Author: Lisa Carlisle
Genre: PNR/Military Romance/Mystery
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Eva Montreaux is a Marine, but not a “normal” Marine. She is part of a program that creates biologically enhanced military personnel. She and her team, NEO 17 (comprised of several supernatural beings), have been sent to Okinawa on two missions. The first is to find out who or what has been serially killing the American troops stationed there. The second is a civil mission, to attempt to create peace amongst the locals and the troops, as there has been much animosity recently. While on patrol one night, Eva runs in to a group of Marines that know her from a deployment before her enhancement. The problem, her memory from that deployment is gone. A side effect of her treatments was amnesia, leaving large gaps in her memory, save for brief flashes of the past. One of those Marines is Gunny Marcos Delacruz. Eva doesn’t remember anything about him, except for his piercing eyes. When she brushes him off, because she can’t explain her memory loss, he seemed incredibly angry although Eva doesn’t understand why. As Eva struggles to reclaim her memory and uncover her past with Marcos, the murders keep piling up. With everything going on on the island, Eva must untangle her feelings and the secrets that Okinawa is harboring.
This is the second book of Carlisle’s that I have read, and it just reminded me that I really need to read more of her work. This was a great outing for her! It was a PNR read, but the “romance” part of the story was not the primary focus of the book. It was more focused on the mysteries- who is murdering American troops, and what is the connection between Eva and Marcos that she can’t remember. The descriptiveness of the setting was great, and made it easy to visualize. The character development was wonderful, for the main characters. It may have been a little bit lacking in the secondary characters, but certainly not enough to take away from the story. It was very well paced, and thoroughly enjoyable. I truly hope that we get watch Eva and Marcos’ story develop.
Author: Evelyn Skye
Series: Crown’s Fate
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
The Crown’s Game ended, at the order of Pasha, but no one is particularly happy with the outcome. Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but she is only at Pasha’s right hand because she is forced to be. Pasha has lost his best friend (and brother) and the girl that he loves, at his own orders to end the Game. Nikolai survived, after sacrificing himself to save Vika, but only just. He is surviving as a shadow in one of his own dream lands. When he finally finds a way out of that dream, he is a much darker version of himself, a Shadow Prince. He is set against Pasha for what he has done, and wants to have Vika at his side, but he will fight against them both, if he must, to obtain the power and revenge that he seeks. Meanwhile, there are still uprisings, and those who wish to overthrow the Crown, as Pasha Coronation Ceremony draws near. The three of them may tear Russia, and each other, apart before this game comes to an end.
This sequel to The Crown’s Game was wonderful! It took on a much darker tone (as was set at towards the end of the previous novel) than its predecessor, but was still fast paced, and a very quick read for me (I didn’t want to put it down). I honestly, at several different points, found myself unsure of whom I was rooting for, because I came to care for these characters. Skye truly makes you feel for each of her characters, and their internal struggles. The wonderful character building and descriptiveness of the writing continued in to this novel. The prose was, again, really lovely to read. I am now an Evelyn Skye fan, and look forward to her next work.
Author: Evelyn Skye
Series: Crown’s Game
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Vika can summon lightening, rain, wind, snow, and ice. She can change and turn these elements in to whatever she needs them to be at the time. Nikolai can conjure clothing out of bunches of material, see through walls, and build bridges out of raw materials. They are enchanters, and each of them have been trained since they were very young to be the imperial enchanter to the tsar. There is only one problem, there can only be one. There was only ever supposed to be one. It has only happened a handful of times in Russian history, that there have been two. With uprisings happening across the country, and wars being threatened, the tsar needs his enchanter, so he does what he has to do in order to get it: He begins the Crown’s Game. The Game pits the enchanters against one another in a competition where only one will come out alive. One will either kill the other to win, or the game will kill the loser. Can either one of them really kill the other, though?
I waited a while to read this one, and I really wish that I hadn’t. I will admit that I have never really been a huge fan of any type of historical novel, but this one grabbed me from the beginning, and sucked me right in to the Game! I never would have believed that this was Skye’s debut novel, had I not been told. It certainly did not feel like one. The characters were all very well rounded, and fleshed out. The world building was phenomenal. I could see the enchantments as they were being performed and/or described. The romance was there, but it was not the only/primary focus of the novel. The only good thing about my waiting so long to read it is that I didn’t have to wait very long to get the sequel in to my hot little hands!
Author: Mike Massimino
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Mike Massimino, or “Mass” as he is known to many, had a childhood dream: to be an astronaut. He wanted to go to space. He grew up on Long Island, when that wasn’t really a popular dream to have where he was from. Nevertheless, he worked hard and made his way to Columbia and MIT. He then proceeded to fail his first PhD exam, and be repeatedly rejected by the astronaut program. This is where that New York grit came in to play. He didn’t give up, became an astronaut, went to space, and wrote us his riveting memoir about it all.
I absolutely loved this book! It was so interesting to learn about his journey to becoming an astronaut, and then his time working with NASA. He answered so many questions, and I learned so much from this memoir. I did listen to this book on audio, and I definitely think that this should be listened to (even if you read it in print first)! Massimino’s tone and inflection really made it all the more enjoyable. This is a must read, if you are a fan of science, space exploration, or just great memoirs!
Author: Jamie Lee Scott
Series: Gotcha Detective Agency Mystery
Publisher: LBB Company
Mimi Capurro (co-owner of Gotcha Detective Agency) is burned out, and in dire need of a vacation. She and homicide detective boyfriend, Nick, are planning on a trip to Italy. Nothing ever works out quite right for them, though. Meanwhile, a young girl makes her way in to the Agency, and in to Charles’ office. She claims that she was kidnaped and placed in to a sex trafficking ring. She says that she was taken with a thirteen-year-old girl, whom she was unable to save when she escaped. She begs for their help in getting her out. Now, the Agency is eyeballs deep in trying to take down a Russian sex trafficking ring, and may be in for more than they expected.
This is the ninth installment in the Gotcha Detective Agency Mystery series. I love this series, and all the main characters in it. Throughout the series, Mimi, Charles, Nick, Max, and the rest of the gang have been continually developed in to amazing characters. The book can easily be read, even if you haven’t read the rest of the series, but it is even more enjoyable if you read the whole series! The plot is well researched, well thought out, and moves at a great pace. The story is told in alternating viewpoints (Mimi and Charles), but is done very well and never gets confusing. Although the story is centered on very disturbing subject matter, it doesn’t ever get graphic so there is no need for avoidance due to that. This book was a quick read, and great if you are looking for a fun mystery.
Author: Barbara Copperthwaite
Genre: Psychological Thriller
The Oak family appears to be the ideal, picture-perfect family: Melanie and Jacob have been together since high school. They have one daughter, Beth, who appears to be a lovely young lady, and a dog. They live in the same small town that Mel and Jacob grew up in, have a nice little home, and seem to be doing well for themselves. Everything seems great…that is until Beth turns up missing. When she is found, she is on the verge of death from a near fatal head injury, and lying in a frozen creek. She was supposed to be at her best friend’s home that night, why was she out on the marsh? Everyone knows everyone in this town, so why does no one seem to have any idea of what happened to Beth? Melanie becomes more and more frustrated with the police’s seeming inaction, and decides to try to get to the truth on her own. What she finds may be more than she bargained for.
This was a pretty entertaining psychological thriller. It was told from alternating viewpoints, but was done very well so it was not at all hard to follow. There were some fun twists along the way, to keep it interesting. It was easy to get a bit frustrated with Melanie at some points, as she seemed to be a bit daft at times, but I could get past that for the most part. I was able to figure out the major twists before they were revealed, but that is the case a lot of times as I read a lot of psych thrillers, so I don’t take much credit away from the book for that. The main characters were fleshed out fairly well. There were a lot of secondary characters, so it would have been a bit difficult to give them all a ton of attention, but enough was given that they were easy to visualize and give a voice to. The setting was well descripted, so it was easy to visualize while reading. Overall, I would say that this was a well written thriller; definitely above average. I would give this author another read.
*Thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this ARC.
Author: Marianne Rice
Series: Rocky Harbor
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Ellie ran from Rocky Harbor ten years ago, when she was pregnant and abandoned by those that should have been there to support her, including the love of her life. She has now returned, almost ten-year-old son in tow, after winning a local inn in an essay writing contest. She has not had an easy life, being a very young single mom, and doing her best to take care of a son that is sick a lot of the time. She is hoping that this life change will be good for both of them. Colton fled Rocky Harbor around the same time, only he fled to the Marines, after having his heart ripped out by the girl that he loved. He felt betrayed, and left without telling anyone why. Now, medically discharged after having his leg amputated, he has returned to Rocky Harbor as well. Rachael, his sister, is working for Elle at the inn and recommends Colton to help with some projects. Ellie doesn’t realize that who Colton is, until he shows up. The sparks fly in a hundred different ways when the two are reunited. How will everything end for the two (or three?) of them when all of the secrets are finally revealed?
This is the third installment of the Rocky Harbor series, and I blazed through it, just as I have done the previous two. Colton and Ellie’s story took on a bit of a more serious tone than the other stories in this series, covering some more serious topics (PTSD, chronic illness, war injuries, having a child very involved, parentage secrets). These topics were handled well, though, and were woven in to a beautiful story for these characters. This book carried a lot of emotional weight, but it was balanced with a touch of nice humor mixed in. Much like in the previous two books, the setting is lovely and makes me want to move to this magical place and never leave. I highly recommend this book (which can be read as a standalone, but would be much better read as part of the whole series) and series, if you are looking for a contemporary romance to dig in to.