Wednesday, July 19, 2017

MAKE THEM PAY by Allison Brennan

A Lucy Kincaid Novel, Book 12
St. Martin’s
March 7th, 2017
978-1-250-10526-4
Mystery/Thriller, Suspense, Crime
Paperback
Reviewed by Dawn (love2read28@gmail.com)
Obtained by Self-Purchase
4.5 Hearts

 

It’s finally here, the day Lucy Kincaid and Sean Rogan have been waiting for, their wedding day. Things are quiet and they are both finally healing from the events in the last few months that almost fractured them and their relationship. That is until Sean’s estranged sister, Eden, shows up on their doorstop and then all hell breaks loose. With Sean dealing with the newfound knowledge that he has a son and Lucy trying to find the black-market babies from the last case, Eden is focused on a scheme her and her twin brother have put together. Liam is determined to settle the score with Sean and his family and with Lucy in the cross-fire, Sean will pull no punches as he and the rest of the Kincaid/Rogan clan go after Eden and Liam. But a longtime enemy of the Rogan family is determined to use this opportunity to get their revenge even as Lucy’s safety is in jeopardy.

Wow, just wow is all I can say after reading the latest in the Lucy Kincaid series. MAKE THEM PAY is a wild ride from start to finish and the reader better hang on to their hays because this time the stakes are even higher than before. I absolutely adore this series by Ms. Brennan. We get complex cases to be solved, characters that grow with each book and the writing is just so good that you cannot put the books down at all. In this new book in the series, we are finally just days from the Kincaid/Rogan wedding when disaster hits. From Sean’s newfound son breaking rules left and right to his estranged sister showing up under the pretense that she is here for the wedding, the reader is drawn into the story as Lucy, Sean and their friends/family are assaulted on all sides. Add in wedding jitters, fallout from the black-market case they just solved a month ago and more and the reader is treated to a story that will take them on an unexpected journey and tear their heart out, stomp all over it then put it back in. It’s definitely one story that you need to have read the past book, The Lost Girls, in order to understand the ramification of the past events mentioned in MAKE THEM PAY.

MAKE THEM PAY is a tightly written thriller that has unexpected twists and turns that will leave you gasping even as you race to the next page to see what happens next for the characters. Ms. Brenan does an amazing job in capturing her characters hidden nuances and vulnerabilities even as the story weaves its spell around you. I just adore all the main characters and love how Lucy as a person just grew and healed up after her past caused her to close herself off to others. Sean is a big part of that healing and he gives her the security she needs to open her heart up to him even as she does the same to him. The secondary characters are just as well written as the main characters and keep the story moving along nicely. I especially love SSA Noah Armstrong who has a hidden history with Eden Rogan that was intriguing to say the least. Ms. Brennan delivers a wonderful story that will thrill you then chill you to the bone even as it steals your heart. If you haven’t tried this series yet, I highly recommend it and make sure to start at the beginning with The Prey and going from there. I look forward to seeing where the author goes with Lucy, Sean and the gang even as the cases get more complex and deadly.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement

 

 

Monday, July 17, 2017

HEAVENLY ANGEL by Heather Rainier

Publisher: Siren Publishing, Inc.
Date published: February 2011
ISBN: 1610340582
Contemporary, Western, Ménage a Trio
E-book
Reviewed by Gabrielle (meingee@yahoo.com)



Obtained via publisher


Rating: 3 ½ Hearts


Teresa has come to town with a past that she can’t escape from. She longs to be free and to enjoy her life without having to look over her shoulder. The only safe thing in her life is her son but Angel is determined to be another. He is more than willing to wait for Teresa. Angel can see that she is worth it. When his brother Joaquin comes to town there is nothing that can stop these two cowboys from showing Teresa just what true love is and giving her and her son a family worth loving.

Teresa’s story is a sweet read. Angel and Joaquin are good men who take their time and give Teresa and her son just what they need. The three are good together in and out of the bedroom and the men take easily to being fathers. The love that they have for Teresa and Michael Is evident in all that they do and say. It was nice to see how the men interacted with Teresa’s son Michael. The time that they took in wooing Teresa showed the depth of their love. While it was nice to see Teresa blossom under the love of these two men I was surprised at how quickly she does. She is very naive about sex and men having lived a very sheltered life and when she opens up she truly lets go and quickly. Teresa will let nothing stand in the way of her happy ending and she has the love of her men and the support of her friends to help her.

I enjoyed seeing Grace and Teresa’s relationship deepen as well. Teresa soon finds that she is well loved and has many friends willing to help her. When she needs support the most Teresa does not even have to ask. Her friends are there before she can even think to ask.  It was nice to see everyone come together for each other.  We get to meet new characters and see more from some of the other characters in this world keeping you excited and eager to see what will happen next in Divine.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

 

Friday, July 14, 2017

THE PERFECT RECIPE FOR LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP by Shirley Jump

Publisher:   Forever
Published:  July 11, 2017
ISBN:        978-1455572007
Genre:       Women’s Fiction
Format:     Print
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina  Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com

 
FIVE HEARTS

 

Three years ago should have been the happiest day Bridget O’Bannon’s of her life. There were moments of happiness, but something happened that day that has marred the last three years of her life.  Now she is facing what truly is the worst day of her life—her husband has died all too soon.  In the days that follow her family rallies around her, each in their own way but Bridget simply cannot focus. She cannot move beyond the painful loss of the man she built her life with. When the pieces of her life begin to unravel she tries to return to a time and place where she felt secure, if not happy—the bakery owned by several generations of her family. There she finds moments of peace, moments of happy memories.  Sadly they are lost when her husband’s death, the life she thought she would have and the secrets held within her family surround her.



On the day of her husband’s funeral, overwhelmed by the people, the events, the loss, she fled her home to her garden and there she found a little humming bird, trapped in a spider’s web. Slowly she releases the bird and rather than fly off, the little bird sits in her hand for a moment.  A few days later the bird returns and peers in at her through her kitchen window. Is it a coincidence, or is the bird there to, as Bridget freed it, to free Bridget to the possibilities of her life? 
 


 
 
I’m not usually one for women’s fiction, but when I read the blurb for Shirley Jump’s THE PERFECT RECIPE FOR LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP I knew I had to read it. I’m glad I listened to that little voice because it was one of the best reads I’ve had this year.  What a fantastic story.  Jump tells a highly emotional story of six women—four sisters, their mother and their aunt.  She takes you into their lives and loves and losses and how each woman’s story is woven into the others. Their stories are sad—some heart wrenching but rather than leaving you feeling pity or overwhelmed by their lives, Jump’s story telling takes you into their private, personal worlds and rooting for them with each step they take to realizing their own strengths. 


 
Once I started reading THE PERFECT RECIPE FOR LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP I couldn’t put it down.  I hurt for Bridget when each thread of her life unravelled and applauded for her with each personal victory claiming the life and love she deserved. 



I felt that there were a few loose ends to the story and disappointment settled in until I learned that this will be a series.  I look forward to spending more time with the O’Bannon family as they find their way back to each other and to the lives they are meant to live.  Just a fabulous read.
 
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

 

 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

CAN’T BUY ME LOVE by Marie Force

Butler, VT Series Book 2
HTJB, Inc.
June 9th, 2017
B07233BCBL
Contemporary Romance
E-Book
Reviewed by Dawn (love2read28@gmail.com)

Obtained by Self-Purchase

5 hearts

 

Mary Larkin never anticipated meeting a man like Patrick Murphy. Someone who is rich, powerful and is totally out of her league. But Mary is smitten and after months of long conversations about everything under the sun, it’s time for these two opposites to meet for a weekend away. What Mary doesn’t seem to get is Patrick is equally smitten with her as we she is with him. Sparks fly between these two as they keep their burgeoning relationship under wraps, Mary tries to figure out how a relationship with this man can work with him in NYC and her in tiny small town of Butler, VT. But Patrick is nothing if not determined to win Mary’s affections and her heart, even as he falls hard for the spunky woman who has stolen his heart.

Oh my what a great addition to the Green Mountain/Butler, VT series. I adored meeting Patrick Murphy in Cam’s story, All You Need is Love, and the handsome man just stole my heart in CAN’T BUY ME LOVE. His wooing of Mary is sweet and sexy as sin and those sexy scenes are so hot I had to go cool myself off in front of a fan before I dragged the honey off somewhere. Marie Force is a talented author who just brought Patrick and Mary to life in their story, CAN’T BUY ME LOVE and delivered a story that is at turns heartfelt, sexy and so sweet I was either laughing, smiling or blushing like mad. This is an author who knows how to steal her readers’ hearts within minutes of reading any of her books and she doesn’t stint in her second book in the Butler, VT. Series at all.

Patrick is suave, sexy and so determined to win his ‘sweet Mary’ that he’ll do anything she asks just to give her the time she needs to come to gripes that he is all in and has fallen in love with her. For Mary, Patrick is like a whirlwind in her staid, quiet life in Butler but she cannot help but be charmed by him each time she talks with him. I adore these two together. The sparks fly off the charts between them and I was fanning the face more times I could count while reading this latest addition to the Butler/Green Mountain Series. The scenes where Patrick is showing not just telling her how he feels about her is so sweet and stole my heart alongside Mary’s. Ms. Force is a talented author who manages to convey Mary’s hesitations and doubts in a lasting relationship with suave and wealthy Patrick so seamlessly that I was rooting for these two to find a way to be together after chapter one. The scenes with the rest of the Abbott clan and Patrick’s daughter, Cameron were wonderful and I loved seeing my favorite people as well as the town moose, Fred, who made an appearance later in the book to my utter delight.

CAN’T BUY ME LOVE is a wonderful, well written book that just charms you right from the start as it steals your heart. I loved going back to this wonderful little town filled with people I long to meet for coffee or chat with. Ms. Force does a superb job in her second book in the Butler series that I am anxiously awaiting the next one with bated breath. If you haven’t read this series you need to run-not walk- to grab the first book, All You Need is Love, and get ready for the ride of a lifetime as you meet and fall in love with the Abbott clan and the residents of Butler, Vermont. I look forward to seeing where Ms. Force goes with this series in the future.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement

 

 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

THE STATE COUNSELLOR by Boris Akunin

Publisher:    Mysterious Press
Published:   July 4, 2017     
ISBN:        : B01N2VPD0W
Genre:       Historical Mystery
Format:     Ebook
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina  Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com

 

THREE HEARTS

 

Fandorin, the State Counsellor, is a state security member of the Tsar in the late 19th.  Appointed by the Tsar he is tasked with finding the murderer of a highly placed official.  His task soon becomes not one of finding the killer, but like it appears that the killer did so in thee guide of Fandorin.  As he delves deeper into the mystery he begins to find that the murder wasn’t merely a crime of opportunity but an anarchist group is involved.  His investigation becomes deeper and deeper into the political intrigues of the time.

This was my first Boris Akunin read and I found Fandorin to be an interesting and highly entertaining character.  A cross between Columbo and James Bond he is multi-dimensional and very likeable. 
His personality, as shown through Akunin’s writing, would make for a marvellous TV series.  The characters are intriguing and have the right amount of mysterious behaviour to make you wonder more about them. Akunin’s writing paints vivid settings—I most enjoyed the scene depicting the characters riding in sleighs.  Yes, I know they were the mode of transportation—but it was still nice to visualize them.

Because of the Russian phrases and trying to pronounce the characters’ names to myself THE STATE COUNSELLOR was not a quick read – but it was definitely an enjoyable one.

 

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

 


Sunday, July 9, 2017

HER GENTLE GIANT, PART 2: REMEMBER TO DANCE by Heather Rainier

Publisher: Siren Publishing, Inc.
Date published: December 2010
ISBN: 1610342380

Contemporary Western
Ebook
Reviewed by Gabrielle (meingee@yahoo.com)
Weblink: http://www.bookstrand.com/her-gentle-giant-part-2


Obtained via publisher
Rating:
3 ½ Hearts


There is excitement and wonder around the holidays but even more so when a wedding is close.  Eli and Rachel continue to deepen their relationship as the other women plan their wedding. Everyone is excited about the upcoming nuptials and readers get to go along for the ride. Love is in the air and fun is to be had. The happy couple have more to learn about each other and have lots of fun doing it.  As we watch Eli and Rachel prepare for their happy ever after we get to see many other relationships begin to blossom and even get to see more from Grace and her men.  

This is a nice continuation of Eli and Rachel’s story. Their love is strong and they both continue to be amazed by each other’s devotion and love. Rachel grows and begins to trust in that love and learn to let her jealousy go. It is hard and rears its evil head but if she wants a good relationship she must let that trust in Eli build. I enjoyed seeing their bond grow stronger as their story goes on and it was nice to see some of the secondary characters begin to build relationships as well.

As much as I enjoyed returning to Eli and Rachel’s story I did not find myself as engrossed in this part of their story as I was in their previous book. This book seemed a little drawn out for me and even though I love a hot read this one seemed to be a bit much with all the sex Eli and Rachel were having.
I loved the bond that the woman and men have with each other and loved seeing how they supported one another. The men love their woman deeply and protect them in any way that they can and the women stand by one another giving support when needed. This is a wonderful world that the author has created and I am excited to come and visit again.
 
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.


Friday, July 7, 2017

JUST THE RIGHT NOTES by Sean Michael


Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Date published: March 6, 2017
ISBN: 9781635332827
Contemporary, BDSM
Ebook
Reviewed by Gabrielle

Weblink: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/just-the-right-notes-by-sean-michael-8251-b
Obtained via publisher


Rating: 4 Hearts


Graham and Elliot are two men in a great relationship.  They each have good careers and a love that is strong. That love will be tested when one loses his firm and another may lose his life. The two men have a solid relationship and when things get to be too much they always have their special cabin where their sub and Dom come out to play. Their peace is soon threatened when Elliot ‘s firm has to close its doors and Graham must go on tour. Being separated is hard on the two and Graham needs his man more and more with each day that he is on tour. When Elliot has had enough he finds himself going to Graham’s side. As the two begin to find their way again a horrible accident changes their lives. Can their love survive this trauma?

This story will certainly pull on your heartstrings. Elliot and Graham are a good couple and so in love, we watch as that love is tested over and over again and through it all it that love seems to deepen. Emotions play a big part in their story. I enjoyed seeing the trust and love that these two men have for one another.  Each man gives the other just what he needs and is always more than willing to give it. Seeing the two fight for their love made for a wonderful read. The author does a good job of fleshing out the two men and building a wonderful world around them. I was quickly pulled in to their story and the men came vividly to life.  Things change in Elliot and Graham’s lives but their love is always a constant, never fading only growing stronger.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

TO TOUCH YOU by Cardeno C.


Publisher: The Romance Authors LLC.
Date Published: May 4, 2017
ISBN# 978 1 942184 69 0
Paranormal shifter romance
Ebook
Reviewed by: Gabrielle (meingee@yahoo.com)



Obtained via author
Rating: 4 hearts


Yoram met his true mate when he was a child and through circumstances not of his making Yoram saves Salvatore’s life. As he grows up Yoram longs to reunite with his mate but when he finds him again as a teen he is turned away and painfully so. Yet when Yoram learns that his mate needs him he does what he can to help Salvatore but soon things in the pack take a turn for the worst and Yoram can no longer help his mate. Salvatore comes back to the small town in search of Yoram and finds a man instead of the young boy he turned away so many years ago. Can Salvatore figure out what is going on or is it already too late for him and Yoram?

I enjoyed watching Yoram and Salvatore’s journey unfold. I loved Yoram right from the start and even as an adult he always cares for his mate even if the feelings were not returned. He understood the significance of a true mate and did all that he could to help Salvatore and never held anything against him. Salvatore was a lonely man before Yoram saved his life and continued to be so until push came to shove and he needed to find Yoram.  Soon Salvatore begins to understand and realize his mistakes but it may be too late for redemption. Yoram is a grown man now with problems of his own that cannot be ignored. Seeing the two men find a connection made for a nice read.

Their story takes place over many years but the author does a nice job of pacing the story. It is filled with emotion and at times it will pull on your heartstrings. This is a nice addition to the Mates Collection series. It was nice to see what happens in the Miancarem pack during the struggle of Korban and Samuel’s journey that we enjoyed earlier in their book from inside the Yafenack pack. The author has done a wonderful job of intertwining all the characters’ lives and packs and keeping this world fresh and engaging. I am excited to see what will come next in this world.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

 


Monday, July 3, 2017

THE DOM’S WAY by Sean Michael

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Date published: June 23.2017
ISBN: 9781635334371
BDSM, Contemporary
Ebook
Reviewed by Gabrielle (meingee@yahoo.com)


Weblink: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-doms-way-by-sean-michael-8588-b
Obtained via publisher

Rating:
4 Hearts

Neal and Way are beginning to figure out what they want in a relationship. Readers met these two in a previous book in this series and in this book, we get to see more of their story. Way is a shy young man who finds his way to the gym and into Neal’s life. Way is new to the lifestyle but is more than ready to explore with Neal. Neal is looking for something long term with Way and hopefully in the lifestyle that he lives. Can Way leave his past behind and grab a hold of a future with Neal?

Way and Neal’s story is a fun and engaging read. I really enjoyed getting to know both men better. Neal is just the kind of Dom that Way needs. Way is a good man, he may be naïve about many of the things in the lifestyle that he has entered but he is more than willing to try new things. The two men work nicely together and it was nice to watch their bond grow deeper as their relationship goes on. It is obvious that the two men love each other and trust in that love. The author does a wonderful job of fleshing out these two characters. I loved all the interactions between them. From fun to sexy these men fit together.

It was also nice to see the interaction with the other subs and masters. I especially liked the game night with everyone. That was a great part of their story. Watching Way open up with Neal made for a great read and seeing him begin to interact with the other subs and Doms added nicely to the story.
Neal and Way are a great couple. I was glad to come along for their adventure and I cannot wait to see what will happen next at this gym.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

BY DESIGN (SOUTHERN CATS 1) by BA Tortuga

Publisher: Changeling Press, LLC
Date published: February 24, 2017
ISBN: 0795602568
Ebook
Shapeshifter, Gay
Reviewed by Gabrielle (meingee@yahoo.com)


Weblink:  https://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=2568
Obtained via publisher

Rating: 3 ½ Hearts


Robin thought that this latest trip with his boss to North Carolina would be another boring business trip. Little did he know that it would change his life forever. When Robin and his boss stop for a bite to eat as they get settled in for the job two men walk in and change Robin’s life. Will it be for the better or will Robin run from his true nature?  Robin may be due for some fun but just what kind of fun are Casey and Travis looking for? Are they the right kind for Robin or should he run the other direction?

I was quickly immersed in Robin’s tale. He goes on an adventure of a lifetime. A business trip with his boss Terry turns his world all around. When Travis and Casey come into the picture the chaos erupts. The two cannot help but notice Robin and set their sights on him. The two men are good together and when they add in Robin they are great. The three seem to fit together nicely in all that they do. It was nice to see the attraction between the men build into something more.  It was nice to see that trust come into play when Robin needs it the most.  As much as I enjoyed meeting Robin and his men I also loved terry. He is a great character and I would love to see him get a story of his own.
This is a fast-paced story that grabs your attention and keeps it all the way to the end. The author has built a fun and engaging world to get lost in and I hope to see more form it.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

PRIMROSE LANE by Debbie Mason

Publisher:   Forever
Published:  June 27, 2017
ISBN:        978-1455537235
Genre:       Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction
Format:     Print
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina  Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com

 

THREE-1/2 HEARTS

 

Olivia Davenport has been living a secret life.  Or is it Dana Templeton? But things have finally settled down for her and she’s close to enjoying her life. She is finally on the mend from losing her son and husband.  But a voice from her past keeps reaching out to her—a voice she doesn’t want to hear.

Finn Gallagher, a doctor who has been working with Doctors Without Borders, has been stuck at home for the past few months. Not that he doesn’t love his family—but he’s ready to return to his work. He cannot, however, until he’s recovered from the injuries that sent him home in the first place. And really, the last thing he wants, is for his match making relatives to find him a wife. And…he definitely does not want to get matched up with Olivia. Not because she isn’t attractive—it’s just that she’s got too much baggage for a man who just doesn’t want any commitments. But when that voice from Olivia’s past comes to her present, he cannot help but step in and help the woman out. 

Or did he create a bigger problem?



I’ve been enjoying Debbie Mason’s Harmony Harbor series and was looking forward to her latest, PRIMROSE LANE. Somehow it just didn’t evoke the same emotions the earlier books did for me.  We had bits of Olivia’s character in the earlier books. In PRIMROSE LANE, her and Finn’s story we learn more about her and her struggles.  The loss of a child, especially when the other parent essentially leaves you and the child to deal on your own is perhaps one of life’s most cruellest events. Olivia’s story is a sad one and even though she pulls out of this downward spiral, I didn’t really warm up to the character. She’s likeable and determined. She just didn’t resonate with me as a character.



The character I really didn’t like was Georgina “George”, the child foisted on Olivia. She reminded me way too much of those bratty children you see in restaurants where the parents do nothing about their acting out, forcing the rest of us to have to listen to their screaming and yelling and watch them throwing food around.  While their parents may enjoy having food tossed around and the disruption that follows in their children’s wake, I’m in the camp that does not appreciate them. 


That was George to a T.  And the way the rest of the characters catered to George each time she did something destructive was exactly the way the parents of the brats in restaurants act….they coo at the child that it’s wrong, but do nothing to put a stop to the behaviour. I cheered Olivia on when she brought George to Nathan’s parents…and thought she was an idiot when she went back and got her.  Yes, we learn what drives George and she turns out decent, but for how long until she doesn’t get her way again? If I had not committed to a review of this book I would have stopped reading at the beginning of George’s tantrums. I got it that she had to act out to make the story work...but a few less instances and some remorse on her part would have made her a bit more likeable to me.



I did enjoy Jasper, Colleen and, most of all Simon. Those three make the stories fun and entertaining. Okay--admittedly, I adore Simon.  They make the series—and would make for great characters in a cozy mystery series. They gave the ending a wonderful dramatic turn.

 

It wasn’t a bad read—just not my favorite in the series.

 


This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

 

 


Friday, June 30, 2017

PRISONER OF THE ALPHA by Marcy Jacks


Publisher: Siren Publishing, Inc
Date published: May 2016
ISBN: 9781682952146
Paranormal, shifter, M/M
Ebook
Reviewed by Gabrielle (meingee@yahoo.com)


Obtained via publisher


Rating: 4 Hearts


Renny has had his life turned upside down. While working as a forensic photographer he captures something in his latest case pictures. He does not know what but it seems others are interested in what he may have captured on film. When a group of men begin to ask questions and badger him Renny begins to feel uncomfortable. When a monster comes to his rescue Renny does not know what to do. There are so many conflicted emotions running through him he cannot figure out just what is up and what is down anymore. Calvin is a man and a monster all rolled up in one but this monster is one of the good guys. Can he find a way to explain to Renny the truth and get the man to trust him let alone love him or will the hunters have the last say after all?

I enjoyed Renny and Calvin’s story. Renny is thrust into a world that he never imagined existed. He must make some hard choices that could cost him more than he knows. It was nice to watch Calvin and Renny bond as their story goes on. The two have a great physical relationship but must learn to trust one another outside of the bedroom. As Renny and Calvin learn about each other we still get to see more from Dakota and Ash. Their story is not over yet and continues after this book. I really liked seeing the softer and serious side of Calvin. When we first meet him in this series he is  a fun loving guy and now with all that he has been through Calvin has grown and we see the good man that he has turned into.  He is learning what he needs to do as an alpha and what it means to have a mate to take care of. I enjoyed the quiet times that Renny and Calvin have together as they figure out what their future holds for them.

Once again, the author does a wonderful job of combining the action and romance together. The characters are well written and this world comes to life nicely. I am excited to see what will happen next in this world.


This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

 

 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

AT FIRST LIGHT BY Mari Madison

Publisher:   Berkley  
Published:  March 7, 2017
ISBN:        978-0425283158
Genre:       Contemporary Romance
Format:     Print
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina  Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com


FIVE HEARTS

 
Sarah Martin has long been considered a piece of San Diego royalty due to her father’s money and position. While she’s enjoyed some of the amenities his money can buy, she mostly wants to be her own woman leading her own life. And part of that life is living on her own, being free to be with the man she loves. Thing is, five years ago, actions she took believing in a cause, sent that man from her life. What she didn’t know then was the role her father played in the outcome of that time in her life. What her father doesn’t know, is she never really got over that one special guy. Even Sarah didn’t realize how much she still cared for him until she saw him taken prisoner on live TV while filming in Syria and have his life threatened. When he returns home, seeing him at her job—at News 9—is the last place she expects to find him, but there he is.

Five years ago Troy Young thought life dealt him a nasty blow when he lost the girl he loved due to his own lies and deceit. He justified his actions at the time because it was for what he felt was a good cause and ultimately it led him to his dream job – an onsite reporter going into the world’s most dangerous places. He never thought he’d be taken prisoner by a gang of jihadists and have his life threatened. Freed after three months he now has to live with some people calling him a hero and some vilifying him for surviving his ordeal. He’s grateful for a job as a reporter for News 9 when he returns…until he has a meltdown during a live shot. He knew he had some emotional issues when he returned, what he didn’t realize was how devastating the effects of PTSD would be on his everyday life. His boss, Richard, having been there himself, does understand and in an effort to help Troy keep a job he needs assigns him to the entertainment desk. At first Troy is angry—an element of the PTSD—he’s a reporter, not an entertainment type guy. Not only is he so not into the latest Hollywood gossip…the girl he never forgot happens to be his new partner.

Can they put aside the issues that drove them apart five years before and find their way back to each other? Even more important, will the events that brought them back together, ultimately tear them apart?

I enjoyed the first two books in Mari Madison’s Exclusive series, Break of Day and Just This Night – they definitely made me a fan.  In her latest, AT FIRST LIGHT, she totally and completely surpassed herself.  What a fantastic, truly heart wrenching and emotional story told with such compassion and understanding.

In AT FIRST LIGHT, Madison delves into the emotional devastation not only the person living with Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) experiences, but what happens to the people around them including friends and friends of friends. She deals with the experience head on, taking you into the heart and mind of the person living with it.  How a simple, every day event, like a smoke alarm going off, can bring to the surface all the horror of the original experience. Troy’s sense of survivor guilt is palpable and heart wrenching. How Sarah handles his experience is well done.

Madison doesn’t just take on PTSD in AT FIRST LIGHT. She goes deeper telling the story of an earlier love and betrayal and how that colors their current relationship along with the layers of Troy surviving his war-time experience. The author takes the reader into the character’s everyday lives and how they change through each experience, especially when it is entwined with the characters’ past.

There are light-hearted moments in the story – and I’d love to spend some time at the little hotel in Rosarita on the beach.  Madison doesn’t go much into detail about San Diego in general – which the city does make for a terrific back drop, but it isn’t needed because of the solid story telling.  I’m not usually one for first person and in her Exclusive series she does tell the stories not only in first person, but from each of the main character’s point of view—in this one some chapters were told by Troy and others by Sarah. Madison makes it work and work well.  I’m not sure guys ruminate about things as deeply as Troy did, but the thought process he went through made for a good read.

Rather than this turning into a depressing read it just got better and better. There is hope, understanding, a wonderful romance and an overall super story.  This is definitely one book to put at the top of your list.
 
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.