Steel Resolve – BJ Daniels

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I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

Mary Cardwell Savage is a young single woman living in Big Sky, Montana. Beautiful, but aloof, Mary continues to love the man who left her – her best friend and high school sweetheart Chase Steele. After receiving a package in the mail for him, Mary breaks down and pens her feelings into a letter, never intending for it to be mailed.

Chase Steele has come to terms with things. After receiving Mary’s letter, he too realizes that she’s the one he’s never stopped loving, and that it’s time to go home to Montana – and to Mary. However, someone else has read his letter…as he makes plans to set out for home, Fiona Barkley will stop at nothing to thwart his plans and gain his affection as her own….

Fiona has set her sights on Chase as a husband, and she’ll stop at nothing to get him. Believing she’ll soon transfer her affections to another man, Chase vastly underestimates Fiona. But when Fiona’s vehicle has been found in a river, the result of a one car crash, Fiona is presumed dead.

Lucy Carson, newcomer to Big Sky Montana, seems to have incredible luck. Shortly after her arrival, a barista, and tenant in Mary’s apartment, is killed by a hit and run driver, freeing up a job and an apartment for Lucy. A sweet girl, Mary soon becomes fond of her. Then Chase returns to Montana to claim his love – and things start to happen…

This was the perfect mid length story that Harlequin is famous for. A quick but captivating read, even if you know how the end will turn out. I’ve read a few of B.J. Daniels’ stories, and I’ve enjoyed every one of them! I hope to see her in some full-length novels soon – she certainly has what it takes!! Great read!!

Little Girls Sleeping – Jennifer Chase

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Katie Scott is fresh off the plane from deployment in Afghanistan and undecided as to what she’ll do now. On a leave of absence from Sacramento PD, she is unsure if she wants to return to police work, especially after the atrocities she saw as part of the K9 explosives team. As a result, her Uncle Wayne, Sheriff of Pine Valley, offers her a temporary job clerking in the department, which she readily accepts. He also surprises her with her K9 partner, Cisco, who, for me, is the complete star of this book.

While dropping off some documents to his office on day, she notices a case file he left out – that of a child who’s been missing for a few months. She immediately is drawn to the file – as a child she had a friend that suddenly disappeared, never to be found. She peruses, then copies the file to study. On her off time, she starts searching remote areas for signs of a dumping site, and inadvertently finds two small depressions in the ground, that resemble graves.

When the site is excavated, and the children’s bodies are recovered, the search for the killer commences in full swing. The lead Detective on the case is now openly hostile to Katie, who has unexpectedly been promoted to Detective by her uncle and several others share his contempt. While assisting the task force, Katie quietly investigates on her own, and in doing so, she unknowingly angers a killer. Then, another child goes missing…

I loved this book!! I’m always looking for a new series, and this series is most promising! Katie and her partner Cisco, are very likeable, and there are a lot of potential characters and storylines left open for further development as the series continues. Full of suspense and hard for me to put down! I highly recommend! If you enjoy the Creed series by Alex Kava, you’ll love Katie & Cisco!

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

The Night Before – Wendy Walker

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Laura Heart is back in her Connecticut hometown after a sudden nasty break up via a text message with a man she really thought loved her. Staying with her sister and her husband, Laura has taken to online dating sites in hopes of finding love . Formerly Laura Lochner, she has changed her name because of a significant event in her teenaged years, that she wishes to leave behind her. She heads out Thursday evening to meet a man she met online and does not return home. Calls to her cellphone go to voicemail.

Frantic with worry, her sister Rosie, husband Joe & childhood friend Gabe all begin a search for her. Very quickly they find the vehicle Laura was driving – but no sign of Laura. They create a fake account on the dating site Laura used, and quickly identify her scheduled date, a man named Jonathan Fields. They are also able to connect with some of his former ‘dates’ who have less than desirable stories to tell – and with still no sign of Laura, they involve the police.

Now as the clock ticks, the search is on for Laura…

Told from the viewpoints of Laura & Rosie, along with excerpts from Laura’s psychiatric visits several months ago, the reader is drawn into an exploration of the close relationships they all had as childhood friends, as well as Laura’s attempts to ‘be loved’, as the reader learns that not all men are nice, and not all relationships are healthy…

A suspenseful, riveting, hard-to-put-down read that will have you asking yourself just how well you really know someone…

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

The Last Thing She Remembers – J.S. Monroe

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I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

It’s an idyllic evening in a small English village when a young woman knocks upon the door of a home she believes is hers. A gentleman answers, his wife in the background, as she announces that she’s been away on a business trip, and that this is her house, before she faints. The couple, Tony & Laura, assist her indoors, and offer her some tea. And that’s when she explains that she has lost her handbag, and that she cannot remember her name. All she had to lead her ‘home’ was a bus ticket in her pocket. As the couple consoles her, she stuns them by describing the home in significant detail. Tony tells her she looks like a ‘Jemma’ and offers her their spare bedroom for a few days until things can sort themselves out.

A quick visit with a local physician determines that she likely has amnesia, triggered by some catastrophic event she is unable to recall. A local reporter, Luke, seemingly recognizes her, or thinks he does, but he can’t remember how or from where. As Jemma herself continually searches her memory for clues, she reflects frequently on a friend, Fleur, who is deceased, but is unable to picture her face.

That is the start of a story that takes off like a runaway train and will keep you spellbound with all of its twists and turns and the speed at which they happen. A search of old home records and memories have the townspeople convinced that she may be Jemma Huish, a known murderer. And Luke is diving deep, trying to learn her identity…. But all is not as it seems, and what seems like a book that jumps from place to place and from random character to character, is actually a very well crafted, and horrifying suspenseful read, all coming together seamlessly at the end….and you’ll never look at a seahorse again quite the same…

This was a bit of a depart from my typical genre, but it caught me up in the first few pages, and Jemma’s struggles to remember the events of the past, and the steps she took to do so, had me racing to the thrilling, yet macabre finish. A great read! I look forward to more from J.S, Monroe!!

Wildcard – Michael Brandman

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I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

It’s Monday, and Buddy Steel is trying to catch up on his reports when he receives a call from his dispatcher requesting his presence at a scene. Upon his arrival, he finds that a young woman has been shot while sitting in her car. No apparent motive can be ascertained.

Meanwhile, the California Coastal Commission is enlisting Buddy’s assistance with another matter. It seems that a reclusive Russian with reported film interests in Hollywood, also has an interest in privacy, to the detriment of public access points to the beach, which he has boarded up and guarded, despite a law to the contrary. The Russian, Boris Petrov, supposedly a pal of Putin, has a reputation for getting his way…but he’s never met the likes of Buddy…

Then a second woman is found murdered, shot to death like the first one, and shortly after that, a third. With a serial killer taking aim at Freedom, Buddy finds himself trying to head up both investigations…and enlists the aid of young attorney named Jordyn, a former lover, to take on Boris Petrov, as he looks for a remorseless killer – a killer who is much too close to home…

Filled with suspense, action, witty characters and more than a few surprises, Buddy’s latest adventure will keep you on the edge of your seat, and then longing for more…

I honestly cannot wait for the next Buddy Steel installment!!

Tangled Threat – Heather Graham

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I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

Brock McGovern and Maura Antrim were teenaged lovers as they worked together at a famed resort, the Frampton Ranch & Resort, in central Florida 12 years ago. Then one night, the body of a colleague was found hanging from the infamous ‘History Tree’, resulting in the misguided arrest of Brock, and Maura, whisked away from her parents, never heard from him again…till now.

Flash forward to the present day…Brock, long since exonerated, is now and up and coming FBI agent, who is being sent to Florida to investigate a rash of recent murders, all with ties somehow to the Frampton Ranch. Maura, now a video producer, is at the resort with a client who is filming highlight specials on the area history, the History Tree, and the ranch itself. Others who were present on that day long ago have also remained close by, resulting in a reunion of sorts as Brock arrives in town.

In predictable fashion, Brock and Maura eventually talk about the events of years ago, and resume their relationship, as Brock hunts for a killer. The protagonist is fairly easy to guess, and like most mid-sized Harlequin novels, the ending is a predictable & happy one!!

The book gives a lot of history into the St. Augustine and central Florida areas as part of the backstory, in and around the investigation of the murders, which, as a newer Florida resident, I found fascinating! In fact, I am eagerly planning a trip now to The Devil’s Millhopper, a park I had not known of before this book. I could not find a reference to the History Tree, although I did find another – the Senator Tree – which may have been loosely modified for this story – going to head there too!

All in all, quick, good beach read, especially if you happen to be vacationing in northeastern Florida!

Ice Cold Heart – PJ Tracy

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I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

The Monkeewrench crew is back, as Leo & Gino face another challenging case…

It’s been a cold, brutal winter in Minnesota, so cold that even the criminal activity has been at a minimum. Leo Magozzi & Gino Rolseth and sitting in the homicide office discussing the weather when they are notified that a psychic has come to see them – to report a murder that hasn’t happened yet. At the same time, Gino’s wife, and Monkeewrench member Grace is hard at work in her own case. Hired to find and fix security system flaws after a Bitcoin heist, the Monkeewrench crew are hard at work finding ways to stop a cyber thief in his tracks – and Roadrunner has a chance encounter with a neighbor, an ICE agent, and ends up saving her life, not knowing that they will discover a mutual goal.

Meanwhile, a young woman with an interest in bondage has secured a willing teacher via the internet and is happily anticipating their meeting. With a dose of Ecstasy on board, she opens the door to a mysterious stranger, who handcuffs her to her bed – and then the script goes horribly wrong…

Leo & Gino catch the homicide and as the begin the research Kelly Ramage’s recent activities, they learn of up and coming artist Rado – a conceptual artist who sculpts some very disturbing images involving women in various states of BSDM. He currently has a gallery show in town, but the artist himself remains very reclusive and impossible to reach. And then another girl goes missing…

As Leo & Gino work their case, and the Monkeewrench team work theirs, they soon find some interesting connections, and Roadrunner’s desire to assist his newfound friend reveals even further commonalities, leading to one big case, that if solved, will have global implications…

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Monkeewrench novel, but it was like picking back up with old friends. Familiar characters, snappy dialogue, and a fast paced multi-faceted mystery made this book very hard to put down! I loved seeing Roadrunner’s character blossom with a love interest as well, and I can’t wait to see if Petra appears in later installments. A great read!! I highly recommend!!