Posts

Perilous Confessions (The Possession Chronicles Book 1) by Carrie Dalby – Review by Maura Harper

Perilous Confessions (The Possession Chronicles Book 1)Perilous Confessions by Carrie Dalby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I did not read the full title of this book before diving in. Only after reading it did I see that it is “Southern Gothic” that was a new phrase to me, so I had to look it up… As described in the “Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature” – “Southern Gothic is a mode or genre prevalent in literature from the early 19th century to this day. Characteristics of Southern Gothic include the presence of irrational, horrific, and transgressive thoughts, desires, and impulses; grotesque characters; dark humor, and an overall angst-ridden sense of alienation.”

I am not a fan of “historical romance” because typically it’s all lords and ladies and the degradation of women (in the most subtle ways). “Southern Gothic” might be the way for me to get around my lackadaisical reaction to the genre.

This was a multi-layered story that built upon itself as the story unfolded. There is great world-building and character development. Each character was well explained in their role and certain characters (I’m looking at you, Opal) morphed as the story continued. It is dark and dense in it’s telling. It is also extremely detailed and I could visualize the clothing worn and the looks given.

While it’s still not my favorite genre, it gave me a new appreciation of the style.

Review by @mauraharper

View all my reviews

A Christmas Wish (A Manhattan Dream) by Engy Neville – Review by Maura Harper

A Christmas WishA Christmas Wish by Engy Neville
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A CHRISTMAS WISH is (obviously) a holiday story filled with dreams and wishes.

The story starts at The Hamptons with a fun-filled vacation and ends in the cold Manhattan winter. The times in between Summer and Winter allowed for the characters to work out some stuff and have a few “adventures” along the way.

I always feel bad when a book just isn’t my cup of tea and this is one of them. I never connected with any of the characters and felt like situations were written to make what could have been a lovely short story into a full length novel. There were so many cliches that I found myself wanting to roll my eyes often.

Here is what I did like about the book:

The meet cute – I enjoyed the fact that the female protagonist could experience such joy
Friendships – Every female should have a friend who always has her back
Amy’s love of her job – I wish everyone got as much joy out of their job as she did at the beginning of the story
Closed door sexy times – It was refreshing not to have a front row seat for every encounter

I always appreciate the fact that an author works so hard to bring their words to the page. Just because this book wasn’t for me, doesn’t mean it’s not the perfect book for you.

Review by @mauraharper

View all my reviews

Building Storm: (A Hawke Family Novel) (The Hawke Family Book 4) by Gwyn McNamee – Review by Maura Harper

Building Storm: (A Hawke Family Novel) (The Hawke Family Book 4)Building Storm: (A Hawke Family Novel) by Gwyn McNamee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BUILDING STORM is the fourth book in the “Hawke Family Series” and I reread the series before beginning this story. Oh my gosh, they are all amazing!! I think in order to do Storm justice, you should read them in order.

From beginning to end, this epic family drama continues to add layer upon layer of amazing goodness. I have felt every feeling from joy to sadness to frustration and complete satisfaction of a story/series well written.

Twists and turns and intrigue fill the pages of this beautiful story. From beginning to end this book (and series) held my attention. I have definitely put it on my TBRA (to be read again) list.

I absolutely recommend this story, this series and this fantastic author.

Review by @mauraharper

View all my reviews

Bad Things Happen: Gripping Psychological Suspense (Ashes to Ashes Book 1) by Rowena Holloway – Review by Maura Harper

Bad Things Happen (Ashes to Ashes, #1)Bad Things Happen by Rowena Holloway
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of those books that starts out strong and incredibly visual. BAD THINGS HAPPEN opens with a breathless car chase and the story continues to be full of twists and turns and quick manuevers.

Told in alternating POVs, the story goes from present to past and back again. It took a bit to get used to reading and I had to read the chapter headings to not only see the WHO but also the WHEN. It is a very detailed story and while I “skimmed” at times, the story kept me engaged from beginning to end. The characters are plentiful and I still have questions which I hope are answered in future stories.

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I look forward to reading more.

Review by @mauraharper

View all my reviews

The Way You Are (Carolina Connections Book 5) by Sylvie Stewart – Review by Maura Harper

The Way You Are (The Carolina Connections, #5)The Way You Are by Sylvie Stewart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the fifth book in the “Carolina Connections” series and can absolutely be read as a stand-alone.

As with the other stories in this series, THE WAY YOU ARE is a classic rom-com. The story has a great group of friends, romance,new beginnings, and a dog that is almost bigger than the MC.

This is a quick story with a smart woman, a not “classically alpha guy”, a couple of ball players, and a character who (like me) is obsessed with Olivia Newton John.

I absolutely recommend this author, this books and this series.

Review by Maura Harper
View all my reviews

The Future Memoir of Ann Jones: A Time Travel Romance with a Splash of Magic by Alex Bailey – Review by Maura Harper

The Future Memoir of Ann Jones: A Time Travel Romance with a Splash of MagicThe Future Memoir of Ann Jones: A Time Travel Romance with a Splash of Magic by Alex Bailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hmm I want to write a review that does this book justice, yet reveals nothing that might be a spoiler.

I went into this story “blind”. I did not read the blurb, I did not read reviews, I didn’t even know the genre. Honestly, based on the cover I thought it was a “cozy mystery” (it is not).

This is the story of “Ann, queen of the eternally-freshly-coiffed-dos” who moved to a (name of town changed to protect the innocent… hehe) for a fresh start. It is told in third person “to make it a little easier on you to read”.

The story is extremely detailed and while I enjoyed reading it, I must confess to skipping ahead because I had no clue what was going to happen.

There is a very clear beginning, middle, and end. The story had me chuckling, shrugging my shoulders in wonder, and gave me the occasional jaw drop.

This is one of those books that I enjoyed but wouldn’t be able to explain why in less than a full recap.

Much like the author, I am also a fan of the Oxford Comma so I will recommend it based on that alone :).

Review by @mauraharper

View all my reviews

The Lies We Tell by Brittany Butler – Review by Maura Harper

The Lies We TellThe Lies We Tell by Brittany Butler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“There is no room for your past when you have a new future.”

“The past doesn’t matter… It is just a part of the lies we tell”

“He ages like fine wine. I, on the other hand, age with Botox.”

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and it was almost like a “blind date” read because the blurb is so vague (I really like the blurb doesn’t explain the whole book). THE LIES WE TELL focuses on one main character with three very important secondary characters who move the story along. It is told in single POV in past and present tense. While tense is always mentioned at the beginning of a new chapter, there were times when I didn’t know whose past we were going to be reading about – or what timeframe. I had to slow down and pay attention so I would know who I was reading about.

It is a well thought out story and I was surprised by the weight of the story. This book isn’t all fluff and romance. There are certain times in the story that I wanted to throw my Kindle against the wall because I did not like what was going on and there were times I wanted to shake them all and tell them to move along and don’t look back. In the end, this was a satisfying read.

I give THE LIES WE TELL 4 super solid stars.

Review by @mauraharper

View all my reviews

Surviving Jordan (Surviving Series Book 3) by Virginia Wine – Review by Maura Harper

Surviving Jordan (Surviving Series Book 3)Surviving Jordan by Virginia Wine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third book in the “Surving Series”. I’ve read each one in order and I think it would be difficult to follow if you weren’t aware of the continuing threads.

SURVIVING JORDAN gives us a few answers to questions that developed in the first two books. PHEW!!! I still have a few questions but am hoping that Steel gets his own story and everything becomes clear.

SURVIVING JORDAN is more suspense than romance. There is lots of action that propels one to quickly turn the pages to find out what is going to happen next. It kept me engaged in the story, even at times when it seemed to be “too much”.

SURVIVING JORDAN features some fantastically strong women who can definitely kick some butt. The men and wen are written in equal strength and the story was an enjoyable read.

Review by @mauraharper

View all my reviews

Heart of a Hunk: A Limited-Edition Collection of Bad Boy, Billionaire and Hunky Romance Heroes – Review by Maura Harper

Heart of a Hunk: A Limited-Edition Collection of Bad Boy, Billionaire and Hunky Romance HeroesHeart of a Hunk: A Limited-Edition Collection of Bad Boy, Billionaire and Hunky Romance Heroes by Nicole Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the things I really enjoy about anthologies is that typically the stories are short and sweet which allows me to pick up and put it down reading a few stories at a time.

The Heart of a Hero Anthology has some really fantastic stories in it, some from authors I’ve read before and others are new to me. This anthology contains an eclectic group of stories and I like the fact that some are complete stories with a beginning, middle and end while others are a ‘scene” out of a much more developed novel (or at least that is how it appears).

For Example:

A Kiss Under a Blue Christmas Moon by Tamra Ferguson is set in Crystal Rock which is a location for this author’s “Wounded Warrior” series. It’s like going home again to a cozy, safe space. Characters are like old friends and the holidays bring warmth and joy.

Foxxy Christmas by Allyson R Abbot is a quick read full of many layers. The way this author can write about a simple stare and put such movement into it is such a talent. This is a story with romance and suspense. It’s a complete story in a few pages and I NEED MORE.

In addition to “traditional” stories, there are tales of shifters and magic and “escorts”. A great mix of stories.

Review by @mauraharper

View all my reviews

Surviving the Storm (Surviving Series Book 2) by Virginia Wine – Review by Maura Harper

Surviving the Storm (Surviving Series Book 2)Surviving the Storm by Virginia Wine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoy the writing style of this author. The chapters are “normal” length and they are broken up with alternating POV or subject change in quick order. It’s a fast great way to read.

This is book 2 in a series and I think it would be best to read the series in order. There are relationships from the first story that continue here and I think it would be more enjoyable to read in order.

The characters continue to develop as the story unfolds. There is a bit of suspense and some twists and turns. The open door sex scenes are easy to skim.

The story held my interest. I will absolutely continue to read the series. I look forward to reading more about of Steel and Gage and the other characters too.

Review by @mauraharper

View all my reviews