Sunday, July 25, 2021

HER THREE LIVES by Cate Holahan

Publisher:      Grand Central
Published:      April 20, 2021
Genre:     Suspense
Format:     Print from Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina




Life was perfect, or at least near enough….on the surface.  Jade and Greg met and fell in love. Their careers fit nicely with each other – he an architect and she an influencer who specializes in interior design with a Carribean flair.  Well, it’s almost perfect.

 Greg and his first wife Leah had already split, but their children are less than welcoming to Jade who they see as an interloper who is only after their father’s, and hence their, money.  They routinely go out of the way to point out how much older Greg is than Jade and how she seemed to suddenly get pregnant which hastened their decision to marry.  Things turn decidedly ugly when two men break into the home shared by Greg and Jade, nearly killing him and beating her so badly she loses their baby.  The attack leaves Greg with a traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress that causes him to make some questionable decisions.  While he heals physically he spends his days watching the myriad cameras he’s placed in and around their home.  And he begins to watch Jade, tracking her movements, questioning where she goes and what she does.  When threatening notes turn up in their mailbox Jade realizes that a past she left behind man be coming after her. Afraid to tell Greg because of his own precarious health as well as to save her relationship she begins to track down the suspect on her own. With his paranoia growing Greg begins to question the woman he intended to marry and just what her motives were—did she target him as a rich man to marry and kill for his money, or does she really love him?

I hadn’t read Cate Holahan before but when I saw the blurb for HER THREE LIVES I was totally intrigued.  Her tag line and blurb refers to her public life, her private life and her secret life. Don’t we all have those three lives.  There is the us open to anyone who cares. We have a private life that those closest to us…or some on social media become privy to and then there is a part of us no one knows about. Maybe they’ll learn that secret part of ourselves when we die, but there is that part of us that not even our closest love ones know about. If they find out, there can be shock at what is revealed. 

Holahan takes those three lives and adds not only a mixed race couple, but a multi-generational one into the mix. That adds some delicious elements leading the characters, as well as the readers, to question just what was the real reason behind the home invasion that cost Jade and Greg their baby and close to his life and sanity.  I found myself absorbed in Jade’s life, her thought processes and as her history was unveiled wondering how she was going to handle it.  I felt bad for Greg with his traumatic brain injury, but after awhile I lost sympathy for him when he continued to defer to his children over Jade. I didn’t see him trying to include them in the family he was building with Jade.  He seemed disconnected from them and had little grief over his lost child.


I wondered a few times if the version I received was a draft because Jade was at different times referred to as Greg’s fiancĂ© and his wife.  He was always her boyfriend or fiancĂ©.  Either it was a draft or the editor was asleep when reading those parts. 


Too often lately I see authors having a mix-race couple in a book in what appears to be an attempt to be more inclusive but does nothing to move the story along.  Holahan’s use of not only two races but two cultures as well as the age difference are key parts of what drives the story and were really well done. 


Since I enjoyed HER THREE LIVES so much I’ve ordered her back list.  What’s not to like about some really good reads!


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





Sunday, July 18, 2021


Publisher: Sean Michael
Date Published: June 2019
ISBN: 9781988377940
Paranormal, Gay, Romance, Shifter
Reviewed by: Gabrielle (

Obtained via author

Rating: 4 Hearts


When Locke comes across a seemingly empty cabin in the woods, he decides to take a chance and go inside in search of warmth and safety. Little does he know that three large bears reside in the cabin. Lucky for Locke they are nothing like the wolves he is running from but are they willing to give Locke the safety that he needs? When the three bears find Locke in their cabin, they are more than curios as to why he is their and what he wants. There is no denying the attraction between the men and the four must decide what they want.


I love finding retellings of the old fairytales. This is a sweet and sexy version that grabbed my attention right from the start. Each of the characters has a strong and distinct personality yet they all fit together seamlessly. I enjoyed the way their attraction turns into something deeper and the bond that grows between them all. The story moves along at a nice pace and kept me engaged all the way to the end. I love how the bears understand and make Locke feel inside and out. Locke finds himself in a similar situation as before, but he must decide if these men are worthy of his trust and his heart. It was nice to see the way the relationship grows between the men and Locke. Kodi, Pole and Griz are great, and I love the interactions they have with not only Locke but each other as well. The author has done a wonderful job with this take of an old fairytale. Giving the reader a new yet somewhat familiar story.

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

Sunday, July 11, 2021

FRESH BREWED MURDER by Emmeline Duncan

Publisher:      Kensington
Published:      March 30, 2021
Genre:     Cozy Mystery
Format:     Print from Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina

FOUR HEART                                                               

Sage Caplin and her partner Harley have just opened their coffee food truck.  Not just any food truck, but a craft, speciality coffee food truck.  While Harley is a master brewer of beans, Sage handles crafting and making amazing coffees.  As they set up shop they meet up with their fellow food carters at the Rail Yard.  Everyone is welcoming, offering trades of their foods for coffee.  Well, almost everyone.


One customer is less than thrilled. Not about Ground Rules, Sage and Harley’s food truck, but Sage in specific.  After levying a nasty comment or two at her he leaves, but not for long. When he returns though, he’s dead. Well, at least Sage finds him after he’s been killed.  Not just killed, but with a box cutter Sage has been using. In short order the local detective has Sage in his sights and not just because of the murder victim.  There are some things about Sage’s family that tend to attract attention, and it’s not always in a good way. Some people aren’t happy about some of those family connections and when vandalisms on the food truck stat to escalate it becomes a question of finding the killer before the killer finds Sage.


As a coffee addict and food truck aficionado I couldn’t resist picking up Emmeline Duncan’s FRESH BREWED MURDER. With a cup of coffee on hand I dug in and found myself sitting and reading from start to finish.  I just had to find out who killed the guy outside the food truck.  Duncan doesn’t just give you a one shot murder mystery.  There are some excellent side stories that twist and turn in the main one—finding the killer. 


Sage has an interesting, multi-faceted family.  Duncan clearly was looking ahead when she gave them their different professions so readers can anticipate some good mystery reading in the future. The Rail Yard setting is a fun one where there is room, or will be room, in the future for different food carts, along with each new character’s drama, to move in.


Duncan’s Ground Rules series is off to an excellent start. I can’t wait for book 2.


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





Sunday, July 4, 2021

I WANT YOU BACK by Lorelei James

Publisher:      Berkley    
Published:      April 2, 2019
Genre:     Contemporary Romance
Format:     Print from Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina




Jaxson Lund met, fell in love with Lucy Quade and then betrayed her with drink and other women. As a rich, hunky hockey star he had women and drink at his fingertips and while I truly loved Lucy, the drink destroyed their relationship.


When Lucy met and fell for Jaxson she knew he could be the only man for her, but there was no way she would put up with his philandering, especially when she’s the mother of Jaxson’s baby, Mimi.


But Jaxson has learned his lesson and now will do anything in can to win Lucy back and make a family with her and his little girl. He’s gotten clean and sober, left hockey playing in his past and joined the Lund family business and is trying his best to be a father to Mimi. The question is, can Lucy trust that he won’t fall back on his roaming, self-destructive, ways? 


Sometimes you just need to curl up with your cat (or dog), under a comforter (with the air conditioner on if it’s too warm) and settle in with a good romance. Lorelei James fits that scenario perfectly for me and her I WANT YOU BACK is one of those romances that has a hero who just makes you sigh because you want him in your life.


James creates realistic characters, ones you wouldn’t mind getting to know.  I “got to know” the Lund family through her earlier NEED YOU series and was happy to see the Lund family back again in her current WANT YOU series. She combines elements of a sweet, affectionate romance with some very steamy love scenes while having her characters deal with some very real life situations.  Jaxson not only has to fight his alcohol addiction, he has another secret that could destroy his re-blossoming romance with Lucy. I liked that Lucy put not only her needs, but those of their daughter, Mimi, before giving into her relationship with Jaxson. She knows he’s more than a pretty face but doesn’t trust that he’ll let that deeper self stay…that he can continue to battle his own demons.


Mimi kind of drove me a little nuts. I’m just not a fan of precocious children.  They tend to be more annoying than cute…and Mimi really going to the annoying end of the scale. But that non-cuteness didn’t get in the way of a really good read. 


If you’ve never read a Lorelei James you are missing out on some really good reads.  You can read I WANT YOU BACK for the sheer enjoyment of a toe curling romance or you can dig deeper into the issues Jaxson confronts.  Either way, or somewhere in between, you end up with a read that when you close the book you feel pretty darn good.



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