Monday, December 31, 2018

Review: The Fading by Linda Taimre


Genre: Dystopian

Description:

“Something is awake.


Harriet’s wife, Katherine, is dying from an insidious virus that threatens humanity – and this is not just any disease.  This virus makes people literally disappear, swallowed by a rapidly evolving enemy.  Desperate to find a way to save her love, Harriet must move fast to discover a cure.  She’ll strive to find a way to defeat the virus before it takes Katherine, no matter the cost.

A cost that Lady Trinh, head of the Australian government, cannot bear.  From her seat in Brisbane's protectorate, a pollution-free haven for the lucky few, Lady Trinh will go to any lengths to protect her people – and not only from the virus. For her, failure is not an option, and loose threads must be quickly cut.

Something is awake. And it wants to feed.”

Author:

The author describes herself as follows:

“I'm an Australian author who writes speculative fiction - anything supernatural, fantastical and futuristic.

In the past, I've been an actor, corporate improvement analyst, teacher, producer, and operations manager. Nowadays, I'm also interested in neuropsychology, though I still love an occasional theatrical stint.”

Appraisal:

I’ve read dystopian or post-apocalyptic books where the spread of a disease is the current conflict the book’s characters are dealing with, but The Fading is unlike those I’ve read before. That uniqueness comes from two things. The first is the viral disease is unlike anything that has come before. Figuring out how to cure it and prevent its spread isn’t obvious. The other unique aspect is the setup of the future society where the story takes place. Dystopian societies are going to be divided into haves and have-nots, but how those differences are reflected in the future Australia depicted in this book goes beyond what is typical. The Fading is a short, quick read that should keep you entertained and on the edge of your seat as you root for Harriet to find a way to save her wife, Katherine.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Some adult language.

Format/Typo Issues:

Review is based on an advance reader copy so I can’t gauge the final product in this area.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 40-45,000 words

Friday, December 28, 2018

Review: Glossy Lips: Cold Cream Murders by Barbara Silkstone




Genre: Cozy Mystery/Humor/Woman Sleuth

Description:

“Olive Peroni put out her family therapy shingle six years ago, never thinking her top client would be Myron Meyers, head of a New York crime family. When Olive’s grandmother dies and leaves her a condo in Florida and a secret recipe for miracle cold cream, she grabs the chance at a new life in Starfish Cove, Florida, making designer creams for ladies who spend far too much time at the beach.

Business is brisk and life is good! Olive even makes a wild new best friend in Lizzy, the real estate agent who handles the transfer of Nonna’s condo. When a dead body is found in the trunk of Lizzy’s car, Olive despairs that life in Starfish Cove won’t be any different than the one she thought she’d escaped. But this time, instead of listening to confessions of murder, Olive’s going to have to solve one. Maybe two…”

Author:

“Barbara Silkstone's most current series is Florence Nightingale Comedy Mysteries...The Giggling Corpse, The Killer Corset, and The Cheeky Coroner. Cozies all.

Silkstone is the best-selling author of both Regency Pride and Prejudice variations, including the popular the MISTER DARCY SERIES OF COMEDIC MYSTERIES ~ PRIDE AND PREJUDICE contemporary variations. All her books are light-hearted adventures based on Jane Austen's timeless tales of love denied and love discovered. ‘Feel good’ tales to warm your heart.

She is also the author of the Wendy Darlin Comedy Mystery series. Five coffee-snorting tales that combine cozy with outrageous adventures.”

For more from Barbara, visit her website and her Facebook page.

Appraisal:

Ms. Silkstone’s books are always a pleasure to read. Her characters are realistic, well developed, and diverse. Olive Peroni, a New York family therapist, receives word that her grandma has passed away and Olive has inherited her Florida condo and all of her possessions. Olive takes leave from her practice thinking she can handle Nonna’s affairs in two weeks’ time. She hires a realtor over the internet and heads south. Olive is level-headed, smart, and practical. When she meets the real estate agent she hired, Lizzy, everything changes. Lizzy is a compassionate free-spirit, everything Olive is not. However, they strike a quick friendship with mutual respect for each other.

A dead body shows up in the trunk of Lizzy’s car. Then Lizzy’s cottage is broken into and trashed with lip gloss graphite on the walls and mirrors. Her finches are gone and her dog is traumatized. This causes the two friends to unwittingly become amateur sleuths. Much to the dismay of head detective Kal, Lizzy and WonderDog move into Olive’s condo for the time being. The story twists and turns as the suspect circle widens. The plot is well thought out, original, and entertaining.

Olive’s training as a psychologist serves her well in rooting out the killer, and choosing friends. Ms. Silkstone has an extraordinary cast of characters for this new cozy mystery series set in Starfish Cove, Florida. I just hope they find the time to keep up with sales of Nonna’s Cold Cream. And I loved the last line of the book. :)

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK
  
FYI:

Glossy Lips is book 1 in Barbara Silkstone’s COLD CREAM MURDERS Series. Contains a recipe for Olive & Lizzy’s super-creamy homemade lip gloss!

Format/Typo Issues:

No issues in proofing or formatting.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 45-50,000 words

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Review: The Other Side of Elsewhere by Brett McKay



Genre: Paranormal/Suspense

Description:

“Ret McCoy was always the new kid, but after three years in the small town of Riverton, he thinks his family may have finally settled. He and his friends have the perfect summer planned before they start seventh grade, and his new job at the local mortuary promises enough pocket money for all the sodas they can drink.

A dare from an older boy quickly ruins their plans. Everyone knows to stay away from the Crooked House, but after Ret and his friends take on the dare to spend the night in the abandoned house, they become caught up in the house’s dark history.

Later, an outsider buys the house. When people start to disappear, Ret is determined to solve the mystery before it swallows the entire town. His obsession with the Crooked House and its strange new owner threatens to put him and his friends in danger more terrifying than anything they could have imagined.”

Author:

“When Brett McKay is not conjuring demons and bloodthirsty psychopaths to put on paper, he sells landscaping. He loves all types of music, but hard rock and heavy metal fuel him the most. He enjoys the outdoors, spending time with friends and family, and curling up in front of a good movie with his wife and a bucket of popcorn.

Brett lives in Utah with his wife and two sons. Fall is his favorite time of year because he gets to decorate his house for Halloween much too early for his neighbors.”

Appraisal:

For me The Other Side of Elsewhere had two levels. The first, higher level, is one that potential readers with comparable tastes are likely going to experience much the same. The second level is one that very few will connect with in the same way as I did. It’s at a much more detailed and personal level. Whether it is positive, negative, or even something that registers will vary by reader. I’ll try to explain.

At the high level this is a paranormal suspense or thriller novel. The protagonist is a twelve year-old boy and I don’t think it would be a stretch to call it a coming of age story as well. If when the story takes place is ever spelled out, I missed it, but there are subtle clues that would lead me to believe anytime in the period from the 70s to the early 80s would be a reasonable assumption. This could and I think would appeal to a wide range of ages, from young adult to a not-at-all-young adult who might have been coming of age when the story takes place. While the story isn’t happening in current times I think regardless of when you were 12, whether a couple years ago or several decades, you’ll be able to relate to Ret, the protagonist in the story. (Girls, might not see themselves in Ret, but they’ll surely see their brother or some other boy they knew.)

For me, much of this story, both in the behavior of Ret and his friends as well as the environment and culture of their hometown, were just like where I lived at twelve. In fact, Ret’s hometown is a real town in Utah, about 50 miles from where I grew up in the same period the story took place. I found myself nodding my head at something specific thinking that the author had it just right. But a few times I’d stop nodding and start wondering how the average reader would react. Would they understand the specific? Not likely. But maybe they’d get a sense for what was being said without understanding. Some of these things were terminology specific to the religion that dominates Utah like Primary (religious instruction for younger children) or Relief Society (a women’s organization within the Mormon church). Others weren’t religious, but still Utah specific, like a reference to the Dee Burger Clown (the “mascot” for a long-defunct fast food chain). I think these things were infrequent enough to not be a serious issue for those who don’t understand the reference. For those who do, it makes the story that much more credible and authentic.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 65-70,000 words
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Monday, December 24, 2018

Reprise Review: Color Me Grey by J. C. Phelps


Genre: Action-Adventure/Spy Thriller

Description:

A petite twenty-something tomboy with an unconventional upbringing and a yearning for adventure, Alexis Stanton is bored with her life. So she quits her job and starts the search for something more exciting. A strange and ambiguous help wanted ad might be the answer. Then again, it might be more than she bargained for.

Author:

Author J.C. Phelps has written three books in The Alex Stanton Chronicles (Color Me Grey is the first). She lives and writes in South Dakota. For more visit her blog.

Appraisal:

I started reading Color Me Grey late one night as I was supposed to be falling asleep. This was a mistake. I liked the character of Alexis immediately. Despite her unconventional and privileged upbringing (which could easily have had the opposite effect) she had an attitude and style I loved. She has a passion to experience life that most of us lack. She is always thirsting for knowledge, a quality very few people have. One thing that really stuck with me, since it hit close to home, was when Alexis said:

Reading is a habit of mine, not a hobby, but a habit. It seems I just can’t get enough. I will read anything.

Perhaps some of you can relate. I know I did.

The characters, including Alexis, are “larger than life.” Their adventures are beyond what you’d expect from real life, yet aren’t as over-the-top as you might find in a James Bond type novel.

If this sort of adventure-thriller is your sort of read, Color Me Grey might be the perfect read, although Alexis is a different kind of hero than you might have experienced before.

The only caution I have is Phelps writing style, at least in this book, is very narrative driven. One friend described it as stream-of-consciousness, although I’m not sure that description is quite right. But if you’re looking for lots of dialog, you won’t find it, if for no other reason than many of the characters tend to be close-lipped, letting their actions talk for them. If you’re not sure, read the sample. If your reaction is anything like mine, that will be more than enough to hook you. Just don’t start reading if you should be sleeping, or risk paying the consequences the next morning as I did.

Buy now from:    Amazon US        Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

A small number of typos that should not affect your reading enjoyment.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 75-80,000 words

Friday, December 21, 2018

Reprise Review: Frosty the Snowman by Mimi Barbour



Genre: Romance/Adventure/Novella/Christmas

Description:

“Strangers, Hali and Terry, and a cute but mischievous Samoyed puppy are stranded in the Alaskan bush. Due to a freak snowstorm, Terry is forced him to land his small Cessna on a frozen lake. From the beginning, Hali’s never known a man so independent and rigid in his need to have things done his way. And Terry’s never known a woman so willing to help, stepping on his pride in such a lovable way that he can’t take offense. The frigid temperatures are brutal and when Terry falls through the ice to save a puppy, the stakes for survival become enormous. Can their blossoming mutual attraction withstand their multiple challenges?”

Author:

Mimi Barbour is a “New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon best-selling author who's sold over 500,000 copies of her books world-wide. She says, “My husband is supportive and drags me out to feed me and plans occasional forays into the outside world… Gardening lights my inner fires, and I need no urging to get out into the yard when the weather dictates. I do have many hobbies such as quilting, crocheting, but alas – no time.”

Visit Ms. Barbour’s website to find out about her many books and series or follow her on Facebook.

Appraisal:

This story is book four in Ms. Barbour’s Holiday Heartwarmer Series. When a small Cessna has to make a forced landing during a freak snowstorm in northern Alaska wilderness, Terry Carlton, the pilot, and Hali Gibson, reluctant passenger, have to go into survival mode.

Hali is on a mission to deliver her cousin’s ten week-old Samoyed puppy to his new owner in Juneau, Alaska. Having yearned to visit this area of the country she sees this as the perfect opportunity to spend Christmas closer to Mother Nature in the far north. After getting bumped off the final leg of her trip she is able to find passage on a private aircraft into Juneau.

Terry is a confirmed bachelor and an introvert who purposely lives miles from town to enjoy his privacy. After barely being able to land the plane on a small frozen lake he must now find a way for them to survive the blizzard. Will he be able to count on this red-headed woman from the big city to listen to him and follow his orders? Is this even a challenge he is up to with a raging infected wound on his arm? He is about to find out.

Frosty the Snowman is an adorable story that stole my heart. Not only are Hali and Terry pushed to their limits trying to survive but they have to deal with a bundle of energy covered in white fur. It doesn’t take too long for Hali to whittle away Terry’s macho-man attitude with her can do spirit and fortitude. The surprise twist at the end was priceless and totally caught me off guard. This story will leave a smile in your heart and on your face.

Buy now from:    Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Added for Reprise Review: This review is from LOVE, CHRISTMAS 1 – Box set of Holiday stories that will put a song in your heart! Original review ran October 17, 2016.  **Originally written for "BigAl’s Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.**

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 20-25,000 words

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Review: Magical Princess Harriet by Leiah Moser



Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy/Jewish Mysticism/LGBT

Description:

“To put it simply, Harris Baumgartner was late to school on the first day of the seventh grade because something he saw in the abandoned lot at the end of his street changed his life forever…”

“Middle school can be tough, especially when you can’t figure out whether you’re supposed to be a boy or a girl. Homework and gym class are hard enough to deal with, but what exactly do you do when a pushy angel shows up insisting you’re a magical princess and that it’s your job to defend your school from the forces of darkness? For Harris Baumgartner, only one thing is certain — life is about to get a lot more complicated!”

Author:

Rabbi, author, teacher, fairy stepmother, and noted headscarf enthusiast Leiah Moser was ordained as a rabbi in the Reconstructionist Movement in 2017. Her first book, Magical Princess Harriet, was published in 2018. When not expanding the boundaries of Jewish fantasy fiction she works as a freelance teacher, endeavoring in her own quirky yet effective way to make the priceless treasures of Talmud and Jewish mysticism available and accessible to students from all walks of life… She lives in Philadelphia with her husband Ross and his amazing kids.

To learn more about Rabbi Moser please visit her website.

Appraisal:

Wow, I had no idea what I was stepping into with this book. I was looking for something different, and I sure found it. Twelve year-old Harris Baumgartner and his mother have recently moved into a smaller more affordable house after Mr. Baumgartner deserted his small family. With no explanation to Harris, whose life is already complicated enough moving up to a new middle-grade school. Francis, his Autistic best friend, has struggled her whole young life in a neurotypical world.  

So, Magical Princess Harriet tackles a lot of serious issues with compassion. I am not even close to this books demographic audience, I am not Jewish, transgender, Middle Grade aged, or Autistic. However, you do not need to be to enjoy this fantasy story that encompasses and explores all of these issues. The Jewish lore and magic is fascinating and endeavors to educate the reader in all its facets. Each chapter is started with statements or truths to Judaism lore.  

There is also one other character who Harris/Harriet and Francis accept into their tight knit friendship. Aiden is a school outcast who expresses his inability to fit in with his Goth wardrobe. This trio works together to support each other while they fight an evil that threatens not only their school but the town and eventually the downfall of the whole world if not stopped. The characters are diverse, well-developed and likeable. The settings are multiple and described well enough to put you right where the action is.

I did find the whole book a little wordy at times, but it has a lot of good lessons on morality, acceptance, and life. I also enjoyed the humor to lighten the gravity of such heavy subjects. The story ends with harmony and I can see more stories being told with these three friends.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

A small number of proofing issues.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 80-85,000 words

Monday, December 17, 2018

Review: Dark Return: A Leine Basso Thriller by DV Berkom



Genre: Thriller

Description:

“Former assassin and SHEN operative Leine Basso is fresh off an assignment rescuing an American teenager from a terrorist group in Libya when she thwarts the murder of a street kid in Tripoli. Leine agrees to help the girl find her family, but must first visit a refugee camp to uncover the reason behind a rash of mysterious abductions.

Leaving the camp, Leine comes under a surprise attack--but only a handful of people knew her true mission. Who has betrayed her? The more she discovers about the abductions, the more of a target she becomes, forcing her to revisit a dark and violent past she thought she'd left behind. But it's easy--too easy to fall back into her old ways.

And that could get her killed.

Will Leine be able to survive a dark return?”

Author:

“DV Berkom is the USA Today bestselling author of two action-packed thriller series featuring strong female leads: Kate Jones and Leine Basso. Her love of creating resilient, kick-ass women characters stems from a lifelong addiction to reading spy novels, mysteries, and thrillers, and longing to find the female equivalent within those pages.

After years of moving around the country and skipping off to locations that could have been movie sets, she wrote her first novel and was hooked. She now makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Mark, and several imaginary characters who like to tell her what to do.”

Appraisal:

Dark Return is the seventh book in the Leine Basso Thriller Series and I’ve read all of them. The aspect that defines Leine’s character for me is the balancing act that she does between good and evil. Her past is shady by any reasonable definition and it sometimes comes back to haunt her in different ways. Her present is entirely on the side of good, although she definitely needs to call on some evil skills in her quest to do good, even now. But that balance, that pull from both the good and bad sides, and the memories of the past when that balance wasn’t there is what drives these stories.

Those same qualities help drive and color the narrative of Dark Return, but as the story and this particular case wind down, Leine is out of balance, feeling too much pull from her dark side. Even though the story of the current case is concluded, so it wouldn’t be fair to describe the situation as a cliffhanger, we do leave Leine in a scary place. It’s disconcerting, but we’ll have to wait for the next installment of the series to see what that means for Leine.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Some adult language.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words

Friday, December 14, 2018

Reprise Review: Let It Snow by Stephanie Queen



Genre: Romance/Suspense/Christmas/Novella

Description:

“Beachcomber Investigations novella

An old friend sends a stranger to visit Dane to help wrestle him from his soul-crushing despair. His life of righting horrific wrongs has cost him a very high price, and worse, it cost someone he loved her life. But how can a stranger help when even Shana, his partner and lover, has failed. Can the stranger use a Christmas Eve snow storm to create the ultimate test for Dane & Shana?”

Author:

Stephanie Queen “A romantic at heart and a writer by nature, Stephanie Queen has the enthusiastic soul of a cheerleader. So of course she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. Although she's lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U and lives in New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty, and her (real or imagined?) chauffeur, Myren.”

Learn more about Ms. Queen at her website or follow her on Facebook.

Appraisal:

Dane Blaze is fighting a soul-wracking depression he can’t pull himself out of. It’s to the point where he thinks he deserves this misery. Shana, his business partner with benefits, can’t seem to pull him through this funk either. Alternating perspectives through point-of-view shifts gave credence to emotions and rounded out the characters well.

On Christmas Eve, Captain Colin Lynch, a friend and co-worker, shows up with a mysterious stranger in tow. Father Pedro is a friend of a friend, from South America, who says he has come to help Dane. Shana suddenly decides perhaps she and Dane need a break from each other and packs her bags to leave. As she is walking out the door, Father Pedro decides he should go with Shana.

Things get worrisome when a huge snowstorm moves into Martha’s Vineyard and the ferry crossing becomes hazardous because of a sudden squall. Dane abruptly senses ‘his girl’ is in danger and is spurred to find a way to reach her.

This precipitous turn of dangerous events is tension filled as communications become sketchy and neither the sea nor the storm are behaving normally. I was a freaking nervous wreck reading what I thought was going to be a sweet romance, but I couldn’t put the book down until I knew things were going to be okay. And I am here to tell you the author still tried to leave a question at the end. However, I want to think I know the answer to that question. I suggest saving Let It Snow for when you are in the mood for a romantic suspense story.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Added for Reprise Review: This review is from LOVE, CHRISTMAS 1 – Box set of Holiday stories that will put a song in your heart! Original review ran October 24, 2016. **Originally written for "BigAl’s Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.**

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant proofing issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 15-20,000 words

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Review: The Mighty Chieftain by Lyn Horner



Genre: Contemporary Fantasy/World Mythology/Adventure

Description:

“Lara Flewellen, the High Guardian of Danu, faces a lethal test. Can she defeat the vicious Hellhounds or will they force her and the other six Guardians to hand over the prophetic scrolls they and their ancestors have safeguarded since ancient times?

Balor, the Hellhound leader, and his followers have discovered the Guardians’ sanctuary in Canyon de Chelly, heart of the Navajo Nation. Trapped along with their mates and their native protector, the Guardians must run from one hiding place in the canyon to another using their supernatural powers and raw courage to survive. Fear and suffering are their constant companions.

Tearing Lara apart, Balor holds her twin sister prisoner, threatening her life. How can she save her twin and uphold her vow to guard the sacred prophecies at the same time? It seems impossible. A desperate prayer to Danu the Great Mother may bring a miracle . . . or catastrophe.”

Author:

“Lyn Horner is a baby boomer born in San Francisco, California, raised in Minnesota and now residing in Texas with her husband and an ever-changing band of cantankerous, beloved cats. Trained in the visual arts, Lyn first worked as a fashion illustrator in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and later as an art instructor for Art Instruction Schools… After quitting work to raise her children, she took up writing to save her sanity. This hobby quickly morphed into an obsession with historical research and plot building.”

Learn more about Ms. Horner by visiting her website or follow her onFacebook.

Appraisal:

The Hellhounds have located the Guardians’ in Canyon de Chelly. It’s just a matter of time before they find their sanctuary. They do their best to defend Leon Tseda’s home when Balor arrives with his Hellhound minions. Despite their guardian powers the small tribe end up on a run for their lives to protect their individual prophetic Druid scrolls, which have been guarded by their ancestors for centuries. They run farther into the Navajo land where their survival skills are tested.

This is an exciting adventure where prayers to The Great Mother Goddess, Danu, may be their only hope. As they head deeper into the canyon complex named Canyon del Muerto, Canyon of the Dead, Lara Spenser is faced with coming to terms with some hard truths and some unexpected twists in the story line.

I have to admit this book left me with a few questions. However, it is a unique and entertaining read with an interesting ending. I also love the striking book cover.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

The Mighty Chieftain is book 8 and the culmination in Lyn Horner’s Romancing the Guardians Series. I do believe it is necessary to read the other books in this series.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 35-40,000 words

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Reprise Review: Last Christmas by Joan Reeves




Genre: Romantic Comedy/Novella/Christmas

Description:

“A year ago, Annabelle fell in love at first sight with a mysterious stranger. After a week of unforgettable passion, he walked out of her life. A year of heartache, accompanied by the dirty tricks life can serve up, finds Annabelle back in her hometown, determined to forget the man who still haunts her dreams.

Who should walk into her grandmother’s Christmas party? Why the man who seduced her, lied to her, and betrayed her! He has a new name and a new identity, but his effect on her is as old as time.

Rick Lassiter wants to woo Annabelle back to him. Unfortunately, he has two big problems: he can't explain the past and the sweet-tempered, passionate woman he fell in love with has a will as strong as his and a desire to make him pay for breaking her heart.”

Author:

“Joan Reeves is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. She began her career with New York traditional publishers. When the Amazon Kindle came along, she happily embraced a new career path as an independent author/publisher.

Joan lives her happily ever after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. They have four kids who think they are adults and a ghost dog--all the ingredients for a life full of love and warmed by laughter. She lives the philosophy that is the premise of all of her romance novels: ‘It's never too late to live happily ever after.’"


Appraisal:

Last year at a friend’s Christmas party in Houston, Annabelle Cooper thought she had met the love of her life, but then he disappeared without a word. Tired of grieving the lost relationship, she’s decides to move on and never let a man hurt her like that again. Now back home in her grandmother’s house, she has the job she has always wanted since she was a child: managing editor of her grandparent’s newspaper in the Texas panhandle.

During the New Estacado Gazette’s annual Christmas open house, in walks in the man who broke her heart. The mayor introduces him as the town’s new police chief: Rick Lassiter. Not the same name he was using in Houston last year. Annabelle tries to keep her composure and pretends to trip, tossing her champagne in his face, and grinding her four-inch heel into his foot. His gasp of pain is gratifying until he wraps his arms around her, crushing her breasts to his rock-hard chest as he crashes against a wall behind him. Big mistake on Annabelle’s part, because all those feelings from last Christmas come flooding back.

Annabelle quickly devises a plan to get Rick to leave his position and get out of town. It all horribly backfires on her and she falls for him again. The passion between Annabelle and Rick is hot and genuine. All she wants now are answers and he won’t or can’t give them to her. I loved the way the plot moved along. As the town’s residents embrace Rick, Annabelle becomes willing to accept the mystery surrounding Rick as well. The alternating points-of-view helps develop both main characters well. However, Ms. Reeves maintains most of Rick’s mysterious air until the end, which keeps the intrigue level high. When Rick’s past catches up with him, tension rises and all bets are off. Last Christmas is a captivating story I enjoyed all the way through.

I just have one nitpick about a character name, Eddie became Eddy once during the story. Honestly, I see no excuse for that to ever happen. However, Eddie is a minor character brought in to fill out Rick’s backstory and despite this error I am only willing to take away half a star, because I loved the story. Since neither BigAl nor Amazon accepts half stars, I guess we all know that leaves me at a five-star rating.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Added for Reprise Review: This review is from LOVE, CHRISTMAS 1 – Box set of Holiday stories that will put a song in your heart! Original review ran November 21, 2016. **Originally written for "BigAl’s Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.**

Format/Typo Issues:

Just one significant issue, which I mentioned in the body of my review. My other issue was small, a sentence with extra words.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 20-25,000 words