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A Two Horse Town by Kathleen Kaska

A Two Horse Town opens with a visceral scene. It’s a moonlit night in Big Sky Country. An acrophobic woman scales a boulder ever aware that one wrong step, one slip of a sweaty palm, could lead to a painful-at-best fall. A straight-outa-the-chute beginning to an excellent mystery.

 

Kate Caraway hadn’t anticipated how much she would miss Kenya, a place where she immediately felt a sense of home, and a research position that fulfilled her. But her husband had a prime job opportunity, so they moved to Chicago. Disliking her work at the University of Illinois, she eagerly agrees to help her student, Nate Springfield. She takes a leave of absence to go to Montana to save wild mustangs endangered by a purposed dam which would leave them without a water supply. Soon after her arrival, Kate discovers a dead body, that of her student’s grandfather. When Nate becomes the prime suspect, Kate struggles to not only save the horses, but also to clear his name.

 

In Montana, Kate stays with Nate’s great-grandmother, Ida, a gun-toting nonagenarian. She is against the building of the dam, but her reckless outspokenness may work against their cause. Kate also senses that Ida is not as forthright as she seems.

 

Time is against Kate, and the enemies aren’t afraid to use deadly force. I won’t spoil the ending, but will say it is full of heart-racing excitement and fascinating revelations.

 

When I read the vivid descriptions of the settings—so bright, compelling and very much a key part of the story—Nevada Barr’s series is brought to mind.  Kate Caraway has much in common with Barr’s main character, Anna Pigeon. Both feel strongly about protecting the environment and both have the willingness to take on an active role.

 

Like a mustang, the story gallops across the pages and I flew like a rider, gripping the horse’s mane in exhilaration. I encourage you to take that ride too. You won’t regret it.

 

Second Chance for Love, Ginni Conquest

Second Chance For Love

 

Second Chance for Love is s feel good, sexy romance perfect for a relaxing day. I loved the theme of the young widowed wife, Becca, grieving for her dear departed husband. Denny is her guardian angel, who sets her back on the path to living her dreams and finding love again. I especially enjoyed the warm characters and their compassion for helping Becca fulfill her dreams of opening her own bakery. There is even s little mystery woven into this cozy read. The steamy scenes lend heat to this sweet story about two souls destined to be together with the guidance and blessings of Becca’s guardian angel. Sweet and steamy sums it up. A great read.

Unholy Sundering, by Deanna Browne

 

Unholy Sundering: Book 2 in the Dark Rising Trilogy by [Browne, DeAnna]

 

This compelling story, of a world taken over by powerful magic and the ruling wizards who wield it, is appealing to readers of every genre. The fantasy feels real and the characters are driven to find freedom. While Becca is working with her friends Caleb and Damion to free her sister from a demon, they are encountered by a community that is fighting for their own freedom in a secluded compound. I loved the champions in this imaginative story that had me addicted to my kindle every time I had a free minute. The author did an amazing job of story telling, character building and letting new readers know about the fantasy without tons of backstory. Now, I will have to go and read the first part this series. Really impressed with Browne’s imagination and ability to tell a great tale.

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The Girls Whispered Murder: An Izzy Walsh Mystery by [McPherson, Lynn]

Izzy has done it again in, The Girls Whispered Murder. This amateur sleuth’s heightened curiosity rivals that of the endearing Lucile Ball. Set in a time where women are meant to play the role of June Cleaver, Izzy manages to balance the life of a wife and mother, while still keeping the connections with her lifelong friends. With her sexy sidekick, Ava, and her other trustworthy, fun mannered friends, Izzy manages to find herself in hot water again, on an innocent girl’s night out. Harriot, a beautiful, young, alluring hostess with a very private countenance is all smiles with her much older husband when Izzy and the gang show up at The Mariner’s Whisper, a popular supper club in the sleepy, seaside town. Quick to entertain Izzy and her friend’s, because of the flattering article Jo wrote for the local paper, it seems butter wouldn’t melt in Harriot’s mouth. The engaging couple provides the perfect atmosphere for the locals to relax in elegance, but when tempers flare and things heat up in the kitchen, death ensues. When an infamous chef turns up dead, Izzy finds it impossible to stay away from the restaurant and the people surrounding the event. Izzy’s ADD tendencies to eavesdrop lead her to snooping around the remodeled restaurant, which has a mystery of its own. This book has many humorous moments of dialogue between Izzy and Ava and keeps a nice pace for dropping red herrings and clues for the reader. Don’t miss this cozy, page turning mystery with a smart list of characters and technicolor descriptions of the time period. A great choice for a relaxing vacation or a splurge for a rainy day.

Dead Shrinks Don’t Talk by Sandra Gardner

Marabella Vinegar is late for her therapist appointment—thanks to her mother. Normally, this pain in the tookus would be par for the course. After all, most of Marabella’s sessions are spent addressing her relationship with said relative except, Mama Vinegar died.  A week ago.

After tucking her not-so-dead mother in for a nap on the couch, apparently ghost travel is taxing, Marabella rushes to Dr. Ditstein’s office anxious for answers. None are forthcoming because she finds her supportive shrink murdered. Any guess who is the prime suspect?

Marabella’s ambivalent relationship with her mother is captured perfectly by the author. Mom drives her nuts. But she loves her. But she drives her NUTS. The balance is perfect. I “get” both characters and am sympathetic.

I’m a big mystery series fan, but one of my complaints is that, in some cases, the main character doesn’t grow. I can’t say this for Marabella in Dead Shrinks Don’t Talk.  Happily, Marabella is adaptive and determine. She is a flawed character that you can’t help but root for because, aren’t we all flawed? And, fyi, she solves the mystery. Let’s hear it for Team Marabella! A wonderful read and I can’t wait for more from this author.

The Pawn, by Skye Warren

The Pawn

 

Warren has cornered the market on steamy, well written romance. I hate to use the E word, because this books powerful plot is so much more. I love romance with a hint of intrigue and this story’s play on mythology, strategy and powerful passion has it all. Warren knows her craft and uses just the right words to portray an innocent young virgin trapped by a powerful alpha male that has ruined her family. Learning the real history of her father’s sins and the secrets she didn’t want to know about her wealth, Avery’s brave, young spirit tackles the bowels of the underworld and places herself on the auction block to save what’s left of her worldly goods. Vulnerable and a little broken, she hasn’t lost her spirit. She is prepared to make it through the experience of selling her virginity to the highest bidder unscathed. Descriptions of heated anger mixed with molten desire are chemistry for explosive sexual encounters that will have the reader biting their own lower lip. Gabriel Miller is handsome, sexy and dangerous. Warren warns us, through the thoughts and calculations of her young heroine, that Gabriel’s desire is born from revenge. The writer fills the reader with heat, anger, fear, and tribulation with her character’s twist of fate. Don’t miss this suspenseful titillating addiction to the game of love and revenge.

Blood Fest: Cursing Fate

 

Blood Fest - Cursing Fate

 

I live a busy lifestyle and love books, so I was very happy to find this heartwarming story on Audible. I wasn’t sure what to expect when reading a book titled. Blood Fest: Cursing Fate. I realized, after downloading, that it wasn’t the first book in the series, but it read as a standalone, so I had no problem keeping up with the story or its characters. Pepper O’Neal does a wonderful job of developing heroes and heroines, as well as giving the backstory needed for the supporting cast. I found myself drawn in immediately to the fast paced adventure that proved to be a wonderful romance.
Sold by her uncle, at the early age of twelve, to a pride leader who uses her body to earn income for his own coiffures, Tabby is now thirty and has found a way out. She has a strong constitution and a warm heart. Taking three other weres with her, she uses her tech skills to relieve the Lithuanian pride of the money acquired from their abuse. She leaves a body count behind, which sends the corrupt new pride leader after them. Running to safety is anything but safe, as she makes her way across the channel to England for her cousin’s help.
Drake is a pride leader with a lot of responsibility, and protecting his pride is number one. When he hears about four weres on the run from a pride he isn’t fond of, he’s on high alert. Drake immediately senses something is terribly wrong when he’s led to the four runaways hiding out in a stable. It becomes his purpose to protect these abused weres and keep them safe. He knows Tabby has a secret, but can he keep her safe from herself. Handsome strong and a gentleman at every turn, Drake is the perfect hero.
I love that this story champions those who suffer abuse in a way that lends victims strength and purpose. Though some of the details are heartbreaking, it warms the reader to know that all is not lost. It pushes the message home, that we are not defined by what happens to us, but in the way we live our lives from today on. I think its an important message for abuse victims and everyone. Fantastic read! Characters so real, that I almost forgot I was reading a fantasy.

Uthuru (The Traveler Chronicles Book 1) by Paul Biagi III

Uthuru is a science fiction novel about Mitchell Surrey, a man accused of a murder he didn’t commit. He travels to space for the proof needed to exonerate him and, not only does he find it, he also discovers answers to the over one-hundred-year-old mystery of the alien attack that came to be known as the Traveler War.

I enjoyed this first person POV tale. The world building was detailed and believable, the main character, resourceful and easy to relate to, and the reason for the aliens’ hostilities, unique. Being a fan of the Alien movies, I loved the horror elements in the story.

Despite the new sci-fi technological terms, I had no trouble following the plot, though the author has thoughtfully included a glossary. Never a dull moment, this was a quick read. In some ways, I am reminded of the movie, The Martian, because Mitchell must be self-reliant and spends a goodly part of the book on his own. I strongly recommend this novel and, since this is book 1, can’t wait to see what else this author has in store for Mitchell.

The Burning, by JP Seewald

The Burning

I found, The Burning, a complex story that kept me thinking about it long after I put the book down. I had heard of similar instances of fires burning underneath the ground when I lived in Alaska. Before then I had never heard of such a thing. The story is fiction but based on true life events. It follows the life of George, a seemingly ordinary man with a wife and children. He has spent his life, building up his mechanic shop, so that he wouldn’t have to work in the coal mines like his father, and he wouldn’t have to answer to anyone. Now, a natural disaster is threatening to take it all away. The prospects of starting over are almost too much to bear. His wealthy brother Larry is by his side the whole way, but there are deeper emotions to explore between these siblings, as things begin to melt down in the heat of a coal fire that’s burning out of control. Can George hold it together while everything he loves hangs in the balance? Find out by reading about this very real catastrophe in, The Burning. A compelling story about family and the importance of making the right choices in stressful life situations. J.P. Seewald is a gifted story teller in matters of life, heart and family.