I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are strictly my own.
I picked this book up because I have enjoyed other books written by Janet Dailey.
But there is something different about this book. Janet Dailey passed away in 2013, so I am assuming Whiplash was written by a ghostwriter. I was not able to conjure up any empathy for the heroine, Val. She never seemed to able to move past her sordid past and terrible mistakes to embrace the present opportunities. That gave me no reason to root for her.
The book is set in the world of the National PBR (Professional Bullriding) Finals rodeo event in Las Vegas, Nevada. I loved the way the author set the scene and took me inside the rodeo arena to see the action close-up. When a man climbs on the back of a 1,800-pound bull and the chute is opened, anything can happen – and does.
Casey Bozeman is the hero in this story and I immediately fell in love with him. He is one of those people we all know, who will step up to help anyone in need. His job is to protect the cowboys that ride the bulls. And more times than one, he had to collide with the angry bull to save another man’s life.
Casey and Val fell in love when they were teenagers. But that was years ago. And after Val left with no explanation and dropped off the face of the earth, he was left with a broken heart and life. But he put himself back together and even tried marriage, which failed. He finally came to grips with the notion he could never love anyone the way he loved Val, but she was gone. That is until she turns up with her family at the PBR. But Val is in trouble. The kind of trouble that threatens lives. You don’t cross the mafia and live. And yet Casey is determined to help her and to get her back into his bed.
There were parts of this book that I loved. The older sister, Tess, the younger sister, Lexie, and her husband Shane were all great characters. They are united with one goal and that is to save their ranch and produce some stock bulls to ride into the big money in the rodeo arena. Each character has flaws, but they form a united front. Val is the outsider, even though she’s come back home after leaving a drug and alcohol rehab treatment. The troubles Val brings to their door, are monumental and can end it all. She repetitiously has thoughts of remorse, but her actions don’t back up those thoughts. She has deep dark secrets that she keeps hidden along with the scars on her body.
The author drops hints throughout the book as to what her secret is, but until it all comes out, the reader is left to wonder what it is that keeps this beautiful woman so conflicted. I commend the author for that.
While I loved the rodeo setting and enjoyed the plot, I would like to have seen Val be more genuine instead of trying to manipulate everyone, including the men who were determined to kill her. She is playing a deadly game with innocent lives.
The star of the story is a bull named Whiplash. Even though he’s been bred to be bucking stock for the rodeo, he’s young and easily traumatized. But it took his fury to bring down the antagonist.
The story comes to a conclusion with an overall happy ending.
With less repetitious thoughts and scenes, this would be a stronger story.
While I would like to give this book a higher rating, I can only offer up Three Stars.
I have had a month of fabulous reading and want to share the cream of the crop!
Bounty hunters come to Muddy River to capture its amiable bartender, Derek Fang, Raven Black, a demon and the town’s enforcer, warns them off because the vampire hasn’t committed any crime. But a succubus who was Derek’s lover centuries ago has finally found him and wants him back–enough to pay big money to whoever brings him to her–alive.
This is book 5 in the Muddy River Mystery series and although I haven’t read the other books in the series, I was not at all lost reading this segment of the story. Muddy River is a town inhabited solely by supernatural characters. Vampires, Witches, Werewolves, Shapeshifters, and Demons make up the population. In this segment of the story, Derek, a Vampire is hunted by a succubus who wants him back as her plaything and will stop at nothing to get him. I love how the town comes together to protect one of their own. I won’t give away the plot but will say the story is a page-turner and a quick read. If you love paranormal activity, believable characters, and plenty of action, you will love this story! Great world-building!
When celebrated international purse designer, Katherine Watson, hosts a gala for her Purse-onality Museum, she never expected the next day’s headline to read: ‘Murder at the Gala Premiere.’ But after a dead body is found during the event, that’s exactly what happened. Working to solve the murder, Katherine matches wits with local cop Jason Holmes and his K-9 partner, Hobbs. Although Holmes and Watson disagree often, they discover an undeniable attraction building between them. But they’ll have to put their feelings on hold and focus on solving the murder, before Katherine becomes the killer’s next knock off.
This story is a well-written whodunit mystery that also includes some fascinating history about purses. When Katherine, a world-famous purse designer, comes back to her hometown of Bayside to establish a purse museum in their old victorian family home, things could not go more awry. Her best friend, the mayor of the small town, is murdered at the museum’s opening gala. The list of suspects is long and Katherine doesn’t trust the police to find the real murderer. So, she begins her own investigation which leads her into danger more than once. Policeman, Jason and his K-9 Hobbs become an integral part of the story along with many other characters. I loved Katherine’s eccentric mother, Moonjava. She embodied the sixties hippy image and although she came across as being flighty, when it counted the most, she stepped up to the plate. Katherine’s grandmother was another unforgettable character. So who murdered Brenda? Her husband, Russ? A pushy reporter? Someone on the City Council? A crime novelist? The list grows as Katherine digs deeper into discovering the identity of the killer. If you love a cozy mystery with bits of humor thrown in, you will enjoy this story. The author did a great job of keeping the identity of the murderer hidden until the end of the book.
Dream home or damned home?
Ruth Hazelton is over the moon when her husband Lee agrees with the nineteenth-century Victorian in Madeira, New Mexico, is the perfect home for them. While he starts his new job as police chief, she sets about unpacking and decorating.
But it’s not long before Ruth needs more. She becomes a fixture in the community, making time for everyone, volunteering, hosting events—she’s every bit the social butterfly her husband is not. Through her friendships, she learns several former residents of her home met with untimely deaths. If she were superstitious, she might fear a curse, but such nonsense doesn’t faze her.
Until the unthinkable happens.
Now, as the end of Ruth’s life draws near, she must find a way to convey her message and stop the cycle to prevent anyone else from suffering in the house of sorrow.
I thoroughly enjoyed this short story and wanted it to continue. It all starts with a beautiful one-hundred-year-old Victorian home in a small town in northern New Mexico. I fell in love with the town, the people, and the house in this introduction to the Madeira Legends series. This close-knit community has everything you’d expect to find in a small town, from friendly neighbors, to children who play on the streets until after dark, to mystery and intrigue. And the house is the center of attention. Ruth Hazleton and her husband Lee move to Madeira after Lee lands the job as Chief of Police. I really related to Ruth’s character. She is friendly, outgoing, and caring. She is the lady that bakes cookies for the neighborhood children, organizes Easter egg hunts, and decorates for every holiday. Set in the sixties, the author weaves historical events throughout this short story, from the Kennedy assassinations to the first Apollo landing on the moon and the break-up of The Beatles. She makes the story believable along with the characters and the mystery surrounding the old house. Could the house truly be cursed? I cannot wait to find out! I enjoyed that the author put the first chapter from the first novel in the series at the end of this short story. It whets my appetite for more. I highly recommend this if you love a good mystery set in a believable small town with unforgettable characters.
It’s so remote out here. Anything could happen …
A missed phone call in the night is all it takes.
When Carole’s 18-year-old son goes missing, she breaks into Jayden’s laptop to try to understand his life.
All too soon, Carole discovers just how little she knew her boy.
And when one lead after another dead-ends, the distraught mother has to face the unthinkable.
Sucked into a sticky web of deceit and lies, nothing is as it seems.
When your life turns inside out and upside down, who would you trust?
Talk about a nail-biter! This story begins with some backstory that is essential to what happens as the main story begins. Carole lost her husband, Harvey, to cancer. That left only her and their son, Jayden. As the story begins, Carole is texting with eighteen-year-old Jayden about when he’ll be home. Even though he’s of age, she still worries. After all, he is her entire world. She makes the mistake of taking sleeping pills with wine before going to bed that night. She missed the calls and frantic text from her son. And, he never made it home. Guilt-ridden and terrified, she searches everywhere for him and comes up empty-handed. Finally, she involves law enforcement. The author not only shows this mother’s terror, but she also places you right inside it with her. I sat with Carole as she scrolls through page after page of social media looking for any clues as to where Jayden might be. As she continues her frantic search, she is mortified to realize she knows little of her son’s life. She’s been so locked into her years of grief that she’s shut him out. I won’t go into details, but over a period of five days, Carole moves from one horrific moment and event to the next. The only thing keeping her going is her favorite Macchiato coffee and knowing in her heart that her son is still alive somewhere. I was on the edge of my seat through this entire story and devoured it as fast as possible just to find out what happened. Talk about a shock! If you love a psychological roller-coaster and don’t have a weak heart, I highly recommend this story! While the numerous scenes of Carole sitting at her table and making yet another coffee became repetitious, it was not enough to deter me from finding out the ending to this tale. It depicts a parent’s worst nightmare in a visual and emotive way.
I only post 4 and 5 star reviews. I highly recommend any or ALL of these books!
I have always had a fascination with outlaws. Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker top my list. So, when John Fioravanti posted on his blog today that March 24th was Clyde’s birthday, I decided to tell some little known facts about him.
Clyde’s middle name was Chestnut. (I’d love to know where that came from)
He was the fifth of seven children, born in a small close-knit farming community of Telico, Texas, just north of Ennis in Ellis County. It was said that the Barrow’s farm failed from drought and his father moved them to Dallas.
He was a small unassuming boy and attended school until sixteen. He had ambitions to become a musician, playing guitar and saxophone.
He was first introduced to crime by his older brother with petty thievery, then advanced to stealing cars. By the time Clyde was 20, he was a wanted man and fugitive.
He met a nineteen-year-old waitress, Bonnie Parker in 1930 and it is said that he was immediately smitten.
But, their romance was interrupted by Clyde’s arrest and prison conviction. (Sounds like a similar story – one I wrote)
Bonnie smuggled a gun into prison to Clyde during a visit and he made an unsuccessful escape attempt. When he was released in 1932, they began their crime spree that would last only a mere two years before they were both killed.
They were known as a friend to the poor and many harbored them over the two years they robbed and killed.
What they did was irrefutably wrong on every level, but there is no question as to their love for each other and maybe that is the part of the story that pulls me in. After all, I am a hopeless romantic. Thanks for stirring the pot, John F.!