Guild Boss by Jayne Castle (Author), Barbara Rosenblat (Narrator)


Guild Boss by Jayne Castle (Author), Barbara Rosenblat (Narrator)
Publisher: Berkley, Recorded Books, Inc. (Publisher-audio)
Genre: Romance, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Living in this new, alien world doesn’t stop the settlers from trying to re-create what they’ve left behind. Case in point—weddings are still the highlight of any social calendar. But it’s the after-party that turns disastrous for Lucy Bell. Kidnapped and drugged as she leaves the party, she manages to escape—only to find herself lost in the mysterious, alien underground maze of glowing green tunnels beneath Illusion Town. She’s been surviving on determination and cold pizza, scavenged for her by a special dust bunny, when help finally shows up.

Gabriel Jones is the Ghost Hunter sent to rescue her, but escaping the underground ruins isn’t the end of her troubles—it’s only the beginning. With no rational reason for her abduction, and her sole witness gone on another assignment for the Guild, whispers start circulating that Lucy made it all up. Soon her life unravels until she has nothing left but her pride. The last thing she expects is for Gabriel Jones to come back to town for her.

The Lucy that Gabriel finds is not the same woman he rescued, the one who looked at him as if he were her hero. This Lucy is sharp, angry, and more than a little cynical—instead of awe, she treats him with extreme caution. But a killer is still hunting her, and there aren’t a lot of options when it comes to heroes. Despite her wariness, Gabriel is also the one person who believes Lucy—after all, he was there. He’s determined to help clear her reputation, no matter what it takes. And as the new Guild Boss, his word is law, even in the lawlessness of Illusion Town.

When I found out that Ms. Rosenblat was the narrator for Guild Boss, mixed with the story-telling talent of Ms. Castle, I couldn’t wait for this novel to come out. I just knew it was going to be fun and entertaining. My wait was worth it; every moment was awesome and I simply could not believe the ending came so soon. It’s the first time I’ve listened to an audio book that I’ve lost track of time and the ending took me by surprise. I expected at least 3 days to listen to the whole thing. It took me a day and a half. Just like her print books that I can read from end to end in one day (who needs sleep?), I finished the audio version in record time. I’ll be buying the print version of this novel as well, now that I know it’s a keeper.

I guess you could say that my review is colored by the narrator’s talent, and you’d be right. Granted, it wouldn’t work if the book itself wasn’t done perfectly, from dialogue, description, action and mystery, and with solid writing all the way through. My favorite scene descriptions were with Otis, the dust bunny, and how he utilized his sparkly pink toy. So adorable and sweet, it satisfies a figurative sweet tooth craving.

That first kiss reminded me of something Captain Kirk would do in Star Trek. I guess for some readers it might seem like a negative thing. Not for me. Sometimes there are moments when you meet someone and the spark is blinding and compelling. You give in to temptation. Reality hits later leading to a let-down or a romance culminating in a marriage of 50 years. It’s happened in real life, so I am totally on board with Gabriel’s character and his actions. Besides, it worked, didn’t it?

As for the heroine, Lucy, her fall from respectable to looney-toons and bit jobs might seem extreme to some readers. I mean, how her new boss treated her and paid her was not fair. That he took advantage of her was apparent. Ms. Castle could do anything she wished while writing this novel – it’s her world-building after all, right? My perspective is – keeping it close to what really can happen in real life allows the believability factor to easily translate to fantastical scenes on a far-off planet. Human nature being what it is does not change just because it’s in a different place. The vices, character quirks, unfair business practices and such happen because humans are eminently fallible. Same with the villains. My favorites are the scheming megalomaniacs with delusions of world domination – it worked in the original series, the Avengers with John Steed and Emma Peel, and adventures on Harmony remind me of some of their plots. Fun, pure escapism, adventure, daring-do, and with Ms. Castle’s books, romance and happy-ever-afters are a given. It’s what I look forward to and Ms. Castle delivered.

I am a happy reader/listener because Guild Boss gave me what I needed – a great read. The novel met all my expectations. I enjoyed how the relics of the past continue to cause havoc, I enjoyed the rescues, the chases, the clever quips, and how the story stayed on point with the plot and romance. There were a couple of love scenes and for a change, they weren’t there to take the place of the story. They were well placed and ensured I would have no doubts that Gabriel and Lucy are compatible and well-matched in all the best ways. The mystery was solved and the villain was someone I didn’t suspect.

All in all, Guild Boss is a keeper. No matter if you read it in print, or listen in audio format, it’s a wonderful story. It’s also a great addition to my growing tower of favorites written by Ms. Castle. If you decide to read this novel, I hope you have as much fun as I did.

Bless Her Dead Little Heart by Miranda James


Bless Her Dead Little Heart by Miranda James
Southern Ladies Mystery, Book 1
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

With the Mississippi sun beating down, An’gel and Dickce are taking a break to cool off and pet sit their friend Charlie Harris’s cat, Diesel, when their former sorority sister, Rosabelle Sultan, shows up at their door unexpectedly, with her ne’er-do-well adult children not far behind.
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Rosabelle’s selfish offspring are desperate to discover what’s in her will, and it soon becomes clear that one of them would kill to get their hands on the inheritance. Suddenly caught up in a deadly tangle of duplicitous suspects and deep-fried motives, it will take all of the sisters’ Southern charm to catch a decidedly ill-mannered killer…

She believes she’ll be killed…but will she?

This is a cute story with two sisters who love to solve mysteries and a Maine Coon cat who knows people’s true nature. I like the writing because it sped along nicely. I had to know whodunit. The sisters are funny and the cat is adorable.

Dickce and An’gel Ducote like to solve mysteries and they’re born nosy women. It’s okay. They have a mystery happen at their home and it’s natural that they’d want to solve it. This cozy mystery is cute and hits all the right buttons–it’s got animals, a mystery and it’s fun. The mystery is just complicated enough to be entertaining. I had no idea who the murderer was until the very end. I’d read other Miranda James books and it was nice to see the genesis of Endora and Peanut, too. It’s a great story.

If you’re interested in reading a story that’s good for an afternoon, mysterious and fulfilling then this is the one for you.

The Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha by JoAnna Carl


The Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha by JoAnna Carl
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The approach of Easter means a rush of business at TenHuis Chocolade, and Lee Woodyard and her aunt Nettie need all the help they can get to make their famous chocolate bunnies. Unfortunately, new hire Bunny Birdsong is a klutzy basket case. But to Lee’s surprise, she’s a wiz with computers and fixing the store’s website, so they decide to keep her.

However, Bunny receives a few visitors they could do without: Her soon-to-be ex-husband Beau, his wealthy aunt Abigail, and his new girlfriend and her brother all descend on the shop one day and have a bitter argument. Lee hopes they can find a peaceful way to settle their dispute, but when Abigail’s body is discovered in the vacant store next door, it’s clear to Lee there’s a bad egg in her midst. Now she’s on the hunt to find out who it is…

This mystery will get quite sticky..

I’ve never read anything by JoAnna Carl, so I was interested in reading this one. I like chocolate, so a mystery and chocolate? Yes, please. This book plugs along just fine and the writing is interesting. I’m glad I picked it up.

I have to say I wasn’t totally enthralled with the characters. Bunny is cute, but Lee seemed almost judgmental. I did enjoy reading it, so there was that and I wanted to see what would happen to Bunny. I didn’t like her ex and I wasn’t fond of the rest of her family, so that kept me invested in the story. I did need to know what would go on next.

If you’re looking for a cute mystery that’s a nice afternoon read, then this might be the one for you.

Not the Killing Type by Lorna Barrett


Not the Killing Type by Lorna Barrett
A Booktown Mystery, Book 7
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

It’s November in Stoneham, New Hampshire, and time for the Chamber of Commerce elections. The long-standing Chamber president is being challenged by a former lover—Tricia’s own sister, Angelica. Also throwing his hat in the ring is small business owner Stan Berry. Unfortunately, Stan isn’t in the race for long.

When Stan is found murdered, his political rivals become suspects. Angelica is going to need more than a vote of confidence from her sister—she needs Tricia to clear her name so she can win the election.

Tricia soon uncovers a ballot box full of lies and betrayals, and a chamber full of people who had grudges against the victim. But were they serious enough to lead to murder? It’s up to Tricia to pull the lever on a killer before it’s curtains for someone else.

A cute read with mystery and a little bit of mayhem.

Angelica is running for mayor. Her sister Tricia is sort of helping, but sort of staying out of the way. Angelica’s major opponent is found dead by Tricia. Hijinks will ensue.

This is a cute read. The writing flowed well and it was hard to put it down (I had to sleep sometime). I wanted to know what would happen next and how it all shook out. I like these cozy mysteries and like knowing there will be resolution at the end. It might not happen the way I expect and that’s good. I have to admit there is a lot going on in this book. It’s almost overwhelming just how much is going on, but I didn’t mind. Other readers might take note and it might not be their cuppa, but that’s okay.

If you’re in the mood for a mystery that’s got a neat ending and will leave you feeling cozy, then this is the book for you.

Sucker Punch by Laurell K. Hamilton


Sucker Punch by Laurell K. Hamilton
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Horror, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

A brutal murder, a suspect in jail, and an execution planned—but what if the wrong person is about to be killed?

When a fellow U.S. Marshal asks Anita Blake to fly to a tiny community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on an emergency consult, she knows time is running short. When she arrives, there is plenty of proof that a young wereleopard killed his uncle in the most gruesome and bloody way possible. As the mounting evidence points to him, a warrant of execution is already under way.

But something seems off about the murder, and Anita has been asked for her expert opinion on the crime scene. Despite escalating pressure from local cops and the family’s cries for justice for their dead patriarch, Anita quickly realizes that the evidence doesn’t quite add up.

Time is against Anita, as the tight-knit community is up in arms and its fear of supernaturals is growing. She races to uncover the truth and determine whether the Marshals have caught the killer or are about to execute an innocent man—all in the name of justice.

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I missed a couple of Ms. Hamilton’s previous books prior to Sucker Punch because I felt tired of whole scenes being dedicated to sex. I’m thrilled that this novel has a PLOT and the author stayed focused on solving the mystery with only a few episodes to remind me how convoluted and important her relationships are within her polycule. It wasn’t heavy-handed at all and I really appreciated that.

The whole premise was to save a young man who both Anita and Marshal Newman believed to be innocent. Unfortunately, a warrant of execution was issued and time is not on their side. The legalities they were trying to work through and with was fascinating. It presented a clear case of our justice system in reality. A law is passed that everyone felt was needed but in practice falls short of actual life situations. The result is someone could die that really shouldn’t but the law is so narrow, there’s no wiggle room. Talk about frustrating and stressful! The suspense comes from wondering if they will make it in time and what will they have to do to make it so.

Of course, everyone is sure Bobby is the murderer. The secondary characters exhibit prejudices and lack of tolerance and the willingness to ignore the 10 years Bobby was a model citizen. How easy it is to accept the simple way out just because the topic makes a person uncomfortable. It seemed like most of the townsfolk just want to sweep Bobby under the rug and forget anything ever happened. But, in true Anita Blake form, she won’t give up, she keeps fighting no matter how angry she gets the local PD. I am always impressed with Anita’s character. She’s a strong woman who isn’t afraid to fight and face the monsters head on, even when monsters turn out to be evil humans. I wasn’t sure if that was the case because guess who’s back in town? Olaf a/k/a Otto. He had a case in the vicinity and I kept wondering if there was a connection.

One connection that makes for good reading is the dynamic between Otto and Anita. Fans of the series understand why that is disturbing on so many levels. In Sucker Punch, I was treated to a serious pondering of, what If Olaf actually gets his way? If you’d have asked me before reading this novel, I would have said no way in heck – that is never going to happen. Ms. Hamilton spent some time with Olaf’s character and now I have to say, I’m not too sure. And after what Edward said? Color me shocked! Another stunner is that Anita’s lion isn’t that averse to the possibility. I wonder if other readers are of similar mind about Olaf after reading this story. It sure makes for some interesting contemplation.

The ending is exciting, shocking, stunning, and quite possibly contains the most important cliffhanger question any book has ever ended with. I am not going to say who it involves because I want a reader to be just as flabbergasted as I was. I never saw that coming in a million years. One thing is for sure – I am NOT going to miss the next book when it comes out. The answer to that question is way too important to ignore.

Ms. Hamilton wraps up the case in spectacular style. It’s not what I expected but it makes a ton of sense and provides complete closure. Sucker Punch is a powerful book with a hefty story worth taking the time to read. This is the most satisfying Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novel I’ve read in quite some time and is an easy recommend.

If You Ask Me: (And Of Course You Won’t) by Betty White


If You Ask Me: (And Of Course You Won’t) by Betty White
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Contemporary, Non-Fiction, Memoir
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The New York Times bestseller from the beloved actress and Hollywood icon who’s made us laugh on shows from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to Golden Girls to Saturday Night Live!

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Want a feel good read? Then this is it.

Betty White is a simple writer, but she’s a funny one. This book was just plain good. It made me feel good reading it and like I was talking with a friend. It’s an easy read and fast one. I’m guessing this is exactly how she talks in conversation and I loved it.

She’s got great little stories. She talks about female empowerment and the fun she had on her various movie and film sets. I like how she built the people around her up. I want more stories about her and Craig Ferguson riffing, too. I also loved her story about her hair color. She’s touched it up and colored it for so long that she can’t remember what color it’s supposed to be. How human is that? It made me grin.

If you’re looking for a book that will take you away for a few hours, will make you smile and just feel good, then this is the book you’re looking for. Recommended.

Dark Song by Christine Feehan


Dark Song by Christine Feehan
A Carpathian novel
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Stolen from her home at a young age and tormented for centuries, Elisabeta Trigovise is scared to show herself to anyone. Even though she has been rescued and is now safe within the Carpathian compound, she has lived in fear for so long she has no idea how to survive without it. She wants to answer the siren call of her lifemate—but the very thought terrifies her.

Before he found Elisabeta, Ferro Arany was an ancient warrior without emotion. Now that his senses have come alive, he knows it will take more than kind words and soft touches to convince the fractured woman that they are partners, not master and prisoner. For now, he will give her his strength until she finds hers, allowing the steady rhythm of his heart to soothe Elisabeta’s fragile soul.

But even as she learns to stand on her own, the vampire who kept her captive is desperate to claim her again, threatening the song Elisabeta and Ferro are writing together.

It’s been awhile since I’ve given a full 5 stars to a Carpathian romance but Dark Song finally reached the goal. Why? Because the plot and story had meat, and it had what I like – action, suspense and mystery.
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What makes me like this book over the past couple is the balance of story over sex. When there are too many sex scenes, or pages upon pages dedicated to every conceivable step in the process, it bores me. It can drag down my enjoyment because there is no purpose. Dark Song gives me a story worth spending time with – the challenge to solve the mystery of a truly baffling illness that is creeping through the compound which is compromising everyone’s safety. An unseen, seemingly unstoppable evil that no one can figure out? That got my attention. The fact that it affects those that should remain unaffected? Fascinating.

Another reason I looked forward to reading Dark Song was the heroine, Elisabeta. She was rescued in one of the previous books and it’s taken a while to heal enough for her to even attempt to rejoin the living. Not that she knows what living really is because she’s been in a cage for centuries, tortured and deprived of all life experiences other than fear. What kind of life is that? How can a person even know where to begin to live again when every decision was made for her? All good questions and all are answered in good time. The catalyst is the hero, Ferro. He’s her life mate and he intends that the rest of her healing can only be done with him, out in the open so she can see him, smell him, hear him, taste him and know the man he is. The hero has a huge task in front of him – to get Elisabeta to trust him and in him.

One more element that made me like this book more than others is the fact that the author wasn’t as repetitive as she’s been in past stories – repeating a fact or excuse over and over so I end up yelling at the book “okay! I get it!” — I didn’t do that in this novel. Yes, readers are more than made aware that the heroine is fearful and ignorant of even the basic things, like walking. That the heroine can’t make decisions for herself because she’s been prevented doing so. The difference is – for every time this is stated, soon after the hero does something that helps her make a change, a choice, to encourage baby steps forward. It’s because of that continual forward momentum that I respected the characters, the plot, the writing and the overall relationship between Ferro and Elisabeta. He believed in the heroine, he respected her and never wanted to do or say anything that reminded her of the cruel vampire who kidnapped and kept her for so long. Ferro truly earned my respect. Ferro didn’t focus only on the lust aspect of his returned feelings and emotions. No, his goal was to earn what all solid, successful, good relationships should be based on – trust.

The discovery of what is attacking the people on the compound had a couple of levels that truly intrigued me. One was a modern issue and the other was ancient. It was a mesmerizing combination that I could never have guessed at or anticipated. I like being impressed.

The physical aspect of their romance, when it finally happens, stems from a slow, steady, sensual buildup of gentle touches, teasing kisses and languid gentle strokes. That build up is why I enjoyed the scenes so much. The sex scenes were powerful because they were a sign of healing, joy and a hint at a promising future. What’s not to like about that?

There were a lot of secondary characters, the two most prominent were Gary and Tariq. Both men present a new fact of Carpathian society I hadn’t known about. They know what they’re talking about but a reader isn’t quite sure of all the subtext and inferences of just how important this revelation really is. Ferro gets it, and Elisabeta is on the cusp. Even though I didn’t quite understand the whole of it, I think it’s a hook for a new plot twist. If so, it’s effective and it makes me want to know more and more and more. Call me impatient but I think Ms. Feehan needs to write faster.

Taking out all the glossary, chants and stuff, this story was about 386 pages and it took me 2 days to read. It would have taken me one day but I started too late the first day for me to finish in one go-round. I sure gave it a good try though. Staying up until 1 AM isn’t the best idea on a work night. The only author I seem to do that for on a regular basis is Ms. Feehan. There’s just something about those Carpathian men I can’t resist. I hope when you pick up your own copy of Dark Song, you’ll like it as much as I did.

Beaglemania by Linda O Johnston


Beaglemania by Linda O Johnston
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Lauren Vancouver is the head of HotRescues, a no-kill animal shelter north of Los Angeles, but it’s often human nature that puts her in the path of danger. Just like when she helps rescue four adorable beagle puppies that were dumped down a drainpipe at a nasty puppy mill. One of the mill’s employees has a history of dog abuse-and a bone to pick with Lauren. And when he’s found dead at HotRescues after threatening her, Lauren will have to sniff out the real killer to keep herself out of a cage…

A whole bunch of pups, a rescue and murder?

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There were times when I wasn’t so enamored with the book. The story is told in first person, which isn’t bad, but the narrator insists on telling exactly what everyone is wearing and how expensive their item is. For example, she mentions she’s got a new television and how it’s fancy, flat screen and with all the bells and whistles because her son said to get that one. Seemed like a bit of info that stalled out the story. Lauren, the main character, can come off a bit snooty, too. She rescues pets so she feels she can get into jams and places she might not really belong because she’s helping. Sometimes it got frustrating because I wanted her to keep moving forward.

Still, this is a good book. It’s a quick read. There’s a thread of animal abuse in it and it’s not heavily described, which is good as it might be a trigger to some readers. I do have to say, though, there is a bit of a stigma against pit bulls mentioned and it might not be what some readers want to see.

It might seem like I wasn’t a fan of this book, but that’s not true! This author is a new to me author and I see she’s written more pet rescue and pet sitter mysteries. I’m game to read them because I did like the writing flow and the premise is interesting.

If you’re looking for a book about rescues, pups and mystery, then this might be the one for you.

Digging Up the Dirt by Miranda James


Digging Up the Dirt by Miranda James
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

An’gel and Dickce Ducote, busy with plans for the Athena Garden Club’s spring tour of grand old homes, are having trouble getting the other club members to help. The rest of the group is all a-flutter now that dashing and still-eligible Hadley Partridge is back to restore his family mansion. But the idle chatter soon turns deadly serious when a body turns up on the Partridge estate after a storm…

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A body, bones, plus a dog and cat? This has got to be good.

I picked up this book because I was in the mood for a mystery with animals as at least side players. This book didn’t disappoint. I loved how the characters are devoted to their cat and dog. Plus, the cat was named Endora. How can you not like that? The writing flowed well and while I had to put the book down a couple times (I had to sleep!), it was easy enough to pick back up and I wanted to know what would happen next. I did get emotionally involved with the characters. I had to know what would happen and whodunit.

The mystery was tougher to figure out than I had expected, but that’s good. I tend to read mysteries to be entertained, so I’m not looking for the clues throughout. Others might unravel this story easier and that’s okay. It’s a complicated story, but moves fast and worth the read.

If you want a mystery that’s fun, then this is the book for you.

Tightrope by Amanda Quick


Tightrope by Amanda Quick

Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense/Mystery/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

An unconventional woman and a man shrouded in mystery walk a tightrope of desire as they race against a killer to find a top secret invention in this New York Times bestselling novel from Amanda Quick.

Former trapeze artist Amalie Vaughn moved to Burning Cove to reinvent herself, but things are not going well. After spending her entire inheritance on a mansion with the intention of turning it into a bed-and-breakfast, she learns too late that the villa is said to be cursed. When the first guest, Dr. Norman Pickwell, is murdered by his robot invention during a sold-out demonstration, rumors circulate that the curse is real.

In the chaotic aftermath of the spectacle, Amalie watches as a stranger from the audience disappears behind the curtain. When Matthias Jones reappears, he is slipping a gun into a concealed holster. It looks like the gossip that is swirling around him is true—Matthias evidently does have connections to the criminal underworld.
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Matthias is on the trail of a groundbreaking prototype cipher machine. He suspects that Pickwell stole the device and planned to sell it. But now Pickwell is dead and the machine has vanished. When Matthias’s investigation leads him to Amalie’s front door, the attraction between them is intense, but she knows it is also dangerous. Amalie and Matthias must decide if they can trust each other and the passion that binds them, because time is running out.

This was a refreshing read. It’s classic Amanda Quick – a strong heroine, Gothic-like hero, a mystery to solve and hints of otherness to make a reader wonder if it’s coincidence or supernatural senses. This novel may feel comforting for fans of the author, because if a reader is looking forward to the elements that make reading an Amanda Quick suspense mystery fun and entertaining, they’re all there to enjoy.

This is the first historical novel I’ve read by the author that takes place in a time period other than Regency. It’s more like the early thirties because the Crash is mentioned; I guess that qualifies as early 20th Century. The Jones family is going strong and getting into just as much trouble as their ancestors used to. Again, the novel has that feeling of continuity because the Jones’s family talents still make it hard to find that perfect woman who can complete them, who won’t run away screaming or having a hissy fit because they don’t fit into a clear societal mold. The heroine, Amalie, is wonderfully perfect for the hero, Matthias, because she’s a bit different too. Not so much in the ‘other’ factor, but because of her career. I don’t believe I have ever read a story where the love interest is a trapeze artist. I was fascinated.

I was delightfully puzzled as to who the bad guy could be. There were layers of motive and possibilities to choose from and it’s safe to share that all my guesses were wrong. How fun!

I would have rated my review higher if there were any surprising, jaw-dropping, Oh-my-gosh Wow moments, but alas, I didn’t find any stunners. I’m still a happy reader because the book provided just what I needed; what I was looking forward to and hoped the author delivered. She did. I needed pure escapism and Ms. Quick took me on a grand adventure.

This novel is enjoyable, entertaining, and has the requisite happy ending with a delightful mystery solved in efficient fashion. I enjoyed the romance between Amalie and Matthias and its culmination. Tightrope is well worth reading.