Scandalous (Sinners of Saint #3) by L.J. Shen

Book Description:

Published: September 21, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

They call him The Mute for a reason.
Hard, cold and calculated, he rarely speaks.
When he does, it’s with disdain.
When he does, his words aren’t meant for me.
When he does, my stomach flips and my world tilts on its axis.
He is thirty-three.
I am eighteen.
He’s a single dad and my father’s business partner.
I’m just a kid to him and his enemy’s daughter.
He’s emotionally unavailable.
And I am…feeling. Feeling things I shouldn’t feel for him.
Trent Rexroth is going to break my heart. The writing isn’t just on the wall, it’s inked on my soul.
And yet, I can’t stay away.
A scandal is the last thing my family needs. But a scandal is what we’re going to give them.
And oh, what beautiful chaos it will be.

Review –

“Scandalous is a guilty pleasure that once you start you can’t stop. You are pulled into a story that is complex, riveting, and so thought-provoking. This isn’t just a story between two individuals falling in love; it is about two individuals battling their own problems who come together in unfavorable circumstances and this chaos bred a beautiful relationship that broke all stereotypes and boundaries.

Trent Rexroth’s silent protectiveness, loyalty, and dedication towards his family and friends and business are admirable. But what isn’t known to many people is the disarray his family life has been and you can see he is trying his best to fix it and make it good for his daughter, Luna.

Edie Van Der Zee is the opposite of Trent. The daughter of Trent’s in-office rival, she is the forbidden fruit. Spontaneous, careless yet loving and loyal to the people that matter to her Edie turns Trent’s life upside down.

Secrets, lies, deceits, and manipulations are what Edie’s life is made of and when she unintentionally bumps into Trent, and what begins is a series of events that will leave you wanting more and more and more of this unconventional relationship.

You know how the saying goes by GBatiste: “Love doesn’t discriminate, only people do.”
This book is exactly it! It breaks all stereotypes and barriers; you don’t get cookie cutter individuals with just a fatal flaw, you get two individuals who are messed up because life made them so and they are trying to wade through those tides.

The age or the race do not matter because as someone once said “Love has no eyes, Love has no age, Love has no culture nor religion, Love has no disability, Love has no gender or race. It only takes two crazy individuals to make it happen.” newchicksblog.com

 

 

Dirty English(English #1) by Lisa Madden-Mills

Book Description:

Published: October 10, 2015

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

A scarred fighter.
A girl with rules.
One night of unbridled passion.

There are three things you need to know about Elizabeth Bennett: she’s smart as a whip, always in control, and lives by a set of carefully crafted rules. She’s learned the hard way that people you love the most always hurt you in the end.

But then she meets Declan Blay, the new neighbor at her apartment complex.

A tattooed British street fighter, he’s the campus bad boy she’s supposed to avoid, but when he saves her from a frat party gone bad, all her rules about sex and love fly out the window.

She gives him one night of unbridled passion, but he longs for more.

With only a cardboard-thin wall separating their bedrooms, he dreams of possessing the vulnerable girl next door forever.

One night. Two damaged hearts. The passion of a lifetime.

*A modern love story inspired by Pride and Prejudice*

Review –

This story is in dual POV, so we have dual narrators for this book and I really loved both of them especially since the male narrator has the sexiest British accent, he is delicious to listen to.

Our story begins with our heroine when she was in high school and thought that she was in love. She grew up poor, in a trailer park, and had nothing except a good brain and a pretty face. But then the most popular boy in school wanted her and she thought that she was in love. And then on the night of prom, he got her drunk and drugged her and she woke up with faded memories of the man she thought she loved having abused and raped her. But he is a senator’s son and knew she didn’t want to face the ridicule of what everyone would think if they knew the truth. But it didn’t matter because that small town viewed her as the town’s slut even though she had been a virgin on that night.

So now she is in college and working on her degree and trying to forget what happened two years previous and having one night stands proves that he didn’t ruin her for sex and also that it helps keep the bad memories at bay so she can function until one night when she goes to a frat party…her first college part with her two best friends and meets up with two twin British brothers…brothers that are very different even if they look alike. But she is drawn to Declan, who is packed with muscle and has tattoos and has an intense gaze that she is compelled by. But she has some serious issues because Declan isn’t a guy that does one night stands and puts his whole heart into a relationship. But she has demons that she needs to face before she can have a relationship with Declan.  

There is some drama between these two, but more out of the heroine’s lack of trust and honesty with Declan more than anything else. Declan is such a solid hero and I have hardly any complaints about him except that he could have had a bit more patience with Elizabeth because of her past and the trauma she had to deal with and that it would cause her serious commitment issues. But I also understood why Declan couldn’t keep be so understanding when Elizabeth kept pushing him away and never giving him a chance to prove to her that he isn’t like her ex. But everything does get resolved in the end quite nicely and I ended up with plenty of good feels that I would expect from a story with some drama like this in it.

Another element that I found somewhat delightful was the use of Pride and Prejudice in this book. Now I wouldn’t say that this story is a Pride and Prejudice retelling because it didn’t feel like that to me at all. However our heroine’s name is Elizabeth Bennett, both hero and heroine LOVE the book and take an English Lit class together which focuses on the story of Pride and Prejudice. So there is a few fun takes on this story that we see that I found to be a charming element to the story.

Sexy read!

 

Angry God (All Saints High #3) by L.J. Shen

Book Description:

Published: February 15, 2020

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars:5

From #1 Amazon Bestseller L.J. Shen comes a new, emotional standalone about first love, second chances, and overcoming breathtaking losses at a young age.

Vaughn Spencer.
They call him an angry god.
To me, he is nothing but a heartless prince.
His parents rule this town, its police, every citizen and boutique on Main Street.
All I own is a nice, juicy grudge against him for that time he almost killed me.
Between hooking up with a different girl every weekend, breaking hearts, noses and rules, Vaughn also finds the time to bully little ole’ me.
I fight back, tooth and nail, never expecting him to chase me across the ocean after we graduate high school.
But here he is, living with me in a dark, looming castle on the outskirts of London.

A fellow intern. A prodigal sculptor. A bloody genius.
They say this place is haunted, and it is.
Carlisle Castle hides two of our most awful secrets.
Vaughn thinks he can kill the ghosts of his past, but what he doesn’t know? It’s my heart he’s slaying.

Angry God is a stand-alone, DARK High School Romance. It deals with sensitive subjects some may find triggering.

Review-

I am a firm believer that this book needs to be gone into completely blind. Vaughn’s story is not an easy one he was always special, and this book proves why. I have never anticipated a story to the extent that I have this one and I was completely blown away by the flawless execution and delicacy with which the author handled his book. Interlacing his storyline with her uniquely LJ sense of humor that lightens up the darkest of situations and puts a smile on your face, brings this story to the next level for me. 

Leonora’s character was unlike any heroine that I’ve seen. She had this fire inside her that burned bright and fierce. Her flames and talent danced with Vaughn’s with such intricacy and emotion you could feel it burn from the pages and light your soul on fire. You think Vaughn is ice, but he is anything but, Vaughn is fire feeling everything and burning from the inside. These two couldn’t have been more perfect together and watching as they evolved into what they ultimately became was like watching two shooting stars collide and become one; singularly unique but together something more beautiful and charged with another level of intensity.

LJ Shen continues to grow and expand as an author, with every new story that she creates being better than the last. She has this unique way with words, drowning you in them as if they are poison soaking into your blood and becoming forever a part of you, ultimately seeping into what is your very essence. Every time I pick up one of her books, I’m immediately carried into that story utterly and completely. Nothing else matters but finishing that book and finding out what happens, that story becomes your nourishment until you are done. 

Like every single book in this series, Shen tackles major issues, topics, themes, and she did it with integrity and respect to the content. There are triggers in this book, for sure, but I am believer that literature (and romance is) should be a reflection of issues that we experience and plague the world, and sadly the issues in Angry God are rampant still today. Addressing these issues makes us more empathetic, more aware, more humane. Vaughn and Lenora’s story absolutely does that. The pain they suffer, the antagonism of a young romance as they stumble through their feelings, and the final HEA shows reader so many things – that light can bloom in the darkest of places, that love can shatter darkness and heal wounds, and that real family, blood or not, will love all your broken pieces and hold you together when you fall apart.

L.J. Shen started this journey with Vicious and it ends with his son, Vaughn, the 8th and final book (as of now) in the Todos Santos world. This series has brought us full circle. These characters and this world has taught me so much. I’ve grown, laughed, loved with this fictional people, and that is the power of a phenomenal romance.

Vaughn’s story tore me to shreds, each page was a slice to my very soul until I was left completely ruined by this book. Then slowly and with delicacy that only the author possesses she puts you back together mending you with parts of this story permanently imbedded. I could not have asked for a more perfect ending to my time here in Todos Santos, these character’s will forever be a part of me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I guess you can tell that I loved this book!!!!!

 

Close to Home by Lisa Jackson

Book Description:

Published: August 26, 2014

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson comes an atmospheric and riveting novel of suspense that uncovers the horrifying secrets buried within a ramshackle house. . .

Vowing to make a fresh start, Sarah McAdams has come home to renovate the old Victorian mansion where she grew up. Her daughters, Jade and Gracie, aren’t impressed by the rundown property on the shores of Oregon’s wild Columbia River. As soon as they pull up the isolated drive, Sarah too is beset by uneasy memories–of her cold, distant mother, of the half-sister who vanished without a trace, and of a long-ago night when Sarah was found on the widow’s walk, feverish and delirious.

Ever since the original mistress of the house plunged to her death almost a century ago, there have been rumors that the place is haunted. As a girl, Sarah sensed a presence there, and soon Gracie claims to see a lady in white running up the stairs. Still, Sarah has little time to dwell on ghost stories, between overseeing construction and dealing with the return of a man from her past.

But there’s a new, more urgent menace in the small town. One by one, teenage girls are disappearing. Frantic for her daughters’ safety, Sarah feels her veneer cracking and the house’s walls closing in on her again. Somewhere deep in her memory is the key to a very real and terrifying danger. And only by confronting her worst fears can she stop the nightmare roaring back to life once more. .

Review –

Sarah decides to move back to the family home at Peacock Manor and restore it. So Sarah packs up her daughter Jade and Gracie and moves into the debilitated home uprooting all their lives and creating great teenage anguish for her oldest child Jade. On their first night there Gracie the youngest sees a ghost and becomes fascinated in discovering the family history and helping this ghost to move on. By moving home many things from the past are brought to the front. Sarah’s first and true love Clint is there and that involves many issues that must be dealt with. Jade is convinced she is living in hell and her mother is the cause and the extended family is drama of its own. Then to top it off teenage girls start to go missing and Sarah’s half- brother is a main suspect in the case.

Close to Home is a fast moving mystery with a great background story. The author, one of my new favorites,  is a masterful writer and you think you know who did it but you are wrong and that’s what you get for being a know it all. There is so much involved in the lives of these people that you can’t stop reading. You are drawn into their lives and try so hard to figure out what the next move should be to help them get all the problems taken care of so they can just live their lives.

The characters are far from perfect people, they have all done things wrong and made mistakes but you truly like who they are and are fascinated by their stories. This book is full of suspense and truly chilling at times. The things people do and their sick ways fascinates in a macabre manner and Lisa Jackson has a way of writing it that keeps you wanting more.

Great read.

 

If I Only Knew (Second Time Around #4)by Corrine Michaels

Book Description:

Published: January 28, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

From New York Times bestseller, Corinne Michaels, comes a new heartwarming and sexy standalone romance novel.

My life was perfect – until a shocking tragedy pulled the rug out from underneath me.

My children were left without a father. I was without a husband and a provider. Instead of wallowing in my grief, I buried myself in my work at Dovetail Enterprises. Landing the promotion as the CEO’s right hand was exactly what I needed.

Getting saddled with Milo Huxley as an assistant is exactly the opposite.

I can’t stand him.

He’s arrogant, irresponsible, and out for my job. As if that’s not bad enough, he has to be devastatingly sexy, and have a posh English accent that makes me squirm on top of it all. I’ve had enough unpredictability for one lifetime, thank you.

But soon enough, we’re fighting less and laughing more. He’s there for me when no one else is. And those good looks aren’t the only panty-dropping thing about him.

If I only knew what to do about it . . .

Review –

For the record, the heroine is late thirties  and the hero is early forties.  I usually don’t comment much on age but the burb could be interpreted as them (or at least him) being a lot younger and I actually really loved that they were both so mature and level headed.

This book was absolutely everything a strong Romance should be — it was addictive and heart-poundingly intense at times and a tearjerker (at least for me) but sexy and romantic at others, it had a sprinkling of sass, complex and relatable characters, a lot of emotional healing and depth that tugged my heart-strings, and a believable love story that made me genuinely happy. It had everything in the perfect balance all rounded out with beautiful writing, not to mention that the pacing was on point so the editing was well done. 

Although this is the fourth in the series I haven’t read the others and most likely will not, at least not in the near future. I have a boat-load of others to read and listen before reading a new series.

 

 

Final Scream by Lisa Jackson

Book Description:

Published: August 1, 2005

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 5

It’s the sound every killer waits for . . .

WHEN THERE’S NO ESCAPE FROM A COLD-BLOODED KILLER . . .
As white-hot flames sear the dark night, a killer waits in the trees, watching the mill burn, listening for the screams–the only proof that justice has finally begun for the sins of long-ago.

SCREAM . . . SCREAM AS LOUD AS YOU CAN . . .
For journalist Cassidy Buchanan, this inferno is a living nightmare: a reminder of the horrible, mysterious fire that destroyed her wealthy family seventeen years ago–and of Brig McKenzie, the handsome hellraiser accused of setting the blaze. That tragic crime has never been solved, and already the whispers have begun in Prosperity, Oregon: Another fire, more deaths, and one common denominator–Cassidy herself.

OR IT MAY BE THE LAST SOUND YOU EVER MAKE . . .
Cassidy came home to Prosperity to put the past behind her, but it seems the past isn’t finished with Cassidy. Someone doesn’t want her to uncover the chilling truth…someone who has killed before and will kill again…a cold-blooded psychopath who is only waiting to hear her final scream . . .

Review –

This haunting story begins with an inferno that sears the night, snuffing out lives and dreams, and leaves a killer go unpunished for the next seventeen years until they once again feel threatened and slash out at the innocent victims of Prosperity, Oregon.

The tale revolves around journalist, Cassidy Buchanan, who at sixteen suffered the loss of her older half-sister, Angie Buchanan and her unborn child. With no leads as to who was responsible for the arson fire that took her life and that of Jed Baker, the case was closed but now, seventeen years later, the arsonist strikes again injuring both Cassidy’s husband, Chase McKenzie, and a John Doe. With Cassidy being the only link between the original fire and a new one that takes the life of another victim towns folk could have been responsible for the fires or if she had also been an intended victim that had been lucky enough to escape with her life. Meanwhile Cassidy’s teenage crush, Brig McKenzie, who had been a suspect in the arson returns vowing to keep the woman he never stopped loving safe while readers can’t wait to learn if the killer gets his/her wish, to hear Cassidy’s FINAL SCREAM before dying.

The author is a master of suspense and manages to create characters that are both full and rich while fully exploring all the emotions that an extremely dysfunctional family could experience. The only surprise I found was that much of the book spent time exploring past events while covering the current events in much less detail. This was particularly evident in Brig and Cassidy’s relationship since it never focused on an adult love relationship but rather tried to get the reader to assume that their young love was enough to bring the adult one into fruition. Fortunately, the mystery was great and the villain was presented in such a manner that they were neither too obvious nor too obscure making it a quite enjoyable read.

Fantastic read.

The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros

Book Description:

Published: February 26, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

Beckett,

If you’re reading this, well, you know the last-letter drill. You made it. I didn’t. Get off the guilt train, because I know if there was any chance you could have saved me, you would have.

I need one thing from you: get out of the army and get to Telluride.

My little sister Ella’s raising the twins alone. She’s too independent and won’t accept help easily, but she has lost our grandmother, our parents, and now me. It’s too much for anyone to endure. It’s not fair.

And here’s the kicker: there’s something else you don’t know that’s tearing her family apart. She’s going to need help.

So if I’m gone, that means I can’t be there for Ella. I can’t help them through this. But you can. So I’m begging you, as my best friend, go take care of my sister, my family.

Please don’t make her go through it alone.

Ryan

Review –

The Last Letter is the story of Ella MacKenzie and Beckett Gentry and the people they both call family. He is her brother’s best friend and brother in arms. When the war claims Ella’s brother, Ryan, Beckett finds himself doing everything he can to fulfill his best friend’s wishes. Ella needs someone to lean on as she keeps everyone and everything else going full steam ahead, and all Ryan asks is for Beckett to go be a solid force for her to find strength.

There is absolutely zero shortage of feelings associated with this book. I have been through all the stages of grief, along with about 1,000 stages of happiness, and also anticipation and worry and disbelief and pure, pure joy. This is the kind of book you start on a rainy Saturday morning and spend all day cuddled up with. Just make sure you keep a cozy blanket and the tissues handy. Lots and lots of tissues.

Ella is a great heroine. She’s a little stubborn, a lot independent, and a fierce and ferocious mama bear, desperate to keep her little ones safe from anything that could do them harm. That includes any man that shows up with intentions of wooing her. While Beckett’s initial motive is to fulfill Ryan’s last wish, Ella is too much of a force of nature for him to resist her pull. He enters her orbit and is lost to her gravity, even if she pushes him away with equal fervor.

Beckett is kind of the perfect man… with a flaw or two, of course. He is ready to uphold his end of the bargain and be there for Ella and the kids even after things don’t go his way. He betters their lives in infinite ways. I honestly kept reading his chapters and falling more and more in love with him. Ella never stood a chance. Hell, I’m impressed she resisted him for as long as she did.

Besides all of the tears and sadness, there’s so much hope and laughter, and while the sad parts do pack a punch, so does the happiness. I love that no matter what comes their way, neither Beckett nor Ella ever say quit. They both know what it’s like to lose, so their determination is all the more heartening and reassuring.

The only negative thing I’ll say is that the last tragedy could have been left out and the story would have been just as good or maybe better, but the author choose to shock us one more time, and it almost did me in. (more tissues, please)

 

Deep Freeze (Northwest #1) by Lisa Jackson

Book Description:

Published: October 29, 2013

Format: Audio/Audible

HER BIGGEST FAN…
When she wakes up, she’s very cold. Colder than she’s ever been in her life. She can’t move or speak. And then she sees him. The one who took her. And before she dies, she wishes she could scream…

IS ABOUT TO BECOME …
Former movie star Jenna Hughes left Hollywood for an isolated farm in Oregon to get away from fame. But someone has followed her – an obsessed fan whose letters are personal and deeply disturbing.
And while Jenna’s already shaken up by what she’s seen on paper, she’d be terrified if she knew what Sheriff Shane Carter is investigating. It’s a shocking case that started with the discovery of a dead woman in the woods. Now two more women are missing, one of whom bears a striking resemblance to Jenna…

HER WORST NIGHTMARE …
As a winter storm bears down on the pacific northwest, a merciless killer’s grisly work has only just begun. And Jenna is Getting Closer to meeting her biggest fan.. one who wants nothing more than to see her dead..

Review –

The story was well thought-out and the characters well-developed. I could not guess the killer until the author revealed him to me!

The beginning was slow, but eventually started to pick up. I actually appreciated the slow start, though, because it gave me a chance to get to know the characters, relationships, and setting. Plus, it made the escalation at the end all that more terrifying.

The killer’s point of view was fantastic because it was both believable and disturbing. I kept wondering, “how can a person actually think like this?”

Jackson executed third person point of view in a way where it almost felt like first person. I enjoyed reading different character’s thoughts and digging through their mind so that I could better understand the characters.

There is a sex scene, which I don’t think I’ve seen in a Lisa Jackson book. While it wasn’t necessary to the plot, it was nicely done and added to the tension between the two leads.

You can not go wrong with a book by Lisa Jackson, so if you’ve never read anything by her, please give one a try. You will not be disappointed !

 

The Disappearance of Emily Marr by Louise Candlish

Book Description:

Published: August 1, 2013

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A stunning story of secrets and scandal, identity and infidelity
 When Tabby Dewhurst arrives heartbroken and penniless on a picturesque, windswept island off the coast of France, her luck appears to change when she overhears a villager repeating aloud the access code to her front door. Hardly believing her own actions, Tabby waits for the woman to leave and then lets herself into the house. And so she enters the strange, hidden world of Emily Marr—or so her new friend introduces herself. Soon, however, Tabby forms suspicions about her new friend, suspicions that lead her back to England, and to revelations that will have explosive consequences for both of them.

Review –

Running from a broken relationship and low on cash, Tabby finds herself in a little village off the Coast of France. While wandering the streets wondering where she can sleep, she overhears an English woman repeating her access code to her apartment. As the woman appears to be heading off somewhere with a large bag, Tabby seizes the opportunity and lets herself in.

Meanwhile, the book splits into two stories, Tabby’s and the apartment owner’s, Emmie.
The two women become unexpected flatmates and unlikely friends. Emmie obviously has a story to tell but it is only through snooping and surfing the internet that Tabby can try to discover what is making her so reclusive and withdrawn.

The girl’s stories are set in both France and England and while there are some similarities in their lives, the reader starts to wonder if it’s a good thing that they met at all?

This is a wonderfully warm novel with a nice easy pace and enough bite to make you want to keep reading. The character of Emily Marr is well described and you genuinely feel like you may know her and why she chooses to disappear. The descriptions of her life before the disappearance are well thought out and give her some depth which I think is needed for the main storyline.

The character, Nina, is hateful. Angry, bitter and hell bent on revenge she doesn’t care who she mows down on the way. Her anger hops off the pages and becomes quite understandable as the story unfolds.

This is a great  read, full of surprises, wonderful writing and would be ideal for bookclub discussions. It also has Reading Group Questions at the end which is a nice bonus. The only fault I would have is the lack of description of the French island. I would have liked to get a bit more of the sense of the place, the smells, the sounds and the atmosphere. Other than that ,a great book with a surprising twist.

This mystery is sad yet intriguing, a definite page turner! This isn’t regular chick lit, it’s on a different level with the mystery angle.

Savaged by Mia Sheridan

Book Description:

Published: May 28, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

When wilderness guide, Harper Ward, is summoned to the small town sheriff’s office in Helena Springs, Montana, to provide assistance on a case, she is shocked to find that their only suspect in the double murder investigation is a man described as a savage.

But the longer she watches the man known only as Lucas, on the station surveillance camera, the more intrigued she becomes. He certainly looks primitive with his unkempt appearance and animal skin attire, but she also sees intelligence in his eyes, sensitivity in his expression. Who is he? And how is it possible that he’s lived alone in the forest since he was a small child?

As secrets begin to emerge, Harper is thrust into something bigger and more diabolical than she ever could have imagined. And standing right at the center of it all, is Lucas. But is he truly the wild man he appears to be? A cold blooded killer? An innocent victim? Or a perplexing mix of all three?

Harper must find out the answers to these questions because the more time she spends with him, the more she risks losing her heart.

Review –

Savaged is unlike any other Mia Sheridan’s that I have read so far! It is rather a crime/mystery mixed with romance.

The opening scene begins in the night somewhere above a cliff where four little boys will be abruptly thrown into empty air with a question: Will you die today?
These four kids were obviously kidnapped and we’ll learn later that they were part of a sick scheme.

Throughout the story we will follow one of them Jack forced to do unspeakable things to survive, totally alone for years in the Montana’s wilderness.

Why was he thrown into this life? Who is he? Why him? To whatever ends?Round and round these questions circled my mind while my heart broke so many times for that abandoned little boy.

Go back to present time on a crime scene.
The small town of Helena Springs has seen two murders by arrow in a few days and the person of interest is Lucas. A man looking like a caveman who happened to be close to the last crime scene.
Mark Gallagher freshly arrived from California is tasked with elucidating the crime. He’ll enroll Harper a local nature guide.

When Harper meets Lucas their connection is immediate. She just has to know that savage man who seems connected to her parents death years ago.

All these plot lines entertwine going from past to present and back again to form an intriguing story with the horror of what happened to these kids as a constant background.

This is a story of survival and resilience.
This is a story of madness and evil.
This is a story of new beginnings and hope.
This is a story of love and meeting your soul mate. That perfect someone who will love you whole animal and man alike.

Five stars !