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No Way Out (Mafia Elite, book 1) by Amy McKinley – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

No Way Out (Mafia Elite, #1)No Way Out by Amy McKinley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

No Way Out is a great start to a new series, which is no surprise. Amy McKinley knocks it out of the park with each new series. I am already hooked and cannot wait to go on to book 2 and see what this series has in store. This book is action packed, with a good balance of romance, and keeps us guessing. I kept waiting for Max to turn out to have some dark past, and was worried to like him too much. But the story is perfect, and had a big screw you to the “bad guys” and has a huge reveal that makes the match between Max and Liliana that much more perfect. I love McKinley’s characters, because the women are always strong tough women, who don’t need to rely on the men in their lives. I love Liliana and her friends stick up for each other, and take care of business attitudes. I hope they each get their own story in the series! Highly recommend this book, and cannot wait for the next book.

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Notebook Mysteries ~ Decisions and Possibilities by Kimberly Mullins – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

Decisions and Possibilities (Notebook Mysteries #2)Decisions and Possibilities by Kimberly Mullins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Notebook Mysteries- Decisions and Possibilities was ah-mazing! I was instantly draw in from the cover art alone, I didn’t really even read the synopsis. This book is the second in the series, and I did not read the first one, but I really want to. It can be enjoyed as a stand alone, and I hope there is another book after this, because I must know what happens next for Emma and Jeremy! Emma is such a great character, ahead of her time. She is a young woman in 1880s Chicago, in a time when women have low expectations. She is brilliant and has the drive to go to college, and work alongside men. Her family is fascinating and I would like to know more about them. The book is action packed, moving from one case to the next. They weren’t really related, except to show us how awesome Emma is, and display her networking. But it wasn’t unorganized or chaotic, the story worked. It ended too abruptly for me, but I really enjoyed it. Unlike any other book I have read.

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SPOOKED BY A SUSPICION by Risa Nyman – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

Spooked by a SuspicionSpooked by a Suspicion by Risa Nyman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While Spooked by a Suspicion is not advertised as a sequel, it follows Swallowed by a Secret. They could be read and enjoyed independently, but both are good books, so you should just read them. Despite this book being targeted to children readers (likely middle school age), I enjoyed it as an adult. I enjoyed the first book, so I was happy to hear there was a second book, so we could see more into Rocky’s life. This book centers around a difficult issue kids may encounter, but in a humorous way. Rocky’s mom drops the bomb that she is seeing someone new, and they plan to get married. Rocky didn’t even know they were officially dating, so this was a shock to him. Shortly after the announcement, strange things start to happen. Rocky is very imaginative, and comes to the conclusion his mom’s boyfriend is the cause of these things, and takes it upon himself to stop him. These things range from serious, a sports injury, to funny, being pooped on by a bird. Poor Rocky! We are led through a series of twists and turns on his summer vacation, and it teaches kids some life lessons in an entertaining way. I love the story and Risa Nyman’s style. The characters are all very fun and realistic, and can be enjoyed by all ages.

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TAINTED by Marsha R. West – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

TAINTEDTAINTED by Marsha R. West
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tainted is the first book I have read by Marsha West, and I would read more in the future. While I am not 100% sold on the writing style (too much dialogue and the mother/daughter relationship was too lovey dovey), I really enjoyed the book. The story is unique, and the characters are well written. It is a romantic suspense centered around starting over when your world comes crashing down around you. Liz Hartman is left picking up the pieces and trying to restart her life as a middle age woman, after her husband (now ex) is arrested and sent to federal prison for money laundering. Even from prison, he seems to find a way to torment and harass her.
She is constantly getting questioning stares, as everyone assumes she had to have been involved in the scheme. She wants nothing more than a clean slate, but struggles with the idea of walking away from her home to start over. Lucky for her, she has two homes. She has visited a little town in New Mexico annually, her whole life. Maybe this is the perfect place to build a new home. To help things along, the Marshall in town is her high school sweet heart. Can they rekindle their romance 20+ years later?

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So Close (Love Grows Series Book 4) by Renee Regent – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

So Close (Love Grows #4)So Close by Renee Regent
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So Close is the 4th book in Renee Regent’s Love Grows series, but the first one I have read. It is for sure a stand alone book, and worth the read. It sounds like the first book has over lapping characters, so I look forward to reading that next. The story alternates narrators, back and forth between the main 2 characters. Dahlia and Levi were best friends as kids, then had a big falling out. They hadn’t talked in 7 years, and now have to work side by side for a huge project for them both. Things will go really good, or really badly. Both are nervous to have to work together, and Dahlia has a lot on the line. She just got a big promotion at work, and is trying to prove herself. She doesn’t want her personal life’s drama spread at work. And as much as she misses Levi, she holds a major grudge. Can Levi crack through her ice exterior, and get back his best friend and love of his life? Read the book and see!

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Hairballs and Homicide (Kitty Beret Café Mysteries Book 1) by Ruth J. Hartman – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

Hairballs and HomicideHairballs and Homicide by Ruth J. Hartman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hairballs and Homicide drew me in just from the title. The book cover is cute, not intense, so I knew it would be a light hearted mystery. I am glad I took a chance, because this book was great. It was a little cheesy at the end, but it was funny throughout and kept me engaged wondering who the murderer was going to be. The biggest downfall, is I now want to adopt ALL THE KITTIES! I wish this café was in my hometown so I could go and love on all the cats, and people watch all the quirky people that hang out there. I love that the author gave each cat a name and personality, as well as all the café patrons. We got to know several of the townsfolk, and that was fun. Ellie is also such a fun personality, and I hope she has a steamy relationship with Detective Simon in the next book. I look forward to reading more by Ruth Hartman.

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HOLD ME FOREVER (HERON HARBOR Book 3) by LEA NOLAN – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

Hold Me ForeverHold Me Forever by Lea Nolan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hold Me Forever is part of the Heron Harbor series, but is a stand alone book. It is the first I have read, and it seems each book focuses on one Donovan sister. This book focuses on Lark, the free spirited artist sister. I will likely go back and read the other 2, because I enjoyed this book. The characters have very well written and realistic personalities and the supporting characters seem to as well. The story is told in 3rd person, but with a back and forth focus on either Lark or Hunter. This worked well because it told us about each of their feelings and perspective, but did not have to wait for the next chapter, like most books that alternate POV. There were a couple things I didn’t like in the story. I didn’t quite understand why Lark kept her relationship with Hunter a secret. Seems like she was really close with her sisters, but kept a 2 year relationship and engagement a secret… Also, there seemed to be a lot of messed up childhoods, and it got to be somewhat depressing at points. Parents that died, absent fathers, lying parents, abandoned kids… seemed like everyone who grew up in Heron Harbor had a bad homelife. Beyond that though, it was a good story and I would read more by Lea Nolan.

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Flirting with my Enemy (Love is a Mystery Book 1) by Laura Burton – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

Flirting with my Enemy: A Sweet Romantic Comedy (Love is a Mystery #1)Flirting with my Enemy: A Sweet Romantic Comedy by Laura Burton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Flirting with my Enemy was a cute, though predictable, romantic comedy book by Laura Burton. It was a bit cheesy at times, but I enjoyed it, and will likely read the next book in the series. The book follows Elle and Zane, who own bakeries next door to each other. Zane is rich and British, and trying to buy Elle’s bakery. Elle is not sure if he is sincere in his offerings, or try to sabotage her and run her out of business. She is struggling between love and hate, and it is a very fine line. He is quite the charmer, but she isn’t sure if she can trust him. Elle is a bit of a hot mess, but her character is sweet. The flirting with the enemy portion of the book was entertaining, and it had a twist ending. I did not see that coming, but it was a good twist. The ending was a bit over the top, but perfect, considering what we had seen of Zane. Overall, it was an enjoyable book.

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Sinful Daughter (Dark Mafia Sins Book 1) by Emily Bowie – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

Sinful DaughterSinful Daughter by Emily Bowie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sinful Daughter sucked me in before I even started reading it! The description sounded like it would be a really good intense story, and that is exactly how I would describe it. I haven’t read anything by Emily Bowie before, but I hope this turns into a whole series, because I am hooked. Before the story begins, we are given an outline of the characters and family tree. I found this pretty helpful, to get an introduction to the characters and get a feel for the families. There are 2 main mafia families (Rossis and Mancinis) in this story, and the cops either workings for them, or trying to bring them down. The story bounces back and forth between Theo and Aria’s perspective, which I really enjoyed. It let us get a feeling for the main characters. This book is packed full of danger, drama, romance, and all the feels. The romance is pretty detailed and intense, so for mature audiences only. I cannot wait to read more in this series, and highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romantic books and mafia thrill.

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BOY RELEASED (BOY SERIES BOOK 2) by JD Spero – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

Boy ReleasedBoy Released by J.D. Spero
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Boy Released is the follow-up to J.D Spero’s Boy on Hold (and likely will not make sense if you didn’t read book 1). The story takes place 10 years later, when Tyler is released from psychiatric rehab. I had a hard time understanding the purpose of the book for the first half, then it all came together as to how it relates to the first book. Similar to the first book, I don’t feel like Hen acts his age- supposed to be 17 but is horrified by normal teen boy behavior. Perhaps what he went through as a child stunted his maturity… I’m not sure. But its not enough of an issue to withhold enjoyment in reading this story. While the book is told from the perspective of Marcella and Hen Trout, the story really is more of Tyler’s story. His actions and mental health are the reason for the story to be told. I loved the ending, and think it was perfect. If you enjoyed Boy on Hold, you should read Boy Released- it finishes the story and gives us, as the reader, resolution.

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Reviewed by @way2gosmartguy