Circle-A Killings – Sean Heary

Welcome back everyone, the last few reviews I’ve done on Monday’s have been fantasy or sci-fi. Now it’s time to go back to Sean Heary and his suspense books!

Some sequels pick up exactly where the previous book left of. Generally speaking, the one’s I’ve read tend to have a bit of a gap. Sean’s created a little bit of a gap, but not much in the grand scheme of things. Yet emotionally, we’re way past where we left The Concordat.

The thing that intrigued me the most about this story was the motivation behind them. In The Concordat, it felt very religious. Looking back, I realise it’s more political than religious so I’m not sure how I missed that. Or maybe I forgot?

Either way, this suspense is stemmed from someone’s wealth. The richer you are, the more likely you are to die. O! And that’s the other thing! This is about a serial killer not a single object!

I think at the end of every chapter I had a suspect in mind. At several points I was partially correct in my theory for the who, why and how. Yet I never nailed it. Sean’s writing sucks you in, gives you all the clues you need (in hindsight I can see this) and yet doesn’t give you quite enough to figure it out.

The information you have to make your theories is exactly what Lorenzo and Cathy have. In several spots I had a brainwave SECONDS before I read one of the characters having the same brainwave. It keeps you involved without ever being obvious which is amazing!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll continue The Boys of Jackson Harbour series with Wrapped in love by Lexi Ryan.

Author Bio

Sean Heary is a former business executive who lived for many years a stone’s throw from the Kremlin. No wonder he writes political thrillers. He also spent several years in Tashkent, Uzbekistan where he met his wife. Born and raised in Australia, Sean now makes Germany his home.

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The Summoned Ones – Darryl A. Woods

Welcome back everyone, I’m continuing the fantasy/sci-fi feel this week with a young adult fantasy novel by debut author Darryl A. Woods.

My first thought once I got far enough in to form an opinion of the book was that it was a great story, engaging and interesting. For a debut author this is impressive and needed! How else do they get fans to come back for more?

After I got involved in the story and the fantasy element kicked in, I started to notice a few flaws in the writing. Not enough to say the writing was bad, or the story suffered enough to dislike it. Just little things I’ve picked up on over time being a writer for online learning and an avid reader.

The first was the way the story was written, the technical writing element. I found myself needing to read a sentence multiple times to understand what it was meant to say because it wasn’t succinct. I’m not saying I’m any better, but it’s something that takes practice, distance and often an editor or second set of eyes to pick up and fine tune.

The second was the distribution of the story, how long we focused on a group of characters. This might be a personal feeling, but it felt like each chapter spent on a group of characters should have been shorter, with more changes between the groups. That way you don’t get so involved in one group you forget about the rest and what’s happened to them.

With shorter chapters and more frequent changes between the groups, I think I would’ve spent less time trying to remember what had happened and more time being actively involved in the story. By actively involved I mean me wondering what was happening with the others and wanting to read more.

By the end I still wanted more. I still want to know what happens. I just think improvements in those areas could have made it even more engaging for me.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Dirty, Reckless Love by Lexi Ryan. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Darryl Woods has a passion for telling stories, an appetite for reading fantasy, and a love of old movies. He remembers things in scenes, picturing the background, the clothing of the characters, small details like, wrist bands, jewelry, dogs crossing the street, but most of all the emotions and actions of the each participant in the scene. He would spend time, usually as he waited for sleep, thinking through those scenes, fleshing out details the book didn’t add, or recreating the scenes with differing outcomes. So, as the story of The Flight to Bericea developed the scenes that make up the story easily flowed from his vivid imagination.

Darryl’s favorite authors include Raymond Feist, Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, Brian Jacques, David Eddings, Christopher Paolini, Terry Goodkind, and Piers Anthony. With this collection of epic fantasy authors, Darryl’s chosen genre had to include epic adventures, swordplay and magic.

Darryl’s childhood in rural Ohio, three miles from a small town, gave him plenty material for stories. Tales of his father’s many contraptions, fabricated from old parts, angle iron, and square tubing. These were lawnmowers powered by car engines, minibikes, and various types of cobbled together go-carts, including one with a bicycle front end, a car’s steering wheel and seat, and the backend of a cousin’s wrecked go-cart. His stories also included rural life; gardening, playing in the creek, helping neighbors with livestock, numerous family pets, and farm animals, or playing high school football.

As an adult Darryl graduated college with a degree in Systems Analysis, while at school he met his wife who he married shortly after graduation. Inspired by his father who never once used a repairman, and who built his own house, Darryl developed a passion for remodeling houses. He and his wife have remodeled four houses to date, after each one swearing to never start another.  While working as a computer consultant designing database, Darryl spent his evenings, weekends, and days off helping his father-in-law with his family business cutting timber, sawing lumber in his mill, and making pallets. All these activities gave Darryl an endless supply of stories. Telling and re-telling these stories over the years honed Darryl’s skills as a storyteller.

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Cold Temptation – Zoe Ashwood

Welcome back everyone, I have a bonus review for you, courtesy of Zoe Ashwood!

I’ve been looking forward to reading this since Zoe announced this world was turning into a series. And I want to lead with the fact that I’m already looking forward to the final instalment. Not that I’m sure when that’s coming out… Hopefully later this yr!

I loved the way the Mika and Kol were fighting their attraction yet fighting to be together as well. Like Cold Attraction, we come in after the initial romantic feelings begin, and get the story after that. In this case we begin at the funeral of the previous King of Rendu.

Unlike the previous book, the drama doesn’t come from external forces and the human need to know more. This time it comes purely from Mika and her desire to know more about the animals of Rendu while also proving to be incredibly unlucky.

I mean, who else falls down a glacier, goes walking in a blizzard and gets sick?

Those trails and tribulations put a lot of pressure on them and their relationship. Following both of them as they learn about the other customs, world, dangers, weaknesses, strengths and their place in each other’s lives was so enjoyable.

I know whenever I read one of Zoe’s book’s I’m in for a quick, fun, action packed romance that’s a little different to her previous books. It feels like with every book she writes she does something a little bit different.

The only thing I was really surprised about was the epilogue. The first book had the epilogue months after from Adriana’s point of view. Having this one be from Hanna’s point of view was quite a surprise. Yet it’s what’s driving my excitement about the final book. So I kinda get why Zoe decided to change her pace for the epilogue this time.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing Clover Cottage by Christie Barlow.

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Of Night and Dark Obscurity – Nicola Italia

Welcome back everyone, we went from a regency romance to an erotica and today it’s a Victorian romance with a murder mystery!

It was quite some time ago when Nicola contacted me asking if I’d like to review this book. At the time it was still a work in progress, and she wasn’t sure when it was going to be released. Other than a really brief idea on what the novel was going to be about I didn’t know anything about it when I agreed to read it.

I mean. I’ve read and reviewed two of her other books, The Sheik’s Son and Sea of Revenge and loved both of them. Surely I’d like this book that I hadn’t been told much about. Right?

It took me ages to get to reading this book but I got there! I don’t know what book I was thinking of when I started reading it, but the cover made me think it was something other than it was. But that’s totally on me coz it was ages between getting it and reading the blurb and reading it!

Unlike most romances that I read this one primarily followed Valentine, our male protagonist. While alternating to Caroline for a short stint once a chapter (roughly) to add context and her voice to the story. Given that this book focused around a murder investigation this makes a lot of sense.

Having Caroline drive the story from the victim’s perspective while Valentine drove it from the investigation perspective felt well done. While Caroline’s character was consistently concerned for others, charitable and interested in Valentine, I had a couple of moments of confusion with Valentine’s behaviour. He was always so considerate of Caroline and her safety, yet s couple of times felt aggressively possessive and jealous. It didn’t feel like it fit with his personality.

A few times sporadically throughout the book Nicola included snippets of what was happening with the criminals responsible. I loved this. Not only were no names or details included in these, as Valentine came across a new bit of evidence we were kept in the dark until the last possible moment. I loved this because it allowed me to try and guess who the culprit was right until the very end.

Even when they are caught, we aren’t told who they are. Until literally the last chapter. It made for a bit of a nail biter that I enjoyed every second of.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Wednesday I’ll be reviewing New Beginnings at Glendale Hall by Victoria Hall.

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Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley – Kelly Miller

Welcome back everyone, I’m continuing this week with another regency novel. This one is less of a romance than the Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquis and more of a reflection on what’s important in life.

At the beginning of the book Kelly gives a brief introduction to the language she’s chosen to use for the book, great idea! By setting me up with the expectation that the language is going to be different to what I’m used to hearing every day I wasn’t shocked and the transition to comfortably reading it wasn’t too long.

Based on my limited knowledge of the original Pride and Prejudice, which this is meant to be a continuation of, I’m assuming the choice of language was deliberate to ensure it remained as true to the original story as possible.

Given the blurb I was expecting Darcy to have a kind of three ghosts of Christmas experience. Yet Kelly surprised me by having the angel of death be surprisingly human and compassionate. By bringing more characters than just Darcy and Elizabeth into the fold Kelly was able to weave a story that reminded me of so many life lessons. The type that most people can only learn through experience.

By incorporating a raft of characters into this story Kelly was able to include more life lessons and considerations than would’ve been possible with just Darcy and Elizabeth. It felt so well done without being over the top that it really worked.

The key themes I felt expressed throughout were those of love, acceptance, forgiveness, thinking before acting and their impacts on others when either displayed, or not displayed. The little twist at the end was such a sweet touch that left me feeling really happy with how everything was left.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing The Cake Fairies by Isabella May. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Historical fiction author Kelly Miller discovered writing late in life, but it has quickly become a favorite pastime. When not pondering a plot point or a turn of phrase, she may be found playing the piano, singing, reading, or walking. Kelly Miller resides in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter, and their many pets.

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Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquess – Jenni Fletcher

Welcome back everyone, I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year break. I know I’ve released a few posts, but this is my first review in TWO WEEKS!

You might have seen that I read this as part of the Reindeer Readathon, that’s because I like to try and read books at least 4 weeks in advance of the review date so I don’t have to stress. Because we all have too much stress in our lives to begin with.

I read this entirely at home (except for the day I finished it, I will admit I took it to work with me that day) because it was a physical ARC (thank you Jenni Fletcher for shipping this to me!) and I hate bringing books to work with me because I inevitably damage them. Yet when I got to the last portion of the book (and I’d just finished another book on my Kindle) I knew I had to bring it in with me.

Whenever I was away from this book, I was thinking about what was happening between Amelia and Cassius. How were they reacting to each other, what were they going to do next, what could happen now since they’re married, and I’ve got a good portion of the book to go? Etc etc etc.

Given it was set at Christmas time I was obviously going to love that aspect of the book. Yet there were some very modern issues of depression and self-worth that were openly discussed and explored. Not only did the characters discuss these issues (maybe not in those terms, but they did) they also coloured all their actions and interactions.

It was fascinating to me seeing such a “modern” thing as mental health be addressed headfirst in a setting where I wasn’t expecting it. Because of this I got the sense that Jenni was trying to say that mental health has always been an issue. Just maybe not talked about in the same was that we talk about it now.

I read this as a standalone, and it can be read as a standalone, but I’ve just (as I’m writing this review) discovered that it’s part of a trilogy that’s been written by 3 different authors! I know I keep coming back to Jenni’s work, but I might consider getting the others to see how their stories play out!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I’m reviewing Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley by Kelly Miller.

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A Deal With Her Rebel Viking – Michelle Styles

Welcome back everyone, I’m back into the historical romances (thank you Michelle Styles for asking me to review this for you!) and this one I do need to say is the last one for the year.

You could probably tell by my rating, but I really loved this one!

Although I don’t know how accurate the interactions were between characters for the time it’s set in, I still loved the banter between Ansithe and Moir. It had me chuckling quite a few times, especially when the other characters got involved.

With both Ansithe’s sisters, some of Moir’s felag and the extras, that joined the story a little later on, worked and schemed to get them together it seemed pretty obvious that everything would work out. Yet, without the trust that Moir worked hard to earn the end would never have happened as it did.

In terms of character development, we had Ansithe gain some self-confidence, both her sisters seemed to grow emotionally, Moir learnt how to plan for and enjoy the future and Bajtr grew in maturity from an adolescent into a man. Ansithe and Moir were the central focus of the book, yet Michelle still had time to let us experience the development of other characters while still adding value to the story.

Throughout the book there was a good balance of drama, romance, strategy, espionage and action that it felt like there was almost always something to pay attention to. By changing up what that focus was, Michelle was able to give me a break, so I didn’t get bored without losing my attention.

When I got to the last chapter (or was it second last chapter?) I hated having to put the book down to have to go to work. While also practically jumping up and down in nervous excitement to see how Ansithe’s and Moir’s relationship had developed over the course of the book. To say I loved the Moir’s final actions is an understatement.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing my last book for the year, Against All Odds by Craig Challen and Dr Richard Harris.

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Give Me a Christmas – Zoe Ann Wood

Welcome back everyone, after Monday’s sad story that didn’t end as I was expecting I’ve gone back to a sweet romance.

I wasn’t expecting was for Iris to be so normal. By that I mean, she has a regular teaching job, she gets by but isn’t making millions and she’s working towards her career dreams. This type of character just didn’t add up to me when the blurb said she had a billionaire ex-boyfriend.

Normally in romances if billionaires are involved, they are dating each other, or the whole point of the story is that they unexpectedly get to know someone regular and end up together. You don’t normally find stories where there’s already history with the ex!

The fact that Finn seems to have grown up since they were together feels like a good thing. Iris is constantly surprised by it and struggles to accept that he’s being genuine. Which is totally understandable.

Zoe does an amazing job of drip feeding us bits and pieces of their past which kept me hooked. I wanted to know what happened between them, why did they break up, how long were they together for, is the dispute with the parents really as bad as it’s made out to be, how will Finn react when he finds out etc etc etc.

I was left hanging to the end to get all my questions answered. Although Zoe kept you on the line by answering one or two questions at a time, while raising more. I wasn’t left feeling like it was a rush to answer all the questions at the end, but I was still kept hooked.

I’d say this is one of her better sweet romances, and I think that comes down to her maturity as a writer developing now that she’s got a few books published in this genre. I feel like (and I’m not a writer so I don’t know for sure) it’s easier to create the right kind of drama in a paranormal romance compared to a sweet romance. So I can understand why it took Zoe a few books to find that groove and settle into it.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing A Deal with her Rebel King by Michelle Styles. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

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The Perils of Autumn – Rusty Blackwood

Welcome back everyone, after a few false starts I finally got here with this review!

I honestly thought going into this that the story would have more emphasis on Duff Taylor and his past. I swear I re-read the blurb when I wasn’t far into the book and it had more emphasis on Duff than when I read it on the back cover of my jacket after finishing. Yet the entire story revolved around Autumn and her relationship with Cyril.

As a romance story, it’s quite good. Autumn goes through quite a journey, has ups and downs, moments when it feels like Cyril and Autumn wouldn’t make it. Which is the typical arc of a romance story so that’s all good. Yet there was nothing about this book that really drew me in and kept me in.

If you’re looking for a book on the side, or maybe you don’t have a lot of time to read some having something you can read a little bit of as and when you have the time, this book is perfect for you.

In terms of the writing, I think the way the dialogue is written is one of the ways I couldn’t fall into the story. My dad was about the same age as Autumn in the same years and yet he doesn’t sound anything like Autumn or any of the other characters.

The dialogue felt really stilted, formal and more like it belonged in the 50s or earlier. Speaking to my dad he doesn’t remember the feel of how people speaking feeling formal back then. But he did admit he doesn’t really remember (granted that was almost 50 years ago) so he’s not 100% sure. Yet, when I think on how a lot of the movies, I’ve seen set in the 60s, 70s and 80s speak, they are all a lot more relaxed than this was written so I’m really not sure.

All I know is that I enjoyed it, I just didn’t love it or feel like I just had to keep reading at any point in time. Even when I knew I had less than 12 pages left.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Christmas Kisses on Hollywell Hill by Jackie Ladbury. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Top ranking romantic fiction author Rusty Blackwood, who chose her plume de nom by combining the colour of her russet hair with her husband’s great, great, Scottish grandmother’s maiden name, was born in St.Thomas, Ontario, Canada on October 5th, and grew up on her paternal grandfather’s farm in the County of Elgin, located in the south-western portion of the province of Ontario.

She acquired her love of literature while still in elementary school where she entered her original compositions into county fairs, school contests, and whatever venue allowed participants in the writing field. She has carried that love ever since and has put it to use many times since becoming a professional writer in 2001.

From the time of youth she has loved the Arts in their many unique forms, she is a graduate with honors in Interior Decorating & Design. She spent many years on the south-western Ontario stage performing with her family’s country music band: The Midnight Ramblers, followed by the country – rock – blues band: ‘MIRAGE’ as an accomplished vocalist, bassist, and rhythm guitarist. She now resides in the cultural city of St. Catharines, Ontario.

Check out Rusty’s socials on BookBub and the ones below:

Giveaway – Win an autographed and inscribed hardcover copy of The Perils of Autumn (US and Canada only)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rusty Blackwood will be awarding an inscribed and autographed hardcover copy of “The Perils of Autumn” to be given to a randomly drawn winner (US/Canada only) via rafflecopter during the tour.

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