The Rose by Tiffany Reisz
Advance Reading Copy , Erotica , Fiction / February 13, 2019

If you are a fan of Tiffany Reisz you might as well skip this review and go purchase The Rose.  I say this because I think this is one of the author’s best offerings. It is explicit, actually sometimes just a touch beyond explicit, if that’s even possible. Still, it is written as a combination of erotic fantasy and Greek mythology which is a perfect match.  The story begins with the characters of Lia and August “sparring” around a Greek cup called the Rose Kylix.  Lia has it, August wants it. And much sexiness follows. There is a bit of an “ick factor” in the plot, between Lia and her mother. Although this ick factor makes sense in the frame of Greek mythology, I would deduct one star in any rating … because…. ick!!!  I have to say that I think the author is full of talent for story telling and it amuses me to think that she decided to aim her ability in the direction of mythology, probably just because she could.

The Boy by Tami Hoag
Advance Reading Copy , Fiction / January 12, 2019

The Boy is Tami Hoag’s latest crime novel. In it a little boy has been brutally stabbed to death and it’s up to Louisiana dectectives Nick and Annie to find the killer. It has been awhile since I have read anything by Hoag, but when I saw this on NetGalley I decided to request it. (Many thanks to Hoag, Dutton, and NetGalley for the ARC.) Some crime novels are hard to follow but Hoag’s writing and plot movement are excellent.  I found myself trying to guess the killer with each new chapter and once I formed a theory I usually changed it a few minutes later. Put this on your TBR for 2019.

Christmas at Strand House, by Linda Mitchelmore
Advance Reading Copy , Fiction , Romance / December 11, 2018

Lissy has inherited Strand House and plans to spend Christmas there.  A few friends will join her. So begins a sweet story that revolves around each person’s unique situation in life.  Nothing too gripping, but really a story of how we move forward in our imperfect lives. I received a copy from NetGalley. Thanks to author Linda Mitchelmore.

City of Second Chances by Jane Lacey-Crane
Advance Reading Copy , Fiction , Women's Fiction / November 28, 2018

It was the book’s cover art that grabbed my attention. Snowflakes are falling, New York City gleams in the distance. The blurb “Funny and heartwarming, the perfect winter read” sealed the deal as I requested an ARC of City of Second Chances from NetGalley. (Thank you Author Jane Lacey-Crane and NetGalley ) For this reader the novel itself didn’t come together as well as the cover art.  I liked both the concept of a widow looking to change and the characters of Evie and Rachael and Evie’s sister Kate, but for me, one especially sad subplot (one of many) driving the first part of the book derailed my enjoyment. It turned the novel away from funny and heartwarming. True, this mirrors life. Not everything is neat and tidy. Some may like this realism, but for this reader it felt like the book was trying to do too much.

Picture Perfect Cowboy by Tiffany Reisz
Advance Reading Copy , Erotica , Romance / August 26, 2018

Looking for a quick, kinky love story where the man is the novice for once? Picture Perfect Cowboy is that story. Jason Waters, professional bull rider, (retired) is struggling with his desire to dominate women. It’s something he’s thought about in secret and explored only through the internet. After agreeing to be photographed for a calendar for literacy he meets pink-haired, sexy Simone, a sometimes photographer, sometimes professional submissive. Simone has no issues with her sexual desires and jumps at the chance to help him with his. And so the kink begins. In my opinion the story reads a bit too much like a non-fiction “how to” book. I’d title it “Dominance 101” or “So You’re Kinky, Now What?”  Chapter one would be all about how consenting adults can do whatever they want in the bedroom or playroom, or wherever there’s a spare riding crop or blindfold. This novel promotes that concept with a somewhat simplistic plot and likeable, although unmemorable, characters. That said, the author weaves a nice story that is more romance than erotica and given the price of $3.99 for the ebook on Amazon, perhaps we are getting about what is expected. Even at that low price, this reader would have liked more heart and confidence from Jason and less recitation from Simone. I received an ARC…

The Advice Column Murders by Leslie Nagel
Advance Reading Copy , Mystery / March 7, 2018

After talking about the subgenre “cozy mystery” with a co-worker I got curious and decided I had to read one.  So when The Advice Column Murders by Leslie Nagel came to my attention as an Advance Reading Copy I requested it immediately.  And I wasn’t disappointed.  I feel it was a great introduction to the format of crime fiction with less emphasis on sex, violence, and gore. Charley Carpenter is the local, small town girl with a sharp mind and a desire to solve crime. She has a great boyfriend, who is on the local police force, and a circle of friends. Charley is in the process of expanding her small business when a young woman is murdered. And this is where all the facts of the weird world come undone.  Good thing we have Charley to figure it out.  A quick, easy read. My first cozy- done! Probably not my last.   I received this as an Advance Reading Copy. Thanks Alibi and Net Galley.

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline
Advance Reading Copy , Fiction , Women's Fiction / February 19, 2018

After Anna is the latest novel from Lisa Scottoline.  The story is about how Maggie is suddenly reunited with her daughter, Anna. It was years before that Maggie was declared an unfit mother, but now Maggie has the chance to be in the life of the daughter she has always loved. Things go bad almost immediately, and Anna is murdered. Wow, right? Maggie is crushed, no, she’s beyond crushed, when her husband Noah is arrested for the crime. The book is a quick read, and I did have my suspicions about events, which nearly never happens to me. My main complaint about the book? I feel the ending is abrupt. I wanted another chapter to blend and wrap up this traumatic novel. But, it started fast, so maybe it’s okay for it to end fast too. I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this novel. This is my honest review.

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

Anne is a young mother who has lived through the suicide of both her parents. Then she receives a note making her think it wasn’t suicide at all. Were her parents really murdered? This book has many twists and turns, great secondary characters, and a plot that picks up speed as it goes, making it hard to put down. My only complaint is a bit of a glum final wrap up for the characters. Otherwise this might be the best novel by Mackintosh. A big Thank You to NetGalley for giving me an Advance Reading Copy.

Summer at Rose Island by Holly Martin
Advance Reading Copy , Romance / July 16, 2017

Summer at Rose Island is a sweet romance, appropriate for most readers, as it has only a few loves scenes, and those are less graphic than a lot of romance novels. Darcy Davenport has moved to White Cliff Bay and sparks fly between her and lighthouse owner Riley, an American.  The plot is unique and there are some funny moments, especially during the town festival when Darcy finds herself involved in some quirky situations.  I didn’t find this a compelling read, but it’s sweet heroine was refreshing and likeable. Sidenote: This was an Advance Reading Copy

Devoted by JC Harroway
Advance Reading Copy , Romance / July 3, 2017

I spent the weekend reading Devoted, romance novel by JC Harroway.  It is the story of Tyler and Mallory, two people each dealing with loss in their own way.  The circle of their lives intersected in the tiniest way years ago and now they have met again as adults. Tyler is a movie director and Mallory is the manger of her sister, a rising star for Tyler’s latest project. But can two people find love in the middle of grief, guilt, and obligation? It’s hard. The novel progresses through ups and downs, some anger, and miscommunication. It also has some very hot sex scenes.  I felt the theme of loss and love was handled well, and the characters of  both Mallory and her sister take steps to grow and learn in the novel.  In contrast to what was well handled is what I felt didn’t always work: like some of the main character’s interactions and dialogue. For me these didn’t always ring quite true. For example I remember one time Mallory’s “inner dialogue” called Tyler an assh*!@.  It somehow seemed too harsh, too extreme; after all Mallory is portrayed as vintage, unique, and to me, at the time in the novel, these two hardly knew each other.  To wrap up,…