clarisse, those aspects are explained.  It becomes more and more real and, in some cases, ominous and that just adds to how good the story is.  Cecelia is a complex character with many layers.  She has moments of strength when she tries to track down the mysterious Lydia.  And then there is the moment where she herself comes to terms with how everyone has always taken care of her, made decisions for her and now she must make her own choices. 

I both liked and hated the idea of Venture.  There were aspects I could really enjoy like having my coffee already made when I come downstairs in the morning.  But knowing my every move, almost before I do, is creepy.  I certainly didn’t see the ending coming and loved how it was done.

Nina Laurin is one author you have to put on your must read list.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

THE LAST ODYSSEY by James Rollins

Sigma Force Series Book 15
William Morrow
March 24th, 2020
Thriller, Mystery, Science, History, Contemporary, Military Fiction, Action-Adventure
Reviewed by Dawn (
Obtained by self-purchase
5 Hearts


Sigma Force is forced to embark on a dangerous journey in order to save the world in this exciting and twisty new adventure by James Rollins. For centuries, the legendary city of Troy was a myth until its walls were uncovered in the nineteenth century. Now Homer’s twin tales of monsters, myths and more in the Iliad and The Odyssey are up for question. What is myth and what is fact?

When an archeology find in Greenland glacier is discovered with artifacts from the Bronze age, questions arise even as danger mounts. In the captain quarters is a map and a globe made by the famous Banu Musa Brothers that trace the journey of Odysseus and the hidden realm of the titans in Tartarus. Now as Sigma is drawn into the race against tyrants and more as the word of its weapons and more gets out. Now Sigma must take the famed journey and enter the gates of hell in order to stop a global war a tyrant is determined to provoke.

Wow is all I can say after devouring this wonderful action-packed ride that James Rollins creates in THE LAST ODYSSEY. Filled with science marvels, historical gems and a threat to contemporary day world, the author creates a story that will leave you on the edge of your seat till the very last page is read. I love this author’s books as he weaves a story filled with historical facts and myths, science marvels and more that somehow work in his Sigma Force series and add in colorful and yet complex characters, well, lets just say, get ready for a wild ride each and every time you pick up one of this author’s books. Filled with  twists and turns, this story flows smoothly, delivering you on a journey that may or may not be true in real life and you can’t help but be drawn into the world he has created as you fly alongside these amazing characters as they race against the clock to stop destruction yet again.

THE LAST ODYSSEY is full of amazing characters and being the fifteenth book, I can honestly say this author tops his last release spectacularly. Some Easter eggs are thrown in that will shock you to the core and I flipped the pages eager to see where this author’s story ill take you next. I have my favorites within the Sigma Force characters and I couldn’t help but gasp is few times as they got in one adventure after another. Ad in some new characters to help things along, well you got the makings for a wild, action packed ride that will leave you breathless till the end.

THE LAST ODYSSEY is a wild ride and one you can not put down. So, strap in, get ready for an adventure of a lifetime and enter the gates of Hell with the Sigma team. Just don’t forget to breath along the way as you get caught up in the adventures and twists of the story. I can not wait to see where this author goes next because each time, I think he can’t top himself; he succeeds beyond my wildest imagination.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement