Double Jeopardy by M.A. Conley

Double Jeopardy

So, a bit like buses, no reviews for ages and then two come along at once! For my second review, I have a novel from the hugely talented M. A. Comley who, for those who know me, will be aware of how much I LOVE her Justice Series

Now this series is new to me. Double Jeopardy is the first novel in the ‘Hero’ series that I’ve read, although it is the fourth novel overall. I was assured this could be read without reading the others, and that is absolutely true. However for those who prefer to know what comes before, I’d encourage you to read the others in the series.

The setting for the novel is Manchester which is close to my home town. I loved the local feel of it especially when something was written that I recognised, like a landmark, or a particular road. It’s always so exciting to me when that happens!

Okay, so on with the review. Hero Nelson is a hard-working Detective Inspector with a lot on his plate. Juggling a challenging job and a growing family isn’t easy.

When the owner and CEO of a very successful private company is brutally murdered, Hero and his partner, Julie, are in a race to find out what happened before the killer strikes again. The motive eludes them. It can’t be robbery because the victim was found with a large sum of cash about his person, but then if that wasn’t the motive, where is his car? And what does his (if I may say) shifty partner have to do with his death.

The pace of the novel isn’t so fast that you struggle to keep up with goings on, but it does increase towards the climax – as all good novels should, and I found the ending extremely satisfying.

I have Torn Apart (the first novel) on my Kindle, and I’ll definitely be going back and reading it.

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Forbidden Bonds by Lexi C Foss

Forbidden Bonds

Well, I have been jolly remiss of late in posting my reviews. My sincere apologies! But for my comeback, what a book I’ve got for you…

So, Forbidden Bonds is the second book in the Immortal Curse series, and although I really enjoyed Blood Laws (book 1) Forbidden Bonds is that much better. Maybe because the world of Ichorian’s and Hydrians is already set up so I don’t need to learn the complexities of the environment…yeah maybe it’s that. But I actually think it’s more to do with the characters of Tom and Amelia (particularly Tom).

In Blood Laws, Tom came across as a bit of an arse (to coin an Amelia term lol), and so it was with a little trepidation that I opened the pages of Forbidden Bonds….within a chapter, I was hooked. Tom is FABULOUS. He’s certainly got a chequered past which has moulded the man he is today, but the growth in his character was a joy to watch. And phew….the man is HOT and SWOONWORTHY.

Amelia too, goes on quite a journey. I’ll warn you now, there are some pretty difficult scenes with Amelia – but the fact she comes out of the other side stronger, more tenacious, more amazing is testament to Lexi’s development of her character throughout the novel.
It was also brilliant to get more of Balthazar who is my absolute fave…bar none. While the next two books in the series aren’t going to focus on B, I am not averse to begging…..yes begging (and possibly bribing) the author to consider giving us B’s story.

I highly recommend Forbidden Bonds, but do check out Blood Laws first to get a true understanding of the story and world building.

 

Unscripted by Lisa Swallow

UnscriptedWow, it’s been a while since I posted a review. Life’s been pretty hectic recently. A couple of weeks ago, I visited a close friend of mine in the US (she emigrated last year) which was a lovely break, if a little far to go for a long weekend!

Today’s review is a lovely, easy read romance by Lisa Swallow. It’s the first novel I’ve read by Lisa. I picked up a sample from Instafreebie and the premise and Lisa’s writing grabbed my attention so I preordered the full novel.

The book follows Tate Daniels, Hollywood superstar and Myf (Myfanwy) Roberts, a struggling Welsh-born actress. Myf and Tate met six years ago when they were both studying acting in London, but despite their smoking hot chemistry, Tate was a player and Myf wasn’t willing to be the next instrument he fiddled with for a few days before tossing her aside.

The two went their separate ways, but six years later, when Myf is jilted on her wedding day (when her best friend finds the groom and the best man in an, ahem, compromising position), she takes an ill-fated trip to Vegas where she and Tate meet once more.

I really enjoyed this novel. The chapters flowed into one another very nicely and the characters are well-rounded and fully developed. Myf was great. I loved the realness (is that even a word….) of her. She makes mistakes, and she owns them. She’s contradictory at times, but unapologetic for it.

Tate gives a good impression of the devil-may-care playboy, but Lisa shows us his vulnerable side which makes you root for him to get the girl.

Tate and Myf’s story continues in Spotlight which is out later this year, a release I’m very much looking forward to.

Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

Last Breath

I’ve had Last Breath on pre-order for ages. Unfortunately, when it finally dropped onto my kindle two weeks ago, I had a few other books upon which promises had been made, and so I had to leave it for a while. And boy, was that like an itch you were desperate to scratch. Every time I opened my kindle, there it was, beckoning me to ‘Go on, open it’.

I resisted (somehow) and yesterday, on a plane to the USA to visit a friend, I began to read.

Last Breath sees the return of Detective Chief Inspector Erika Foster. Erika is still cooling her heels pushing paperwork when a call comes in about a girl found in a dumpster. Erika happens to be with Peterson at the time he receives the call so, of course, our intrepid detective can’t help poking her nose in (one of the many, many things I love about Erika).

But…I digress…Erika begins to dig, even though it is not her case, and she finds another murder committed a few months before which appears to have been carried out by the same killer. In order to be considered for the case, Erika has to eat some serious humble pie, but she does it in true Erika style (Have I mentioned I love Erika Foster?)

My Thoughts

My goodness me, Robert Bryndza, you’ve only gone and done it again! Last Breath is a thrilling rollercoaster of a ride that will strap you in, send you spinning, and won’t let go until you’ve turned the last page.

It’s an intricate piece of storytelling, beautifully structured with all the twists and turns of a classic.

Erika is back with all the dogged determination and insubordination that I’ve come to love her for. There are times (many of them) where I actually cringe at the things she says and how she rails against authority. She’d be an absolute nightmare to manage. But what her superiors can’t deny is the results she achieves.

If I had a mother, father, sister, brother, lover or friend go missing, I’d want Erika on the case. The woman is a force of nature.

Bring on Book 5!

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

The Girl Before

I really wanted to read this novel, especially with all the hype surrounding it, but at £6.99 was a little rich for my blood (I’ll only push the boat out that far for an ebook from my very favourite authors. As I’d never read a novel by JP Delaney before, I didn’t want to take the risk.

But then a BookBub email came into my inbox. Excellent! It had been reduced to 99p. I grabbed it (and told a bunch of my friends to grab it too), before it went up in price.

And of course, it shot straight to the top of my TBR pile.

The novel is told in a THEN and NOW style. Then, is about Emma, a young woman who has met an untimely death and Now, following Jane, a woman who rents the same house Emma lived in three years before.

The house has very strict rules, applied by the architect and owner, Edward Monkford. As the story progresses, Jane becomes obsessed with the house and its secrets as her past becomes intertwined with Emma’s.

My Thoughts

I finished The Girl Before a few days ago but left it until now to write my review, because I wanted to reflect. It didn’t blow me away, as I’d expected. I found the storytelling from Emma’s perspective a little strange, especially as the author chose not to use quotation marks for speech, making it hard to follow when someone was actually speaking versus having internal dialogue. I know why the author did it—to differentiate between the voices of the two women, especially as there does end up being some repetition—but all the same, I didn’t get on with that style.

There are some good twists and turns, and I loved the vivid description of the house which is central to the story, but I was looking for more punch, more tension, more drama, and I’m afraid The Girl Before didn’t deliver on the hype surrounding it. This is something I’m finding more and more. Certain books seem to attract huge attention (I’m thinking Girl on the Train and Gone Girl here), and yet don’t quite deliver on the promises that hype makes. I began to wonder if the term ‘Girl’ was the problem (joke), but having read Robert Bryndza’s The Girl in the Ice, which is a superb novel, I know that not to be true.

The book is being made into a movie, directed by Ron Howard, who is superb, and thinking about how the story unfolds, I think this is one of those that may translate better to screen than reading the written word.

 

The Chosen by J. R. Ward

The Chosen

Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards has been captured by the Black Dagger Brotherhood for treason against The King, Wrath, son of Wrath.

After a lifetime of hardship and abuse, Xcor accepts his death sentence, his only regret the loss of The Chosen, Layla, a female who was never his to begin with.

Only Layla, The Chosen, knows the truth that will save Xcor’s life, but can she risk everything she holds dear for the male she loves?

My Review

I admit to being rather disappointed with the last BDB novel, The Beast, although from fellow fans I’ve spoken to, that novel certainly polarised opinions, and I get the sense that The Chosen will suffer the same fate.

However, for me, I LOVED it. I have been waiting for what seems like a lifetime, virtually frothing at the mouth to get my hands on Xcor and Layla’s long awaited story – and it didn’t disappoint. Full of angst, regret, revenge, love, sorrow and loss, The Chosen really put my feelings through the wringer – without apology. Xcor’s backstory broke my heart and I was praying for him to catch a break, although with a death sentence for almost killing The King hanging over him, I couldn’t see a way for him to survive.

Layla really comes into her own in this novel. She risks everything, and by everything, I mean EVERYTHING for the man she loves, but more than that, she leaves her Chosen status well and truly behind her. And I loved it. There’s a specific scene with Tohr (no spoilers), where I actually found myself cheering her on. What a woman!

Now Qhuinn…don’t get me started on him. I wanted to reach into this novel and give that male a good shake, and let him feel the sharp edge of my tongue. He makes a lot of judgemental errors in this book, and I was most certainly NOT on his side.

And now for the things I didn’t like. For me, there are still too many other threads. I’d have loved this book to be about the main foursome (Xcor, Layla, Qhuinn and Blay), but several other threads took the attention away from the main story. Of course, there has to be some set up for the next novel (which we now know to be Assail’s), but I sometimes long for the BDB novels of old where the other threads were kept to a minimum.

Still, that’s a minor gripe, and apart from Lover Awakened (Z’s story – ahhh Z, my love, my life), this is probably my favourite, mainly because of Xcor.

I await Book 15 with interest.

 

Guest post by Winning Ace author Tracie Delaney #WhenDreamsComeTrue @Tracie_Delaney

Guest post by Winning Ace author Tracie Delaney #WhenDreamsComeTrue @Tracie_Delaney

The lovely Jo Robertson over at My Chestnut Reading Tree was kind enough to host me on her blog where I talk about my upcoming novel, Winning Ace and share a couple of teasers. My thanks go to Jo for hosting me.

mychestnutreadingtree

In another of my occasional series #WhenDreamsComeTrue I have a guest post from Tracie Delaney who is about to publish her debut novel! I first met Tracie at a Blogger/Author get together, organised by the lovely Kim Nash, in Birmingham about a year ago. Since then I have been waiting patiently for the news that her first book is on its way! And now it is!

Guest post…

Getting Winning Ace to market has been such an exciting journey. When I pressed the ‘publish now’ button on Amazon, iBooks, Nook and Kobo, I have to say I felt a mixture of pure elation—I did it!—to terror—Oh My Goodness. People might find my book and read it!

I’ve always had a love affair with books, from a very young age. When I was in my early twenties, I wrote about fifty thousand words of a novel (and in those days I…

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