I have had SUCH a great month of eclectic reading! I’m happy to share my thoughts on these books but it is going to take two posts to share them all. Please keep in mind I only share four and five star review reads.
Deacon Brannock is determined to make a name for himself and the saloon he’s worked his whole life to afford. He was prepared for life in the Wild West, but he hadn’t counted on Grace Legend…
Grace has always fought hard for what she believes in, and after her best friend is killed at the hands of her drunk and angry husband, that includes keeping alcohol out of her town. When the owner of the new saloon turns out to be a kind and considerate man, she can’t help but wonder if they could have a future together…if they weren’t on opposite sides of every issue.
I first met Grace Legend in book 2 of the Men of Legend Series. She was a baby, but a precocious one and soon had the calloused cowboys on the huge Lone Star Ranch wrapped around her little finger. In this book, she is all grown up and forging a life for herself. She’s ambitious and sassy. She joins a Women’s Temperance Movement and marches with other women into the notorious Hell’s Half Acre in Fort Worth, known for the danger that lurks there. However, she isn’t prepared for the handsome and kind owner she finds at the Three Deuces saloon. And when they smash his whiskey barrels, destroying his livelihood, things heat up. Deacon Brannock has gone through hell and back to establish his business and just when things are running smoothly, here come these women determined to destroy him. One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Grace Legend’s father, the great Houston Legend, forces her to go to the saloon and clean up the mess she helped the women make. Then Houston replenishes Deacon’s whiskey supply. The tension been Grace and Deacon is so thick you can’t cut it with a sharp knife. It is highly unlikely that the two could ever be civil to each other, much less fall in love. This story is filled with such powerful imagery. Broday has depicted life in the rough and rowdy town of Fort Worth, Texas in the late 1880s perfectly. She uses all of the senses to bring the scenes to life. The characters are well-developed and layered, each with their own bag of secrets. If you love western romance, you are going to love this new book! I highly recommend it.
Librarian Kinley Foster wants to write erotic romance—the steamy, sexy, curl-your-toes kind of stuff. The problem? She desperately needs a little erotic inspiration. And at a romance convention in Vegas, she finds it…or rather him.
Literary agent Ian Thompson is a professional. Mentoring an aspiring author is one thing, giving her a thoroughly satisfying sexy education is quite another. Especially when she’s as stunning and deliciously curvaceous as Kinley. Yet Ian can’t help himself when Kinley makes him a wager he can’t resist. A wager that will tempt Ian to cross every professional—and every sensual—boundary in the book…
Steamy with a Capital S!!! This was such a fun book to read and I immediately fell in love with both characters. Kinley Foster has an older brother, so grew up around all of his friends. She’s had a major crush on his friend, Ian Thompson, since she can remember. But he rejected her and she’s never forgotten. Now she’s an aspiring author, writing steamy romance and heading to Las Vegas for a conference where she hopes to land a literary agent. To her surprise, the man she hasn’t seen in ten years who picks her up at the airport is none other than Ian Thompson. He’s every bit as handsome as she remembers. One debacle leads to another and she has to share a hotel suite with him. What a surprise to find that Ian Thompson is actually the acclaimed literary agent, I. Hartley. Kinley is in over her head after an indecent proposal from Thompson where he promises to teach her what she needs to know to write steamy romance. This is an off-the-charts steamy romance with a little light BDSM and a lot of hot sex with a series of missteps and mishaps. I won’t leave a spoiler, but I will say I enjoyed this light read. It’s a great way to escape from reality!
One photograph – A single image – A lonely boat on the edge of the sea.
Is it adrift? – Was it abandoned? – Did it wash ashore? – Was anyone aboard?
Did someone leave it behind? – Is anyone coming back? – Who knows.
The sea has washed the footprints away.
Look at the vessel and think: “If that old boat could talk, what stories it would tell.”
Wonder no longer. Twelve members of Underground Authors all gazed upon the same image.
And to each, the photograph told a different story. Same boat. Same image. Different genres. From mystery and technothriller to romance and magical realism, from horror and historical fiction to fantasy and suspense with a little paranormal thrown in for good measure. These stories are presented in Beyond The Sea and are the handiwork of award-winning authors. The stories are all different as the boat had more than one secret to tell. It had a dozen.
This is a compilation of short stories from twelve different authors. Each story is unique and the twelve together cover a diverse compilation of genres. There is everything from mystery to apocalyptic to historical and suspense. While I enjoyed them all, there were a few that really stood out to me, as a reader. C.W. Hawes wrote a compelling short story that I didn’t want to come to an end. His words came alive and I joined in with the characters in a hair-raising survival journey in a post-apocalyptic world. Great world-building and great writing! The Breakfield and Burkey writing duo wrote an inspiring tale about taking that proverbial leap of faith not knowing if it will end all the hopes, dreams, and goals of two ambitious young ladies. James R. Callan offers a nail-biting tale about an unexpected kidnapping and daring escape. Linda Pirtle took me on a mystery-solving journey while Kelly Marshall left me with goosebumps from her chilling tale of revenge. The theme of all of these stories is the boat you see on the cover. That is the common thread. It’s so amazing to me how any group of people can view one photo and all see a different story in it. Again, while I enjoyed each story, these are just a few that stood out to me. If you are looking for entertaining diversity, this compilation of short stories is perfect as there is something for everyone! I highly recommend this book to all readers of all genres! And as a result of this book, I will be exploring other work by these authors.
Lizzie and the hat are back in action, only this time they’re up against the most tragic monster of all, a werewolf.
This adventure is more like hunting an animal, and the werewolf is unlikely to come to any of their musical performances. This puts Lizzie out in the dark corners and wooded areas of the city. It may be more beneficial to get the monster to hunt Lizzie than to stalk him on his own turf. All she has to do is be quicker on the trigger than the wolf is on his feet.
At the same time, the police think they’re after a serial killer. Lizzie tries to keep them alive while also keeping them out of her way. As the body count rises, so do the pressures. It doesn’t help that people are blaming Lizzie and the hat for the killings. This involves an urban myth about them that the locals call Hellpox.
Pull on your boogie shoes and join the hunt. Designed as an afternoon read, this one is tons of supernatural fun.
This story, which is book 4 in The Hat series, is multi-layered. Lizzie St. Laurent and her magical sidekick, The Hat (a creature from another dimension) find themselves entrenched in a futile search for a killer. Not only a killer, but one who devours its victims, leaving behind only a few small body pieces and rivers of blood. This quickly earns him the nickname of “Sausage Maker” from the media. While Lizzie and The Hat normally hunt down vampires and ghouls, this one is different and The Hat tries to talk Lizzie out of pursuing it. The other plot unfolding in the story is police sergeant, Joe Yoder, who is grieving the death of his wife. He keeps a pomander drenched in her perfume (Emeraude) and smells it when he needs to feel her near or wants to communicate with her, which he does quite often. When he’s assigned to the murder cases, he’s at a loss. This doesn’t seem like anything human. Yet, what else could it be? Everyone knows werewolves and vampires don’t really exist, even if all of the killings do occur on the full moon. One of the things I’ve loved in each of The Hat books is the banter back and forth between Lizzie and The Hat. It adds a nice helping of humor to an otherwise dark story. The Hat loves surfing the internet and spending money. The Hat is also the manager for the band, Lizzie and the Pythons, where he plays the stand-up bass through Lizzie’s fingers. In this book, we get a closer look at some of the other band members. Lizzie fears one of them could be the murderer. The way this book concludes, we get to see a softer more vulnerable side of Lizzie that’s not been shown before. This is an entertaining read with fabulous world-building and engaging characters. I highly recommend this and the other books in The Hat series. Also, it’s worth noting that you do not have to read the previous books before this one. It works well as a standalone
PART 2 OF MY MAY REVIEWS COMING UP!