There’s Always Love by Joycie Russ

There’s Always Love by Joycie Russ
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (135 Pages)
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Jade, a young homicide detective has strange dreams that lead her into reopening a cold case. As she searches for answers, she discovers old family secrets and a world she never knew existed.

This story caught my interest on the first page and I liked Jade Simmons as a young homicide detective working to make her mark in her chosen field. She discovers that her recurring dream is related to a cold case and she decides to investigate the unsolved crime.

However, midway through the first chapter Jade gets sidetracked as she falls in love with Jasper, a fellow policeman. The mystery falls by the wayside, and Jade becomes weaker and less focused. This change proves to be a less than ideal role model for either women or marriage in today’s world. The mystery does eventually get solved, but more as a sideline than as the main point of the novel.

The novel lacks depth and reads more like a detailed outline of a book. The characters are flat and two dimensional, and the dialogue is obvious. Jade and Jasper repeatedly say “I love you,” followed by “and I love you back.” This is said so often, on most pages and sometimes even twice on one page, that it really became annoying. There are no bedroom scenes, but there are many references to the fact that Jade and Jasper spend much of their time in bed, and even those references, using terms such as fireworks repeatedly, become very stereotypical.

The focus of this novel needs to be clarified. If the author is writing a mystery, then the mystery–which in fact is a very good mystery–needs to be developed more fully and should become the primary focus of the novel. If the author prefers to have this as a romance, then that also needs to be developed more fully. Currently the novel is floating between genres, neither mystery nor romance.

The events in this rather short novel take place over more than a year, and this too is an indication of the lack of depth. There are many threads in the plot which beg for expansion. In fact, the material in this work could easily be the source for an entire series. Short chapters which lack details are followed by further chapters beginning with phrases such as “Three weeks passed,” or “Over the next two months.”

There’s Always Love has a great deal of potential. The mystery itself has a lot of exciting possibilities, and if it was fully developed, with fewer, more complex characters, then this could become an excellent novel.

Risky Undertaking-A Buryin’ Barry Mystery by Mark de Castrique

Risky Undertaking-A Buryin’ Barry Mystery by Mark de Castrique
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (251 pgs)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

When Cherokee burial remains are unearthed on the site expanding a local cemetery, the dual occupations of Barry Clayton, part-time deputy and fulltime undertaker, collide. Then, during the interment of the wife of one of Gainesboro, North Carolina’s most prominent citizens, Cherokee activist Jimmy Panther leads a protest. Words and fists fly. When Panther turns up executed on the grave of the deceased woman, Barry is forced to confront her family as the chief suspects. But the case lurches in a new direction with the arrival of Sheriff Tommy Lee Wadkin’s army pal, Boston cop Kevin Malone. He’s on the trail of a Boston hit man who arrived at the Cherokee reservation only days before the murder. Malone is convinced his quarry is the triggerman. But who paid him? And why? The accelerating investigation draws Barry onto the reservation where Panther’s efforts to preserve Cherokee traditions threatened the development of a new casino, a casino bringing millions of dollars of construction plus huge yearly payouts to every member of the tribe. Leading an unlikely team –his childhood nemesis Archie Donovan and his elderly fellow undertaker Uncle Wayne –Barry goes undercover. But the stakes are higher than he realized in this risky undertaking. And the life of a Cherokee boy becomes the wager. Barry must play his cards very carefully .

Take a main character with two professions, throw in some quirky secondary characters; add a murder and you have Risky Undertaking. I enjoyed reading the story not only for the mystery part of the plot, but also for the characters that inhabited it.

Lead character, Barry Clayton, is part-time deputy and also a full-time undertaker which makes for some interesting reading. He’s likeable and I enjoyed some of his wit and the way he interacted with other characters who sometimes stole the show from him.

I especially liked the storyline about preserving Cherokee traditions and how the plot involving the building of a casino seemed to tie everything together. The author does a wonderful job giving you a sense of place. Dialogue was sometimes downright funny, and the pacing is fast so you find yourself half way through the book without realizing it.

What I liked best about this book was its originality. I read lots of mysteries and I think Mr. de Castrique put a new spin on what could have turned into an overdone plotline. However, I think of this one as a hybrid of sorts, part cozy, part police procedure and I think the author pulled it off.

If you’re looking for something a little different, like small town settings peppered with a bunch of quirky characters I’d say this one’s for you.

To Have or To Haunt by Ishabelle Torry

To Have or To Haunt by Ishabelle Torry
Publisher: Breathless Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery, Historical, Contemporary, Holiday, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (38 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Can Melanie’s Halloween bash survive Leah’s ghostly tricks?

Melanie Fyre is a passionate teacher determined to raise funds for the town’s school. What better way to do it than by expanding the local businesses? All she needs is land. Untouched for years thanks to a local superstition, the Crowe property is perfect. If Melanie can debunk the myth, she can get the use of those 600 beautiful acres. She just has to prove to the town that Leah’s ghost is not haunting the mansion, even on Samhain night.

Burned to death and proclaimed a witch, Leah Crowe’s soul has been cursed to an eternity of loneliness, all because she dared to love a woman. When the saucy Melanie arrives at her home to throw a costume party that mocks Leah’s very existence, the bitter ghost resolves to renew the town’s fear of her name. Will Leah’s ghost ruin all of Melanie’s plans?

Sometimes the past bleeds into the present.

One of the things I enjoy the most about ghost stories is exploring what it was that caused the deceased to become trapped between this life and the next one. After all, most people don’t stick around to haunt the places they knew well when they were alive! It’s hard to discuss Leah’s reasons for haunting her old home without wandering into spoiler territory, but I was deeply satisfied with how that part of her past was explained. It worked well for her personality and history.

It would have been nice to see more of a difference between Melanie and Leah’s use of the English language. Despite growing up and living hundreds of years apart, their vocabularies and speaking styles were incredibly similar. I was a little confused about why this might be the case and briefly wondered if it was a clue of some sort or if their voices should have been more distinct.

Blending so many different genres into one short tale isn’t an easy task, but Ms. Torry did a good job mixing them all together. The romantic and science fiction elements were slightly stronger than the mystery ones. It wouldn’t have been the same without all three of them, though, so this is something that I think will appeal to anyone who enjoys any or all of them.

I’d recommend To Have or To Haunt to anyone who is interested in dipping their toes into a new genre. It covers so many of them that it’s an easy place to try something new.

Resorts, Regrets, and Returning to Love by J L Wilson

Resorts, Regrets, and Returning to Love by J L Wilson
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (430 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Can you recapture a lost love?

Thirty-four years ago, they were each other’s first romance. For three magical months, Nate Boltz and Emily Sutherland worked together at a Michigan resort and fell passionately in love. But when the summer ended, Emily moved back home and their relationship faded.

Now Nate is the town’s police chief. When a skeleton is uncovered at the resort, the bones are identified as a girl who disappeared right after that tumultuous summer. Looking for answers, Nate reaches out to the resort’s former staff–including Emily.

Emily never forgot Nate and eagerly joins him as he tries to untangle old clues and half-forgotten rumors. Working together again, they rekindle the passion they once knew. But can they find a way forward from the old memories to something more permanent?

Or does the murderer have other plans for the reunited lovers from that magical summer?

Are Nate and Emily truly in love, or just in love with the past?

Nate and Emily certainly have a passionate romance. I think their first encounter with each other is a bit strange. Emily talked about some very personal stuff with a man she hardly knew. Even though I thought this was odd, it is clear right from the start that Nate and Emily have great chemistry, and I looked forward to learning about their epic summer romance. I do think that too much of their relationship revolved around sex. Since they were each other’s first serious relationship, I understand how powerful that physical connection can be, but Nate and Emily spent most of their time together either having sex or talking about it. Even when they were spending time together outside the bedroom, their thoughts still revolved around sex. It became a bit much after a while, and the sexual tension began to lose its impact.

There is also no real explanation as to why Nate and Emily didn’t stay in touch, especially since Emily managed to stay in touch with other people from that summer. After everything they went through, I find it hard to believe that their relationship simply faded into the background. I understand that they would have been trying to make a long distance relationship work in a time before cell phones, email, and the internet, but I would have thought the intensity of their relationship would have warranted more effort on both their parts.

Watching Nate and Emily reconnect was fun and frustrating at the same time. Everyone else in town already knows that they are meant to be together. Nate and Emily never really got over each other and are thrilled at the prospect of reconnecting. However, they are so hung up on the past they can’t decide if what they feel is love or nostalgia for their summer of romance. Nate and Emily jump into a physical relationship almost immediately, making it even harder for them to sort out their feelings. I couldn’t help but shake my head as they alternated between jumping into bed with each other and having fights born out of jealousy and a lack of trust. Despite my frustration with how they handled their relationship, I enjoyed watching Nate and Emily work together to solve the mystery, and their happy ending is well deserved.

I found it pretty easy to figure out who the murderer was. Once clues started emerging, I was able to piece them together pretty quickly. Then it just became a matter of waiting for Nate and Emily to figure it out. I can’t say much about the culprit without spoiling the ending, but I will say it is easy to see why this character got away with everything for so long. I must also warn readers that there is a graphic description of a near rape that is very unsettling. Ms. Wilson paced the mystery very well by alternating chapters between the present and the past. It was a very effective way to gradually reveal the mystery of the past and how it connected to the present.

I enjoyed reading Resorts, Regrets, and Returning to Love. I recommend it to anyone looking for a mystery with a healthy dose of romance.

The Necro Files by CL Bledsoe

The Necro Files by CL Bledsoe
Publisher: Etopia Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (233 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Thistledown

Ever wonder what happens after the hero kills the monster?

Daisy Janney just wanted to go to college next year like everybody else—get out of her mom’s house, go to some parties, maybe meet some cute guys. But when she finds out she has to pay for it herself, she has no choice but to get a job. Too bad no one wants her, not even the burger joint. Way to feel like a total loser.

Desperate, she takes the only job she can find—at Calvert Funeral Home. Putting makeup on dead people might not be glamorous, but at least dead people don’t complain. Too bad no one told her they wouldn’t always stay dead. Or that they weren’t always people.

One salt-covered, burnt witch later, Daisy finds herself the recipient of an evil curse. She’s got two weeks to figure out how to break it before she’s scheduled for dismemberment by an angry demon. And she hasn’t even gotten her first paycheck yet. She turns to an old boyfriend for help, but with finals coming up, and some weird guy stalking her who looks like Johnny Cash, she’s not sure there’s enough help on the planet for her kind of trouble…

Beggars can’t be choosers but this job… whoa…

If you take a job in a funeral home, you better be prepared for the weird, the ugly and the undead. That’s what Daisy finds out in this first amazing book in a series I hope lasts for many, many books. I had the opportunity to read the second book in the series first and for the record, I wasn’t lost or annoyed. That takes talent and this author has it with spades and shovels. Oh and stakes. Mustn’t forget those.

In this first book in a rocking hot series, Daisy finds herself hip deep in the hidden world behind what everyone else thinks is normal. She takes a part time job at the home when all else fails and discovers her bosses might be at least a little bit odd. When a body shows up covered in salt and she begins to clean it, some of the dead witch’s spirit possesses her. Fitted with the child murdering witch’s memories and a curse, Daisy has to sink or swim in waters no normal human girl was ever prepared for.

Welcome to a world of Johnny Cash look alike bounty hunters (Nathan), vampires with issues (Polidori), witches with hidden libraries and two bosses who have more secrets than anyone should have a right to. Oh, and Dave-her cop friend from her childhood. He’s just well…Dave. Insert family drama and a near fatal cookie making episode and you have a novel that will keep you hiding under the covers with a flash light until you’re done.

Daisy has a limited time to solve the curse and she will need all the resources a girl can get. It’s learn quick or die trying and in between she has to pass her exams and not lose her soul. Life can be complicated. So is dating one of your study partners that may or may not be a demon. What can you do?

Just like the second book, I was snared immediately with the voice of the book, the immense awesomeness of the characters and am now clamoring for another. Now please. CL Bledsoe has the world building down pat and people who practically breathe (or in case of the undead, not so much) right off the page. If you like urban fantasy books like Kim Harrison or the Anita Blake series, you’ll fall in love with Daisy and her crew.

This series has won my heart and I want another one soon…

Bloody Sexy by CL Bledsoe

Bloody Sexy by CL Bledsoe
Publisher: Etopia Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (267 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Thistledown

Not all vampires suck.

Daisy Janney—college student, assistant mortician, and supernatural detective—is excited about her friend John Polidori’s new book, Bloody Sexy, the autobiography of his life as a vampire. But when someone attacks Polidori at the book reading, Daisy will have to figure out who’s after him on her own. There’s a killer on the loose, and Nathan Venator, the hero of Baltimore (although he looks more like a young Johnny Cash), has got his hands full tracking him down. If that wasn’t enough, it seems like everyone’s in a relationship except Daisy, even her mom. So when Daisy agrees to go on a date with someone who just might be the killer, she begins to wonder how she’s going to juggle her classes, her investigations, and her social life—all without winding up in the funeral home at which she works.

If you take a job in a funeral home, you better be prepared for the weird, the ugly and the undead.

In this second book in a rocking hot series, Daisy finds herself hip deep in the hidden world behind what everyone else thinks is normal. Her bosses have begun to reveal some of their secrets and Polidori, a vampire Daisy saved from an inopportune staking in the first book has found himself in the line of fire from someone who does not want the true and unvarnished history of vampires out in the open.

When girls start to go missing, a serial killer is suspected. Nathan, a supernatural bounty hunter joins with Daisy as she tries to help her bosses solve the case. Being a student and part time associate should really pay more. Especially if she has to fight serial killers.

The homeless brigade of supernatural beings and the vampire legend of Polidori was a great story element and I loved the way the historical figure was represented. Finding out who was stalking him and the courage Daisy exhibits when she goes in defense of the vampire was truly great.

I was hooked with the voice of this book from the start. It didn’t matter to me that it was the second book and I hadn’t read the first one. It was clear and touched on necessary topics that led me right into the story and into the finer points of the plot and the tensions going on at the funeral home. The world building was stellar and I sucked up every detail. This is a book I wanted to sneak away on breaks and read. That I stayed up way too late and had a twitch when it was over, making me reach for the phone to request the first book in the series. Like now…right freaking now. Lol.

Now there isn’t much in the way of romance, but there is some sexual tension going on with Nathan. Here is me hoping in future books there will be some bed hopping chemistry but I loved it just the same. The snark and interaction with the characters, paired with the supernatural elements and the surprise twist with the serial killer was a jaw dropper and I started to snort through my hand in the middle of the break room. Awesome CL. I love your twisted mind. You are an inspiration to me and I bow down before you.

Oh-and I want many, many more books with Daisy. She kicks some monster butt.

Visiting Lilly by Toni Allen

Visiting Lilly by Toni Allen
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Genre: Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (318 Pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Why should a man at a Surrey police station go ballistic because someone tries to visit Lilly, his elderly grandmother?

Detective Inspector Jake Talbot is intrigued, and this little puzzle might serve to distract him from sorrows of a Christmas past. Soon he is entangled with Frankie, an odd young man who claims to have met Lilly in her youth.

Talbot dismisses the notion of time travel, but then discovers the Ministry of Defence has been monitoring Frankie since his friend disappeared ten years previously.

Forced to work with the MOD, Talbot unearths family secrets and betrayals. The families act ruthlessly to prevent him from discovering the facts, colluding to ruin him.

If Frankie is innocent, Talbot won’t let him be victimised. An uneasy understanding grows between them as they follow the evidence, for only the truth will allow Frankie to visit Lilly.

D.I Jake Talbot overhears Peter Charteris, a very wealthy young man, complaining to the desk sergeant about another young man who tried to kill Charteris’s grandmother, a resident in a rundown nursing home. The case seems strange and after dealing with a horrific case which hadn’t yet gone to trial, Talbot thinks it might be something to look into. His boss agrees, especially since everyone knows that Talbot is burned out and doesn’t handle the holidays well.

Talbot soon discovers that the case isn’t at all what it appeared to be. Talbot meets Frankie Hayward, the man who had tried to visit Mrs. Charteris and he discovers that Frankie has a story to tell, a story Talbot isn’t sure he can even believe. But Talbot listens and before long, Talbot has been drawn into a complex case, one where the Ministry of Defense is involved.

I was very impressed by the way the characters of both Talbot and Hayward develop in this story. Talbot receives information about Hayward from a psychiatrist, but Talbot soon realizes that the psychiatrist doesn’t know anything about Hayward, a brilliant if socially inept young man who has been mistreated by most of his family since birth. Talbot himself has suffered not only a burnout from overworking on a difficult and violent case, but a betrayal and rejection by his girlfriend. Talbot’s methods of detection have been criticized by his boss, but the truth is that Talbot, although not your usual detective, is very good at what he does.

The mystery is intense, and suspects abound. The pacing is excellent and the suspense builds, making this a real page turner. I did want to know how all the pieces fit together. But even more than that, I wanted to watch as both Talbot and Hayward grow as human beings, how they learn to navigate their pain, how they work to find their place in the world. I really cared about these two men, and there are a number of supporting characters who are also extremely well portrayed at a depth that is not usually found in mysteries. This novel is as much about the development of the characters as it is about solving the case, and both aspects are absolutely riveting.

I highly recommend Visiting Lilly to mystery lovers who are looking for something unusual, where the characters develop and change as the book progresses, and where the mystery involves a redefining of time and reality,

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels by Carrie Cross

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels by Carrie Cross
Publisher: Teen Mystery Press
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade, Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (244 pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A deserted mansion perches on a steep hillside, overlooking a rocky canyon. Tattered curtains hang behind broken windows, and a turret stretches toward the sky. Three years ago the wealthy owner disappeared suddenly, leaving behind a house full of secrets: A mysterious note, tantalizing clues, a hidden floor, one piece of a treasure map, and a missing fortune in diamonds.

Thirteen-year-old sleuth Skylar Robbins moves into the mansion with her parents and embarks on a new and dangerous mission. Armed with her detective kit, and with the support of her BFF Alexa and a team of secret agents, Skylar sets out to decipher the clues and find the diamonds. Can she outwit a gang of aggressive bikers and find the hidden jewels before they do? Or will the perils of middle school–like battling ruthless bully Emelyn Peters for the attention of class hottie Dustin Coles–get in her way?

Old houses can carry a lot of secrets, but they’re not always keen on revealing them.

It was a lot of fun to observe Skylar’s relationship with her parents. This was the first time that she’s attempted to solve a mystery while living with them, so there were many opportunities for her sleuthing to be squeezed into otherwise ordinary days. The relationship between mother and daughter was particularly interesting because Skylar and her mom have completely opposite personalities and interests.The occasional disagreements that resulted from these differences were well written and believable.

The character development was also strong. Skylar has learned from her previous adventures and occasionally mentions those lessons as she attempts to solve this mystery. I liked seeing a slightly older and more mature version of this character and am looking forward comparing this version of her with who she will become in the future.

My only criticism of this tale is a minor one. Early on in the plot Skylar’s parents buy a house that’s three times the size of what they actually need. The characters discuss how unusual this decision is, but they never really give any concrete reasons for why a small, nuclear family would have any interest in such a huge home. I would have preferred to see at least one more conversation later in on the plot explaining this decision.

Attempting to solve the mystery before anyone in the plot figures it out is one of the things I look forward to the most with this series. The clues are revealed slowly and methodically. Some of them are easy to figure out, but others require more thought. I’ve really enjoyed puzzling out both of Skylar’s mysteries so far.

This is the sequel to Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hill, but it can be read as a standalone novel. The most important background and character information from that story is briefly recapped in this one.

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels has made me eager to read more about Skylar’s adventures. I’d heartily recommend this tale to anyone who is a fan of mysteries or the young adult genre.

Cats in the Cradle of Civilization by C. L. Kraemer

Cats in the Cradle of Civilization by C. L. Kraemer
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (146 Pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Glenda Nagel, editor for Getty Museum’s monthly magazine loves her home in the Juniper Hills and her cats. When an ivory and emerald statuette of the cat goddess Bastet makes its way to her home and sets her cats on edge, Glenda is panicked.

Who knows about his and why has the darkly handsome, new Director of Egyptian Antiquities become so determined to visit her high desert home? Doesn’t Egypt have enough sand?

Glenda Nagel has ordered her life just the way she wants it. She enjoys her job as editor for Getty Museum’s monthly magazine, and she has a home far away from the Los Angeles congestion and smog, as she lives in the Juniper Hills with her three cats. But then a new Director of Egyptian Antiquities is hired, and while Glenda admits that he is very handsome, she finds something strange about him. She doesn’t trust him.

I liked Glenda from the very beginning. She is smart and capable, and she’s worked hard to get to her current position. All of a sudden everything is threatened when she discovers an ivory and emerald statuette of the cat goddess Bastet. She only discovers it because Pandora, her Persian cat, takes an instant dislike to the vase it was hidden in.

It can be hard to write a convincing mystery when the reader knows from the beginning who the villain is and what he’s up to, but C. L. Kraemer manages just that. Much of the story is told from Glenda’s point of view, but we also get to know Dr. Dabir Omar Ben Rashid Yacoub Riyadh, and he is definitely a villain that I really disliked. His character is well-fleshed out and he has very few redeeming characteristics. But then we also get the viewpoint of another level of villains and the suspense builds as the reader follows Glenda’s actions. There are curses and a long history of intrigue and injustice.

The descriptions of not only the scene, but the history of Egyptian archaeology is fascinating and brings a real richness to the story. I learned things while I held my breath as Glenda faced one situation after another. The pacing is excellent and the author really keeps her readers on the edge of their chairs.

Mystery lovers are sure to enjoy this glimpse into the world of archaeology as they watch Glenda trying to stay ahead of Dr. Riyadh.

Shift Happens by J. C. McKenzie

Shift Happens by J. C. McKenzie
A Carus Novel, Book One
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press. Inc.
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Length: Full Length (315 Pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Andrea McNelly’s job as a government agent is not asking questions, but then a routine assignment turns into a botched assassination of a Master Vampire’s human servant. Answers become a priority. Her search to discover the truth is riddled with obstacles, the largest being an oversized Werewolf who resembles a Norse god. Andy can’t afford the distraction he offers, because if she fails, she faces eternal enslavement.

Wick’s job is to monitor Andy, but he prefers more intimate activities, none of them G-Rated. His choices, however, are often not his own. His ability to help Andy is limited by his bond to the Master Vampire.

Facing many trials and challenges along her path to redemption, Andy learns the value of her freedom might be set too high.

In the night, something more than a mountain lion, wolf and falcon combined—a beast—had risen from within, answering a desperate call and then it went wild—uncontrollable.

Andrea is a shifter with a unique ability whereas Wick is an alpha werewolf who falls for Andrea, an assassin and agent of the government.

Andrea’s latest assignment leads her to kill a human. But everything is not as it seems when she gets caught and her handler is killed. She must find out who set her up with the assignment. In the process, saving herself and opening up to the man who could be hers.

The first thing that caught my eye about this book was the title, Shift Happens. I wanted to know what it meant to the characters and how it interwove within the book. The phrase was embedded in the story. By the end, the title is understandable and perfect.

Andrea’s past is important and a vital point not only in the story but also for Andrea and Wick’s relationship. In Shift Happens the author reveals her story right before the climax (ending). It wasn’t a total information dump since bits and pieces of her past is shared throughout the whole story but it is somewhat of a ‘big reveal’. It worked well and kept this reader interested throughout the novel.

The characters in the story are well developed. Really, the story as a whole is very good. There’s romance but it doesn’t overpower the story like in some books. I would read the second in this series just to know what happens.

Readers interested in Urban Fantasy where the plot is more than overwhelming romance will like this one. Though, I would recommend this book to anyone who loves urban fantasy/paranormal and romance.