Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters
Offbeat Crimes, #1
Angel Martinez
Pride Publishing, Aug 2016
Kindle, 112 Pages
Only in Digital format
Genre(s) Cozy Mystery, LBGT Romance
Source purchased at current price

Other books in this series 

The Pill Bugs of Time #2, Skim Blood and Savage Verse #3, Feral Dust Bunnies #4, Jackalopes and Woofen-Poofs #5

My Disclaimer:
I purchased a copy of this book at the current price. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... 

This is an introduction to the 77th Precinct. All the other police areas are called Districts, but the 77th is a precinct. That's not the only difference. The 77th is made up of officers and detectives who all have misfunctioning magical powers. And they're all just a little bit touchy about it at times, especially Vance Virago the firestarter. If the coffee pot is empty, don't say a word. Larry takes care of it and his feelings really get hurt if anyone else interferes. Larry's the ghost of a cop. The LT in charge of the precinct is usually pretty cool about things. She's the anti-priestess of an elder god. It's only a problem if you need her when she's making an offering to the god.

Kyle Monroe is just starting to feel a part of the precinct since his transfer following a run-in with a gelatinous cloud that changed his magical make-up. Now to throw him off balance is new boy-on-the-block, Vikash Soren. Tall, physically perfect and reserved. And his new partner.

Can they find the chance to build a relationship and still catch the monsters?  


Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is pretty at first glance with that lovely silver surrounding that fabulous male figure. Then you look into that silvery cloud and you see the monsters!

The storyline is simple with a lot of embellishments along the way.

The characters are introduced to give us a baseline for the precinct in this book, the first of the series. Kyle Monroe and Vikash Soren are much more developed due to the fact that they are the two individuals involved in the relationship and with the crime. They are the main characters in this book.

The pace was pretty good. Everything seemed to move right along.

The tension dropped in on you in the first few pages and held on until the end.

This is the sort of story that requires an author with superior writing skills.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰


As usual, I came across this series at #4. So, I immediately bought and read book one so I would know the back story. Book one does an excellent job of being an introductory book. It explains the precinct and its weird characters so that you have the basis to go forward with the other stories and understand what's going on. You've got a vampire that can't drink blood from a human. He has to have some stuff from a bag. Vance can't control his fire-starting when he gets angry. When anyone gets near Kyle he absorbs their magic and makes it enhanced in some way. With Vance's fire-starting, he creates huge fires, and Vance always gets blamed for not being careful around Kyle!

As for the actual story, there wasn't much to the crime part of it. There was an ugly monster-like giant turtle killing people along the river walk. Who knows why, we never got into that. Mr. Jacket (the leather jacket without a body) helped them track it down initially. Vikash was trying to save Kyle from the monster and he used his magic. Kyle enhanced it and made the monster explode. Mr. Jacket seems to be missing after everyone is released from the hospital.

The relationship was more than half the story, I think. The two men, Kyle and Vikash, do a lot of talking and teasing and then they have sex. The next time Kyle wants to get together he says he's got beer and a movie at his place. Vikash says his cat is expecting him, bring the beer and movie to his place. Hooray for him! A man who understands you have to take care of your cat or you can't take care of a relationship with another person. And finally, the cat doesn't run and hide when Kyle walks in.

Overall, this looks like a quirky, fun series if you're into or okay with sex that's anything but vanilla. In fact, it looks like it may all be LGBT in this series. You may have to overlook a little vamp mixed in with human, or other things that go bump in the night.

Recommended.

Feral Dust Bunnies
Offbeat Crimes, #4
Angel Martinez
Pride Publishing, Jun 2017
Kindle, 169 Pages
Only in Digital format

Genre(s) Cozy Mystery, LBGT Romance
Source purchased at current price

My Disclaimer:
I purchased a copy of this book at the current price. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... 

It started with some rats that looked like mummies. Then it was a mother cat, whose one surviving kitten gets to live with Wolf. And that's where ACO Jason Shen comes in. Jason is helping Wolf get all the things he needs for the kitten and teaching him how to take care of her. Wolf has trouble paying attention because he thinks Jason smells so good. He smells lickable, and Jason's okay with that.   

Finding the source of the evil that is attacking animals and people takes almost the whole squad this time after Vikash's Mom is attacked at a party. Erasmus is injured by the Dust Bunny entity and Carrington is almost done in by concern for his librarian. Jeff, Amanda, Greg, Wolf, Shira, and the rest of the crew are busy beating on gray appendages until Krisk appears with his unusual solution and then asks Vance to step in to finish it up.

Now can they locate the creator's base and destroy it before more any more dust bunnies are monsterized?

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is that beautiful light purple color surrounding another gorgeous male figure. This time in the color cloud we have the rats that end up mummified and Audacity, the kitten that gets saved.

The storyline again is two-part. The mystery is simple enough with an entity that needs to be found and destroyed. And the romance is straight-forward as well for an LGBT pairing. 

The characters are fleshed out well as they take the stage in the book. The ones we already know are left as is. It's the main characters in this story that are explained. There were a lot of the characters involved this time, too!

The pace was a bit crazy in this book. It seemed like the characters really didn't get a chance to rest between events.

The tension stayed pretty even from beginning to end with the pitch over the scene at the party and then again when Vikash explodes the circle.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰


I loved the way Wolf's "mother" helped him so matter-of-factly understand things like human relationships and wedding invitations. Having been a wolf then cursed into a human didn't give him any chance to understand any of those things. She also gives him time and space to safely experience such things. He has no siblings, and it's so nice that Jason is willing to share his with him. He remembers wolf siblings and he's sad. But it's a bit different having human siblings. And Krisk, his partner is very patient with the gaps in his understanding and helps him when he can.

I find this whole group of misfits rather endearing. I've now read book one and book four. I'm going to go back and read books two and three and probably five. I may or may not review them. I'm reading them for myself and I don't always review my own reading. I just want to catch up on the rest of the group.

Recommended.

1426 wc



Tharaen
Immortal Highlander, #2
Hazel Hunter
Self-Pub, Oct 2017
Kindle, 364 Pages
Also available in paperback
Genre(s) Time-Travel Romance
Source Author

Other books in this series 

Lachlan #1, Evander #3, Tormod #4

My Disclaimer:
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... 

Tharaen is the right-hand man and bodyguard of the chieftain of his immortal clan. Right now he's got his hands full with what the undead are planning.

LT Diana Burke has a cold-case to solve but she's fallen through a hole to find herself in medieval Scotland. She applies all her skills, but she's still caught snooping around the castle by the big man in charge of security, Tharaen.

They shoot sparks off each other, quite literally. Can they set aside their own feelings long enough to figure out what to do about the undead Romans? Will Tharaen survive Diana's solution?

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is absolutely yummy! Where does she get these lovely men? But this series is more than that. There is that larger than life font with the wonderful caps and serifs in gold. The use of the plaid, Celtic symbols, and the old buildings in the background with the stormy sky.

The storyline is the almost same as the first one, but with a different intent and it's told with different twists.

The characters from the first aren't embellished on, but the new characters are explained very nicely.

The pace is great. You just have a chance to catch your breath between crazy events before you're on to the next one. Sometimes it's a bigger breath than others.

The tension starts as soon as you realize she's looking for Kinley at the canyon and it stays with you until she agrees to marry him.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰✰


I really liked this new character, Diana Burke. For the longest time, I didn't realize she was so sick. I just figured she was a loner and a hard worker. She was cleaning up cold cases and Kinley's was today's cold case. Then like Alice, she was down the rabbit hole! And when she got to Scotland, she really fit right in, even better than Kinley did early on. She dressed like the guys, except on Sundays for Margaret, and was willing to learn things to fit in with their play and their work. She was already a large woman standing over 6', so she really did fit in well. Being a fit, athletic woman worked well for her, too. She wouldn't have fit into this role as well had she been a fashionista in heels and pencil skirts or a librarian in twin sets and cute flats or shy and retiring. She was just the type Tharaen needed to stand up to him and be his mate.

I started out not liking the druid, Bhaltair. Of course, that's how it was supposed to be. It seemed like he meant to hurt her somehow. It took the whole book to understand that he was more afraid of how she could hurt him that he wanted her to go. Bhaltair didn't want to think that Yana could have lied to him and hidden his own child from him. But finally, they both had family. Two lonely people who had never had any family now had this one other person to claim as their own. This was a big thing for both of them. And I think Diana is just the person to melt through the armor that Bhaltair keeps around him with her honest and open personality. That will bring a closer relationship between the clan and the druids as well.

This was a good follow-up to the first book, but I'm hoping that the third book, Evander, is a bit different. The synopsis I've read seems like it might be. Then the fourth book, Tormod, looks like it's a lot different when two people come through and one makes it to the clan and the other one goes elsewhere. I wonder how many of these Ms. Hunter plans to write. It's a really good series, but I think it would have its limitations after a certain point.

Recommended.

754 wc
Updrift
The Mer Chronicles, #1
Errin Stevens
Self-Pub, Oct 2015
Kindle, 286 Pages
Also available in hardcover, paperback, audiobook
Genre(s) Fantasy, Mermaids/Sirens
Source Author

Other books in this series 

Breakwater #2 This book will be reviewed here on Dec. 15, 2017






My Disclaimer:
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... 

Kate Sweeting and her mother, Cara have moved to Griffins Bay to start a new life. To try to leave behind the grief of losing Cara's husband. Cara runs the library and plants gardens and charms people. 

Kate becomes best friends with Gabriel Blake and his whole family by the sea. His is a family with lots of secrets. And as Kate and Gabe grow up their feelings mature. Finally, they get to spend enough time together in the water to find out what all the secrets mean for them.

But there is one who wants what they have and is not afraid to reach for it.  


Technical Tidbits...  
The cover has a bit of that dark and sinister feel to it that refers to what happens in the second half of the book. But it also has that great siren tail to tell us just what Gabe's family is in case we don't get it right away ourselves. And I love that fabulous script used for the title!

The storyline is really good. The whole first half introduces the families and sets up the HEA, then the second half is the crisis with the Prince.

The characters are well done with all the introduction in the beginning. Even the Prince, Peter and his mother, Kenna get good intros.

The pace is pretty good until you get to the part while Kate is held in the castle. It's so choppy there with Peter not seeming to know what he wants to do or what he should do.

The tension raises bit by bit in the first half each time Kate makes a fuss about not seeing Gabe and you realize how much time has passed. Then when you get into the second half of the book, the tension rises in leaps and bounds with the actions of the characters.

The writing quality is very good throughout the book. It is actually done in three parts, not two as I have been referring to it as. The middle part is the abduction itself.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰⭒


The author has a little trick that I'm not sure I like, but she uses it several times. She has something happen and then doesn't completely explain it until much, much later on. For instance, when Gabe gets Kate to slip off the boat at the very beginning and go swim with him, it's not until the epilogue that you get the full story of what happened to her during that swim and how she turned out to be exactly what Gabe needed her to be. The situation with Soley, Gabe's dog was the same way, just not as long a time. We got the story about his delivering the letter to his folks and a bit later we got the story of how Gabe got Soley. Even later we heard from Xanthe why he really needed Soley.

The situation with Aunt Dana and Uncle Will was a bit far-fetched, I thought. First, Uncle Will decides to kill himself and he leaves a suicide list for Dana and goes off to Griffins Bay to jump off the cliff. The merfolk in the area recognize him as being connected to the Blakes and run interference to keep him alive once he jumps. Alive and unaware. The Blakes get Dana and take her to Shaddox Island to rendezvous with Will. Xanthe guides Dana through a total reanalysis of their life, then she and Will are left to have unprotected sex for the weekend until Dana ends up pregnant and they agree to change their lives. Carmen had previously tossed Dana's pills out the window during the drive to the beach. Would you let someone interfere with your life like that? Would you think of doing that to someone? Yet Carmen and Michael think nothing of doing this to Dana and Will simply because they are related to Cara, who is married to John, one of the merfolk. Yes, it's great that they saved Will's life. But tossing out her pills, influencing them to change their way of life, and leaving them sort of tranced until Dana gets pregnant?

I love it when Gabe is cloaking in the palace as a guard and he senses Kate. She senses him. But neither of them can see the other because she's disguised and he's cloaking. They both have to go on trust. She trusts him so much that it fills the hole that Peter's shenanigans have caused. When Peter comes back, he senses that she's healed and whole and that his chances with her are gone. That's what leads to the confrontation with Gabe that ends with Peter's dissolution. When Kenna rushes to feel that last of his dust, she finally understands what she has done to him by raising him apart from her. I didn't even feel sorry for either of them at that point. They were both so cold that I didn't have any sympathy left.

There are some editing issues in this book with tiny words that are missing. This is something that I hope can be addressed at least in digital editions.

I highly recommend this book for reading or gift giving. How often does a book about merfolk come along? I'm really looking forward to reading the second book in this series, Breakwater. I'll be posting that review on December 15th. Just in time for Christmas gift giving!

1018 wc

Thirsty for Payback
Sinful Business, #1
Marie Astor
Self-Pub, May 2014
Kindle, 225 Pages
Also available in paperback
Genre(s) contemporary romance, office romance
Source Author's rep

Other books in this series 

Baiting Trouble #2

My Disclaimer:
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... 

Allyson "Ally" Roberts has just lost everything - her father, her fortune, and her fiance. Someday she's going to get even with the guy who took it all from her. 

She's offered an interview with the DOE and is immediately hired. She's now going into three months of tough covert training.

Jake Morrissey was the agency's top field agent until a young woman died. Now he's teaching new recruits. Can he teach Ally well enough to catch the one who's responsible for taking everything from her? 

Together, can they make him pay?   


Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is so great. It's that awesome, eye-catching blue! the legs of the couple on the elevator are guaranteed to catch the eye as well. She certainly has great legs.

The storyline is an old one with a new twist. Good job!

The characters are pretty well done. We really get to know Ally. A name I was heartily sick of very quickly. We didn't get to know Jake quite as well, I don't think. I love Delilah! She was a lovely element.

The pace was a bit choppy, I felt. There were times I felt we were racing along, and then we were just strolling. Really without reason. We jumped from the midst of their testing angst to Ally was already working for the agency with no transition.

The tension was greatly affected by the pacing such as I mentioned above. I was expecting something more about the testing or some sort of closure for their training portion and suddenly I was thrown into an office with Ally typing away peacefully. I was caught completely off stride. It was confusing and took me some time to transition. I actually looked back a page or two to see if I had skipped some pages.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰


As I said, I got really sick of Ally's name early on. Actually, by about the second chapter I'd had enough of it. For some reason, it just grated on my nerves, that little nickname. I would have rather called her Allyson. That Ally, Ally, Ally drove me nuts! It stopped sounding like a name.

The whole first part of the book was rather predictable but enjoyable. Wealthy girl planning what to wear to her engagement party and all of a sudden her father's company crashes for some reason. Father goes to prison where he later dies. Fiance's family distances themselves and then he does, too. Young woman left to find her own way in the world.

What wasn't so predictable was the interview by the DOE for intelligence gathering and sort of espionage. Who would think that the department of energy would be recruiting for that? Not me. Then when they got into the training, it sort of sounded like boot camp for the military until it came to sex ed. We didn't have sex ed that taught us how to, it was more how not to. With the Delilah character added in, I thought it was a great twist. Actually, I felt it could have gone further along those lines. But that's when everything started building up for test angst and then training was over. It was just too abrupt and without any closure for the training portion.

I love her first assignment. And Jake tries to talk her out of it! Ouch! Such a complete turnabout. It felt wrong, his basically turning against his controller. That whole bit there didn't feel right. But the assignment was great. I know it's not real, but they did it so well. She makes her connection and they set a date for dinner and an art show. She shows up and he does all his bragging once she sees the chip on his keychain. They take down the mark. I loved the way she worked her way through the whole evening keeping her cool and keeping her eyes open. Waiting to see what he was going to do and waiting to see what he would show her. And he finally showed her exactly what she needed to see. That was really well done.



Recommended.

790 wc
Staying at Daisy's
Jill Mansell
Sourcebook Landmark, Mar 2011
Kindle, 471 Pages
Also available in hardcover, paperback
Genre(s) Women's Lit, Contemporary Romance
Source purchased at current price

My Disclaimer:
I purchased a copy of this book at the current price. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... 

Daisy runs the hotel owned by her father, Hector MacLean. And it's a regular soap opera at Daisy's and around the village as chambermaids almost stop weddings, old friends come to visit, and washing machines break down.

Will everyone find their "happily ever after"?


Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is a classic Jill Mansell look. The pretty colored pencil hand-drawn designs that are so feminine. Usually, there's one element that relates to the story and this time it's the dog. In our story, we have Clarissa and Clive.

The storyline is really good. It's typical Mansell, toss-it-all-in-the-pot-and-stir type of story.  

The characters are a mixed bag. Some we get to know really well and others are sort of two dimensional, but that's all they need to be.

The pace is good. Mansell keeps you moving from one thing to the next. You don't have time to be bored.

The tension is changeable in this sort of story, but that's to be expected. It all depends on what's happening. Is it time for the two lovers to run for the summerhouse or is it time for the two old friends to talk about his vacation over a couple glasses of wine?

The superb quality of the writing is one thing you will always find in a Jill Mansell novel. She creates these works of art with words and as you work your way through them you can't help but be amazed. You and I can use those same words, but for some reason, they don't have the same effect. Ms. Mansell uses words as an artist uses paint or pastels. She creates a masterpiece that comes to life for our enjoyment.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰⭒


Daisy is eyeing Dev from the very beginning. So I really didn't think that Tara had a chance with him. But then, I didn't think she was seriously trying for him when they had their run in. The bra incident was purely accidental. The button popped with the towels she was carrying. So no surprise that Dev moves in on Daisy later on when he "needs" help choosing a dog. It was too funny that this oh-so-masculine guy, out to impress her lets her talk him into this little dog called Clarissa when what he thinks he wants is something large and masculine like a great dane or shepherd. And Clarissa has lots of personality, of course. Dev becomes enslaved by her, catering to her every whim. And Daisy comes to love the little dog so much that she ends up wanting one of her own. When Dev finally gets his information straight and comes back to knock on Daisy's door, she has Clive. So Dev and Daisy and Clarissa and Clive all get their HEA!

The relationship that came out of the blue for me was the one between Josh and Tara. He was trying to have a full-blown relationship with Daisy because he had always hoped it could happen but didn't think she really felt that way about him. So then he claims he's always had feelings for Tara as well. It seemed to come out of nowhere for Tara as well. She can fall in love in a heartbeat, so she's all set. But Daisy'll need to advertise for a new chambermaid since Josh and Tara are now off to Miami for his new job. But Josh and Tara got their HEA!

The funniest situation in the book was Maggie's washing machine. Sorry, Maggie. I know you did a lot of washing by hand while your machine was down. Let's back up here a bit and tell Maggie's story properly. Because she really has some grievances here. First of all, she's having sex-for-pay with Hector because they each think that's the only way the other will agree to it. But life keeps getting in the way of that secret arrangement. And while the extra money is nice, she'd just rather have the sex and Hector without the money or secrecy.

Lately, Hector's been busy with Paula Penhaligon, a guest at the hotel. Flaunting their relationship around town and London. And Maggie feels hurt and neglected. With her new washing machine broken, she's been busy doing a lot of hand wash. She's had several repairmen come and several wrong parts ordered. Now she has a repairman who seems to think that she's entitled to something more than what the company is doing, which is basically ignoring her. So they cook up a hostage scheme and call in the press to cover it! Maggie finally gets her new washing machine. In fact, she gets the top-of-the-line washing machine. Then Hector shows up and puts their relationship on a personal rather than professional basis. So Maggie and Hector get their HEA! And Paula Penhaligon gets dumped. 

Another couple that has to work on their relationship is Barney and Melanie. Barney has to wait for a kidney and live through the surgery. Melanie has to survive the car crash and have her child. Then she has to be brave enough to stand up for her new relationship in spite of her old one. Her old relationship just happened to be with Daisy's late husband, Steven, who died in the car crash. Melanie's son is Steven's child. So to have Steven's girlfriend and child living with the young man who has Steven's kidney in her village is awkward for Daisy and brings up bad feelings at first. But Daisy stretches her arms out to catch the baby when the cottage is on fire and Mel and Freddie are in danger. That becomes a turning point for Daisy and Mel that helps bring peace for them. So Barney, Mel, and Freddie get their HEA. 

A couple not getting an HEA? Well, that would have to be Jeannie and Dominic. But they deserve each other.

1074 wc

Touched
Second Sight: A Serial FBI Psychic Romance, #1
Hazel Hunter
Self-Pub, Jun 2013
Kindle, 95 Pages
Also available in paperback
Genre(s)Paranormal Romance
Source Author's newsletter

Other books in this series 

Torn #2, Taken #3, Chosen #4, Charmed #5, Changed #6

My Disclaimer:
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... 

Ben Olivos, Assistant Director of the FBI for the Los Angeles Field Office has a daughter who has disappeared. He's called in the FBI's best profiler, Gavin MacMillan.

His wife, Anita, has called in her psychic, Isabelle de Grey. The director is not happy. Neither is the profiler. All psychics are fakes. Aren't they?

But what if she isn't? One touch brings her his other thoughts, too. "He likes my legs? He thinks they're shapely? Psychobabble? Pretty pink lips? Hot."

Can Gavin and Isabelle keep their thoughts and their hands working on finding Esme before her kidnapper turns into her killer?  

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is eye-catching, but it really doesn't relate well to the story. At least the one that was on my copy of the book, the one at the top of my review. The small one I show to the right here is a newer one that coordinates with the rest of the series, and it is even farther from the story. This story is about a woman with psychic touch abilities. She should be on the cover with her brunette hair.

The storyline is really good. It's realistic in that it could work.

The characters develop through the course of the story fairly well. They aren't the deepest couple I've met, but they aren't too shallow.

The pace is good. Ms. Hunter keeps you hopping from scene to scene to figure out what's happened and to save Esme.

The tension is there throughout the chase. The author has the knack of blending the tension of the case with the tension between the couple really well. 

Writing quality is quite good. There is a lot of description in this book. The author makes you see things so that you experience them more intimately.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰


The cover really doesn't have much to do with the story. The city skyline and a hunky guy with a black armband or bandage. Nope. Not even close to relating to the story. This takes place in LA. That's probably a picture of LA's skyline, but I really can't tell. But the profiler on the cover doesn't do it. He wasn't the story. Her psychic ability with touch was the story. She should have been on the cover. And she should have had the correct features - pink lips, long brunette hair and great legs. With all the description in the book, the attention to her appearance would be important on the cover.

The police aspects of the story seemed very well done to me. The only thing that wouldn't have been done, is that the psychic wouldn't have been allowed in there. But their conversations about the status of the case as things changed seemed realistic.

Ms. Hunter wrote the love scenes like she was frosting a cake, with long, smooth strokes. The scenes were really drawn out and steamy. She describes every lick and stroke between the couple from start to finish. And it was obvious that both of them had been without for quite awhile and had to make up for lost time. This one can definitely be classified as hot and steamy.

One weird little twist that I've never come across before occurred at the end when we get to witness the kidnapper toss away his disguise. He was practically rubbing his hands in glee looking forward to doing this sort of thing again. He thought LA was a great little place to do it and walked away chortling about it. 

697 wc 



The Fatal Series Books 1-3 by Marie Force

Fatal Affair #1
Marie Force
Carina Press, Jun 2010
Kindle, 476 Pages
Also available in paperback, audiobook, MP3 CD
Genre(s) Contemporary Romance, Political/Legal Romance
Source purchased at current price



Fatal Justice #2

Marie Force
Carina Press, Nov 2012
Kindle, 400 Pages
Also available in paperback, audiobook, MP3 CD
Genre(s) Contemporary Romance, Political/Legal Romance
Source purchased at current price


Fatal Consequences #3

Marie Force
Carina Press, Nov 2012
Kindle, 544 Pages
Also available in paperback, audiobook, MP3 CD
Genre(s) Contemporary Romance, Political/Legal Romance
Source purchased at current price


Other books in this series
Fatal Destiny #3.5, Fatal Flaw #4, Fatal Deception #5, Fatal Mistake #6, Fatal Jeopardy #7, Fatal Scandal #8, Fatal Frenzy #9, Fatal Identity #10, Fatal Threat #11, Fatal Chaos

My Disclaimer:
I purchased a three-book bundle at the current price. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... 

Fatal Affair
Chief of Staff and best friend, Nick Cappuano, discovers the murdered body of Senator John O'Connor. It's Detective Sam Holland's case. It only takes the first look for both Nick and Sam to remember their one night together six years ago.

Can Nick and Sam work together through the tangled mess of government, family, and police politics to find the killer? Can they keep their hands off each other until it's solved?  

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover works really well with the couple there at the top and the capital building down at the bottom. The couple work as good representatives for Nick and Sam, too.

The storyline is really good. It mixes the political, familial, and police aspects really well. 

The characters are introduced and developed very well. Even most of the secondary characters are explained well enough to understand who they are and what their motivations are.

The pace is pretty fast. It's mostly going from one crisis to another with just enough time in there for a kiss here and some love there.

The tension builds very fast and remains right up to the end with the unhappy resolution to the murder.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰✰


What a lovely read! Almost 500 pages of intrigue, secret love, family secrets, government politics, and more. How could I not love this? And just think, each book in this series is like this! And it doesn't end it doesn't end by saying "and now you need to buy my next book to get the rest of the story". No, this isn't a standalone, but it is a complete story. If I never read the next book, I would be okay. But, of course, I did read the next book!

I want to talk about Marie Force's amazingly rich characters. Former Deputy Chief Skip Holland, now retired with a severe disability due to an injury suffered in the line of duty. Skip is Sam's Dad. Her #1 Hero. He sits in a wheelchair and breaths through a tube at night because of a bullet lodged in his neck. He was shot during a normal traffic stop just a few months before his retirement. The bullet can't be removed. He has sensation only in his right index finger. It's still an open case that every detective on the force works on at some time or other. Sam discusses her cases with him. 

Then there is Sam's partner. Frederico Cruz, affectionately known as Freddie. He's as handsome as a model, slim but built like a gym addict. His only addiction seems to be junk food, though. He was raised to respect the church and his mother got him to take a vow of chastity until he was married. So he looks like a walking wet dream, but he's a virgin. And he's always reminding Sam not to take the Lord's name in vain. He's a new detective and he's learning from the best. He's even taking notes. He wears a trench coat to help his image.

And the murder victim. Who was he? Senator John O'Connor. The second son of the Senator from Virginia. Not the one being groomed to take his father's position. No. He's the one who stepped into the position when his big brother screwed up. He's the one who became so popular that the DNC of Virginia was pushing him to run for a second term. Best friend to Nick Cappuano since childhood. They'd shared everything. Except that John O'Connor was a man with many secrets. One of them, at least, was deadly. 


What it's about... 
Fatal Justice

Julian Sinclair comes to town to be considered for a seat on the Supreme Court. He's an old school friend of Nick's and a friend of the O'Connor family. He has very strong views and opinions that will shift things on the Court. When he is killed, his views are thought to be the reason.

Sam is caught up in the domestic case that interrupted her swearing-in ceremony. Clippings about her father's case were found in the apartment of the family involved. It seems the whole police force is out after Clarence Reese because of the connection. But Reese shoots back and Freddie ends up in the hospital.

Then a young man named Tucker is found shot. Tucker was gay. He was a very close friend of Julian Sinclair's estranged nephew. Is there a connection? Can Sam and Nick move fast enough to stop the last killing?

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover reflects the fact that Sam and Nick are now a couple in this book. I always like it when the covers of a series keep up with the story so well.

The storyline is really gritty this time.

The characters are getting deeper into the main characters and the regular secondary characters are becoming quite well developed as well.

The pace is even faster in this book than in the first one. It seems like they almost can't keep up with things this time.

The tension is incredible.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰✰


It blew me away. Both Nick and Sam are hurt in major ways in the car accident. It was a big scene in the book, the whole pursuit, and crash. Then to find out it was totally unrelated to the case. It was gang-related based on their popularity in the press! The Senator was worth more points than the Lieutenant. 

Sam's interaction with LT Stahl actually makes my skin crawl. Ms. Force writes him so sleazy! Every time he comes near her he gets worse! She really should have that office fumigated. But he is bound and determined to get her for hooking up with Nick during the O'Connor case. The fact that it was her ex-husband Peter that exposed their relationship was quite the twist. I love that the author puts things like that in.

There are two other twists in this book. One, I find sort of sad. Clarence Reese is sought by everyone because they think he's connected to Skip's shooting. All this because they've found a box of clippings in a closet in his family's apartment. So with everyone chasing around after him and his wounding Freddie in the dark by accident. Yes, by accident. He knew nothing and blew his own brains out. I find that pretty sad.

The other twist is really twisty and it's the major one. Diandra Sinclair is a wacko and has so brow-beaten her husband, Preston, he'll do anything for her. He kills Tucker. Diandra doesn't want any gays around her family as her new book is ready to launch. It could ruin her politically. But will Preston go that one step further and kill the other young man who is gay? The one in the relationship with Tucker? Tucker's lover. If she could make him kill his own brother and a young man...

But does she realize that Devon, her own son is the other partner in that relationship? What might Preston be driven to do for her? How far has she pushed him?

What it's about... 
Fatal Consequences

This one is all about sex. Nick makes a deal with Sam. If he can give her three orgasms in 30  minutes, then they will set a wedding date. They now have a wedding planner that Sam calls Tinker Bell and plans are going forward for March 26. Yes, this year!

Someone is raping and killing the immigrant women who clean the senate chambers, and they aren't being tidy about it. There's DNA to spare. Then Detective Jeannie McBride is kidnapped and brutally raped as a message to Sam to back off.

Will Nick and Sam be able to set aside all their personal distraction and root out the rot in the capital?  

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover reflects a couple in love. The view of D.C. shows the wider impact of the story with the nighttime shot of the city. 

The storyline is excellent.

The characters are great. The main characters and primary secondaries are getting very well developed at this point. It's getting so that you can pretty well predict what their reactions should be. Not that the author is letting them get predictable, but we are getting to know them as people. Each new character is incorporated well and quickly if they are going to be staying. 

The pace is good. This one is a little slower than the first two, but the type of crime involved is probably the reason. Things are spaced out a bit more.

The tension is in no way slackened because of the pace. Ms. Force has done a great job of keeping us on our toes working out what's going on from incident to incident. 

Writing quality is the key. Ms. Force has mastered the ability to create a scene and move characters through it so well that we aren't aware of it as we read. She draws us in. Remember it's over 500 pages this time. She gives us enough description of locations so that we can see where we are and what the conditions are. Yet she brings the actions and characters alive and moves them through this space effortlessly. Just as easily, she lets us drop into a character's mind and hear what they are thinking or draws back and describes the look on someone's face so well we know exactly what they're thinking without their thoughts.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰✰

Top executives in the government running a prostitution ring using immigrant women who clean the government offices sounds pretty corrupted. But power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. So how unreasonable is it? How high could it go? Selina tells all. All she has to do is stay alive.

Senator Lightfeather might have really loved his mistress, but she was still accepting a lot of money for seeing him and sending it out of the country. And she was pregnant with his child. But his wife didn't appreciate any of it. She wasn't the only wife who didn't like the arrangements. It was time for some Senators to go home and tend to family business.

Family business closer to home takes us to Nick's problems with his dead-beat mother who drops in and takes him for $25,000 and a chunk of his soul. It's hard to give up hope that someone will love you someday. And Sam's ex, Peter, is out of jail. Now they have to worry about the possibility of being blow up again. But Tinker Bell is making lots of progress towards that March 26th date! Freddy gives Elin an ultimatum but it's only he and Mom for dinner. Gonzo wins his paternity suit and then proposes to Christina. That's another tie between the Senator's office and the police station.

The one I worry about is Detective Jeannie McBride. She's now a kidnap and rape survivor. She's refusing counseling at this point. She's not really letting Michael in. He's trying to stay at her side, but I think he realizes that she's holding him at a distance. I fully expect her problems to blow up in another book. She and Sam are friendly, so Sam will definitely be involved. But Jeannie's not in a good place right now and it really worries me.

2133 wc 
Forbidden
Deep Connections, #3
Sierra Kincade
Self-Pub, 
Kindle
Nov 14, 2017, release date
Only available in Digital format at this time
Genre(s) Contemporary Romance, New Release
Source Author's rep

Other books in this series 

Forsaken #1, Forgotten #2

My Disclaimer:
I was provided an ARC of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... 

Everyone has secrets, but the Talent family maybe more so that others. Mom died to support Dad's position with the Vegas mob. Then Elaina took over running Dad's club and running the drugs for the mob.

Now Elaina's running for her life. She trusted the wrong person and now the mob's after her and any family members of hers they can find. 

Garrett isn't sure if he can trust Elaina. But she's in rough shape and there's something about her that gets to him. He has to be very careful though because he knows too many of her family secrets to be careless.  

Technical Tidbits...  
The ARC I was sent had no cover. So after I read the book, I went looking for the cover. The cover is appealing for a contemporary romance and goes well with the two previous books. However, it has nothing to do with this book.

The storyline is good. I haven't read the two previous books, but it was really easy to pick up the overarching storyline in this book.

The characters were well developed. The author didn't go into the ones from the first two books, but the two main characters in this book were well done. Some of it was done from getting into their heads and some from their conversations.  

The pace was pretty fast. They did have to take time out for sex.

The tension built to a screaming pitch!

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰⭒


Let's start with the cover, shall we? That's what attracts me to a book, to begin with. You're looking along the shelf and it catches your eye. The cover has to catch your eye. This one certainly catches the eye all right, but it has nothing to do with this story. Unless we are supposed to imagine this is what Elaina looks like when she is at her club. I don't think so. In the book, Elaina has a mop of curls. They drive her crazy and Garrett loves them! Of course. Her sister has provided some clothes for her from the closest Wal-Mart, so she's wearing "granny panties", denim shorts, t-shirts, and no make-up.

This is a woman who hasn't felt a thing with a man for years. She's a stripper and a topless dancer and she owns the club. In Vegas. She's had to be hard. She's buried her feelings so deep she hasn't seen them in years. But "granny panties" or not, with Garrett, she starts to feel like a woman again. She starts to feel desire and to understand the difference between love and power (lust). She starts to open up to him and allows herself to be vulnerable.

Garrett has PTSD from his tours in Afghanistan, from things he was forced to do while he was there serving as a medic. Elaina really gets to him. They talk and she helps him open up, release some of the pain, talk some of it out. He finds he can laugh again with her. She makes him feel again, maybe love again.

I got to care about these people through the course of the story, to want them to stop hurting and to overcome their problems. Sierra Kincade really writes good characters and draws you in with the emotions she gives those characters.

Suggest you read the first two books first, but the third book is good all by itself!

675 wc

Mistress of Masks
Catalysts of Chaos Series, #1
C. Greenwood
Self-Pub, May 2014
Kindle, 279 Pages
Also available in paperback
Genre(s) YA Fantasy
Source Author

Other books in this series 

Betrayer of Blood #2, Summoner of Storms #3, Clash of Catalysts #4

My Disclaimer:
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... 

Rathnakar, the dark sorcerer, has escaped his tomb. 

The First Mother chooses three champions. Eydis wants to live a contemplative life quietly tucked away in a convent. Orrick of Kroad is known as the traitor of his people. Geveral is a dryad mage who has little control of his seemingly small powers and no training.

This is Eydis' story.

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is done by Michael Gauss and is wonderful artwork, as the author chose for her Legends of Dimmingwood series.

The storyline is a bit weak with the characters playing through it like puppets controlled by a puppetmaster rather than characters in a story.

The characters strings are all too visible. They are too obviously being controlled by the hand of a greater power.

The pace is pretty fast. As usual, Ms. Greenwood's characters go swiftly from crisis to crisis. 

The tension is the type you feel when someone just keeps pulling on the connection to keep things going and keeping things tight. You know you are rushing towards something significant, so you can't help but be caught up in the strain of it.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰


There is such a difference between The Legends of Dimmingwood series and this one, that I immediately classified this as a YA book. It was just written in simpler language. There is an innocence about it. But such a contradiction, it is longer than most of the other books in either series!

Even though this is Eydis' story, we actually get to know very little about her. Well, she had planned on a life almost like that of a nun. A quiet life withdrawn from society, a disciplined life. Now, she has the gift of life and creates masks on peoples faces. Once out of the box, can you really go back? I think not. And neither does Eydis. She has this gift, the gift of life, that she feels she should use. But she wants to learn about it and there just isn't a whole lot of time to do that. How will she know how to use it or when to use it if no one tells her or trains her? Why do they always say, "You'll know when the time comes"?

And this ability to mask people is fun and really cool. She can mask herself. Or she can mask someone else. And leaves decorative lines all over their faces to show that the masks have been there. They're very subtle so not just anyone can see them.

And, it seemed that at one point, Eydis could see someone's death. When she created the mask for Fenric at their parting, she saw his death by stabbing. She had never had such a vision before. It was the only such vision she had in the book. It was not explained, nor was it really discussed with anyone who could explain it. I'm hoping that at some point Eydis runs into someone who can answer some of her questions. And mine. Or that the First Mother continues to communicate with her.

The best part of the whole book was when we first meet Eydis. She has come to the Pool of Tears to receive guidance from the First Mother. Eydis steps into the pool with a clear mind and open heart and is first transported to speak with the Head Hearer of the seclusionary that she wanted to join. Then she is witness to a conversation between the Raven King and his functionary. Next, she is drowning. But she isn't. She is listening to a voice. A voice she hears in her head that is telling her the secrets of life and death and the whole universe. The voice of the First Mother. Suddenly the Guardians of the pool are grasping her and breathing into her because she really is drowning. But Eydis needs to share what she has been told by the voice of the First Mother with the Oracle because the First Mother told her about the end of the world. And Eeydis had to stop it. This takes two chapters to cover and it is the primo part of the book. The writing in these two chapters is fabulous and you feel everything along with Eydis.

The fact that this is Eydis' story doesn't mean that she is the only one we meet. We actually meet all three of the catalysts here. But we delve into her magic more and see more of her journey in this book. She is the one that gathers the other two and starts them all on their great task.

But who is this puppetmaster? Who is the one guiding them and what is it he is ultimately after? The treasury of stones Eydis carries from the defeated seclusionary. What is their significance? What will they really lead the sorcerer to? 

And while this book has almost 300 pages in it, the rest of the books all have less than 200 pages each. I'm not a fan of short stories. I like big books. Really. I'd rather sit and read 400-500 pages of riveting fantasy than four separate short books that to me are more like novellas. When I look at books in a store, I look for covers and size. Then I read the synopsis. After that, I open the book and read some of the dialogue anywhere in the book to see if it's intelligent. I need to get better about checking out those things when I buy e-books. My suggestion for this series is to sell it in a bundle. And I notice that Amazon has done just that. Recommend.

1054 wc