Tuesday 29 December 2015

The Pirate's Tempting Stowaway (The Dukes of War #6) By Erica Ridley (2015)


Wednesday 23 December 2015

Love or Justice (Protect and Serve Book 1) by Rachel Mannino (2015)

Laurie Shelton is the only person alive who can identify Hawaii’s most notorious mob boss…

After stumbling into a deadly kidnapping, Laurie’s life is in grave danger, and it falls to US Marshal Dante Stark to keep her safe until she testifies against Kaimi Quamboa—assuming he can be captured. 

Dante knows he’ll lose his job if he becomes romantically involved with a witness…

But when he has to comfort her through constant nightmares, he finds it nearly impossible to fight his attraction to the beautiful, strong young woman he is sworn to protect. Laurie feels it too, but aware she’s in a high-stress situation and that when the danger is past she’ll never see Dante again, she tries to ignore his easygoing smile and the security he offers.

Laurie and Dante are forced to flee again…

When Kaimi’s men descend on their hideaway, they escape to a second safe house, only to be tracked down there as well. Dante now knows there’s a mole inside the US Marshal Service, and the only thing left to do is disappear.
Kaimi will never stop looking for Laurie, and if he’s caught, showing up to testify could be the last thing she ever does. 

With each choice as dangerous as the next, Dante and Laurie must confront the boundaries of what they’re willing to sacrifice, and which is more important…

Love or Justice.


A suspense filled debut novel from Rachel Mannino.
There is plenty of action and twists and turns in this romantic thriller to keep you reading into the wee hours. The romance between Laurie and Dante was sweet and didn't take away too much from the main plot. 

I liked the supporting characters especially Dante's parents. I enjoyed Laurie's character as she isn't a total damsel in distress. She is a strong, independent person and proved herself to be an asset during dangerous situations.

I didn't quite believe the events surrounding her witnessing a kidnapping. I found it strange that such a high profile and dangerous criminal would just let her walk away and then spend months hunting her down to kill her. I also lost interest in the story about half way through as nothing was happening except Laurie and Dante hiding out with his parents. The pace and suspense picked up again towards the end of the novel.

Overall, I enjoyed Love or Justice and I will be looking out for the rest of the series as it gets published.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Shamrock Case (Amelia Moore Detective Series #2) by Linda Weaver Clarke (2014)

Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, specialises in missing persons. Her cases have taken her to some very interesting places and put her in some dangerous situations, but she always solves the case. With the help of Rick Bonito, her new partner, her business is flourishing. 

When Amelia is hired to search for her client’s grandparents, the case takes them to Ireland. Kate must learn about her heritage. Who are her grandparents and could they still be alive after all these years? Why did her parents leave Ireland suddenly and move to America? Is there more to this case than meets the eye?

There is much that I enjoyed about this simple, sweet, mystery romance. It is a quick and easy read. Amelia and Rick's quest to locate their client's grandparents was an interesting story and it had an unexpected twist at the end.
The story is set in Ireland and the author did a lovely job of writing about it. The characters have an almost childlike appreciation of all the sights, tastes and sounds they experience during their visit. You almost feel like you are on the tourist trail with them. Rick and Amelia make a cute pair and their romance blossoms a little bit more during their trip here. There are a few humorous scenes as Amelia keeps forgetting her raincoat and they have to brave the weather together. I felt like telling her to get a mini umbrella for her handbag!
Although the pair enjoyed the folk music in the pub they didn't get to experience true Irish traditional music and dance. After all Danny Boy is only a hundred years old. I think the couple would have had tremendous fun at a céilí dance. 
There is less suspense in The Shamrock Case compared to their first adventure in The Bali Mystery but fans of the series should enjoy it no less.


There are a few things that I would edit if revisions were ever being made. 
We don't have ranches here in Ireland. They are simply called farms. 
We also don't have vacations. We go on holidays or come home on holidays. 
The currency in Ireland is the Euro and not Pounds. The Pound is the currency of England. 
We don't refer to Ireland's many rebellions and struggle for independence as religious wars. Our political history and relationship with England is much more complex than this.

There is the inevitable stereotyping that goes on when writing about Ireland. Everyone is very religious. One of the characters is a wealthy horse breeder. All the characters speak with a 'thick Irish brogue' and on their first day in Ireland Amelia is the subject of harassment from two drunk men.

The mystery surrounding the couple who eloped to America just didn't ring true to something that would happen in modern Ireland but rather something that would happen in the nineteenth century. We are told that the author was inspired by events that occurred in her own family and those events happened in the 1800s.
I would have updated the story a little bit to tie in with a modern Ireland that has moved away from the religiosity and stranglehold that the Catholic Church had on this country for generations.

I was a little confused about the religious background of the characters. Kate's father was Catholic. Her mother's records were found in the Anglican church but both abandoned their Catholic faith to join an unnamed new religion. Did she convert to Catholicism when she married? I found this a bit confusing. It would have made more sense for the family to have fallen out because a Catholic was marrying a Protestant. This would have been more realistic for the time period especially if the location was Northern Ireland, instead of County Cork, placing them in the middle of The Troubles. 

Amelia and Rick were excited to try Irish food. I found it strange when Rick excitedly announced that for his first Irish dish he wanted corned beef and cabbage. I've never eaten this. I don't know anyone who eats it and I've never seen it on menus either. It doesn't sound like a culinary delight. But I don't live in the touristy areas that Rick and Amelia visited. A little Google search cleared it up for me and I found a couple of interesting links about food and Irish emigrants in America. 

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday 20 December 2015

Dead by Midnight (An I-Team Christmas) by Pamela Clare (2015)


Marc and Sophie Hunter, Gabe and Kat Rossiter, Holly Andris and the rest of the I-Team gang find themselves in the same historic Denver hotel celebrating the approach of Christmas at different holiday parties. What starts out as a fun winter evening with friends soon becomes a brutal fight to survive when the hotel is taken over by a group of ruthless narco-terrorists who will stop at nothing to get what they want.
On the outside, Julian Darcangelo, Zach McBride, Nick Andris and others join together with the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team in a desperate bid to free their friends, knowing that if they fail, the people they love will be…
Dead by Midnight.
Featuring cameo appearances by the men of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, a series by New York Times bestselling author Kaylea Cross.

Suspense filled and action packed. Dead by Midnight is sure to entertain whether you are new to Pamela Clare's I-Team or an avid follower since their first adventure. 
The author does a great job of writing different roles for the multiple heroes in the story.  Each action scene, the characters and sequences of events are all easy to follow. The stress and fear that the hostages experience jumps from the page and the terrorists are sufficiently nasty and believable.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Available now Amazon

Saturday 19 December 2015

Out of the Shadows by Tiffany Snow (2015)

Ivy Mason is no stranger to trouble—though so far she’s always managed to outrun or outsmart it. Now a nasty man-made virus and an FBI manhunt have her desperate for a cure and on the run for her freedom. Even her romance with British secret agent Devon Clay may have deadly consequences, placing her squarely in the crosshairs of a shadowy international assassin, Vega.

Devon is determined to take Vega out, but first he must make sure beautiful Ivy is out of danger. When she escapes FBI custody, the couple rekindles their passion and sets off on a pulse-pounding adventure across the United States and around the globe. En route, Ivy and Devon discover new truths about their nemeses—revelations that will test the limits of their love.

In this thrilling conclusion to the Tangled Ivy trilogy, Ivy Mason learns that the path to justice—and love—is more complicated and fraught with danger than she ever could have imagined.

The long awaited conclusion to 'Tangled Ivy' didn't fail to entertain.
Devon and Ivy are finally together but they are on the run from assassins and the FBI. Time is also running out for Ivy as the virus she is infected with is killing her.
I loved that, right from the beginning of the book, Ivy plays a central part in determining her own fate. She takes control of situations and doesn't wait around for a man to save her. I liked that we also see a softer side to Devon as he takes care of Ivy during her illness. 
The reasons for Vega's obsession with Devon is revealed but I thought the history surrounding Vega and Devon's family were slightly convoluted and contrived. I wasn't completely happy with the ending regarding Vega. For such an evil character she deserved a really grisly end.
           I enjoyed reading 'Out of Shadows,' and the previous books in the series. I'd recommend reading the whole series. 

Tiffany Snow writes in a very formulaic way. I don't really mind this as the time between publications puts some distance between them and my memory of the story fades somewhat. I quite like her action packed and suspense filled tales along with the alpha males and love triangle tropes. Her formulaic style may disappoint new readers though who are only now discovering her work and are maybe expecting something new when they dive straight into a new series after finishing the first. 

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday 10 December 2015

Wild Games by Mila Rossi (2015)

Despite warnings of annoying mosquitos and beastly spiders, Becca Glover couldn’t be more excited about her expedition to Costa Rica. Rooming with Matt Ritter, however, is an inconvenience she doesn’t see coming. He wields a machete, shaves with a knife and needs to wear a decent amount of clothes to cover the muscles she can’t stop staring at. 

Hired to lead a group of scientists through the jungle, Matt is convinced the fiery redhead is intent on making his job harder than it needs to be. Rebecca doesn’t listen and seems to invite danger at every turn. Her attitude is as much of a distraction as her curves and emerald green eyes. Now if he could only pay as much attention to his job as he does to her, their one-month adventure would fly by without a hitch. 

Hot temperatures, wild animals and a shared tree house are just the beginning of Becca and Matt’s obstacles. The real challenge lies in surviving each other.

This is a short, fast paced and entertaining read. 
Matt is very much a take charge and take action kind of guy. He is very capable in the jungle and can handle anything that comes his way. That is until he meets Becca who is a walking disaster and needs rescued at every turn. She doesn't appreciate his cave-man/Indiana Jones attitude and the pair constantly bicker and snipe at one another. It doesn't help that they have to share accommodation.
It was fun watching these two argue whilst trying to ignore their attraction to each other. I haven't read many books with a jungle theme but I felt that it worked well in this story.
I'd recommend Wild Games for anyone looking for for a quick romantic read.  

Available to buy now on Amazon Kindle
It is also free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription.

I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Chance of a Lifetime (Anderson Brothers #3) by Marissa Clarke (2015)


Gen Richards is tired of living down to her family’s expectation of the helpless blind girl. Resurrecting her high-school bucket list that begins with “kiss a total stranger” seems just the thing until she finds herself in a panty-melting lip lock with her big brother’s best friend.
Chance Anderson thrives on adrenaline, but Genny’s the one risk he’s not willing to take. His recklessness a decade ago landed her in the hospital and ejected him from her life. He’s bad for her and everyone knows it—especially her big brother.
Chance reluctantly helps Gen complete her bucket list in order to keep her out of trouble. Running through a freezing fountain, playing spin the bottle while fending off a mad horde of stinging insects, and skinny dipping with homicidal attack swans don’t hold a candle to the real danger: falling for the one person he can never have.

Review     5 *****
A fast paced, romantic, feel good story. Chance of a Lifetime was a really fun and entertaining read that had me smiling from start to finish whilst reading this book.
There was great chemistry between Gen and Chance. I loved the witty banter between them and there were plenty of moments during the story where I was laughing out loud. Chance exchanges a few smart quips with his brothers which had me laughing as well. 
I enjoyed the whole back story of Gen and Chance's childhood friendship and how things got messed up between them. Both are great characters, easily likeable and good hearted. Gen is strong and independent despite her blindness and interfering family. They make a great couple and you can't help but cheer them on as you follow their story.

This is the third in the series but it can be read as a stand alone. After reading this one though I definitely want to read books one and two.

Available in paperback and ebook 

Book Depository   Amazon Kindle

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Monday 7 December 2015

Jason's Ladder by John Cruickshank (2015)

Fly back to 1957 when Jason Roberts was beginning his career as a young San Francisco lawyer. This fast paced story explores the destruction of myths and collision with reality that are the central focus of this novel, a polyglot of actual events molded into the fantasy of the writer's imagination. The elegant restaurants of the day, the beatnik clubs on upper Grant, the lives of the people of the city come alive as the plot unfolds. 

Lorraine MacPherson, illegally in the United States from Canada is facing imminent arrest by the immigration service. Wendy, the wife of Lorraine’s boss, suggests she marry to avoid deportation. Lorraine and Jason meet the fellow Wendy has chosen to marry her in a second story gay bar discretely hidden from public view. Jason is overwhelmed by the encounter and eventually understands that he has fallen in love with Lorraine himself and they marry. They rent a quietly classic apartment on Nob Hill, its windows overlooking a Regency mansion next door, the only one left in the area privately owned and still occupied by one family. Lorraine becomes obsessed with the neighbours, secretly monitoring their movements, wanting to meet them but lacking either opportunity or social connections to achieve it. Two men live there and one woman other than the servants. The development of the relationship between Jason, Lorraine and the next door neighbors, Jackson, his brother, Jeremy Stoddard and Jackson's wife Viola form the essence of this novel. 

Strolling through the pages we meet a coterie of unique characters, Susan St. John, her name pronounced CINJUN a prominent socialite, believed to have bedded even presidents. There is Whitney Hill, the fey yet charmingly elegant, wealthy gentlemen considered an essential guest at any party regardless of his affected manner of speech. 

Jason becomes more focused after marrying Lorraine. His professional success is propelled forward when the Stoddards suggest he help them in the take over a new bank being formed by Nate Silverstein. Nate is crass and overbearing, yet highly successful in the banking business. The developments of the bank, the inter-relationships between the various personalities, the intrigue, struggles for control and approach to business are treated in depth leading to a surprising and unexpected twist as the story concludes.

It's true what they say. Don't judge a book by its cover but at the same time it doesn't do any harm to have a cover that stands out and this one is a bit uninspiring. The blurb is also too long and if I could, I would delete some of it e.g. the first paragraph and rephrase much of the rest. 

Once you start the story though, you'll be glad you did.

The tale centres around an ambitious young couple who have moved into an affluent area. Jason is starting out as a lawyer and through good luck and knowing the right people he is asked to help take over a new bank and be involved in its day to day operations.

Jason is married to Lorriane. I didn't really warm to her as a character as she is spoilt, shallow and overly concerned with prestige and money. However, it came across that she genuinely loved Jason and the pair worked well as a couple. I liked how Jason held his ground and didn't allow Lorraine to dictate to him.

The story is very focused on the characters and their relationships to each other. I liked the Stoddards and I wanted their venture to succeed. I also enjoyed seeing the dodgy characters get their comeuppance as their irregular banking practices were uncovered towards the end of the novel.

I also got a good sense of the time period in which the story is taking place. The characters' actions and prejudices reflect the era very well. For the time period, Jason and Lorraine appear to be very open minded and accepting.
As the blurb states, there is a little twist at the end but it isn't entirely unexpected. I liked how that revelation was left until the very end and it ended the story on a nice note.

I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Available from Amazon
It is also free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription.