Thursday, 31 March 2016

Tempted by a Rogue - Lauren Smith

I'm taking part in the Spread Some Indy Love Blog Hop, 2016 with B00k r3vi3ws, and I thought that this year I'd take a look at Tempted by a Rogue by Lauren Smith.

You may already know that I'm a bit of a fan of Lauren Smith's books, so when she released Tempted by a Rogue, a regency romance novella, I was very keen to read it. I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of novellas, I prefer a longer length novel so that I can really get my teeth into it, but that wasn't going to stop me reading this.

Tempted by a Rogue

Tempted by a Rogue by Lauren SmithGemma Haverford has been waiting for her sweetheart, James Randolph to return from his life at sea and marry her for many years. She has written to him since he left as a teenager and now, finally he is set to return and become her husband. There is a slight problem though, the man who she has been writing to isn't James at all, but his friend Jasper Holland.

On their return, James has found out that Jasper and Gemma have been writing to one another and arranges for Jasper to compromise Gemma before they are reunited properly. This way he can free himself from their supposed engagement and will be free to marry who he chooses.

I did find the beginning of the story a little bit overly complicated, if Jasper had simply come clean right at the beginning, then he, Gemma and James would have all got what they wanted without the confusing mess that was created, but then of course there would have been no story.

Of course, things do work out in the end, and I liked the flashes of humour that were woven into the story line. I think that it's a bit of a stretch that a lady like Gemma would really behave in the way that she does, even when faced with as fine a specimen of manhood as Jasper, but who cares really, stories like this are escapism and Tempted by a Rogue is a great way to escape and loose yourself. I really do love Lauren Smith's writing and am very much looking forward to reading some of the other books she has in the pipeline. My only real complaint with this one, was that it just wasn't long enough and ended far too soon.

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Sunday, 20 March 2016

Monk's Hood - Ellis Peters

Monk's Hood by Ellis Peters
I loved the first two Cadfael books in the series, so I couldn't wait to read the third and ordered if from the library. Monk's hood didn't disappoint and I found all of the elements that I'd loved in the first two books were here too.

I'm not sure exactly what it is about Brother Cadfael that makes him so appealing, but I love his character. In this book, we learn a little more about his past and his life before becoming a monk. A family has just moved to the Abbey after signing their property over to the monks. Shortly after their arrival the husband of the family is poisoned, using a muscle rub that Cadfael has made with the plant Monk's Hood. 

Cadfael tries to discover who has committed the murder and why, particularly as he is implicated not only by having made the poison that was used, but also because he was betrothed to the man's widow in his youth, before he took holy orders.

Cadfael travels into Wales, to the property that the family were signing over to the Monks, (although, as this had not been finalised before the murder, it no longer legally stands). He meets with the prime suspect and becomes convinced that he cannot be responsible for the murder, but then who is to blame.

Yet again I fell in love with the setting and the characters that appeared in the book. We meet Hugh Berindgar again and learn much more of Cadfael and his life before taking holy orders. I didn't fully guess the murderer until near the end of the book, but as is often the case with well written mysteries, the ability to solve or not solve, seems somewhat less important than the enjoyment of the story.

I'm a little disappointed to discover that the library does not have the fourth book in the series, so I shall have to try and track it down elsewhere. It might be a little while until I can dip into the world of Cadfael again.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Last Vacation by Sarah Elle Emm

I recently got the chance to read and review Last Vacation by Sarah Elle Emm, I hadn't read any of her books before, so was looking forward to giving this one a go.

About the Book:
Seven days have passed since Naples real estate agent Megan MacKenna has heard from her twin sister, Madeline, who was vacationing on the beautiful, Caribbean island of St. Croix. Though authorities are not convinced there is a case to solve, Megan knows with all of her heart something happened to Maddy. When Megan receives a direct warning to leave the island or end up like her sister, she turns to the only person who has taken her seriously since she arrived, Gabe, a breakfast cook at a local diner. 

Undercover DEA agent, Gabriel Walker has been building his cover for months, waiting for the opportunity to work his way into the infamous Torrez crime ring. When Megan shows up asking questions and Gabe realizes her twin’s disappearance might be linked to the Torrez men, he has to convince her to go back to Florida before she becomes their next victim. 

The closer Megan gets to the truth, the more Gabe begins to suspect he is missing a huge piece of the puzzle. And someone is closing in on Megan…

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My Review

Although this book has a romance angle, it is without a doubt, first and foremost a thriller. From the very beginning, you find yourself quickly picked up and whisked into the action. When her sister doesn't get in touch, Megan steps away from her usually ordered and quiet life, to try and find her, putting herself in a huge amount of danger to do so.

The story was well written and the action moved along at a great pace, reflecting the urgency of the sisters situation, without ever feeling too rushed. I couldn't help but pick up my kindle and read a few more chapters to see what was going to happen as often as I could. 

Gabe was a lovely caring, yet strong hero, who does his best to keep Meg out of trouble, not that he has much success. She is headstrong and stubborn and isn't going to let anything get in the way of finding Maddy. I was a little worried that she wouldn't take the fact that he'd kept his undercover role a secret from her and that he was really with the DEA, having had trust issues in her past, but unlike some stories, he didn't keep things from her unless absolutely necessary, so there was non of that forced misunderstanding and concealment that can often happen in some romantic suspense novels. 

The developing feelings between Gabe and Meg was fun to watch, but it was far from over done, as I said previously, this was a thriller with a romance angle, rather than a romance with a thriller storyline, so that element of the storyline wasn't too intrusive on the action.

I really enjoyed this and would happily pick up another book by Sarah Elle Emm, Last Vacation is a thrilling read that leaves you on the edge of your seat wanting to know what's going to happen. A great read.

About the Author:

Sarah Elle Emm is the author of the HARMONY RUN SERIES, a young-adult fantasy and dystopian series, released in May 2012 by Winter Goose Publishing. (PRISMATIC, May 2012, OPALESCENT, February 2013, CHATOYANT, September 2014, NACREOUS, August 2015) Her debut fiction novel, MARRYING MISSY, was published by Bird Brain Publishing in October 2011. Sarah is a graduate of The University of Evansville, she has lived and worked in Mexico, Germany, England, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and has traveled extensively beyond. Sarah lives in Naples, Florida with her family. When she’s not walking the plank of her daughters’ imaginary pirate ship or snapping photos of Southwest Florida scenery, she is writing.

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Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Seduction by Lauren Smith

You may remember that back in January I reviewed Forbidden by Lauren Smith, complaining that I had to wait for the second instalment...well look what's just come out. I'm usually a bit behind with my reviews, but as I finished this earlier, and it's only just come out, I thought I might review it straight away while it was still fresh.

As I mentioned, this is part two of a three part series, I would suggest that you read the first part first, there is some recapping, but I can't imagine that it would be enough if you hadn't read the first. They're also a really great price, so there's no reason why you wouldn't read Forbidden, before moving onto Seduction.

The story begins after Kat and Tristan have discovered that their parents, (his mother, her father) are not only seeing one another, but planning to get married. The idea of soon becoming step brother and sister, is enough to throw cold water on any new relationship, but Kat and Tristan have an electrically charged reaction that is too strong and simply cannot resist one another. Kat pushes Tristan away, trying to tell herself that it just can't be, but obviously struggles to believe that herself and as much as she tries to keep away from him, she just can't.

Much is made of the age difference and how young Kat is, personally, at 19, I don't think she's all that young. That could be because I met my husband at that age though (with a much bigger age gap than the 6 or 7 years between Kat and Tristan) but Kat's father is clearly very protective of her. Both Kat and Tristan know that they need to keep their relationship a secret to stop people from getting hurt.

I don't want to give too much of this book away, but I think it's quite safe to say that although they reach some decisions, with another instalment still to go, they still have a way to go before they get their happily ever after.

I loved this second instalment, again my only reservation would be that I have to wait until May, which seems a long way away before I get to read the final part; Climax.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Justice for Abby by Cate Beauman

Justice for Abby by Cate Beauman
Justice for Abby is the sixth book in the Body Guards of LA County series, but only the second that I've had chance to read so far. Today is my second day and second book in the Book Reviews tour for this series.

After reading Falling for Sarah, I was keen to get started on my next Cate Beauman book, and this one didn't disappoint.

Fashion designer Abigail Harris has been rescued, but her nightmare is far from over. Determined to put her harrowing ordeal behind her and move on, she struggles to pick up the pieces of her life while eluding the men who want her dead. 
The Mid-Atlantic Sex Ring is in ruins after Abby’s interviews with the police. The organization is eager to exact their revenge before her testimony dismantles the multi-million dollar operation for good.

Abby’s safety rests in the hands of former US Marshal, Jerrod Quinn. Serious-minded and obsessed with protocol, Ethan Cooke Security’s newest agent finds himself dealing with more than he bargains for when he agrees to take on his beautiful, free-spirited client. 
As the trial date nears, Abby’s case takes a dangerous turn. Abby and Jerrod soon discover themselves in a situation neither of them expect while Jerrod fights to stop the ring from silencing Abby once and for all.

The whole story, as the subject matter would suggest is very intense. The book opens with a dramatic kidnap scene, where Abby is snatched from a car-park in front of her sister and niece, and taken away to a dangerous sex ring where young girls are taken for sex. I think that it might be worth adding a little warning here, that if such things are triggers for you, you might want to give this one a miss. If they're not though, this is a very dramatic, exciting story and well worth a read.

I thought that the way that Abby was shown dealing with what had happened and how it effected her day to day life was very well done. The book was exciting and gripping, but of course had that all important romantic edge to stop it from being too dark. I really want to read more in this series, so if nothing else I can get a better picture of the other characters that appear in this story in the smaller roles.

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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Falling for Sarah by Cate Beauman

Falling for Sarah By Cate Beauman
Before starting this book tour, I have to admit that I hadn't actually read of any of Cate Beauman's books, so I was quite excited about getting the chance to read two of the titles. The first one that I'm looking at is book two in the bodyguards of LA series; Falling for Sarah. 

Widow Sarah Johnson struggled to pick up the pieces after her life was ripped apart. After two years of grieving, she’s found contentment in her thriving business as photographer to Hollywood’s A-list and in raising her angel-faced daughter, Kylee... until bodyguard and long-time friend Ethan Cooke changes everything with a searing moonlight kiss. 

Sarah’s world turns upside down as she struggles with her unexpected attraction to Ethan and the guilt of betraying her husband’s memory. But when blue roses and disturbing notes start appearing on her doorstep, she has no choice but to lean on Ethan as he fights to save her from a stalker that won’t stop until he has what he prizes most. 

The story begins three years before the main story Sarah has just returned home after giving birth to her daughter Kylee. Her husband, serving in Afghanistan is due to return to them for good in four short weeks, but Sarah's life is ripped apart when four marines turn up to tell her that her husband has been killed. Her husband's long time friend, Ethan Cooke, who was there to support her at work, does his best to support her, but Sarah's life has been ripped apart.

We rejoin Sarah, Kylee and Ethan three years later at the wedding of two friends, while Ethan and Sarah have remained close, recently they have begun to view each other in a different light and jealous is rearing it's head.

Struggling with both this change in their feelings and the threat of a stalker following Sarah, Ethan and Sarah struggle to get a hold on their feelings and where they are going.

I've always enjoyed second time around romances, I think that it's the difference of having someone who has already had a great love, struggle with finding a new one and the impact of that on their live. The extra dimensions in this story of the rapists, and Ethan's unwillingness to immediately be part of this new relationship made for a great read that kept you turning the pages right until the end. 

I can't wait to read the other book in the series, I think I might have to go back and try the others in the series too.

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The Bodyguards of LA County Series by Cate Beauman Book Tour

The bodyguards of L.A, County series
This month, we're taking part in a book tour with Book Review Tours. For the whole of this March, blogs from around the World will be featuring books from the Bodyguards of L.A. County series by Cate Beauman. We are kicking it off here on Crazy Kalm by looking at Falling for Sarah on the first day and Justice for Abby on the second.

I thought we'd start with a look at author Cate Beauman:

Cate Beauman

International bestselling author Cate Beauman is known for her full-length, action-packed romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Her novels have been nominated for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Golden Quill Award, Writers Touch Award, and have been named Readers Favorite Five Star books. In 2015, JUSTICE FOR ABBY was selected as the Readers' Favorite International Book Award Gold Medalist, while SAVING SOPHIE took the Silver Medal. SAVING SOPHIE was also selected as the 2015 Readers Crown Award winner for Romantic Suspense and FALLING FOR SARAH received the silver medal for the 2014 Readers' Favorite Awards.

Cate makes her home in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and their St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. Currently Cate is working on Deceiving Bella, the eleventh novel in her popular Bodyguards series.


Contact Cate

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