Sexy Stranger by Kendall Ryan

Book Description:

Published: May 23, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Luke Wilder knows the lovely stranger doesn’t belong the second she struts into his sleepy little town. She’s a city girl who won’t stay longer than it takes to get her fancy foreign car repaired–which is why he should ignore his powerful need to make her notice him. It’s just that the moment she opens her smart mouth and gives it back as good as she gets, he wants to swap a whole lot more with her than insults.

Charlotte Freemont instantly dislikes the rude, redneck stranger she finds herself stuck with. Too bad he’s as hot, and as tempting, as sin. On the run from her messy past, she’s not there to get tangled up with a man, even one as hard to resist as the hot-headed Luke. But when he gives her a private tour of his craft whiskey distillery, their attraction ignites and Luke seizes the chance to show her there’s a whole lot more to him than rough and rugged.

When he finally learns her secret, will it shatter his trust in her? Or do they have a chance to create a whole new blend?

A sizzling, enemies-to-lovers romp with bite.

Review –

Loved this book, which I put in the category of “soft smut” because the sex in the plot line was appropriate and not overly done and “in your face”. 

The story itself is not new, hot girl running away from her problems, ends up with her car broken down somewhere in the southwest(this time in Texas). She meets a hot, hunky, rugged man and they clash, until they don’t and they live happily ever after.

Loved it and love Kendall Ryan.

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Playing Dead by Julia Heaberlin

Book Description:

Published: May 29, 2012

“Dear Tommie: Have you ever wondered about who you are?”

The letter that turns Tommie McCloud’s world upside down arrives from a stranger only days after her father’s death. The woman who wrote it claims that Tommie is her daughter—and that she was kidnapped as a baby thirty-one years ago.

Tommie wants to believe it’s all a hoax, but suddenly a girl who grew up on a Texas ranch finds herself linked to a horrific past: the slaughter of a family in Chicago, the murder of an Oklahoma beauty queen, and the kidnapping of a little girl named Adriana. Tommie races along a twisting, nightmarish path while an unseen stalker is determined to keep old secrets locked inside the dementia-battered brain of the woman who Tommie always thought was her real mother. With everything she has ever believed in question, and no one she can trust, Tommie must discover the truth about the girl who vanished—and the very real threats that still remain.

“[Julia Heaberlin’s] voice is pitch perfect, and her story of one woman’s fierce struggle to reconcile her past with her present is gripping and powerful. An outstanding debut.”—Carla Buckley, author of Invisible.

Review –

This debut novel is set mainly in the wilds of Texas and the narrator is Tommie, in her early 30’s and an equine psychologist by profession – she rehabilitates children whose lives have been shattered in some way by encouraging them to ride and train horses. Tommie was set to be either a great pianist or a rodeo star, but her hopes for both potential professions were dashed in one fell swoop when, as a young girl, someone ensured she rode a “banned” steer, so she fell and broke her hand when it trampled her.

Tommie is one of those well-educated  protagonists, who is paranoid about her safety yet is always getting herself into avoidable, dangerous situations. She has a few useful men to protect her – an Afghanistan vet boyfriend, her parents’ ranch hand, an old Southern lawyer, a crack journalist and a taxi driver. Tommie is scared because she has received a shocking letter just after her “Daddy” has died. The letter says that Tommie’s mother is in fact a woman married to an infamous, jailed mobster. The woman who Tommie has always thought of as her mother is in a care-hospital suffering from Alzheimer’s, so cannot communicate with her daughter. Tommie’s sister Sadie and her cute niece Maddie provide useful support and a sounding board for her concerns.

At the bottom of this novel is a good mystery story, actually quite simple but the author  complicates things and prolongs the solution of the mystery much longer than need be. A clue is given near the end that could have been given around page ten and could have tied up all the loose ends. Because of this I created the book four and a half stars.

Also, the outcome was predictable, or at  least is was to me but  I was happy with the ending.

I enjoyed it very much and the narrator, Madeleine Lambert, did a fantastic job on the voices and Texas  twangs of all the characters and made it a very pleasant listen.

I highly recommend this book if you like mysteries.

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Feast Day of Fools (Hackberry Holland Series) by James Lee Burke

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Book Description

Publication Date:September 27, 2011
Sheriff Hackberry Holland patrols a small Southwest Texas border town with a deep and abiding respect for the citizens in his care. Still mourning the loss of his cherished wife and locked in a perilous almost-romance with his deputy, Pam Tibbs, a woman many decades his junior, Hackberry feeds off the deeds of evil men to keep his own demons at bay.
When alcoholic ex-boxer Danny Boy Lorca witnesses a man tortured to death in the desert and reports it, Hack’s investigation leads to the home of Anton Ling, a regal, mysterious Chinese woman whom the locals refer to as La Magdalena and who is known for sheltering illegals. Ling denies having seen the victim or the perpetrators, but there is something in her steely demeanor and aristocratic beauty that compels Hackberry to return to her home again and again as the investigation unfolds. Could it be that the sheriff is so taken in by this creature who reminds him of his deceased wife that he would ignore the possibility that she is just as dangerous as the men she harbors?
The danger in the desert increases tenfold with the return of serial murderer Preacher Jack Collins, whom The New York Times called “one of Burke’s most inspired villains.” Presumed dead at the close of Rain Gods, Preacher Jack has reemerged with a calm, single-minded zeal for killing that is more terrifying than the muzzle flash of his signature machine gun. But this time he and Sheriff Holland have a common enemy.
Praised by Joyce Carol Oates for “the luminosity of his writerly voice,” James Lee Burke returns with his most allegorical novel to date, illuminating vital issues of our time—immigration, energy, religious freedom—with the rich atmosphere and devastatingly flawed, authentic characters that readers have come to celebrate during the five decades of his brilliant career.
Review –
Found this audiobook on sale for $7.99 and with 13 discs that was a bargain.
This is the first time I’ve read anything by James Lee Burke and right away I was fascinated by the main character, Hackberry Holland,(love that name) and found it hard to believe that he was supposed to be 80 years old because the physical things he did would be hard for a man of 50 to perform.
The story was multi-faceted and the characters were very well-developed and I was sad when it ended.  I think I’ll go back and read some earlier works by this author and hope they are half as good.
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Bubba and the 12 Deadly Days of Christmas by C.L. Bevill

Product Description

Bubba Snoddy’s got some problems. His family has descended for the Christmas holidays and not in a good way. His cousin wants to own the Snoddy Mansion, decrepit, falling down columns, termites, wood rot and all and isn’t above using manipulative behavior to achieve his ends. Miz Demetrice is up to nefarious and illegal activities while trying to entertain relatives. His cousin’s ten year old son is the personification of a demon and has hobbies of looking at medical photographs, making stun guns from scratch, and causing havoc wherever he roams. The woman of Bubba’s dreams, Deputy Willodean Gray, is still evading his romantic pursuits. Patients from the local mental institute are wandering over the town, ostensibly assisting with the Christmas Festival thanks to a program established by the mayor to cut costs. And Bubba has just found the dead body of a man dressed as Santa in the Christmas scene at City Hall. Oh, Pegramville, Texas is just the best place to be at Christmas if a fella has a bullet proof vest and a linebacker’s helmet. All the folks think Bubba might have done did it…again, even though it was proven that he didn’t done did it the first time, and Bubba has to move quickly in order to catch a murderer.
 
Review –
This is not your typical Christmas story and that’s what makes it so special.  It’s a HOOT.  If you want a break from the same old Christmas, Deck the Halls type stories, try this one.