Search Results for: unmask me if you can

Unmask Me If You Can by Shana Galen

Unmask Me If You Can by Shana Galen
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (337 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Bluet

This masked lord…
Lord Jasper, younger son of a marquess, suffered horrible burns fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. He wears a mask to hide his face from the stares and screams and finds comfort in the shadows. Jasper is an exceptional bounty hunter, so when a woman summons him to her deathbed and asks him to find her runaway daughter before she passes away, he doesn’t refuse. Jasper is close to his quarry when he’s knifed by an assailant. Imagine his surprise when he regains consciousness in the arms of the woman he seeks. Except she’s not at all what he expected.

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On a remote cliff on the sea, Olivia Carlisle calls her five-year-old son in from an approaching storm. But the little boy is more interested in the man he’s found on the trail to their hidden cottage. Olivia fears men and wants nothing more than to leave the injured man where she found him. But his knife wound is severe, and with the approaching storm, she knows leaving him will condemn him to death. As Jasper begins to heal, Olivia acknowledges her attraction to him, even though such emotions terrify her almost as much as returning to London. Jasper must convince her that her only chance at safety is to challenge the man who pursues her. They must travel into the lion’s den—he to face his vulnerability and she to face her worst fears.

I had a suspicion from meeting the hero, Jasper, in previous books of The Survivors series, that I was going to love his story, and I was so right! Draven’s Dozen is a group of soldiers who were survivors of the original thirty man suicide squad who took on dangerous missions with little expectation of returning alive. Jasper’s heroic actions caused part of his face to be burned and scarred, and he now wears a mask to avoid horrifying people he meets. Though he’s nobility, he now makes a living by hiring himself out as a bounty hunter, or a finder of lost things.

Five years ago, Olivia Carlisle fled an arranged engagement to the vile Duke of Withernsea, and no one has been able to track her down. Olivia’s father hires Jasper, sure that if anyone can locate his lost daughter, it’s him. Jasper is almost to Olivia’s door, when an unexpected attack leaves him near to death. Though Olivia’s prior experience has left her with no love for men, her conscience won’t allow her to leave Jasper to perish. She manages to bring him into her cottage and slowly nurse him back to health. Olivia is living (hiding) in a remote location, so while Jasper recovers, his only company is Oliva and her young son, Richard.

I love the forced intimacy between these two wounded people, who have both built up substantial walls for their own protection. Jasper is one of the most honorable of men, and in addition to his physical scars, he is bearing survivor’s guilt. My heart broke for him, and how he decided that he was not worthy of being loved. Olivia suffered trauma at the hands of her fiancé, and made the decision that living anonymously and without wealth was better than being married to a true monster.

Little by little, the walls start to come down, and trust starts to build between this unlikely couple. The attraction between them literally jumps off the pages. I especially enjoyed seeing Olivia, who has never known physical pleasure finally experience it. I loved seeing Jasper feel accepted, and able to show his face to both Olivia and her son.

Jasper convinces Olivia to return home, assuring her of his protection, and she doesn’t doubt him. But she is still officially engaged, and her fiancé has every intention of having her back in his power. There is also another unexpected villain, one who is determined to keep Olivia and Jasper apart. Unmask Me If You Can is a breathtaking and passionate romance that held me captive all the way through. The treachery and uncertainty kept me on the edge of my seat. I adore how Jasper and Olivia manage to find all the acceptance and genuine love they need with each other. The strong writing and heart touching emotion makes Unmask Me If You Can one of my favorite books of this year.

Don’t Mess with Gracie by Carol Kilgore – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Carol Kilgore will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The mysterious Mr. Ott is trying to intimidate Gracie Hofner into being his internal spy at The Bastion Group. She’s learned a lot about him through several sources, even using information provided by the pair of ghosts trying to save their granddaughter. But it isn’t enough. Mr. Ott is an expert in hiding his true identity.

Gracie isn’t as worried for herself as she is for her family, her friends, and her new tenant, Milo Porter. Her feelings for him have grown, but she can’t show them. Mr. Ott’s threats involve those she loves, and one friend has already been killed. Besides, she’s certain there is someone else in Milo’s life.

It takes Gracie and her growing support team to unmask Mr. Ott, but it’s what Gracie learns along the way that shows readers the wisdom of the advice Don’t Mess with Gracie.

This is the conclusion to The Amazing Gracie Trilogy—a story so big it takes three books to tell it. Gracie’s adventures begin with Jalapeno Cupcake Wench, continue with Bluebonnet Ballerina, and conclude here.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

“Oh, crap.”

Gracie Hofner had reached up to grab a box filled with paint supplies, but in the process of pulling it off the upper shelf, she sneezed. When she did, she pulled the box out from the shelf and downward. As its contents tumbled toward her, she tilted backward on the ladder, losing her balance. As best she could, she shielded her head and neck. She would strike the concrete floor of her garage any second.

Two strong hands grasped her shoulders. “I got you.”

Her feet hit the floor. The ladder crashed. She still held onto the now-empty box.

“I got you,” repeated in her ear. Softer this time.

Gracie recognized the voice. Milo Porter, her new tenant. She slumped against him and breathed out through her mouth to release some of the adrenaline.

Milo was stronger than she’d given him credit for. His hands were firm, and the muscles in his chest supported her hefty farm-girl bones and workout muscles without a problem. He smelled good, too.

His arms went around her shoulders. “Are you all right?”

Gracie nodded, not yet trusting herself to speak without sounding like a babbling idiot. She took another deep breath and released it before taking a step away and standing straight. Her insides still trembled, so she inched around to face him. He allowed her to turn, but his hands never left her shoulders.

About the Author:

Carol Kilgore is the award-winning author of the three books in The Amazing Gracie Trilogy: Jalapeno Cupcake Wench, Bluebonnet Ballerina, and Don’t Mess with Gracie.

In addition, she is the author of In Name Only, Solomon’s Compass, and Secrets of Honor, three standalone romantic suspense novels set along the Texas Gulf Coast.

She and her husband live in San Antonio, the setting for the Amazing Gracie books, with two quirky herding dogs who still require help opening the food bin and the door.

You can learn more about Carol by visiting her website and subscribing to her newsletter or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page

Carol is a member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.

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A Merciful Fate by Kendra Elliot – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kendra Elliot who is celebrating the recent release of A Merciful Fate. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card and a digital copy of the book.

Raised by preppers, survivalist and FBI agent Mercy Kilpatrick has a deep-rooted need for a safe place. Her getaway in the Cascade Foothills is her secret. But when skeletal remains are unearthed—those of a murdered man linked to a notorious heist—Mercy realizes she isn’t the only one with something to hide.

Thirty years ago, an armored-car robbery turned deadly. The mastermind was captured. Four conspirators vanished with a fortune. One of them, it appears, never made it out of the woods alive. For Mercy and her fiancé, Police Chief Truman Daly, their investigation opens old wounds in Eagle’s Nest that cut deeper than they imagined. Especially when a reckless tabloid reporter draws fresh blood. It’s clear to Mercy that somebody in this close-knit community is not who they seem to be.

Some are still shattered by the heist. Some still have reason to be afraid. But which one will kill again and again to hide three decades of secrets? To land this case, it’s up to Mercy to unmask a familiar stranger before someone else dies.

Enjoy an Exclusive Excerpt

“I haven’t told you everything.” Sandy’s voice shook.

Bree took her hand and squeezed. “Talk away.”

Comfort flowed from her friend’s hand. “You know he physically abused me. I told you how I had to sneak away and change my name.”


The care in Bree’s gaze nearly undid her. “You don’t know how bad it was … It wasn’t just the physical stuff. It was mental and emotional too.”

“Of course it was,” Bree said gently. “They go hand in hand.”

“I had no money. He wouldn’t let me work. He gave me some cash at the beginning of every month and that was to buy all our groceries and anything else the house needed.” The words spilled out of her. She’d opened a gate that’d been locked for a decade. “I knew how to stretch every dollar. I planted a garden to make the grocery money last longer. I traded with neighbors for fruit from their trees and firewood for heat. When he realized this, he cut the cash back more because I clearly didn’t need it. It wasn’t about the lack of money—not completely. It was the mental abuse. Everything was my fault. The reason he couldn’t give me more money was my fault. The reason the meals were never tasty enough was my fault. The reason he had to work was my fault. Nothing was ever good enough.”

“That’s horrible.”

“I was stuck. I didn’t know how to leave. He wanted children … I never understood how he could be so disgusted with me but also want children from me.” Her heart pounded. “Of course it was my fault I never got pregnant. I got birth control. I might not have been able to do anything else, but you can be damned certain I would do anything to keep from having his child. I guarded those pills with my life. I had nightmares that he’d find my hiding spot and beat me, throw out the pills.” Revulsion racked her.

“Oh, Sandy.” Bree looked ready to cry.

“His mission was to keep me down. If I was under his foot, it supported his ego. He felt strong and powerful.” She laughed. “I can see it so clearly now. I look back and can’t understand why I married him in the first place.”

“But you told me that he wined and dined you at first. Bought you flowers and jewelry.”

“I was so stupid.”

“You were young. He sounded like a dream.”

“In a way he was. He was older and mature. His truck was new, and he took me to the nicest restaurants. But it all stopped once we got married … It didn’t just stop, it turned 180 degrees.”

Bree leaned closer. “I think you’re letting your memories take control of your thoughts. Yes, something bad has happened recently, but you don’t know that it’s him. It’s understandable that you’re thinking that way, but you need to take a step back and look at the situation rationally.”

Bree made sense.

Am I expecting the worst?

Terror swept through her. “No. I know it’s him.”

“But Sandy…” Bree didn’t finish. Instead she set down her coffee and added her other hand to the one gripping Sandy’s. “My vandalism is directed at me. I know it. It can’t be your ex harassing me.” Her tone was flat again. “I told you about the big X on my truck door … That’s personal.”

“Who would make it personal to both of us?” Sandy asked. She’s holding back. “I feel like you’re not telling me something.”

Bree said nothing, her two hands still tight on Sandy’s one.

A chill settled on her skin. Even in the warm sun, goose bumps rose on her arms. “Do you know who did this, Bree?” Her voice cracked.

Her best friend was silent, a mental struggle reflected in her eyes. She finally spoke. “I have some suspicions.”

“Did you tell the police? Because Truman was stumped today. I don’t think he has any leads.”

“It’s too far-fetched.” Bree gave a weak smile. “My memories are running away with my thoughts too.”

“Tell me,” Sandy ordered. “I’ve told you everything. You know how I had to pull myself up. Lionel destroyed my self-worth. How can yours be worse than mine? The police deserve to know … I deserve to know. Whoever is doing this is trying to tear me down again.” Anger was red hot on her tongue. “He’s in for a surprise. I’m not the powerless person I used to be. I will fight back with everything I’ve got because I deserve better. I never believed that when I was married. I thought I deserved what I had—but now I know I’m worth it.”

“You have come so far,” Bree told her, her dark gaze holding Sandy’s. “You are the strongest woman I know. You put yourself back together and became the type of person I wish I was. You have no idea how much I admire and envy your backbone.”

She’s not going to tell me. I never thought I’d see the day she let me down.

“Give me a few days. I’m going to look into a few things.” Bree took a deep breath. “I want to make sure I’m not crazy first before I tell the police my suspicions.”

“I might be out of business by then.” Truth.

“You’ve got to trust me on this, Sandy.” Her eyes pleaded for understanding.

I don’t understand.

Bree’s head jerked as her gaze shot to the far side of the park. “Did you see that truck?”

Sandy looked in time to catch a flash of red. “The red one?”



“I swear I’ve seen it five times in the last two days.”

Sandy frowned. “A lot of people around here drive red trucks.” She studied her friend, who appeared sincerely rattled. “Is this part of our minds running away with our thoughts?”

Bree’s laugh was feeble. “I think you’re right. I’ve been looking over my shoulder for a while now.”

“You’re not the only one,” admitted Sandy. “My neck is sore from looking behind me.” She stood and tossed her empty coffee cup in the garbage can at the end of their bench. “I think we need something stronger than coffee.”

“I’m with you.”

About the Author Kendra Elliot has landed on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list multiple times and is the award-winning author of the Bone Secrets and Callahan & McLane series, as well as the Mercy Kilpatrick novels: A Merciful Death, A Merciful Truth, and A Merciful Secret. Kendra is a three-time winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award, an International Thriller Writers finalist, and an RT Award finalist. She has always been a voracious reader, cutting her teeth on classic female heroines such as Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Laura Ingalls. She was born, raised, and still lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest with her husband and three daughters, but she looks forward to the day she can live in flip-flops. Visit her at

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The Lady’s Arrangement by Colleen L. Donnelly

The Lady’s Arrangement by Colleen L. Donnelly
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (368 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Neither Rex nor Regina wants a spouse, but they do have needs.

Ranger Rex Duncan needs a false identity—just long enough to uncover a ring of Kansas ranch thieves. Answering Regina’s ad for a temporary husband, he leaves his beloved red dirt of Oklahoma to assume that disguise. But the most obstinate woman he’s ever known confounds his assignment, and with hair the red color that has always made his heart beat a little faster.

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I started this novel anticipating a romance between Ranger Rex Duncan and Regina Howard. The synopsis piqued my interest. It sounded like I was going to get to read an intriguing sequence of events with some sensual true love mixed in. While all my expectations weren’t exactly met, I was pleasantly satisfied with the plot thread of uncovering the ring of Kansas ranch thieves.

I believe Regina, the heroine, would describe this book as a tranquil and sophisticated piece of work that was slow to evolve with its abundance of verbiage. I think Rex, the hero, would say this book would be a great book to bring on an extra-long relaxing vacation.

Ranger Rex needed a false identity to infiltrate and uncover the villains. While Regina Howard needed a new husband’s name to reclaim her deceased husband’s ranch. I quote “Neither Rex nor Regina wants a spouse, but they do have needs.” I interpreted that incorrectly. The “needs” they needed weren’t romantic needs. In fact, this book barely qualifies as a romance for me. The writing style didn’t have the emotional conflict of a ‘cat & mouse chase’ romance between two unlikely people, instead I consider this book to be more of a mystery. The entire book was about uncovering the ring of murderous thieves and land grabbing cutthroats .

The synopsis says that Regina “is the most obstinate woman” Rex has ever known. I agree with that statement. I think Rex deserved a better leading woman to be matched with. She was from New York and the setting is in Kansas. Regina adapted to Kansas but still had that New York style class about her. Rex is a Ranger and skilled at being a rancher. Well, Regina would use these words that most people don’t use in every day speaking. Rex wouldn’t know what some of the words meant and I felt that made Rex look dumb. Then, Rex had “ranch” lingo that he used that Regina didn’t understand but it still made him look dumb. I think this might have been an attempt at humor to make me laugh, however, it made me dislike Regina for the way she belittled Rex and therefore I was unable to connect with them as a couple. This is especially true since there was little chemistry between them. There has to be more for me than “she looked good in a pair of pants” and “he was strong”. I understand that not everyone likes public displays of affection. It was obvious that Rex and Regina grew to care about each other by their actions. Sometimes, thoughtful actions speak louder than words.

Despite my disappointment in the lack of open affection in the romance department, Rex’s false identity to uncover a ring of Kansas ranch thieves was worth the read for me. Oddly enough, for some reason this book reminded me of a Scooby Doo episode. Rex would be a mix of Fred and Velma and Regina would be Daphne. There is a character that would be the unmasked villain at the end but that would be a spoiler so I can’t mention the character’s name. There are clues along the way though and it wasn’t a totally predictable plot. There were a few surprise moments which I appreciated. I grew up loving Scooby Doo so I enjoyed this book from the point of view of it being a mystery.

I do think The Lady’s Arrangement was worth my time to read because it had a nice ending. I liked how it came full circle back to how it all started. I would recommend to readers of sweet romantic suspense and mysteries to give this novel a try. I know my mother and my mother-n-law would love this book because they enjoy clean, innocent, and well written stories between two adults who grow to respect and care for one another.

A Spy Unmasked by Tina Gabrielle

A Spy Unmasked by Tina Gabrielle
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (363 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

London, 1820

The mission did not go quite as Robert Ware—known in society as the new Earl of Kirkland—planned. A spy in the service of His Majesty, Robert is a “guest” at a masquerade party as he retrieves vital information for a murder investigation. Until he’s quite unexpectedly interrupted by an exquisite, masked woman with glittering green eyes. And a pistol she has cocked and aimed right at him…
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Lady Sophia Merrill has defiantly taken up justice’s shining sword, determined to expose the brigand who murdered her eccentric but brilliant father, and stole his latest invention. Now she must masquerade as Robert’s betrothed in order to infiltrate the Inventor’s Society and find the killer. But the undeniable potent attraction between them not only imperils the investigation, but Sophia’s reputation… and both of their lives.

I have to admit I have a weakness for anything set during the Regency and this book didn’t disappoint in any way.

Ms. Gabrielle did a wonderful job at allowing me, the reader, to be immersed in this very unique period in history. The luxuries, the social hierarchy, the customs and the extremes. Everything was detailed perfectly, and an added bonus was I learned another thing or two about the Regency. I’m guessing that she’s done lots of reading and research not only on this period but all aspects of everyday life in the 1820s.

I enjoyed reading about both the lead characters. At first I thought, oh no another story about two people posing as a couple, but the intrigue and storyline was unique enough to overlook this.

The dialogue is spot on. Sophie, the main character, is one you cheer for. Not only in finding the truth behind her father’s death but you hope she gets her man too. The pacing is fast and I found myself enjoying the last one hundred pages all in one sitting just to find out what happened.

For me there’s nothing better than a good Regency story and if you too like a romance peppered with a color historical setting, and not to mention lots of page turning intrigue, I’d definitely give this one a try. I know I’ll be checking out more of the author’s work.

Unmasking Cinnamon by Eve Knight

Unmasking Cinnamon by Eve Knight
Publisher: Cobblestone Press LLC
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (49 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by: Tiger Lily

Sneaking into a masquerade party provides Stephani with the perfect cover as the sultry siren Cinnamon. Will her secrets remain hidden once Chad, her willing playmate for the evening suspects her to be a woman he loved but lost? Can he unmask Cinnamon to again love the real woman underneath?

She wants to be with the only man to ever make her scream. He wants to rekindle a love with the woman who holds his heart. Then he meets Cinnamon. Is she his first love? Or a new love who’s a flash from the past? Read Unmasking Cinnamon to find out the rest of the story.

Ms. Knight writes an interesting story of a love gone wrong and then redeemed. I liked the sumptuous atmosphere of the party and how quickly Chad and Cinnamon (aka Stephani) found each other. You felt like you were one of the revelers.

As the heroine, I initially felt Stephani came across as a bit of a snob and a social climber. Yes, she wanted to be loved, but she made it seem like money made her tick more than the man she loved. You have to log in to the particular site and fill up some general information viagra levitra cialis of yours and get the medicine sitting at home. In order to help you with a few guides about controlling blepharitis, free prescription for levitra some of important instructions are given below: Heart health: reported byAmerican Heart Association,men are more likely to experience sexual side effects. Following a thorough examination, a course levitra 20 mg of treatment will be given. Symptoms:Kamagra is a online pharmacy sildenafil safe ED drug treatment and does not result in symptoms by and large. But, I liked how she grew as a person through the story. I respected her decision to keep up her guard until the last moment. The reader could identify with her strength.

As the hero, I thought Chad could’ve been a bit stronger. He made no qualms with the indiscriminant sex, but as with Stephani, he redeemed himself and made me really like him as the hero. He poured his heart out for the woman of his dreams and showed he wasn’t the superficial jerk she thought he was. This story showed people could change if they truly wanted to.

The love scenes in this novella scorched the pages. Although the first few times seemed like a pent up release, once the lovers realized the identities, the passion flowed and made the story powerful.

If you want a story that will keep you engrossed from page one, then you need to read Unmasking Cinnamon. I give this novella 4 cherries.

Cinderella Unmasked by Bonnie Dee & Marie Treanor

Cinderella Unmasked by Bonnie Dee and Marie Treanor
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (129 pgs)
Other: M/F, Menage, M/F/M
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Holly

Three balls. Three sexual adventures. One true love.

In the years since her husband King Charming boarded a pirate ship to “find himself”, Queen Ella has ruled alone. Romantic love? It’s a girlish emotion. These days, her only confidant is her steward, Sebastian.

Five years is a long time to forego sexual pleasures. She’s the queen, after all..shouldn’t she be allowed a few indulgences? A masquerade is just the ticket to find fulfillment Charming never gave her. With Sebastian’s encouragement—and a little help from a fairy godmother—Ella prepares to make some magic.

The first masked stranger she dallies with gives her a taste of what she’s been craving. And it’s just not enough. A second ball follows. A third. Each one—and each anonymous man—sends her to new heights of sexual pleasure. And reawakens the notion that maybe, just maybe, love does not always lead to pain.

Her indiscretions have not gone unnoticed. As her stepfamily makes a move to take over the throne, Ella has nowhere to turn, no one to trust…except the men behind the masks…

Warning: This is the new “happily ever after”, strictly for grown-ups…

Once upon a time, there was a prince, a young woman, and a fairy godmother. In most fairy tales, that equals happily ever after. But is it, really? In Cinderella Unmasked, we see what comes after the happily ever after. If a valve fails, blood can regurgitate backwards, browse around for info viagra 100 mg minimizing the amount that will flow out to the body. NF Cure capsules and Shilajit capsules are the best ayurvedic cures for over masturbation effects and for more results; you can start preparing at an early stage and be the lucky ones who have these virtual “fonts cheap pill viagra of child-rearing knowledge” residing right next door—literally or figuratively. In fact, we all start out life using a female foetal “template” up until about 14 weeks, after which us blokes begin producing hormones why not find out more viagra pfizer 25mg such as testosterone. The cialis viagra australia chief of them are Ashwagandha, Kesar, Lauh Bhasma, Safed Musli, Shilajit etc. And what a surprise it is.

This story of love gone cold, and new beginnings is a very hot and sexy story. When Queen Ella decides she needs to spice up her life after being alone for over five years, she decides to throw a masquerade ball for the whole kingdom. King Charming has abdicated, you see, and his life has taken a very different turn as of late; seems he is the “special friend” of a pirate captain. He has left Ella in charge, and the weight of the responsibility is awesome. Ella secretly wants to experience some hot and heavy action, and has been reading up in secret. With three different masquerade balls, Ella tries to fulfill all her fantasies, and she succeeds, maybe too well.

Bonnie Dee and Marie Treanor have put a whole new slant on the Cinderella story, complete with mysterious strangers, political backstabbing by the step family, and even one very steamy ménage. There are several surprises, and some twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. There were a couple of times when I was afraid that the happily ever after was in serious danger, but these two wonderful authors pulled it off at the last. I was happy with how strong Queen Ella was, but also that she could surrender that strength in the name of true love. These ladies showed me that what might be true love at sixteen doesn’t necessarily last. People change, and the moral of this story, if there is one, is that sometimes all you can do is roll with the changes and hope for the best. But I loved the real lesson in this: what you really want is usually right in front of you, so pay attention.

The sense of humor these writers have is wonderful, and I would love to read their take on other classic tales. This one is a real treat, and I have bought copies for gifts to my best friends.

Hear No Evil by JM Dalgliesh

Hear No Evil by JM Dalgliesh
Publisher: Hamilton Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When the bonds of brotherhood are strained, who do you turn to?

The celebration of the Viking Festival of Scira ensures that thousands descend annually on the small coastal town of Sheringham, but when one man dies amidst the grand finale, it falls to DI Tom Janssen and his team to identify who the victim was and how he met such a grisly end.

The victim was a local man, successful, hard working and well respected. A motive proves to be elusive. As the case progresses it becomes evident that not all is at it seems. Those within the victim’s trusted circle appear unable, or unwilling, to aid the investigation. Someone has a grudge… one strong enough to willingly send a man to his death in the most brutal, and public, manner.

The answer must lie in the victim’s past; a past that sees highly decorated military service. The past shapes our future and the consequences of our actions catch up with us. Those with the darkest secrets… with the most to hide… will face their day of reckoning.

Witnesses, friends and enemies alike all appear to employ the same old adage; see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil, but a ruthless killer is on the loose and they want revenge… Janssen and his team must unmask a murderer before they strike again…

Set within the mysterious beauty of coastal Norfolk, this fast-paced British detective novel is a dark murder mystery with moments of humour, one that will keep you guessing until the very end when the final shocking twist is revealed.

When DI Tom Janssen along with many of the locals witnessed a person set alight then fall from a cliff during the Viking Festival everyone knew something dark was going on. When the body turns out to be of a returned solider, generally well liked everyone including the police are confused. But then another returned veteran is murdered – someone linked to the first victim’s military service and Tom along with his colleagues rush to try and figure out the truth behind the grisly murders.

I really feel like this series – the “Hidden Norfolk” series – is starting to hit its stride. The author has found a good balance between a layered and complex plot with interesting characters and enough of a small town feel to really lend atmosphere and a gripping murder mystery. While largely a police procedural style of mystery novel there is plenty of twists and turns in the plot, and I thoroughly enjoyed the way events unfolded to reveal layer upon layer.

While this is the fifth book, I definitely feel readers shouldn’t shy away from picking this up if it’s the first one they’ve tried. The plot itself is very well contained in the book and everything reaches a natural conclusion. While the members of Tom’s team are all well-established characters – as well as Tom’s private life with his girlfriend Alice and Alice’s young daughter Saffy – I didn’t get the feel of missing connections between the characters or like readers fresh to just this book would be left lost or unsure of what was going on. This would be an excellent summer read on the beach somewhere or a lovely way to spend a relaxed weekend.

With interesting characters and a deliciously layered plot with some interesting twists I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can strongly recommend both this book and the series it comes from.

Angel by LJ Ross

Angel by LJ Ross
Publisher: Dark Skies Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

He’ll make you his angel, but first you have to die…

After a turbulent time, DCI Ryan’s life is finally returning to normal and he’s looking forward to spending an uneventful Easter bank holiday weekend with his fiancée.

Then, on Good Friday morning he is called out to a crime scene at one of the largest cemeteries in Newcastle. The body of a redheaded woman has been found buried in a shallow grave and the killer has given her wings, like an angel.

Soon, another woman is found at a different cemetery, followed quickly by another. Panic spreads like wildfire as a new serial killer is born, and Ryan’s band of detectives must work around the clock to unmask him before he can strike again.

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast paced crime whodunnit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.

The fourth installment of the DCI Ryan series is an excellent full length novel and I feel it can definitely be read as a standalone mystery. While some insight is given into the mind and reasonings behind the killer right from the first few pages, I was pleased that there was still enough mystery and shadows around the identity of the killer to keep me guessing and invested well into the story. I also really enjoyed trying to figure out before DCI Ryan’s team whether his case dove-tailed with MacKenzie’s case or whether they weren’t linked by anything other than coincidence.

I do admit that I feel a large part of my interest and emotional investment into DCI Ryan’s team was due to having read the previous stories in this series. That said, I believe the easy and enjoyable writing style that LJ Ross has would lend itself to readers getting attached to the characters, especially as they work together through hard cases and difficult situations. The plotline and murder-mystery aspect to this book I feel is definitely self-contained. Aside from a few brief references to the previous cases this book centers around a new killer with new victims and reasonings, which I feel means readers who have not read the first three books of the series should not find themselves lost if they start with this book.

Fans and readers should be aware though that the last chapter or so of this book definitely acts as a “lead in” to the next book. I feel it ends on quite a cliff hanger (which I personally really hate in a series, particularly if I haven’t been forewarned and don’t have the next book on hand to continue reading). A major development occurs (not related to this books murder plot) and a major incident with one of the main characters happens all within the last few pages of the book. While I don’t exactly feel like this detracts from the book, I do hope this isn’t a frequent occurrence in upcoming books in the series.

With a well-drawn cast of main characters who I have really come to enjoy, and a very strong murder mystery plot I feel this book has a good level of tension and conflict. I found the mystery to be strongly written and suspenseful, the potential for danger to one character in particular was realistic without being overwhelming.

Overall, I found this to be a good addition to the series and I absolutely will be reading the next in the series.

LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: Shades of Persephone by Reed Stirling

Thanks for joining us on our 14th anniversary scavenger hunt! There are two ways to enter to win and it’s easy to play– first read the blurb below, then answer the question on the first Rafflecopter. You might win a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC (along with other prizes). Follow and visit authors’ social media pages on the second Rafflecopter and you’re entered to win another $100 Amazon/BN GC (along with other prizes)!

Shades of Persephone is a literary mystery that will entertain those who delight in exotic settings, foreign intrigue, and the unmasking of mysterious characters.

Crete in 1980-81, more specifically the old Venetian harbour of Chania, provides the background against which expat Canadian Steven Spire labours in pursuit of David Montgomery, his enigmatic and elusive mentor, who stands accused in absentia of treachery and betrayal. The plot has many seams through which characters slide, another of them being the poet Emma Leigh, widow of Montgomery’s imposing Cold War adversary, Heinrich Trüger. In that the setting is Crete, the source of light is manifold, but significant inspiration for Steven Spire comes from Magalee De Bellefeuille, his vision of Aphrodite and his muse. “Find Persephone,” she directs him, “and you’ll find David Montgomery.” Her prompts motivate much of the narrative, including that of the Cretan underground during the Nazi occupation, 1941- 45.

Shades of Persephone presents a story of love and sensuality, deception and war, spiritual quest and creative endeavour. The resolution takes an unanticipated turn but comes as no surprise to the discerning reader. Like Hamlet who must deal with his own character in following the injunctions of his ghostly father, Steven Spire discovers much about the city to which he has returned, but much more about himself and his capacity for love.

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