"Hope: Hope is the Light when Darkness Descends (Catwalk Book 2)" by S. Q. Orpin

Hope: Hope is the Light when Darkness Descends (Catwalk Book 2) by [S. Q. Orpin]

DESCRIPTION AS ON AMAZON:

Happily ever after comes at a steep price as past relationships and betrayal threaten to destroy a marriage.

Newlywed Casi Roberts struggles to find a balance between her career as a model, a failing business deal, and living between the quaint town of Blackberry Falls and the chaos in Los Angeles.

Kyle Jensen questions his choice to follow his heart when everything he values is threatened and his new wife becomes a stranger.

Devastation, jealousy, and lies, force Casi and Kyle to focus on what they cherish and believe in each other. They soon learn true bonds cannot be broken while loyalty runs deep.

Through faith and sacrifice, Casi learns who she can trust and whom she should fear. She navigates a new path, discovering the truest meaning of love and what is worth fighting for.

Family and friends suffer disturbing circumstances and devastating events forcing them to make difficult choices. When secrets from the past begin to surface, lies unravel and relationships are shattered.

Hope prevails when they learn to face their fears and open their hearts to the power of love.


The second novel in the Catwalk Series continues with an epic journey of love, intrigue, and triumph, revealing deeper stories within the captivating saga.


This book probably felt longer than it was because it contained an enormous cast of characters, a long list of entanglements, turmoil, and complications. I didn't find it difficult to keep track of the people, but I found it difficult to connect with them. I didn't feel like Kyle and Casi loved each other. Their hot and cold, I love you/I hate you attitudes, Casi's horrible decisions, and their immature passive-aggressive non-fights with borderline cheating afterward followed by long-winded apologies and declarations of their undying devotion put me off. A lot of the dialogues were speeches unloading information and drawn out explanations of how a character felt or why they did something or shouldn't have done something. I also found it disturbing that Casi would tongue kiss her husband's brother, and that they would all be okay naked around each other. How did Casi become qualified for a marketing executive job? There were so many things crammed into the book and mostly glossed over matter-of-factly that it didn't impact me as much as if there were fewer tragedies and traumatic instances that were more deeply written. I began to think most people in the story had personality disorders. How do you find this much dysfunction in one family? I don't even want to tell you how many of the same women the brothers slept with. Without giving spoilers, it held endless near-unbelievable drama dealing with addictions, exceedingly promiscuous sexual escapades, and maladjusted family relationships.

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"Don't Make a Sound: A Sawyer Brooks Thriller" by T.R. Ragan



DESCRIPTION AS ON AMAZON:

Plagued by traumatic childhood memories, crime reporter Sawyer Brooks still struggles to gain control of her rage, her paranoia, and her life. Now, after finally getting promoted at work, she is forced to return home and face her past.

River Rock is where she’d been abandoned by her two older sisters to suffer alone, and in silence, the unspeakable abuses of her family. It’s also where Sawyer’s best friend disappeared and two teenage girls were murdered. Three cold cases dead and buried with the rest of the town’s secrets.


When another girl is slain in a familiar grisly fashion, Sawyer is determined to put an end to the crimes. Pulled back into the horrors of her family history, Sawyer must reconcile with her estranged sisters, who both have shattering memories of their own. As Sawyer’s investigation leads to River Rock’s darkest corners, what will prove more dangerous—what she knows of the past or what she has yet to discover?




The description sounded like a book I'd enjoy, and as I started reading, it intrigued me. The multiple layer storyline worked well at first, but I figured out who Malice was and how it related to Sawyer's story too quickly. I found it a little weird that several characters were stereotypes of abuse victims. A lot of quotes from therapists as to how abuse victims should or would act as opposed to the characters' actions showing us the effects of abuse on victims. As the book approached its conclusion with crazier and wilder secrets emerging, it felt rushed and unbelievable. Things didn't play out naturally. Although the ideas were promising, I found the execution lacking. I still may give this author another shot.

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"Apollo's Raven (Curse of Clansmen and Kings Book 1)" by Linnea Tanner


DESCRIPTION AS ON AMAZON:

AWARD-WINNING APOLLO'S RAVEN sweeps you into an epic Celtic tale of forbidden love, mythological adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia. In 24 AD British kings hand-picked by Rome to rule are fighting each other for power. King Amren's former queen, a powerful Druid, has cast a curse that Blood Wolf and the Raven will rise and destroy him. The king's daughter, Catrin, learns to her dismay that she is the Raven and her banished half-brother is Blood Wolf. Trained as a warrior, Catrin must find a way to break the curse, but she is torn between her forbidden love for her father's enemy, Marcellus, and loyalty to her people. She must summon the magic of the Ancient Druids to alter the dark prophecy that threatens the fates of everyone in her kingdom.

Will Catrin overcome and eradicate the ancient curse. Will she be able to embrace her forbidden love for Marcellus? Will she cease the war between Blood Wolf and King Amren and save her kingdom?



I started reading this book and thoroughly enjoyed the evolving curse, the evil banished brother trying to overthrow his father, and Catrin's forbidden love for Marcellus. It consisted of more politics and war than the star-crossed lovers' budding romance, in my opinion, which confused me at times, and there were many gruesome scenes I could not fully read, but others may not be put off by the things that make me squeamish. Something that bothered me was Rhiannon's treatment of Catrin and that she chose to take Agrona's side (whom she proclaimed she didn't trust) against her daughter. The way Catrin connected with the raven fascinated me. I grew invested in Catrin's and Marcellus's fate and wanted to find out if they'd remain true and stop constantly doubting each other. Their actions at the end of the book answered my question, and I'd like to read the sequel to see if their relationship becomes more steadfast and sure and discover what happens with Marrock. I feel Catrin will have to face him eventually.

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"The One Enlightened (Chronicles of the Diasodz Book 2)" by Yvette M Calleiro

The One Enlightened (Chronicles of the Diasodz Book 2) by [Yvette M Calleiro]

DESCRIPTION AS ON AMAZON:
Sofia has lost everything that was important to her: her mother, her boyfriend, and her best friend. Even the belief that humans are the only beings in the world has been stripped away, but she has no time to dwell on her losses because she’s been transported to a new world to become the savior of the Diasodz. Sofia trusted Ar’ch and Angel to be there for her and to guide and protect her, but only Angel has held true to his word. Ar’ch has abandoned her, leaving her to feel tricked and betrayed.

Ar’ch brought Sofia home, fulfilling his mission to bring their savior safely to their world, but it didn’t come without a cost. Rafe, Sofia’s boyfriend, was killed, and Ar’ch believes Sofia blames him for it. Ar’ch’s sole focus becomes doing what is best for Sofia, and in his mind, that does not include him.

As Sofia deals with Ar’ch’s absence, she throws herself into learning about the Diasodz’s history. She grows stronger both emotionally and physically, and begins to accept her role in their world, but not everyone is convinced that she is the one whom the prophecy states will save them.

Beliefs will be challenged. Secrets will be revealed. Relationships will be shattered. And in the aftermath, evil will see its opportunity and strike. Will Sofia be able to handle it all? Or will the savior of the Diasodz lose her will to continue?


The One Enlightened is the second book of the Diasodz. I read the first, but I enjoyed this one more. Complicated levels within the battle of good versus evil developed. That was the best part of the story, in my opinion. It was detail-focused; I found myself skimming over the repeated inner thoughts of Sofia and Ar'ch about how they did or didn't feel for one another at the beginning, the minutiae of everyday routines, and sometimes the exercise sessions. The book reads very formally. It took me eight hours to finish the entire thing. I think a lot of the detailed sections could use shortening. Some of the story/history was repeated by different people.
Characters in this installment were a plus. New people to love and hate. Nolan and Valerie's secrets came to light and played an essential role in moving forward. I want to find out what happens with Drake and what Sofia's future holds. It has been hinted she will have to make a choice, and I need to know what that choice is. Whom will she save? Whom does she love the most? As the end of this second section of the series neared, so many things sprang up that left me wanting answers. That's great when reading a series.
I look forward to reading more.


"a Thousand Little messages: A KLM Origin Novel" by Linda Armstrong

a Thousand Little messages: A KLM Origin Novel (KLM Casebook Book 1) by [Linda Armstrong]

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A new romance, a strange cat and a woman in desperate need of help turn Melissa's world upside down. Turning the business of her tea shop to her good friend and employee, Melissa goes on a whirlwind trip to investigate the man she thought she knew.

One missing woman, three states and a Thousand Little messages have Melissa seeing things differently. Finding her life in danger, will she be able to find the man before her friends are left to pick up the pieces?



A unique mystery with a lesson to be learned. Pay attention to all those little gut feelings. I liked the main character and the idea that her love interest felt he was doing the women a favor, that they actually wanted to die. His character was probably my favorite, even though he took a back seat to the investigation portion of the novel. Some parts moved a little slow, but the ending satisfied.

"Strawberry Moon" by Joy M. Lilley

Strawberry Moon by [Joy M. Lilley]

DESCRIPTION AS ON AMAZON:

The Patterson family leaves the U.K. to begin a new life in France. St Severin, in the Dordogne, provides the backdrop for the family's new home and all of the life-changing obstacles they are about to encounter. Maisie, who is almost seventeen, narrates this unpredictable story. Maisie struggles as she experiences the changes of coming of age, the pain of loss, and the rollercoaster ride of competing love interests. Maisie's older brother, Dan, rebels over the move and frequently threatens to return to England when his studies are over. Dan starts an affair with a married French woman. After a few months in France, he goes missing which begins to unravel the family. What starts as an exciting move becomes more difficult with each passing chapter. Maisie is left navigating this complicated new world, all while trying to plan the rest of her adult life.



I liked the cover of the book. It's enticing. I did find the smallest piece of the story related to the cover and title- Maisie described the moon when tragedy struck her family. I felt the book dragged on much longer than necessary, and even though there were parts that captured my interest for a minute, and I thought, "here we go; something is going to happen," nothing came of it. No questions were answered, and no resolutions evolved. I didn't care for Maisie or her constant fizzling and straying affections. Her mother's addiction/mental illness and her belief that she'd committed murder led to a confession, a possibly great angle that ended before it began. Was Gange the man Maisie had seen on the canal? Was Maisie's 'accident' really an accident, and if it wasn't, did someone attack her to end her questions about the murder? Why was Ralph hinted at as an alternate suspect? Why was Franz injected into the story buzzing around at the end with no real explanation? There were too many very long, slow passages that forced me to step away from the book. Perhaps the author has a sequel planned that will answer some questions, but I felt dragged in circles without any satisfaction. It is in dire need of editing and proofreading.

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Make A Little Wish: A Paranormal Women's Fiction Romance Novel (Make A Little Magic Romantic Comedy Book 3) by Jennifer Archer

Make A Little Wish: A Paranormal Women's Fiction Romance Novel (Make A Little Magic Romantic Comedy Book 3) by [Jennifer Archer]

DESCRIPTION AS ON AMAZON:

In Make A Little Wish…“Jennifer Archer has taken the premise of the body switch and turned it into a story that will definitely resonate with women over 40. With humor and thoughtfulness, the story explores the values that our society holds and what it really means to find your soulmate…interesting and entertaining…”-The Internet Writing Journal

When I made a wish to switch lives with the twenty-something college student who works for my husband, I wasn’t being literal. So, imagine my shock when I looked in the mirror and saw Tory Beecham’s blue eyes staring back at me. Somehow, fortune granted me Tory’s head-turning, jaw-dropping body, and in return she got . . . mine.

But as eager young men try to win my attention, only one guy piques my interest. He has intelligent eyes and a sexy, caring smile; but he’s married – to me, or rather the woman I used to be, – and he thinks he’s falling in love with Tory, unaware that inside her body it’s me he’s drawn to. Now, the only thing that matters is finding a way to reverse the results of my careless wish and return to the life – and the husband and kids – I once took for granted . . .



Oh, to be twenty-one again. Lisa thought it would be grand, and after reading a fortune cookie about her wish coming true, she wished to trade lives with Tory, a young and carefree college student. The problem was Lisa loved her kids and her husband; she'd just lost sight of some important things and hadn't communicated all her needs effectively. She desperately missed her family and tried everything she could think of to switch into her body and regain her life. The beginning captured my interest, but between half and three quarters through, I just wanted to see how they'd get back together. It took so long. I could sympathize with Lisa's character. Frazzled and feeling unappreciated, she wanted more, yearned for more. It didn't mean she didn't love her kids. I think the moral of the story proved worth the read.


"My GRL" by John W. Howell


My GRL by [John W. Howell]

DESCRIPTION AS ON AMAZON:

John J. Cannon, a successful San Francisco lawyer, needs some well-deserved time off. He takes a leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. His short-term plan is to become a charter fishing boat captain. John is unaware his craft has been targeted by a terrorist group to be used to destroy a class of Annapolis Midshipmen on their summer cruise. John’s first inkling of trouble is when he wakes up in the hospital and learns he was unconscious next to the body of the young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. To further complicate the situation, he was lying on the gun that killed her

John now has a more critical plan than charter fishing. He needs to convince law enforcement that he is innocent of the woman’s murder and to figure out why he was in the position of taking the fall.

John’s quest for answers takes him from the small fishing village of Port Aransas to eventually confront those who are holding him prisoner on the cargo ship carrying My GRL in the hold. The answers come fast and not to John’s liking. The chief terrorist has decided to lash John to the wheel of My GRL which is packed with C4 explosives and by remote control steer them to certain death at the Port of New York. The plan is to destroy the Midshipmen and the Intrepid museum. All this to satisfy the terrorists need for revenge on perceived grievances against America and the leader’s hatred for John.

If you like your heroes’ to be regular people and you want your thrillers to be exciting with plenty of twists and turns this is the book for you. It is the first in the John Cannon Trilogy.




My GRL's main character, John Cannon made an impression; likable, funny, and obsessive at points, I could relate to him. I'm glad the author explained a lot of the technical aspects of the yacht because I'm unfamiliar with boats and sailing terms. In one of my favorites scenes, John drove his FJ across the beach fleeing from the terrorists and thought he'd succeeded, but things aren't always what they seem. Sometimes the pace slowed too much, for example, the many pages devoted to the cotter pin and if it could be helpful, but for the most part, the story held my interest and kept me turning the pages. While John planned to escape and save the day, the story came alive again and I didn't want to stop reading until I discovered the outcome of his plight. The motivation for the terrorist attack seemed strange to me, but these kinds of things often seem crazy or mindless when they happen in real life. I would like to read the next book in the series.

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"Verity's Sunset" by Brett Galen


Verity's Sunset by [Brett Galen]

DESCRIPTION AS ON AMAZON:

John Tyson is the yearbook photographer at his school, but he continues to wonder if anyone sees the guy behind the camera. Signing up for an environmental workshop during Spring Break, he meets a girl named Verity with a zest for life and a mission to find the perfect sunset. As their friendship deepens, a dark secret is revealed. Will her secret be enough to keep them apart or will they be strong enough together to find Verity's Sunset?



The author crafted a sweet, endearing read that brought forth tears and imparted an important message. I liked the main character, John. His familiar high school plight - secretly adoring Donna, a girl he didn't think would ever date him - had a unique twist. Although he worried that no one saw him beyond his camera and his photographs, he learned to view himself and life through Verity's eyes; she, and her circumstances, helped him come out of his shell. The book had very few typos or mechanical issues, but the story could have been more impactful by removing "was" as a repetitive verb choice and replacing it with a powerful verb.

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"Murders on the Ridge: Mystery in Briar County" by Andrea Smith

Murders on the Ridge: Mystery in Briar County by [Andrea Smith]

DESCRIPTION AS ON AMAZON:

Eight bodies were found in less than four hours in Briar County, Ohio . Every significant member of the Hatfield family of Briarton, their ages ranging from 16 to 44, were shot execution-style inside of four different homes not far apart.

Local, Federal and State law enforcement officers have swarmed the community, interviewing more than 50 people and combing the wooded areas surrounding the crime scenes. Sheriff Charles Ridley called the investigation one of the largest in Briar County history.

Ohio Attorney General Nick Devlin said the massacre was “pre-planned” and “sophisticated.”

A wealthy Ohio businessman out of Cincinnati, Ohio offered a $25,000 reward to anyone with answers.

But when the answers started to come, they only raised more questions.
Fingers began to point, family conflicts grew, and before this crime was solved, one more local would be found dead.



This book was based on an intriguing true story. The author did a pretty good job weaving it into fiction. It could use a little editing. When two people converse, they don't generally address each other by name each time they speak. It's cumbersome. The small town dripping with political conspiracies, corrupt law enforcement, and drug activity made for a compelling read. 

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