Straight To Heaven by Christine Young

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Straight To Heaven by Christine Young
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Historical, Time Travel
Length: Full (389 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

Running from demons, Alexandra McMurdie stumbles into Forbidden Ground where up is down and elements of nature are contested. Though a strong independent woman in the twenty-first century’ she is unprepared for life in the 1800s. Her first sight of the formidable James Lawrence makes her heart skip a beat, giving her cause to reconsider her desperate need to find a way home.

Born with a silver spoon, James’ life was torn apart during the War Between the States. Moving west he vows to put the life he once knew in the past. When he discovers a half-frozen woman near Gold Hill, his heart begins to thaw. His love for Alexandra and his need to keep her from a man who has pursued her through time might cost him his life as well as hers.

A solid entry into the time travel genre.

James, an honorable man who was left damaged by the Civil war makes a wonderful hero. His honor is indisputable, as shown the by the way he devotedly takes care of his young, orphaned niece, Jessie.

Alexandra is a sweet woman who is pursued through time by a villain who wants her for his own. She unexpectedly falls into a vortex when running from him in 2015 and finds herself in the past, just following the end of the war between the states.

The villain, Sean Cassidy, is truly reprehensible. And single minded. All he wants is Alexandra, and he doesn’t care what he has to do to get her.

I enjoyed watching Alex trying to find her way around the past. It’s remarkable how many little slang sayings make no sense out of context, like when she wants to keep James from the treehouse where she and Jessie are talking, and gives as her reason that “it’s Grand Central Station” up there. Of course, the way women behave now and how they were expected to behave in the late 1800s was also an issue. Ms. Young does a good job painting the past through Alex’s eyes.

The romance between James and Alex is bittersweet, since Alex intends on returning to her own time. But neither can help falling for the other and it’s sweet and heartbreaking and helps both James and Jessie to heal from their emotional wounds.

The only “complaint” I had with the story is that James is so good and Sean Cassidy is so bad. I wish James had been more flawed and that the villain had a few redeemable qualities. Oh, and the other thing that made me a bit crazy is how the author seldom referred to him as simply “Sean” and mostly called him by his full name, Sean Cassidy. Not only did it feel a bit odd, but every time it happened I ended up picturing him as the teen idol from my youth.

Overall, though, Straight To Heaven was a well-written, interesting book that should appeal the time travel romance fans. And it should certainly touch your heart. It did mine.

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Vulnerable by Mary Burton

VULNERABLE
Vulnerable by Mary Burton
Publisher: Pinnacle
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (384 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rated: 5 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

The Smallest Mistake

Three went in; one came out. For five years, no trace has been found of two high-school friends who went hiking in the woods near Nashville. The third teen, Amber Ryder, was discovered at the bottom of a ravine with a broken arm, head trauma–and zero memory of the horror that put her there.

Will Put You

What started as a cold case has become a fresh hell for forensic technician Georgia Morgan. Another woman’s body is found in the woods, and it leads to the missing teens’ remains. But while Georgia works with Amber to try and reawaken her memories, her gut tells her the worst is yet to come.

At A Killer’s Mercy

Homicide Detective Jake Bishop can’t be sure whether Amber is an expert manipulator or the killer’s next target. Either way, he’s determined to protect Georgia. Because the deeper she digs into the past, the deadlier the secrets that emerge, and a nightmare years in the making is about to come to a bloody, terrifying end…

An intriguing chiller, Mary Burton’s Vulnerable is a must read for suspense book enthusiasts. The opening offers a sense of one of victim…but more will come to light.

Investigator Georgia Morgan has personal links to horrific tragedy, giving her an exceptional motivation to pursue this nasty case outside Nashville. Or, more correctly cases, because things develop rather quickly. This thriller has it all: there are elements of the police procedural, with the logical approach, consideration of evidence…and the cute, protective colleague. No spoilers here! Is that detective a pest or a love interest? We don’t know, for a while; although I can guess what most readers will be hoping for!  It also offers a true thriller sense of being stalked, of secrets and ‘closet skeletons’ creating unlooked-for links, and the odd surprise. And although the crimes are horrible, this is truly not a ‘horror.’

Vulnerable is vastly more intriguing than scary. The investigation and plot make sense. Characters are well-developed, as is the setting; a national forest set in Tennessee. Ms. Burton creates an incredibly realistic set of events, in an well visualized location, adding to a reader’s interest and belief. If you read with the analytical approach of a mystery fan or if you want that hint of romance, you will like Vulnerable. Recommended.

Frisked In Fondant by Nikki Duncan

FONDANT
Frisked In Fondant by Nikki Duncan
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (64 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

A kiss by any other name would never taste as sweet as his.

Tulle and Tulips, Book 6

When Gisella Sands isn’t busy creating magical wedding cakes, she shows the outside world the lighthearted, teasing manner that fools everyone, even her friends at Tulle and Tulips.

Once she’s home alone with her cats, the façade falls away. No one would guess that her tragic past is her only companion in the night. Or that this confectionary genius has never tasted the sweetness of a man’s kiss.

The less Kyle Riley talks, the more others fill the silence—a handy skill for a homicide detective, not so much for a social life. Dedicated to his job, he’s never been tempted to take more than one taste of any woman. Until he responds to a home invasion and finds Gisella, the bridesmaid he walked down the aisle at a friend’s wedding, bleeding on the floor.

In a heartbeat, all thoughts of keeping his professional distance disintegrate. But when the heat melts the walls guarding their secrets, their recipe for one perfect night could fall flat.

Warning: Contains a man who rarely strings more than fifteen syllables together, and a woman who can read him like a cookbook. When strong and silent meets sweet and bubbly, something’s bound to boil over.

Kyle is a detective working on a recent string of home robberies. He’s nervous because the intensity of the attacks and the frequency are both increasing at a rapid rate. And then Gisella’s place is the most recent crime scene. Gisella who had a sparkle in her eye and a deliciously sassy mouth. Gisella, whom Kyle hasn’t been able to stop thinking of since they were both part of their mutual friends’ wedding party.

I was both impressed by Gisella’s courage in not telling the robbers where her best jewelry was, but also slightly skeptical. I couldn’t decide if it was very realistic that after being beaten, robbed and cut on the neck with a knife if someone (anyone) would still refuse to hand over their possessions. On the one hand it showed an incredible strength of will and character, on the other a somewhat risky and uncaring attitude to Gisella’s own safety. If nothing else this certainly drew me into the story and had me really thinking about it, pondering and weighing everything – and being able to do that within the first chapter is an addictive hook many authors find difficult to achieve. I couldn’t put the book down after this even if I’d wanted to – and that is some of the highest praise I can give as a reader.

There were a few small points where reality and common sense were over-ruled – things like Kyle not assigning other detectives to Gisella’s case when it became clear they had a more than friendly acquaintance, and Kyle’s own dad being his Captain in the police department. Despite these things I didn’t feel they drew me too far out of the story. I was intrigued enough by the robbers, and curious enough about how Kyle and Gisella were going to come together to happily and easily be able to disengage my brain, sit back and just enjoy the ride. Seeing the story and plot through – and determined to read about Kyle and Gisella getting their happy ending – was far more important than quibbling about small, “real life” things that logic dictated.

I found this to be an interesting, well paced story with some fun characters and a really solid, meaty plot. I felt almost immediately drawn to both Kyle and Gisella, and despite a few small bumps found that my curiosity about what happened next and how things would pan out was far stronger and deeper than any need for realism. I thoroughly enjoyed some of the very strong secondary characters who I imagine have their own linked stories and found this to be a well-rounded book and an excellent story to lose myself in for a short time. The chemistry between Kyle and Gisella was lovely and their sex scenes were tastefully written with plenty of foreplay and nothing I found too explicit or offensive. I feel readers who like their romance steamy but not erotic or overly detailed should be very satisfied with this.

A good story – I enjoyed this.

Traitor Knight by Keith W. Willis

KNIGHT
Traitor Knight by Keith W. Willis
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (367 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

When Morgan McRobbie rescues a damsel-in-distress from a dragon, he expects she’ll swoon, murmuring “My hero!” Instead, Marissa has only loathing for the man everyone believes will betray Kilbourne. That’s fine with Morgan. A woman in his life would just complicate things.

A high-level informer threatens the kingdom’s security, and Morgan is out to stop him. Posing as a turncoat himself, he’s walking a fine line between honor and betrayal. A single misstep could result in disaster, and his mission is fraught with distractions: the pesky dragon, a pair of conniving courtiers, and the disillusioned damsel who’s certain Morgan can’t be trusted.

If Morgan’s going to save the kingdom, win the girl, and manage to stay alive, he’ll need to step up his game. Because the traitor is lurking in the shadows, and his scheme calls not just for the betrayal of Kilbourne, but also the destruction of Morgan McRobbie.

Will Marissa ever be able to trust Morgan?

Morgan is everything a good hero should be. He’s loyal, honest, smart, and brave. Despite all the good he does for Kilbourne, he has a horrible reputation. I must say that I was baffled by how the majority of people treated Morgan when it is clear to anyone who spends any length of time with him that he is completely devoted to his country and king. His situation is certainly an indication of the kind of damage rumors, even unfounded ones, can do to a reputation.

Morgan had no idea the direction his life would take when he rescued Marissa from the dragon. Morgan and Marissa have good chemistry and would definitely make a good couple, but unfortunately the terrible rumors about Morgan hang like a black cloud over any possibility of romance. After Morgan rescues Marissa, she agrees to dine with him. Morgan’s true personality shines through wonderfully, so I was very disappointed when Marissa doubts her instincts and persists in believing the worst about him. Granted, some of Morgan’s actions are very suspicious, so I can understand Marissa’s confusion. Despite the rocky beginning of their relationship, their encounters never fail to be entertaining, and I have high hopes for their future.

Just when Marissa is beginning to trust Morgan, he finds himself firmly on the wrong side of the law, and she is forced to take matters into her own hands. Her plan to reveal the true traitor is clever and well thought out, but will she be able to expose the true traitor in time to save Morgan?

I truly enjoyed Traitor Knight. Morgan and Marissa are strong characters I had the pleasure of getting to know. I recommend Traitor Knight to anyone looking for a good fantasy with just a dash of romance.

Collective Ramblings Volume 1 Anthology

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Collective Ramblings Volume 1 Anthology by John Langmaack, Anthony Clark , Kayla Krantz, Ian Jordan, Dennis Barbee, Alexandra Peel, Virginia Carraway, David Martin, Jordan White, Jacky Liquori, Chris Todd, N.O.A. Rawle, Katie Cook, Steve Moore
Publisher: Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing Inc.
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (259 PAGES)
Rating: 5 stars
Review by: Rose

2015’s Twenty Short Story Contest winners assembled in one place. Five stories from each category (Super Powers, Deserted Island, Horror, and Labyrinth), including the top winners of each contest shown below.

The Era of Super Weapons – Roger, America’s super-soldier, embarks on what seemed a routine mission –until his enemies turn to allies against a horde revealing information that will turn the entire world on its head.

Synchronysi – A steampunk masterpiece. After her volunteer operation, a woman awakens to a world made entirely of tine crystals. As she travels the shining island, the product of her surgery reveals much more than she may be able to handle—neither the land of crystals nor the world from which she arrived are exactly what they seem.

Terrors Great and Small – A couple barricades themselves in their home to escape a viral outbreak carried by mosquito bites. As the days of panic and solitude stack up, they battle with both their own crumbling sanity and the terror of what really awaits them beyond their front door.

The Walls Are Alive – in a world where violent offenders are placed in a deadly, automated labyrinth—designed to let no one escape alive—the labyrinth’s caretaker steps inside for a routine maintenance. When the automation turns on him, he’s forced to run the maze like all the criminals he’s sent to their own demise.

This is an intriguing collection of short stories from four different categories—a wonderful mix of genres and styles. I enjoyed every story—and many of them left me wanting to read more about the characters and the worlds they are set in, so I’ll be checking out several of the authors to see what else they have available.

I love short stories because they are easy to read right before bed without investing the time a novel takes, but I have to admit that I ended up not reading just one story a night. The stories were so good that I didn’t want to stop reading!

It’s very hard to pick a favorite because the stories are all so different—and I could easily see many of them being my “favorite” depending on the mood I was in and what I was wanting to read. That said, some of my favorites are below.

“Heroes” by Ranger Reid. I would love to find out the circus freaks and where they all are now.

“Wake” by Anthony Morgan-Clark. This reads so much like a Twilight Zone show… gave me the shivers and I hope I never have to have surgery.

“Wrong Turns” by John Lanmaack. What a wonderful twist on a time travel story… love and redemption.

I’m looking forward to the next installment of short stories!

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Me + You by Brenda Gayle

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Me + You by Brenda Gayle
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (88 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Teacher Lori Tait has always wanted a family, but now she’s 40, she’s pretty much decided all the good men are taken. Instead, she devotes herself to her students, particularly one little girl whose struggle with math seems inconsistent with an otherwise brilliant and artistic mind.

Mark Wilder hadn’t planned to become a father, but when a fling resulted in his daughter, Grace, he whole-heartedly embraced the role. Raised in a family of boys, what does he know about women and girls? Once he learns of Grace’s inability to comprehend basic math, he welcomes the role of tutor as a way to connect with his daughter; the opportunity to spend time with her sexy teacher is an added bonus.

When Lori cracks the mystery of Grace’s problem Mark’s world is thrown into turmoil; he’s the last person who can help his daughter. He pushes everyone away, confirming Lori’s theory about men. Grace, however, has other plans. Using her new-found understanding of math, she sets out to prove to her father and teacher that, together, they add up to the perfect match.

Lori enjoys teaching her students in the second grade, but Grace is having serious difficulties in math. Calling a meeting with Grace’s divorced parents, Lori is dismayed when Grace’s mother is adamant that math isn’t necessary for an artists’ life. Grace’s dad, Mark, however, fully appreciates how important basic addition and subtraction can be. Then Grace herself suggests to Mark that they get Lori to come over and help tutor her. Can Mark and Lori find each other while helping Grace together?

This is an interesting book. Grace is clearly a special character and an interesting child who views the world very differently. Talented in most areas but dismally behind in her math I found this a realistic and very strong plot for the whole story. I liked both Mark and Lori together. They clearly have sparks, but it’s a slow burn kind of romance, one that took its time and flourished throughout the book. I was also quite pleased that Mark’s ex-wife and Grace’s mother, Jade, wasn’t made out to be some evil witch – as is far too easy to do for such a character. Jade was definitely a “free spirit” and had some strongly non-traditional opinions, but at no point did I feel the character was hard done by. I can strongly commend the author for portraying Jade as an ex-wife, but still part of the family unit without being oppressive or negative. I found this refreshing and enjoyed it.

I also really enjoyed how the plot was quite thoughtful and deep. Without going into spoilers, I found the link between Grace’s math problems and some of Mark’s personal concerns really well thought out and clearly not just some throw-away plot device to bring Mark and Lori together. With vibrant characters, a very, very strong plot and some steamy, raunchy sex thrown in for good measure this ticks a lot of boxes and I feel should have a lot of readers really enthralled. I was delighted by each progression and eagerly turning the pages myself. With a romantic, satisfying ending I really enjoyed this book and will happily re-read it a number of times to come. Recommended.

Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline

WANTED
Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery, Women’s Fiction
Length: Full Length (417 pgs)
Rated: 3.5 stars
Review by Poppy

Lisa Scottoline delivers another searing, powerful blockbuster novel that explores hot-button issues within the framework of an intricately plotted thriller. When a woman and her husband, desperate for a baby, find themselves unable to conceive, they decide to take further steps. Since it is the husband who is infertile, the heroine decides to use a donor. And all seems to be well. Three months pass and she is happily pregnant. But a shocking revelation occurs when she discovers that a man arrested for a series of brutal murders is her donor – the biological father of the child she is carrying. Delving deeper to uncover the truth, the heroine must face her worst fears, and confront a terrifying truth. Most Wanted is sure to be Lisa Scottoline’s most discussed, bestselling novel yet.

An intriguing premise leads to a crazy ride!

When Christine decides to use a sperm donor to start a family with her husband, Marcus, she had no idea what would happen next. They were allowed to see pictures of the donors in order to choose one who looked close to her husband’s appearance, so later when she sees an accused serial killer on TV, she’s certain it’s the biological father of her baby.

I was interested in the premise of nature vs. nurture that was present in both the book and in Christine’s mind. She’s so determined that her baby won’t have a serial killer father, she sets out to prove the man’s innocence. I liked Christine, though found it a little amazing that she proves such an apt sleuth considering her background as an elementary teacher who isn’t that proficient in much else.

My biggest issue with the story, honestly, was that I did not like her husband, Marcus in the least. I just couldn’t believe that they had a solid marriage, or support the idea of bringing a child into their unstable, difficult union, so it colored my overall enjoyment of the book. I spent much of the book wanting to slap Marcus silly.

I did, however, adore Griff! He was possibly the best, most interesting and well rounded character in the story. I hope he shows up somewhere again, because I’d love to revisit him.

The suspense portion of the story, while implausible really, was still interesting enough to keep me reading. I did want to know who the killer was…was it the guy who’d donated his sperm for he baby? Someone else altogether? It was enough of a question that I didn’t stop turning pages. Honestly, I was a bit let down by how the book ended, both in regards to the killer and that my romantic heart just didn’t buy the relationship between Christine and Marcus.

I’ve read a couple other books by the author and really enjoyed them. This one, while not up to the same level as those, still isn’t a waste of time. I think there’s enough meat to the plot and the characters to make it something I’d suggest picking up at your local library for a few hours of enjoyment.

Phage by Mark Tamplin

PHAGE
Phage by Mark Tamplin
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length (482 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Phage is the first novel of a science thriller trilogy. Dr. Sam Townsend faces the greatest challenge of his career, preventing Owen Potter, a deranged government scientist and home-grown terrorist, from unleashing a genetically-engineered pathogen on the United States population. This would-be mass assassin frames Townsend, who is forced to run from the FBI while scrambling to produce the antidote and wrestle the demons from his past. Even if Townsend succeeds in time, he is still faced with delivering the antidote to all of Potter’s victims who unknowingly have a biological time bomb ticking in their bodies.

This is a book that, after I finished reading it, I was glad that I followed the little voice that said give something different a try. I must admit the fear of the story being based around scientist and pathogens, something I know nearly nothing about, had me hesitating to read the story, but the story was much better than I could have imagined.

The story opens with Robbie, an unsuspecting widow, working at the Henderson Pork Plant with E. coli just hovering around waiting to wreak havoc. This was a great opening that totally grabbed my interest. When a personal call from Homeland Security was placed to Dr. Sam Townsend; he hopped in his Porsche Cayenne turbo and headed to the airport to answer his call to duty.  By now, I was deep into the story. And after Sam and Polo brought about a successful end to that bacterial spread Sam didn’t have much time to celebrate before he is faced with the greatest challenge of his career, and I was a reader set to follow the adventure.

Dr. Owen Potter, a scientist working for the USDA has a personal grievance against those he thought has wronged him. With this personal vendetta he goes on a one man mission to inflict devastation.

This is a fascinating but oh-so disturbing plot. Its details and descriptiveness were a tremendous help to me as a non-medical reader. The book is a engrossing thriller that shows the dark imagination of the author. The wicked ploy of the villain and his process to have revenge on those who turned down his research is one that took me on an enjoyable suspenseful action read.

I thought the chase in the book was pretty long; from Miami to West Virginia to Mexico. Being that people’s lives were at stake I found it odd that Sam exhausted a lot of efforts to running and hiding instead of making a phone call to speak with officials. The Special Agents were diligently seeking to find Sam but didn’t seem to put as much effort looking for Owen. Sam went under the radar to get to Mexico but Special Agent Maas and Owen ended up in Mexico at the same time and in the same place as Sam.

The characters were lively and kept the story flowing. I don’t normally like the bad guys, but Owen with his creepy personality and determination was humorous, though I’m sure glad I don’t work with him. He doesn’t work well with others. His determination is inspiring because he actually is brilliant, but his disturbing behavior takes precedence over his scientific knowledge.

The author touched on a little of the past for Sam and for Polo but I would find it interesting to read a novel about the backstory on Sam and his wife and how Sam and Polo started working together. And definitely more expansion on the story behind Owen and ‘Mother’.

The author tells an interesting story. With subject matter that most readers probably aren’t familiar with the author did an awesome job giving description and details in the lab and as far as the scientific terminology. He broke down the highlights and gave a mini course about viruses, bacteria and pathogens that didn’t drown the story with needless details but gave just enough for the readers to be able to follow.

The story wrapped up everything nicely but I’m sure with a record of solving several biological threats that Dr. Sam Townsend will have plenty more battles to keep the world safe from any future wave of harmful viruses. This is a book I highly recommend for those who enjoy a good entertaining read that brings about a little something more.

Twelfth Night Queen’s Deception by Rita Bay

WUEENS
Twelfth Night Queen’s Deception by Rita Bay
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (71 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Amelia Fontaine was betrothed to her cousin, Percy Westbury, while she was still in leading strings. When Percy and his family arrive for a long holiday visit, Amelia is dismayed by the prospect of the impending arranged marriage. With his estate in shambles, Percy flaunts his plans to use Fontaine Hall’s wealth to benefit his family’s fortunes. When Percy demands that Amelia end her friendship with her neighbor, Edward Thornton, will she choose to follow tradition or pursue happiness?

Edward Thornton, the Earl of Bridgwater, couldn’t remember a time he didn’t love Amelia. He didn’t believe her grandmother would insist on the arranged marriage, until the entire Westbury clan invites themselves to Fontaine Hall. When Edward discovers Percy’s secret life and his sinister plans for Amelia, he embarks on a campaign to rescue her. Will the Twelfth Night Queen help him save his beloved from her cruel fate?

Amelia Fontaine and Edward Thornton, Earl Bridgewater, live on neighboring properties and were both orphaned when they were children and were raised by their grandmothers. Before her parents died, they betrothed Amelia to Percy Westbury and now her grandmother feels obliged to keep to the betrothal.

I think this book is extremely well written and good reading. I sat down to see what it was like and didn’t get up again until I’d finished it. Wonderful story with oodles of intrigue and conflict. One grandmother can see no way out of the dilemma of Amelia’s betrothal while the other feels it best to end the engagement so her grandson can court the woman he loves. Percy has his own ideas on the future and this brings about the conflict.

One thing I would say is the title tends to give away the end of the story. Not completely, but maybe the last word could be left out of the title.

Often when I read a Regency romance I feel I want to shout at the hero and heroine to stop being so stupid and talk to one another. Not this time. The pair did talk, the heroine was not afraid to speak her mind both to the hero and her fiancé, not that it did her much good, but she did have her say. The author has written a really good book, short but sharp and engaging.

Wild Man’s Curse by Susannah Sandlin

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Wild Man’s Curse by Susannah Sandlin
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (304 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

The bones said death was comin’, and the bones never lied.

While on an early morning patrol in the swamps of Whiskey Bayou, Louisiana wildlife agent Gentry Broussard spots a man leaving the home of voodoo priestess Eva Savoie—a man who bears a startling resemblance to his brother, whom Gentry thought he had killed during a drug raid three years earlier. Shaken, the agent enters Eva’s cabin and makes a bloody discovery: the old woman has been brutally murdered.

With no jurisdiction over the case, he’s forced to leave the investigation to the local sheriff, until Eva’s beautiful heir, Celestine, receives a series of gruesome threats. As Gentry’s involvement deepens and more victims turn up, can he untangle the secrets behind Eva’s murder and protect Celestine from the same fate? Or will an old family curse finally have its way?

The strength of this novel, which I greatly enjoyed, was in its amazing descriptions. Vivid pictures were painted of the setting, the characters and more. I felt the humidity of the swamps, and I feel as if I’d know the characters if I saw them on the street. Everyone was clearly painted, three dimensional and unique, even those who didn’t spend a lot of time on the pages. Between these descriptions and the characters, I was absolutely intrigued.

The story was interesting, if a bit far-fetched. I enjoyed the look into the various habits and superstitions shared by many on the bayou and how they were shown without prejudice. They just were. I wasn’t as curious about the mystery, to be honest, as I was by the journey the characters were on. Ceelie and Gentry were both wounded and alone and it was fascinating watching them learn about each other and how to be together. I really felt the romance was believable and worth the read.

This was my first book by this author, and I enjoyed her voice and way of writing so much, I’d love to read more.