'I've Got My Eyes on You' by Mary Higgins Clark: Book review by TMDG Reviews


I have always enjoyed Mary Higgins Clark's work. She never fails to entertain. "I've Got My Eyes on You" is a good story. It's set up well; a teenager throws a party when her parents are out of town - a believable situation, a tragic death. I felt so badly for the young neighbor with special needs who first encountered the deceased girl. The buildup and tension were satisfactory; I love suspense. The reason why I only rate it three stars - I had figured out who the killer was/was not far sooner than usual, and the writing seemed less sophisticated than the author's earlier style.

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"Loving a Rebel: The Preacher's Daughters (Glory, Montana Book 1)" by Linda Ford: Book review by TMDG Reviews


Flora is as rebellious as her adopted parents can handle, always dressing like a boy and riding off alone. She was bound to find trouble. A nefarious man follows her one day, and she gets lost in an incoming snowstorm, trying to lose him. Fortunately, she finds shelter. Unfortunately, spending two nights in a single man's cabin can lead to one ending - happy or not - her preacher father will insist they marry. Flora refuses to marry unless it's for love. Kade is a patient man willing to woo her into marriage. This is a sweet story, and I was glad that there was an alternative to a shotgun-wedding. For a while, I worried Flora would be too stubborn for any of it. Their dialogue through the beginning of the book kept me on the fence whether I would finish the book or not, but I'm glad I stuck it out. Their connection blossomed, and I found the innocent love refreshing. I enjoyed how each helped the other overcome something from their pasts. Some discrepancies gave me pause, but in the end, I overlooked them. The character that seemed phony was the villain. Even though the narration was mild, his personality seemed too cartoonish to be dangerous. 

I would read another book in this series.


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'The Wild One (The De Montforte Brothers Book 1)' by Danelle Harmon: Book review by TMDG Reviews

I did finish this book, but I found it challenging. Gareth and his friends were over-the-top immature, and I couldn't read much more of their nonsense. Juliet, a personable and robust character, deserved much better. The Duke's smug all-knowing personality and constant manipulation of the plot annoyed. I will not continue the series. 

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'Tate: The Montana Marshalls - An Inspirational Romantic Suspense Family Series' by Susan May Warren: Book review by TMDG Reviews


I read the previous book, KNOX, and I enjoyed it. I looked forward to reading TATE because of how the author set up the action at the end of KNOX. This book is supposed to be about Glo and Tate. I liked Tate and had reserved Glo's judgment, but setting up the next (third) book in the series consumes much of this tale. Ford and Scarlett's situation and relationship take up much time. Also, because the author wants each book suitable to be read as a stand-alone, plenty of time is spent reiterating things that have already happened, people's thoughts and conversations. I didn't like the repetition. I don't think I will continue with the next book in the series. It feels like half a story that you need to purchase the next book to complete.

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'KNOX: The Montana Marshalls - An Inspirational Romantic Suspense Family Series' by Susan May Warren: Book review by TMDG Reviews


I scanned the description and downloaded the book, began reading, and got sucked into Knox's struggle to choose between the responsibility to keep his family's ranch going and the chance to fulfill his dreams. A strong, protective cowboy with possible regrets and a chance to build a new future. I sympathized with Kelsey's tragic past, and I cheered their sweet blossoming romance. The Marshall family seemed like old friends that you could call upon at any time. I appreciated the subtle religious references; it didn't feel preachy but comforting. Action boiled up frequently enough to keep the story moving and drive me to turn the pages. On a down note, some of the main characters' thoughts and phrases were repetitive. The girl band Kelsey belonged to, and the songs they sang seemed modeled after a real-life popular country group, an imitation more than something unique. A lot of time focused on building the backstory for another couple, Tate and Glo. By the end of this book, the author had drawn me into Knox's brother Tate's story, and partly because of curiosity and partly because of a cliffhanger, I wanted to read the next book. I downloaded it immediately. 

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"The Perfect Wife" by Blake Pierce


 In THE PERFECT WIFE (A Jessie Hunt Psychological Suspense Thriller—Book One), Criminal profiler-in-training Jessie Hunt is sure she's finally put the darkness of her childhood behind her. She and her husband, Kyle, just moved from a cramped downtown Los Angeles apartment into a Westport Beach mansion. Kyle's promotion has them swimming in money. And Jessie is on the verge of getting her Master's degree in forensic psychology, the last step in her dream of becoming a criminal profiler.

But soon after their arrival, Jessie begins to notice a series of strange developments. The neighbors—and their au pairs—all seem to be hiding secrets. The mysterious yacht club Kyle is desperate to join is rife with cheating spouses, and with troubling rules of its own. And the notorious serial killer being held at the psychiatric hospital where Jessie is completing her degree seems to know more about her life than is normal—or safe.

As her world starts to unravel, Jessie begins to question everything around her—including her own sanity. Has she truly uncovered a disturbing conspiracy buried within a sunny, wealthy Southern California beach town? Does the mass murderer she's studying really somehow know the origin of her private nightmares?

Or has her tortured past finally come back to claim her?

I have read a lot of "middle-of-the-road" books lately. I haven't found one that wowed me but hoped this would be it. It wasn't. Just as Jessie, the main character, feels a continual niggling that something isn't right, but she can't put her finger on it- so too, did I feel that way when reading the story. I kept thinking; I should like this more than I do, why don't I?  
It had elements lined up and capable of building a great tale, but everything and every person seemed superficial. I didn't know Jessie's husband enough to decide what kind of person he'd been before they'd moved or how he'd changed- other than Jessie's statements about how he'd changed. When he stays out at a nightclub instead of coming home for a planned dinner and fails even to call and inform Jessie that he wouldn't make it, and when she catches him using drugs, these actions are supposedly far out of character. The little community wrapped around a "yacht club" covering for prostitution felt too far-fetched. If even one wife knew what was going at that place, and all the wives gathered there for family-type functions mingling with these skimpily-clad "waitresses," I can't believe it. Not a single woman decided to cut her losses, divorce the husband, take half of everything, and escape that place? They all traded their dignity for some extra cash. Not acceptable. This whole plot point took up too much of the story, in my opinion. The backstory about her near-death experience and becoming a profiler, dealing with Crutchfield, were more interesting but less emphasized.
Two key facts were easily deduced. With the word "Junebug," I knew the relationship the serial killer of Jessie's past held with her. When Jessie woke up in the locked cabin with Natalia, I predicted how the rest of the story would play out. There wasn't enough foreshadowing of characters to make it plausible. A couple of short interrogations by Jessie about Kyle's past, and BOOM- this guy's deemed a maniac. She's a brilliant student who will be a top-notch profiler, but she lived with a guy for ten years and had no clues, no hints, no suspicions, NOTHING gave her pause about him.
The interviews with Crutchfield were way out there. I would accept that he'd known things about Jessie's past because he'd considered the serial killer who'd kidnapped her as a child his mentor, and he'd interacted with that person. I could not believe he'd take one look at her in the present and guess she was pregnant, or that she thought her husband cheated on her, or that she felt guilty about something she wasn't positive she'd done. 
I would describe this as a bundle of good ideas that could have been better if executed differently. I may read the next book in the series to see if it gets better, but I'm not chomping at the bit to get to it.

"Because She Loves Me" by Mark Edwards


I have read a few books by this author and enjoyed them. This story grabbed me initially, set me up to believe what the author wanted me to think- Charlie was bad. I didn't like the constant sexual scenes, claiming they were so in love after only a couple of weeks, planning to move in together after a month. Charlie's outrageously jealous, nearly criminal, and definitely unbalanced actions brushed under the rug because he loved her. But these acts were forgiven as "not that bad" at the end of the book. No- those behaviors were definitely warning signs. Not normal. Not to be ignored or explained away. I liked some of the plot twists, but in the end, there were too many, and I don't feel the villain was foreshadowed enough to make it acceptable. There were two people I could have accepted as the bad guy. Neither of them turned out to be it. I didn't guess who it was, which is usually a plus, but only when after revealed, I can say, "Oh yeah, now I can see it lined up all along, building towards the truth." The author told things in the final pages to explain why that person was the criminal mastermind, but better clues sprinkled throughout the book would have made a more significant impression.


"Girls of Brackenhill" by Kate Moretti


When Hannah goes back to Brackenhill because her aunt passes away, a long tale unwinds about her childhood, why she spent summers with her aunt and uncle, and the things that occurred while she lived in the castle. Parts of this book were consuming. I kept reading and gathering little facts thinking that eventually, it would all fall into place, and everything would make sense. That didn't happen, though. The beginning scene sent shivers up my spine, but by the time I'd reached the end, I'd forgotten the significance of that prologue. I didn't piece together who the unnamed parties of the murder were, and I didn't even care to go back and reread it to figure it out. There were things focused on I was sure would mean something later in the story that never amounted to much. Why did Hannah repeatedly stress the creepiness and malevolence of Reggie? To make him a suspect in later events? But he was never a suspect or fleshed out as a suspect. Just a jerk, a teenager who got another teenager pregnant? Why make a big deal about the girl being pregnant when she dies? Why didn't Fae question Hannah's statement that Julia was with a girl that had disappeared over a year ago if Fae had first-hand knowledge about what happened to her? Why did Hannah and Julia, sisters, not know they were both chasing the same boy all summer? As an engaged adult, why did Hannah fall into bed with Wyatt? As a teenager, he'd slept with Hannah and then kissed her sister, denied they had any relationship, and humiliated her in front of the town, making her look unhinged? If she were unhinged, it would have been terrific. But she had carried on an intimate relationship with this guy for more than one summer, and nobody knew about it. He refused to acknowledge the truth. Not a case of the old castle driving her insane, such as the whole plot suggested. Crazy Aunt Fae, a witch? Did the property drive her insane? No, grief over the loss of a daughter perhaps made her do something evil. I'm not sure if she did or she didn't. That act was suggested, hinted at, but not substantiated. And the biggest let down of all: What happened to Julia? If you had committed an act as heinous as Hannah thinks she uncovers a memory of doing in the last pages of the book and just put it out of your mind for seventeen years- yes, you'd have to be insane. But there was no closure in that either. Nobody believed what she confessed. No resolutions, no truth, no proof. 

"The Unspoken" by Ian K Smith


I thought I'd like this book based on the description, and as I started reading it. However, I quickly grew annoyed with the main character's, Ashe's constant assignment of the 'wise-ass' characteristic- self-proclaimed, and by everyone that interacted with him. Yes, he's so witty. Let's move on. The mystery of Tinsley's disappearance could have proved thrilling, but there were too many details of people, clothing, food, and settings. I prefer more action and less description. I enjoyed the banter between his and his love interest, though I found it difficult to believe she'd keep going out on a limb for him to help in his investigation whenever he asked - she was practically at his beck and call. The two subplots about a bully he encountered in his youth and the abusive priest's disturbing abduction didn't make sense. I didn't think they were necessary to the story, and there was no connection made by the author as to relevance to the plot. I kept thinking a thread would appear to weave it together, but no, it didn't.

"Exclusive Pedigree: My life in and out of the Brethren" by John L. Fear, Robert Fear


A Legacy Memoir A Family Can Cherish Forever

I slowly read this book in small chunks at a time. Parts of it fascinated me while I found others less interesting. I especially liked reading about John's childhood, meeting his wife, and the role he played in broadcasting Billy Graham. I appreciate the time and effort put into this novel to encompass the details of John's life, and I think it will be an item more cherished by his family as a remembrance than any stranger could appreciate it.