Review: Killer Heels by Tracy Tegan

Review: Killer Heels by Tracy Tegan

killer heelsReviewed by Cara Lynn

This was a short book compared to some.

Devlin Manning is a Hollywood actor. He has more girls throw themselves at him than he cares to think about.

And then he meets a girl that draws his attention who waits on him in a local coffee shop — and she disappears. All efforts to find her, to see her again, are in vain.

Then he sees her at the party of one of Hollywood’s most influential producers. Unfortunately Ray is connected to the mafia, and when Devlin returns later that night for his cell phone, he is mercilessly beaten. And how does it all connect with the woman who disappears again?

Later her friend tells Devlin that she has said (on a burner phone) that he is the only one that can find her. She is as enamored of him as he is with her, but she needs to be safe. So he begins the search in earnest.

I would call this romantic suspense, but there is really no sex in the book. If it’s going to be a gentle, almost unrequited love story, I was put off by him calling his member a c&*k. It didn’t seem like it fit.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Killer Heels

Review: Jinxed By Kathryn Leigh Scott

Review: Jinxed By Kathryn Leigh Scott

Jinxed_finalcoverReviewed by Karin

First book Down and Out in Beverly Heels

I really enjoyed this book.

This book takes Meg a bit further down the path from where she was dead broke because her ex-husband was a conman (now in prison) and she was living in her car because that was all she had.

She had had a successful TV series 20 years before where she played Jinx, complete with a magician’s hat. Now she is caught off guard to find they are reprising the show — but not with her. The young actress is surprisingly good, with an interesting voice, and a few secrets of her own. And Meg has been asked to give her lessons on how the hat was used in the old show and how it will be used in the new.

Then she goes missing.

Throw in an extremely irritating first husband; the wealthy woman who lets Meg live in her mansion (complete with paraphernalia from old movies and an old doll collection) … a young man who is talented as a film director who is filming Meg (who wants to further him in the business); a couple of detectives; an older male friend; … Jack, her lover, who is also with the FBI. He’s on a case involving sex rings, which may or may not be part of the missing actress.

And there’s a murder and attempted murder …

I didn’t see it coming (whodunit) … I suspected someone who wasn’t the one (good) …

The book was well written. I would definitely read another of her books.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Jinxed (A Jinx Fogarty Mystery)

Review: Power Play (Clear Message, Book 1) by Kali Cross

power playReviewed by Cara Lynn

Blurb:

Jack’s up against a master of manipulation—staying one step ahead of his ex-fiancée requires some swift maneuvers. But when Alexandra Simpson enters his life…well, she is a game changer. Dangerous secrets, office intrigue, and sizzling passion will keep you turning the pages of Power Play, Book 1 of Kali Cross’ new romance series, Clear Message.

Jack Schmidt is getting screwed by his fiancée, Vanessa, in more ways than one. After catching her in bed with her trainer, Jack wants her out of his life. Too bad it’s not that easy. As his employee, she parlayed his attraction to the level of fiancée in a matter of months, and in just a few weeks, she’ll own a 20% stake in his firm—and she won’t give it up without a fight. Vanessa thinks she has him by the balls, but Jack’s done being played. He orders a new manager to review all the accounts, suspecting that all Vanessa’s late nights working were spent stroking his clients…and not just their egos.

New manager Alexandra Simpson is the perfect candidate for the job. She’s sharp, loyal to the firm, and doesn’t intimidate easily. Unfortunately, she also intrigues Jack, but getting involved with another employee would be the definition of insanity. Jack wonders if she’s like Vanessa, ready to climb over anyone who gets in her way. But something about Alex forces him to believe otherwise.

After a disagreement over a client leads to a searing kiss, Jack wants nothing more than to lock the door and spend the rest of the day getting to know every inch of Alexandra Simpson. But when Alex hears that he’s engaged to Vanessa, she lets him know in no uncertain terms that she isn’t interested in being the other woman…not again. Not again? Now Jack must go up against Alex’s past, and the result could be deadly for both of them.

Review:

Good story. Interesting characters, well developed.

Hot sex. (I got tired of it.) Light bondage (are these now the obligatory scenes?) (Not into this!) and light, playful subservience and acting.

Scary scenes at the end, but all turns out OK (which is the power of romantic suspense, you know it will turn out OK.)

I did my usual reading the end after I was about half way through, even though it was an e-book so not as easy to do.

This book was given to me by LRP to read and review, though it did not affect my feelings about the book. I wanted to know who-dun-it. I suspected the wrong character (and I’m glad.)

Jumped into sex too fast for me.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Power Play (Clear Message Book 1)

Review: A Vampire’s Passion (A Romance In Central City, Book 3) by Jordan K. Rose

a vampire's passionReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Brandt is aware of homeless going missing and an evil army vowing to take control of the city, but if he has anything to do with it, they won’t get the chance. Brandt has enough trouble on a reconnaissance mission to find out more on Menhadens, a restaurant in Central City. There he meets Rachel a waitress working there who takes his fancy almost in an instant with her amazing blue eyes.

Review: We first meet Brandt when he’s busy scoping Menhadens for the kind of people who enter the establishment. Brandt doesn’t like having a sidekick, and certainly not one he labels as the world’s most irritating vampire, Garrison. After being on Earth for a hundred years, he still can’t get on with people the way he hopes. He always gets ribbed about being anti-social by his sidekick and anyone else who knows him. When he meets Rachel she’s the most stubborn woman he has ever met, but there is something about her he can’t resist, even being a vampire.

He and Garrison are looking into the dangerous and cruel experiments that Panthera Laboratories are getting up to, and he is afraid that Rachel might also be getting caught up in them. Raymond Tyrone is the kingpin and things could get bad if anyone finds out. Rachel might have an attitude that offends the ones who eat at Menhadens, yet out of work she’s a caring person who feeds a street guy affectionately called “Hank.” She remembers growing up poor as a kid, and doesn’t mind sneaking food out of the work’s kitchens if it means saving someone from starving. Brandt begins to question his standing as a vampire when she has the ability to resist him, even though he is more than interested in her being the one for him. Rachel compliments Brandt’s lack of human warmth toward the men he works with, as she is compassionate even if she is stubborn.

Good Bits:

  • The humour that runs through the whole novel.
  • Brandt is a very well thought out character and proves it.
  • A place called Crap Alley and who coined the name.

Summary: This is a vampire cop mystery that will interest those interested in supernatural romance, and though it might seem that Brandt and Rachel aren’t made for each other, it could be said readers might change their minds half way through.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: A Vampire’s Passion: A Romance In Central City, Novella Three

Why I Write Mystery Romances

WitnessProtection_200x300Guest blog by Carolyn LaRoche, author of Witness Protection

As a teenager I fell in love with love stories. I couldn’t wait to get to the end of a book just so I would know for sure that girl got her guy despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Happy endings are the reason I read as much as I did and are now the reason I have chosen to become a romance author.

Granted my books are more mystery than romance but that’s ok by me. Writing romantic mysteries means I not only get to have my guaranteed happy ending but there’s also a bunch of action and adventure thrown in for good measure.  It also means I get to finally put that very expensive graduate degree in forensic science to use. Mystery, romance, sexy cops with big guns…what more could a girl want?

Being married to my own sexy cop provides me with plenty of inspiration, a first rate research source and a plethora of real life stories on which to base my created ones.  There is a certain sense of satisfaction in weaving a tale that keeps people wondering who the bad guy really is. Somewhere along the way I read something that basically said to write well, an author should write what they know. When I go to the book store, I am drawn to the mysteries and the romances. That is what I know and therefore that is what I write.

Writing romantic mysteries is a great escape from the hectic realities of life.

What do you do when you need a quick escape?

Blurb:

Someone wants Angelina dead…again. Will following her heart put her in danger, or in the arms of the man she’s meant to be with?

As far as the world knows, NYPD detective Angelina Ferrara died in a violent firefight on Chelsea Piers over a year ago. Living in the witness protection program as history teacher Lucy Taylor was supposed to save her life, but being alive and living were two very different things. Until she meets Detective Logan James when he goes undercover in the same private school where she works. Something about the handsome man with the gorgeous blue eyes piques her interest. There’s no doubt he has secrets…but then so does she. When the Ricci crime family discovers she’s still alive, she finds herself on the run with Logan. Her heart led her astray before. Can she trust it to let Logan help her survive?

Buy: Witness Protection (Defenders of Love Book 1)

Excerpt:

Her little car had an engine about as powerful as a hamster wheel. There was no way she was going to outrun the truck that was accelerating with lightning speed. On one side of her was a deep ravine, the other the steep slope of a mountain towered high and tree covered. The steering wheel vibrated as she pushed her little car to its limits, sheer adrenaline keeping her focused on the winding road. As she rounded a sharp curve, the back tires spun and fishtailed out from behind her. The tiny car shook violently as Lucy struggled to maintain control. The SUV caught up with her then, ramming into her rear bumper. The car groaned but held on. Lucy spun the wheel to make the next sharp curve, all the while her eyes searched for a way off the dangerous mountain highway. Another crash from behind jolted her car forward with such force Lucy lost her grip on the steering wheel. The car veered right but she managed to straighten it out before hitting the tree line.

“What the hell do you want with me?” she screamed at the truck in her rearview mirror.

The driver responded by slamming into the back of her car again. Metal ground against metal, gravel flew everywhere, and the car careened toward a thick bank of trees to her left. Straightening the car once more, Lucy crushed the gas pedal to the floor and watched as the speedometer climbed quickly. Lucy felt the little rush of excitement she always got in a good pursuit despite the fact that she was the one being pursued.

She whipped around yet another curve, and the SUV caught up with her. Just as she managed to get her little car under control again, the SUV crashed into her back end again with such force Lucy thought her car might shatter there in the middle of the road. The little car veered to the right, aiming straight for the side of the road and the ravine beyond. Lucy tried to regain control but the effort was in vain. She braced herself as the car plowed through thick vegetation, hit something, and started to slide down the steep embankment.

She heard the growl of the SUV’s engine roaring away over the revving of her own engine as the tiny car crashed through the underbrush. The car flew over a log and landed on the slick vegetation covering the incline. The car lost its hold on the ground and rolled its way down the slope, finally landing up against the trunk of a large pine tree where the engine died. Lucy’s head smacked against the steering wheel knocking her near to senseless. Everything fell deathly silent as she fought to remain conscious.

A loud crack broke the silence. As she watched through the broken windshield, the tree in front of her began to wobble. Blood trailed from her forehead into her left eye, blurring her already shaky vision. Rubbing at it with the back of her arm, she used her other hand to desperately claw at the seat belt release.

If she didn’t get out of the car, the tree was going to fall right on top of her.

The giant pine swayed once and then began its descent toward Lucy and her crumpled car. Yanking hard at the jammed seat belt, her head swimming and her stomach churning, Lucy finally freed herself. Just as the tree crushed the roof of her car, like it were nothing more than a tin can, Lucy pulled her body through the opening that used to be the driver’s side window.

Cracking wood and crunching metal stirred up a cacophony of birds and small animals protesting the intrusion in their habitat. Lucy lay on the damp moss and rotting leaves, her heart banging against her chest wall. The sound of her pulse racing in her ears muted the sound of the creaks and groans as the tree settled against what was left of her car. Every inch of her body hurt, but her head ached most of all.

Carolyn LaRoche Author pictureAuthor Bio:

Carolyn LaRoche grew up in snow country but fled the cold and ice several years ago. She now lives near the beach with her husband, their two boys, two finicky cats and one old dog. When she is not at the baseball field cheering on big hits and home runs, she is busy teaching science to unwilling teenagers.  She is co-author of the book The Crazy Lives of Police Wives and hangs out online at both Carolyn La Roche – Author and carolynlarocheauthor.blogspot.com

Find me online at:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolynLaRoche?ref=hl

www.carolynlarocheauthor.blogspot.com

Review: The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla (Pink Carnation, Book 11) by Lauren Willig

mark of the midnight manzanillaReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Make sure to read the Prologue because it prepares the reader for the first chapter.

Sally Fitzhugh is at an evening soirée and she has an interesting discussion with friends.  Lucien, the Duke of Belliston, has a late night visitor and they have an interesting discussion – there’s no way you can stop reading now.  Believe me, if you like to read historical, paranormal, and time travel romances by the end of chapter two this author will have you hooked.

Sally has an interesting personality and she’s a woman who doesn’t mind trying to figure things out.  This author could have left that story at that and just let things unfold from there but she took it a step further- she’s added in a mystery to be solved.  And don’t worry about wondering if you’ll be lost between the past and present – the author lets you know so there’s no confusion.

This was a book that looks to be part of a great series.  My only disappointment was that I didn’t start reading this author’s work before now.  I found that this book could be read as a stand-alone so you don’t need to read any of the other books to understand what is going on here.  My only hope is that if you liked this book as much as I did, and you haven’t read this series before, you will want to go back and read more about the ladies of the Pink Carnation.  If you’re patient, book twelve is scheduled to come out next August.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla: A Pink Carnation Novel

Review: Maltipoos Are Murder (Doggie Day Spa Mystery) by Jacqui Lane

malitpoos murderReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way.

This book was told in the first person.

Cara Rogers works at her Aunt’s pet spa – this is one job I’d love to try. Being a vet, not so much – blood and me don’t get along too well. Cole Sampson has come to talk to her and this is when the mystery begins. I have to say that I’m no good at figuring out the mysteries – I got this one wrong. You’ll have to read and see if you can get it right.

This is a perfect cuddle read. So if you have a dog, or cat, find your best reading area and cuddle up with your baby. Maybe you’ve lost your baby, like I have, so a stuffed animal may make a nice substitute. But this book is not just for pet lovers – even though dogs are the animal of choice here. The tone of the story would have changed otherwise. I never realized how exciting a pet spa could be – I’m in the wrong profession.

In one scene, Cara mentions a poem and if you’re interested you may want to check it out. If you would like to read it yourself you can find it here http://www.bartleby.com/364/335.html. This may have been a mystery but it didn’t stop this author from making me laugh – once you get to that point in the story you will understand why it was so funny.

I was disappointed once the ending appeared. I wasn’t ready for this story to be over but I did love the ending. It was more of a HFN than an HEA. So you can certainly use your imagination to come up with your own ending. Me, I’m hoping that there is going to be a book two in the Doggie Day Spa Mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed Jacqui’s tale and so will you. And if you want to know more of who Jacqui is, make sure to read “About the Author” at the very end.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Maltipoos are Murder (Entangled Ignite)

Review: Smoking Ruin by D.R. Martin

smoking ruinReviewed by Karin

This book was quite a read and quite different. I liked it a lot.

It is not a typical romantic suspense. It is higher on the suspense level and the who-dun-it is hidden until the last pages. I guessed the right character(s) fairly early on, but I didn’t guess the whole of it or the why of it.

And it is extremely well written, lots of wonderful color, lots of great descriptions that never got old, very good character development. And a mystery with increasing danger and perhaps two intertwined or intersecting plots.

Minneapolis PI Marta Hjelm is the main character as well as the voice of the book. She is at the edge of burnout because of losing a woman to her abusive husband a year before. She and her live-in/live-out boyfriend have just argued over whether she should give it up (he’s a photographer) and when they argue to that level, he goes to his brother’s house, which is where he is for nearly the entire book, although the two interact. Any sex, and there’s not a lot, takes place off page. But there is definitely love.

Out of the blue Marta’s ex-husband shows up and offers her a job with an advertising company. This doesn’t set well with the boyfriend, as you can imagine. Considering she really wants nothing to do with him, why she lets him in and why she accepts the job (the money to help her and her boyfriend with his photography business) — even she can’t figure it out.

And before you know it, her life is in danger — and the lives of others also. It seems like there is a terrorist plot against the advertising company.

In many ways, it’s a setup, and not just for Marta.

Very clever book — there was one word I’d never heard of and a couple that aren’t used very often.

It was a good read. I’d like a second.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Smoking Ruin