NO ONE BUT YOU by Brenda Novak

September 7, 2017

Click to purchase

Silver Springs, Book 2

I haven’t read Novak for a while and I’m not sure why, I really like her books. Strictly speaking, this is a romance with its happily ever after, but it’s really more romantic suspense, with a heavy emphasis on suspense –  a real page turner. This is truly a case of “don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Sadie Harris is trying to finalize her divorce from Sly, but he wants her back and will stop at nothing to get her back. But the only reason he is after her is because she doesn’t want him, and his pride can’t handle that. They have a five-year-old son who is not the rough and tumble boy Sly would prefer, so he pretty much ignores him or insults him. Luckily, he doesn’t want to spend much time with the boy.

Sadie is struggling to make it on her own. She’s waitressing part-time and renting a tiny one bedroom guest house from a friend. She needs a full-time job to truly be able to provide for her son and she finds one as a housekeeper/caregiver for Dalton Reed. Dalton is the town pariah, acquitted of murdering his adoptive parents but the small town of Silver Springs still believes he did it. He spent a year in jail before his acquittal, and his house was vandalized and his mentally challenged sister put into government care. He wants to bring her home but has to get the house livable and the farm it sits on fully functioning before the state will allow that.

Sadie is scared of Dalton, but needs the job. She quickly realizes that this quiet, very good looking young man is a kind and good person. But Sly – a cop – is infuriated that she is working for a murderer, and starts creating trouble for both of them. When her small cottage is set on fire, Sadie suspects Sly but can’t prove it. Instead of moving back home with Sly, Dalton invites her to stay with him, adding more trouble to the Harris divorce.

Sly is apparently on steroids, which is not helping his situation, and while the brothers in blue stick up for him, his captain is slowly realizing that something is really off. Meanwhile, Sadie and Dalton are falling in love, and he loves her little boy, too. But Sly is a major hindrance to this romance until almost the very last page.

I really enjoyed this read, and the next Silver Springs book is already out: Until You Loved Me. The first book in the series was a Harlequin Special Edition paperback, Finding Our Forever, which is available as an e-book and already on my Kindle.

9/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

NO ONE BUT YOU by Brenda Novak. MIRA (May 30, 2017).  ISBN 978-0778330615. 384p.

Kindle

Audible


MONTANA HEAT: ESCAPE TO YOU by Jennifer Ryan

August 29, 2017

Click to purchase

Montana Heat, Book 2

Ashley Swan is an Oscar winning actress who goes missing, except the police refuse to get involved. They think she’s just hiding out between movies. But a year is a long time to hide, and it turns out she’s actually been kidnapped, by another celebrity, a retired and much beloved talk show host.

Ashley’s been beaten and starved for close to a year, and kept locked up in a windowless vault. Until the night the door doesn’t latch and she escapes, grabbing Adam, the little boy who is kept in a room down the hall. His mother used to work there, but has disappeared, and Adam has also been abused and Ashley won’t leave without him.

Unfortunately, she escapes in a heavy gown she was forced wear that is way too small on her, and high heels, into a Montana blizzard. She ends up having to carry Adam and really freaks out when she realizes she is being chased. But she sees a light in the distance and aims for that until she trips and falls, knocking herself out.

Trigger lives on a nearby ranch, and finds Ashley in the snow, not sure if she’s even alive. But he takes her and Adam home with him and takes care of them both through the storm. Ashley survives but he is horrified at what’s been done to the movie star and the child. Trigger is a DEA agent, recuperating from wounds earned in a bad drug bust. He is in a bad way, but helping Ashley helps him as well.

The madman is still after her but Trigger is determined to bring him to justice. This is an exciting thriller that ultimately turns into a hot romance, and an excellent read.

8/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MONTANA HEAT: ESCAPE TO YOU by Jennifer Ryan. Avon (August 29, 2017).  ISBN 978-0062645258. 384p.

Kindle


SEEING RED by Sandra Brown

August 24, 2017

Click to purchase

I haven’t read a lot of Sandra Brown but I totally understand why she has such a wide audience. Seeing Red is a real page turner, with action on almost every page. Brown’s skill is evident, she keeps the pace going until it is almost but not quite exhausting – the touch of romance is an occasional break from all the goings on. I met Sandra several years ago at Thrillerfest

I met Sandra several years ago at Thrillerfest, the annual  International Thriller Writers conference. She is a charming, beautiful woman, and this is not at all the sort of book you’d think she writes if you’d met her! I must say, I really love that dichotomy. You may be able to judge a book by its cover, at times, but you can hardly ever judge an author by their appearance.

So, Kerra Bailey is a television reporter in Dallas who is gunning for the biggest story of her career. She wants an interview with the Major, a hero who saved a handful of people from a Dallas hotel that was bombed many years earlier. The Major has been in seclusion for years, but Kerra tracks down his son, Trapper, and convinces him to take her to meet his father.

Trapper is immediately drawn to the beautiful Kerra, but he knows his father isn’t going to talk to her, he barely talks to him. But to his surprise, the Major is a Kerra fan and once Kerra explains who she is, she gets her interview.

Unfortunately, the men who blew up the hotel are immediately alarmed at that the two of them are talking. An unsuccessful murder attempt on both Kerra and the Major leads to nonstop action and lots of twists, leading to the shocking ending.

This was a really fast, really fun read and a terrific thriller. Don’t miss it.

8/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

SEEING RED by Sandra Brown. Grand Central Publishing (August 15, 2017).  ISBN 978-1455572106. 432p.

Kindle


COME SUNDOWN by Nora Roberts

June 11, 2017

Click to purchase

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who was who in this book about four generations of women living and working together on a ranch/resort in Montana. I finally got it but not until most of the way through the book but that’s on me. And really, it wasn’t all that important in the scheme of things.

Bodine runs the resort side of the family business and she’s really good at it. As a child she had a crush on her older brother’s best friend, Cal, but he left to do horse work in Hollywood before she grew up. Now he’s back and the chemistry between them is definitely there. He’s been hired on the ranch side of the business but when some employees retire, she hires him for the resort and things start heating up.

The day after Bodine’s mother got married, her sister Alice ran away from home. She never came back and Bodine and her brother never knew her. The story moves back and forth occasionally between Alice’s life and the rest of the family and the difference is stark, to say the least.

Bodine and Cal are out riding one morning when they find a woman’s body on the side of the road. It is one of the resort’s bartenders and she’s been murdered. Then a short time later another body turns up, and the small town sheriff has his hands full with the murders as well as his deputy who has some bad blood with Cal from when they were kids.

You can see the ending coming from a mile away and frankly, I wasn’t even looking so that was a bit of a disappointment. I’ve only read one other Nora Roberts book (I know, I know, she’s written well over 150 books!) and I loved that one (The Obsession) but this was one was just okay.

6/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

COME SUNDOWN by Nora Roberts. St. Martin’s Press (May 30, 2017).  ISBN 978-1250123077. 480p.

Kindle


TROUBLEMAKER by Linda Howard

January 14, 2017
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

I read a Linda Howard book many years ago and didn’t love it, and haven’t picked up another one until now. I’ve never been a fan of romantic suspense but apparently I’m turning into one. First Nora Roberts, and now Linda Howard – this was a really good read.

Morgan Yancy works for a secret government agency and travels the world. Then he gets shot in his own backyard, and almost dies. His boss, Axel, decides he needs a safe place to recover so he sends him to his stepsister’s home in the tiny hamlet of Hamrickville, West Virginia. Isabeau “Bo” Maran is the police chief and lives alone in a house well off the beaten path with her beloved golden retriever, Tricks. Bo wants nothing to do with her idiot stepbrother Axel but when he offers her enough money to get out of debt, she agrees to help out.

Morgan is intrigued with the fiercely independent Bo and her insanely smart dog. Eventually they both drop their defenses and work to help one another. As Morgan heals, he is more and more determined to catch whoever shot him and sets himself up as bait to do so.

I loved watching their relationship develop, especially Morgan and Tricks. There is enough action to keep things moving and enough romance to make it all interesting. I will definitely be reading more Linda Howard.

1/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

TROUBLEMAKER by Linda Howard. Avon; Reprint edition (December 27, 2016). ISBN 978-0062418999. 496p.


DISCOVERING YOU by Brenda Novak

September 9, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Whiskey Creek, Book 10

The publisher, Mira, sent me this book a while back and it’s been in my mass market  to-be-read pile for a few months, but I’m happy to say I’ve worked my way down and have only one or two more books to go in that pile….at least until the Fedex man shows up later today. This was my first Brenda Novak book.

Novak writes romantic suspense, which is not my favorite genre and I don’t understand why exactly. I love suspense, I love romance, but I don’t always love them mixed together. That said, this was a quick read and I did enjoy it.

This may be the tenth book in this series, but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. I can guess at a few of the romances that came before, and the one that’s coming next, but it definitely works as a first read in the series, at least for me. I know there are readers who only read series in order but while there are some series that definitely require that, most romances don’t. And apparently romantic suspense, at least the ones that I’ve read.

India recently moved to Whiskey Creek, right next door to the Amos family. Middle son Rod takes notice; well, actually all the men do, India is beautiful. But she’s moved to start her life over after her husband was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, right in front of her. Her in-laws are keeping her young daughter for a month to allow her time to get settled, and all them time to spend with their granddaughter but the relationship between India and her in-laws is strained at best.

India meets Rod when she picks him up from the side of the road. Someone has ran him down on his motorcycle, and Rod went after the guy, beating him unconscious. They find themselves confiding in one another rather quickly, and the relationship blooms, which makes India somewhat uncomfortable.

Her ex was released from jail after his trial ended in a hung jury, and he is still obsessed with India. And that is at the heart of the suspense here.

If you haven’t tried Novak, this seems like a good place as any to start. Her reviews are generally quite good and I can certainly understand why. If you like romantic suspense, I highly recommend this book.

9/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

DISCOVERING YOU by Brenda Novak. MIRA (May 24, 2016).  ISBN 978-0778318804.  400p.

Kindle


WILDE LAKE by Laura Lippman

May 9, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

 

Laura Lippman, why do you make us wait so long for new books? I know you have a toddler, and I know I’m being totally selfish, but I read this new one in one night and could just cry thinking about how long it will be before you give us another. If I thought I could get away with it, I’d go back and reread your entire series, but there are just too many new books to read.

Anyway, Wilde Lake is another stunning novel from one of my favorite authors. Lippman has left Tess Monaghan for another book (I hope?) and this standalone is set in a small town called, Wilde Lake. A town much like the one Lippman lived in through her own high school years.

Lu Brant has just beaten out her incumbent boss for the state attorney’s job in Howard County, Maryland. She is settling in when a murder case falls into her lap. There are very few murders in this suburb, but Brant is determined to win this one. A homeless man is accused of beating a woman to death in her own home, and while they cannot find a motive, his diminished mental capacity may be cause enough, while not being severe enough to plea out on insanity.

The book is written in alternate chapters of the present day case and Lu’s coming of age in the 1980’s. She lost her mother a week after her birth, and was raised by her state attorney father and much older brother, AJ. This is a very close family so when secrets start to come out, we realize even the closest of families may have skeletons in the closet. Lu’s view of events as she was growing up take a decided turn as an adult with a much different perspective.

Somewhat reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, (and I don’t say that lightly,) this is a deeply compelling story with themes of family, secrets, murder, mental illness, truth and justice. And one of the best books I’ve read this year.

5/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

WILDE LAKE by Laura Lippman. William Morrow (May 3, 2016).  ISBN 978-0062083456.  368p.

Kindle

Audible

Book on CD


THAT DARKNESS by Lisa Black

April 27, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

This is the first book of a new series featuring Cleveland forensic investigator Maggie Gardiner and homicide detective Jack Renner, but this is not your typical detective story.

Gardiner is a complete forensic nerd with no real personal life outside of her job. She has become obsessed with the victims of several murders, all of whom were shot point blank in the back of the head, yet are seemingly unrelated. By using tapings – pieces of tape pressed against victim’s clothing that pick up threads, dust and fibers – she has literally picked up enough clues to find the place where all the murders took place.

And just in case you think that sounds far fetched, Black has worked as a forensic scientist at the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office, where she analyzed gunshot residue on hands and clothing, hairs, fibers, paint, glass, DNA, blood and many other forms of trace evidence, as well as crime scenes. Now she is a latent print examiner and CSI for the Cape Coral Police Department in Florida, working mostly with fingerprints and crime scenes. In other words, she knows her stuff.

Renner is a vigilante cop turned serial killer, but he only kills people who need killing, somewhat reminiscent of the Dexter books by Jeff Lindsay. But Renner is no sadist; he kills quickly and cleanly in his quest for the justice often denied by the legal system.

While Gardiner is not a cop, she works hand in hand with the police as she narrows in on the killer. The surprising ending is sure to keep readers coming back for more.

Copyright ©2016 Booklist, a division of the American Library Association.

4/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THAT DARKNESS by Lisa Black. Kensington (April 26, 2016).  ISBN 978-1496701886.  336p.

Kindle


POISONOUS by Allison Brennan

April 20, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Max Revere Novels (Book 3)

Max Revere is an investigative reporter who specializes in cold cases. She is tenacious, speaks her mind without a filter, is a trust fund kid, and always seeks the truth. I could be friends with her.

Max has a lot of baggage from her childhood with a mother who abandoned her and no father, but luckily she was raised by her wealthy grandparents. Her relationships are difficult at best. Her boyfriend Nick, and her best friend/bodyguard David are both in similar situations with child custody issues, and Max just doesn’t get it.

When Max receives a letter from Tommy, a young man who is a bit slow, she wants to help. He tells her that his sister was killed and no one was arrested, and his stepmother thinks he did it and has banished him from the family. Max can relate and decides to take the case.

The local cops haven’t been able to ascertain whether or not Ivy was killed, committed suicide or just fell off the cliff where her body was found. Ivy was a cyber bully who had tormented a classmate into suicide, so not a very sympathetic victim even though she was a teen. Yet somehow Max does empathize, and with her resources, is determined to ferret out the truth.

This is a good look at the whole teen online social networking nightmare that every parent has to deal with nowadays, only this time with devastating results. A really good story, well developed characters and enough twists to keep me up half the night makes this another excellent entry into this terrific series.

04/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

POISONOUS by Allison Brennan. Minotaur Books (April 12, 2016).  ISBN 978-1250066848.  368p.

Kindle


THE OBSESSION by Nora Roberts

April 15, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

I am happy to be along for the ride on Nora Roberts’ blog tour for The Obsession. It is my first Nora Roberts book!

I met Nora at least sixteen years ago when I was a bookseller at Borders – in those days, she was still doing book tours. She was incredibly nice and friendly to everyone. I recommended her books regularly, she was (and is) enormously popular.

My favorite Nora Roberts story happened when she started writing under the J.D. Robb name. We had an employee at Borders, a young man who flat out refused to read anything written by a woman. I knew that Robb was Roberts, but he didn’t. He read Naked in Death and loved it. Did my heart good. <smirk>

So the other night I started reading The Obsession, and within the first hundred pages I knew why Nora Roberts has so many diehard fans. I became obsessed with it – stayed up well into the night to finish it. The book has everything I like all rolled up into one terrific story; a serial killer, a coming of age story, a great dog, a terrific romance and even an old house renovation and antiquing.

Naomi Bowes is twelve years old when the book opens. That child accidentally stumbles on her father’s secret and saves the life of a young woman. That finding unleashes a nightmare for the family – her father goes to jail and her life is never the same. Her uncles raise Naomi and her brother, and they change their name to Carson. Naomi becomes a professional photographer, always travelling and never settling down. Her brother becomes an FBI profiler. Then Naomi finds this big old house on the other side of the country and moves in.

Shortly after moving in she finds a stray dog who just wiggles his way into her heart. Then she meets a mechanic who also worms his way into her heart. Her contractor and his wife become good friends and life is good. Until a young girl goes missing and turns up dead a few days later. Murdered in the same way Naomi’s father’s victims were. And then there’s another missing girl. But it soon becomes apparent that Naomi is his intended target.

This was a real page turner and I loved it.

4/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE OBSESSION by Nora Roberts. Berkley (April 12, 2016).  ISBN 978-0399175169.  464p.

Kindle