Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Review & Giveaway: Forever a Hero by Linda Lael Miller

Title: Forever a Hero
Author: Linda Lael Miller
Series: The Carsons of Mustang Creek, #3
Published: March 2017, Harlequin Books
Format: ARC E-book, 384 pages
Source: Netgalley via Little Bird Publicity

For the youngest Carson brother, finding—and fixing—trouble seems to be all in a day's work 
Mace Carson is no hero. Back in college, he came upon a woman in trouble and intervened—but he was just one irate Wyoming cowboy with his boots planted firmly on the side of right. Now a successful vintner, Mace is shocked to be reunited with the woman he saved. But it turns out she's in Wyoming on business…a corporate executive representing the company that wants to buy his winery. Only, he's not selling.

Kelly Wright has never forgotten that horrible night ten years ago when Mace came to her rescue, has never forgotten him. The surprising success of a winery in the middle of ranch country has brought her to Mustang Creek, and she's secretly thrilled to discover Mace at the helm. Reluctant to mix business with pleasure, Kelly vows to keep things professional, until her attacker is released from prison and comes for vengeance…against both of them.

My thoughts: This is the 3rd book in Linda Lael Miller's The Carsons of Mustang Creek series and I enjoyed it so much! They are just good, fun, light-hearted reads with the sweetest romances and some really hot cowboys - what's not to love? And they are the perfect palate cleansers after the heavy psychological thrillers that I've been reading lately - not that I'm complaining, but it's nice to pick up a lighter read every once in a while.

So this book is about the third Carson son, Mace, the youngest one. If you've read the two previous books, you've already met him. Right in the first chapter, he meets up with Kelly - yes, meets up with her because they already have a past. Ten years ago, Mace rescued Kelly from a brutal attack and now he's rescuing her again from a car mishap. It seems as if it's fate that has put them in each other's path again - though in truth, she is on her way to meet him for business purposes.

I love these two together. They have such great chemistry, even though Kelly isn't quite as eager to move forward romantically as quickly as Mace initially. You know they are going to end up together - it's the journey of how they get there that is what makes up the book. They end up dealing with the stalker, of course! And have to deal with both his rowdy family and hers - oh how I love both these families, both people and pets, after all it wouldn't be a Linda Lael Miller book without some animals!

I really enjoyed this series and went into it thinking it was the final book, but was pleased to see that there is going to be another book - a Christmas story! Though there isn't too much information about the book out now, I believe I have a feeling I know who it might be about and I couldn't be happier - this character deserves their own story!!! Plus I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to these characters - the Carson family has definitely grown on me and I want more of them :)  

Books in this series:  
  1. Once a Rancher
  2. Always a Cowboy 
  3. Forever a Hero
  4. A Snow Country Christmas - due out October 2017!


Giveaway Details -- (US Only)
Thanks to Little Bird Publicity one reader will win a copy of Forever a Hero by Linda Lael Miller. To enter the giveaway, please fill out the rafflecopter by April 5th.

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This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends April 5th.

Good Luck!!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review: Deer Lake Series - Books 1 & 2: Night Sins/Guilty as Sin by Tami Hoag (audio)

Title: Deer Lake Series - Books 1 & 2: Night Sins/Guilty as Sin
Author: Tami Hoag
Series: Deer Lake Series, Books 1& 2
Narrator: Jennifer Van Dyke
Published: July 2016, Brilliance Audio
Length: 39 hours (Book 1 - 19 hours 45 minutes; Book 2 - 18 hours 32 minutes)
Source: Publisher
NIGHT SINS: A young boy disappears. There are no witnesses, no clues - only a note, cleverly taunting, casually cruel. Has a cold-blooded kidnapper struck? Or is this a reawakening of a long-quiet serial killer?

A tough-minded investigator on her first make-or-break case… A local cop who fears that big city evils have come to stalk his small town home… Together they are hunting for a madman who knows no bounds, to protect a town that may never feel safe again.

GUILTY AS SIN: A respected member of the community stands accused of a chilling act of evil. But when a second boy disappears, a frightened public demands to know: Have the police caught the wrong man? Is the nightmare continuing…or just beginning?

Prosecutor Ellen North believes she''s building a case against a guilty man—and that he has an accomplice in the shadows. As she prepares for the trial of her career, Ellen suddenly finds herself swept into a cruel contest of twisted wits, a dark game of life and death…with an evil mind as guilty as sin.

My thoughts: I became a big Tami Hoag fan, after starting her Kovac and Liska series and so when I saw this audio book available to review, I decided to give it a go - it's an older series, orginally written in 1995 and 1996, but boy oh boy did it keep me engaged and on my toes! And despite the length, I was so invested in the story - both stories, actually, and loved the way they were tied together!

Since this review is for two books, I am going to structure it a little differently. I'm going to try to keep it as concise as I can so that this doesn't become too long, plus I don't want to give away any spoilers. 

Night Sins:
The characters in this book are so well-developed and the mystery surrounding the kidnapping of Josh Kirkwood is haunting. Someone is playing a wicked game of cat and mouse with the people of Deer Lake. I loved how each section started out with the time and the temperature and wind chill - you really felt the cold and the desperation that these people were feeling. The notes that the kidnapper(s) left throughout just added to an already ominous feeling of dread. There were plenty of suspects that we are led to believe might be the "guilty" party, but the twists and turns we are taken on throw us off more often than not. The romance that brews between Megan O'Malley and the Chief offers a nice balance to all the heaviness of the case.

Guilt as Sin:
***Caveat - This book really does need to be read after reading Night Sins - a lot of what happens is based on that story! That being said, I'm going to be a bit vague, so as to not give away anything that happened in Night Sins.

Again, the characters in this book are well-developed. We have the prosecutor, Ellie North, building a case against the person responsible for kidnapping Josh Kirkwood, who is now in jail. But the question remains...did this person work alone or have an accomplice? The twists and turns that this book takes kept me guessing the entire time. I never saw the ending coming - it was brilliant! And let's just talk about the creep factor that Tami Hoag manages to deftly work into her books - she is able to create such creepy characters when she needs to - OMG...I get chills just thinking about them! Such despicable, twisted characters that have no qualms about doing whatever they want to whomever they want just to make a point. 

So, bottom line - I really enjoyed both books - but, be warned, they are long! I listened to them, back-to-back, but I happened to have a long car ride, so I had time. They don't need to be read/listened to back-to-back, but they do need to be read in order!

Audio thoughts: I am a big fan of Jennifer Van Dyke's work as a narrator, so when I saw that she was narrating these books, I was excited! She did a great job with these two stories. She gave each character their own unique voice and was consistent in each book - there were a few characters that appear in both books. Her pacing is spot on and she infuses just the right amount of tension in her voice as needed. As I mentioned, these are long audiobooks, but her narration kept it from dragging on. Well-done! 

Books in this series:
  1. Night Sins
  2. Guilty as Sin 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Review: The Lost Children by Helen Phifer (audio)

Title: The Lost Children
Author: Helen Phifer
Series: Detective Lucy Harwin, #1
Narrator: Alison Campbell
Published: March 2017, Bookouture
Length: 9 hours 46 minutes / 320 pages
Source: Personal copy via Audible/ Netgalley via Bookouture
Lizzy pulled the covers over her head. Then she realised what was being dragged behind the person with the torch. She rammed her fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming…

For decades, The Moore Asylum was home to the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay. But ever since a scandal forced its closure, the abandoned building has cast an imposing shadow. Until now – when an elderly man is found dead, his body strapped to an ancient gurney...

Detective Lucy Harwin, still reeling from a previous case that ended in the devastating murder of a mother and her child, finds herself on the trail of a killer ruthlessly fixated on avenging the asylum’s wrongs.

What disturbing secrets lie within the asylum’s walls? Together with her partner Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy begins to unearth its terrible history, and the horrors endured by the vulnerable children.

As the attacks escalate and a woman is murdered on her own doorstep, Lucy is forced into a terrifying game of cat and mouse with a twisted individual. But can Lucy stop a murderer with nothing left to lose?

An absolutely terrifying and gripping thriller that will chill readers of MJ Arlidge, Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott to the bone.

My thoughts: This is the first book in Helen Phifer's new police procedural series and I absolutely loved it! It's dark, twisty and has a kick-ass lead female character that has tattoos, wears converse sneakers and dyes her hair bright, crazy colors - what's not to love? 

Detective Inspector Lucy Harwin is one tough, complicated gal. She's just back on the force after a previous case put her on leave and she has a ton of baggage that at times weighs her down. But I find her fascinating! I think she is going to be a great character study as this series progresses. And her side-kick, Mattie - he's harboring some feelings for her, but won't fess up and I definitely feel this will at some point be explored - at least I hope so! They make a good team, professionally, have each other's backs and when danger comes around, really worry about each other.

The case they are working on is a tough one to swallow. This book is dark and deals with some heavy, disturbing topics. The action is fast-paced and the characters are all intriguing - you want to know more about them all, especially the villian! While I had figured out who was behind things fairly early on, it in no way detracted from my enjoyment of this book - I wanted to know how they were going to get caught and what their ultimate motivations and goals were. 

This book kept me engaged and on the edge of my seat the entire time. I loved the way every once in a while we got flashbacks to the past - just nuggets of what really happened at the asylum. Even just thinking about it now gives me the chills! I can't wait to see how this series progresses and where our characters go next!    

Audio thoughts: I love listening to series on audio - especially when I find a good narrator. Alison Campbell is a new-to-me narrator, which can be a good thing as she doesn't already have any set voices in my head, if that makes sense? I thought she did a great job with this audio production. She gave all the characters distinct, unique voices, and kept the pacing just right, infusing just the right amount of tension and suspense in her voice as necessary. I do hope she continues to keep narrating this series for as long as it continues!

Books in this series:
  1. The Lost Children


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