Protector Wolf by Linda O. Johnston

Secrets, mysteries, and an unexpected romance can be found in the eighth Alpha Force story, and the original premise of this miniseries is once again intriguing with clever developments and engaging characters. A wolf shifter being able to change anytime with the aid of a special elixir is a big part of the storyline, and Linda O. Johnston has created a very special hero for the latest book. He is dedicated to his career and has a wonderful personality. The heroine is a spunky individual who is always ready to face a challenge. Together, they work to make certain no harm comes to any wolves, either those in the wild or if one turns out to be a shifter. The many different situations that arose in PROTECTOR WOLF are fascinating and definitely entertaining.

When wild wolves are sighted in the state of Washington near Tacoma, the military unit known as Alpha Force sends a member to look into the matter. The secretive group is made up of shapeshifters, and Lt. Ryan Blaiddinger will be trying to decide if any of the local wolves are like him and can change from human to animal form. Other groups are also taking notice of there now being more wolves in the area, and a woman from an organization that tracks wildlife has come to Fritts Corner in order to research their reappearance.

Since the data Maya Everton has collected could benefit Ryan’s investigation, he makes certain they talk and share specific information. While many local residents like the idea of having wolves in the nearby wilderness, some citizens think they are a menace and should be killed. When Maya goes in search of the wolves on her own, she could have been in big trouble if not for one seemingly protective wolf. Then she and Ryan end up working together to uncover any pertinent facts about the endangered species, but her whole perspective on wolves is altered when she happens to see him shift.

What is actually occurring in PROTECTOR WOLF is kept hidden for much of the book, so I was left guessing along with the main characters. As Maya and Ryan look for concrete evidence about the attacks on humans, I was eager for any new details they might find. Since he must keep his own shapeshifting identity concealed from others, I enjoyed seeing if he would use deception to get any proof. Being able to retain his human reasoning makes the story even more interesting, as Linda O. Johnston told several incidents from his viewpoint while in wolf form.

The past team members of the Alpha Force have all been charming, and I thought Ryan was especially appealing in every way. His interaction with Maya is often amusing at first, as he had to not let her know about his abilities. She is a determined person when it came to safeguarding the wolves, and she sometimes acted without thinking everything through, thus leading to circumstances with unforeseen consequences. Her relationship with Ryan is conceivable, as their love for wildlife is something which they certainly have in common. I hope there are additional books in the always captivating Alpha Force miniseries, because PROTECTOR WOLF makes me want more about these competent heroes.

I voluntarily reviewed the book and all comments are my honest opinion

Series:  Alpha Force

Publisher:  Harlequin Nocturne

Releases:  June 1, 2017

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/lnm3oke

Genre:  Paranormal

Author website:  http://www.lindaojohnston.com/

Rating:  4 Stars

Cold Case Colton by Addison Fox

The Coltons of Shadow Creek continuity series is about the six children of a convicted criminal, a woman who is now a fugitive yet still manages to greatly affect their lives. In the fourth book, subtle threats gradually escalate to one of the daughters, but the person behind the intimidations is not known. Addison Fox interweaves an unexpected romance between two people as they search for any clues about whoever is responsible, and the couple must also contemplate the direction they want to see their futures go. COLD CASE COLTON has touching emotional moments and increasingly scary peril.

After leaving New York and returning to Shadow Creek, Texas, the town where she grew up, Claudia Colton is enthusiastic about operating a boutique which features many of her own clothing designs. Having many brothers and sisters nearby is really wonderful, but unfortunately her mother’s criminal deeds in the past are still the cause of much gossip. Claudia plans to ignore all the talk about her family and make her shop successful. But when a man with a specific agenda arrives in Shadow Creek, she is told some unsettling news which may change her life.

Many of the cases worked on by private investigator Hawk Huntley are often older ones that were never resolved, and he feels rewarded when those left behind find peace because of the answers he uncovers. When he tells Claudia about the potential circumstances of her birth, she is stunned and cannot believe his assumptions are true. Yet if he is correct, then it means she is not the daughter of a woman who has escaped from prison. As facts are sought and truths are gradually revealed, Hawk begins to see Claudia as more than someone involved in his latest case.

One aspect that I like about COLD CASE COLTON is not knowing at first who is threatening Claudia. It could be her escaped mother, someone associated with her parent, or even another individual whose motives have not yet been unearthed. There are a few hints scattered throughout the book, which kept me guessing the identity of the troublemaker and if there was a link to the mother. Addison Fox had me feeling a sense of foreboding as the story progressed, and my fear for Claudia only grew with each new incident. How the author tied this novel with the previous three releases is skillfully handled, and all played out with believability.

While there is mounting danger to Claudia from an unknown source, there is also a very real emotional risk to her because of the news that Hawk divulges. Whether she is really a Colton by birth or not made the story even more enthralling, and I eagerly anticipated the disclosure. The relationship of Hawk and Claudia is realistic, as they explore very genuine feelings between them. Their conversations are especially convincing, and their honest remarks made several discussions movingly poignant. Hawk in particular had me wanting to give him a big hug at times. It was delightful getting to revisit with past couples in the series plus observe the two siblings whose stories are to come, and a huge event made things even more fascinating. COLD CASE COLTON is intriguing and emotionally satisfying.

I voluntarily reviewed the book and all comments are my honest opinion

Series:  The Coltons of Shadow Creek

Publisher:  Harlequin Romantic Suspense

Releases:  June 1, 2017

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/ms7s6aq

Genre:  Suspense

Author website:  http://www.addisonfox.com/

Rating:  4.5 Stars

The Darkest Corner by Liliana Hart

The premise of the Gravediggers series is very original, and the first book gives lots of information on what type of assignments are carried out by the secret group known by this name. The way in which an individual becomes a member is definitely unique, too, where courage and risk collide. I became immersed in the storyline from the start, and I kept reading to discover what this elite bunch of men would eventually have to do. I have heard good things about the suspenseful stories written by Liliana Hart, and THE DARKEST CORNER is entertaining with thrilling expectations.

For twelve years, Deacon Tucker had served his country and much of the time was spent doing covert ops. Then his life totally changed when he was recruited by a group known as the Gravediggers. He now completes assignments that require secrecy and are always dangerous. Since no one realizes he is still alive because of an elaborate deception, Deacon can take part in missions without having to worry if anyone will miss him in case the task goes south.

When after graduating from college, Tess Sherman came back to live in Last Stop, Texas and ended up working for a local funeral home since she had studied to be a mortician. Her current boss made huge changes when the business was bought, and there are now five men employed as assistants. One of them is Deacon, and Tess has noticed the mysterious yet very tempting man more than once. She has no idea what he really does, and he knows she must never be aware of the actual work he covertly undertakes. Then complications arise one day which are linked to his hidden employment.

Any time a group of alpha men get together, there is usually plenty of mocking and trying to prove who is better. Deacon and his fellow teammates can always come up with something sarcastic to say, but each one would stand by the other when needed. Since the men are from all over the world, there is even more variety to the humor, and I found myself laughing at some of their “manly” comments. What this group could actually have to face is terrifying, and after the especially frightening prologue, I was anxious to see how everything would conclude. Liliana Hart’s vivid descriptions give a realistic sense of every detail, and many times I felt as though I was right there beside Deacon and Tess.

While much of the story concentrates on a complicated plot by terrorists, there are also many moments connected to the budding romance between Tess and Deacon. Though both have noticed the other in a sexual way for a long time, neither made a move until the time was just right. Passionately fiery expresses what happens when they let desire take over, and they are not individuals who hold back. Their emotional bond is evident even when the words have yet to be spoken, and I kept wondering what Tess would do when some very tough choices must be made. Since this is the first book in the series, and numerous explanations were needed to clarify what had happened in the past, I hope to see more action in the next book. THE DARKEST CORNER intrigues with alarming threats and scorching passion.

I voluntarily reviewed the book from the publisher via NetGalley, and all comments are my honest opinion

Series:  Gravediggers – Book 1

Publisher:  Pocket Books

Releases:  May 23, 2017

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/kvest6v

Genre:  Suspense

Author website:  https://lilianahart.com/

Rating:  4 Stars

Buns by Alice Clayton

Chuckle inducing humor plus a very heartfelt romance make the third book in the Hudson Valley series constantly engaging. I laughed when amusing comments were made, and fretted if one of the main characters was making a terrible mistake in judgment. Then there are the moments where passion takes over, and I could feel every titillating touch and kiss. The clever writing of Alice Clayton never fails to impress, as reactions are honestly true-to-life and sexual tension builds to explosive heights. BUNS caused much laughter, yet touched me deeply when feelings are candidly expressed.

When Clara Morgan received her latest assignment with the branding agency where she has diligently worked for over five years, she was told the project could greatly influence her future with them. If she makes Bryant Mountain House a much more successful hotel, then she would become a partner with the company. Clara can always take an established place of lodging that is not bringing in enough money and make it profitable, so she does not anticipate any problems when she arrives in Bailey Falls, New York. Spending a few months in the quaint town will be nice, and then she can move on to the next undertaking.

Being able to save a hotel that is family owned is especially rewarding to Clara, as it will help the current owner keep open what has been inherited. But when she makes suggestions to Archie Bryant, the man who will soon be managing the resort, her opinions are met with resistance. He is someone who opposes changing how things have always been done, and emphatically states his own beliefs. But Clara has a job to complete, and one unyielding hotel manager is not going to stop her.

If an Alice Clayton book is being read, then there will be continuous entertainment. I have laughed so much during her many compelling stories, and each situation that crops up containing amusement seems so genuinely realistic. When Clara and Archie have a disagreement, they hold nothing back and strongly state their views. At first their differences only concerned how the hotel was run. But personal sentiments slowly worked their way into how these two responded to each other, and often their retorts were fueled by sexual longing. Alice Clayton can perfectly balance humor, romance, and emotion in her stories, and BUNS is definitely a prime example of her expertise.

I thoroughly enjoyed all the interaction Clara and Archie had with previous characters in the Hudson Valley series. When she had conversations with Roxie and Natalie, the scenes are particularly hilarious with loads of extremely witty banter. Friends that have been met over the course of the series are also scattered throughout the book, and their appearance added much delight. But it was the moments featuring Archie and Clara that truly grabbed my attention, as they were such a likable couple. She has never had much of anything permanent in her life nor a feeling of belonging, thus she is independent yet secretly vulnerable. Archie is really a wonderful man in almost every way imaginable. He is thoughtful and understanding, and I was moved by his compassion for Clara at certain times. While the series may have come to a close, I hope to perhaps have these individuals show up again in an upcoming book of Ms. Clayton’s.

I voluntarily reviewed the book from the publisher, and all comments are my honest opinion

Series:  Hudson Valley

Publisher:  Gallery Books

Releases:  May 23, 2017

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/kfdxpe8

Genre:  Contemporary

Author website:  http://aliceclayton.com/

Rating:  5 Stars

Nearly Nero by Loren D. Estleman

Though I have never read any of the Nero Wolfe stories written by Rex Stout, I have heard about the character that solved crimes without ever leaving his home. NEARLY NERO is a collection of novellas created by Loren D. Estleman, and these imaginatively amusing stories honor the original Nero Wolfe novels. Puns can be found all throughout the book, from titles to details concerning the Brooklyn home and even the characters themselves. Nine of the ten novellas were previously printed in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine while one is new, and in each one, Claudius Lyon along with Arnie Woodbine try to discover the answer to a challenging puzzle. No killings or violent crimes have been carried out, just someone wanting a solution to troubles that have cropped up in their lives. What the perceptive pair deduce left me grinning quite a few times, because what they conclude often has something humorous connected to it.

When Arnie Woodbine answered an ad for a job, the former felon ended up working for Claudius Lyon, an extremely odd individual who has a great love for Nero Wolfe, a man well-known for resolving what actually happened by having somebody else do all the research. Claudius has redone much of his life to match similar aspects in Nero’s, and he now needs someone to help with solving any problems brought to him by having that person do all the physical investigating. So Arnie is now employed and does tasks asked of him in order for Claudius to explain whatever dilemma he has been given. Since neither of them are licensed detectives, no fees are charged, but this fact does not stop the police captain from repeatedly trying to prove they are committing a crime.

After Claudius and Arnie meet and start working together, the two deal with a predicament plaguing someone in every story. A wide variety of people come asking for help, and their problems also greatly vary. But the portly amateur detective and his cunning assistant sort through clues, then make deductions based on fact. While there is not a lot of depth to the novellas because of their length, the information about each case let me make my own guesses as to what was really going on. Arnie is the one who describes what is taking place, and his inner thoughts were often a highlight of a scene. How the final assumptions were reached are frequently shrewd, and I thought the reasoning to be rather comical at times while other logic showed real aptitude. Loren D. Estleman has made me want to check out the original Nero Wolfe stories, as I would like to know about the team who inspired such a fun duo. NEARLY NERO is an entertaining and witty parody.

I voluntarily reviewed the book from the publisher, and all comments are my honest opinion

Publisher:  Gallery Books

Releases:  May 9, 2017

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/k9c6glb

Genre:  Mystery

Author website:  http://www.lorenestleman.com/

Rating:  4 Stars

The Dukes of Vauxhall by Vanessa Kelly, Christi Caldwell, Theresa Romain and Shana Galen

A mutual topic can be found in every storyline of the novellas that have been created by four notable authors. The French have been defeated at Waterloo, and the British are ready for some merrymaking. Parties are taking place, and several big gatherings will occur at Vauxhall Gardens. What will happen to eight individuals attending various entertainments will change their lives forever, and I was thoroughly enraptured by how cleverly the authors entwined common threads into each of their stories. There are also fascinating romances which are given a second chance at love or an unexpected beginning. All the authors have previously written outstanding romance books about the Regency period, and these fun novellas are totally gratifying. THE DUKES OF VAUXHALL has enchanting characters, original circumstances, and compelling emotional issues in every captivating story.

“Taken by the Duke” by Shana Galen

After recently becoming a viscount, Henry Selkirk gets chosen to organize a huge ball that will celebrate the British victory over the French at Waterloo plus observe the Prince Regent’s birthday. As he tours Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, the site of the festivities, he is taken by a group of ruffians whose leader is called the Duke. While held hostage, Henry meets Kate Dunn, a childhood friend with whom he was once very close. But she has grown into a woman with many secrets, and their lives depend on what choices each ends up making.

The interaction between Henry and Kate is often very interesting, as these two gradually discover whether they can ever trust the other or if they will only get hurt. I thought the current events in their lives led to plenty of surprising scenes, where emotions and hope played a huge part in deciding the course of their actions. Shana Galen makes “Taken by the Duke” constantly intriguing with unforeseen developments. A delightful story with subtle humor and charming characters.

“Fighting for His Lady” by Christi Caldwell

Though Patience Storm had once deeply cared for Godrick Gunnery, his lies caused her to never want him in her life again. However, a desperate need for her brother to win a prizefighting match has her contacting the man who became a champion after being taught by her deceased father. Previously called the Duke of the Ring but now retired, Godrick agrees to help Patience’s brother train in order to hopefully have a victorious bout. Fighting is all he has let himself think about since he last saw the only woman who ever meant anything to him, yet being around her brings back memories that he wants to turn into a reality once more.

“Fighting for His Lady” is an exciting story of lost dreams and optimistic wishes. The premise does not follow a typical Regency plot, as Godrick lives an unusual life for a Duke’s son, while the conduct of Patience is not the norm for women of the period. I was highly entertained when this couple interacted, because honest feelings led to earnest responses. Christi Caldwell has written a rousing and enjoyable romance.

“The Prodigal Duke” by Theresa Romain

There was a good reason for Leo Billingsley leaving London years ago, but now he has returned and will become the next Duke of Westfair. But he needs some assistance with a problem, and the only person who comes to mind is Poppy Hayworth, the woman with whom he grew up and is now a local tightrope performer. Since she has her own troubles, accepting his offer of a fictitious engagement will also benefit her. What was once between Poppy and Leo could have turned into more than friendship at one time, and they might just realize that the chance is still there.

Amusing comments had me smiling, while several more serious incidents made me anxious as I waited to see what would eventually take place. Leo and Poppy are pleasantly delightful, and I saw them as two people who were caught in difficult situations not of their making yet still tried to make the best of whatever they faced. Theresa Romain gives her couple much to prevail over, and I found their choices to be genuinely realistic. “The Prodigal Duke” has sincere emotions and enthralling occurrences.

“The Buccaneer Duke” by Vanessa Kelly

With two aspects about her life that English society sees as disgraceful, Antonia Barnett is not having any luck finding a man willing to marry her. Then she meets Captain Roman Cantrell. He was a privateer during the war, and now the illegitimate offspring of a royal prince is supposed to wed someone of good standing in the hope it gives him respectability. Though different in many ways, Roman and Antonia do share some similarities and their conversations are certainly lively. But there is no way her father will get his daughter be connected to the man who not only looks like a pirate but has acted like one.

Engagingly imaginative from beginning to end, “The Buccaneer Duke” is an engrossing romantic adventure. I was overjoyed for the chance to read another Renegade Royals story, as this favorite series has an innovative premise and unique characters. Roman and Antonia are truly beguiling, as they are quick-witted and make some of the most outrageous remarks. I repeatedly laughed at the more humorous moments in the story, while other instances profoundly affected me with their realism. The large number of candid scenes created by Vanessa Kelly for her appealing couple caused countless smiles.

I voluntarily reviewed the book and all comments are my honest opinion

Publisher:  Amazon Digital Services LLC

Releases:  May 9, 2017

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/lb2bx3f

Genre:  Historical

Rating:  5 Stars

Big Win by J. H. Croix

Many scenes in the second Brit Boys Sports Romance story are truly touching, and I was repeatedly affected by the sincerity of numerous characters, whether it was spoken words or acts of compassion. J. H. Croix has a knack for creating very emotional developments, where problems are convincingly handled by realistic individuals. BIG WIN could mean several different things, as it may pertain to the game of soccer, but might also refer to overcoming personal troubles and finding joy. As I lived through some difficult times with the main characters in the book, I got to experience a number of highs and lows in their life to the fullest.

Since he is the Seattle Stars goalkeeper, Alex Gordon has to stay in great shape and often runs in addition to regular practice sessions. One early morning run has him meeting up with Harper Jacobs, whom he knows because of mutual friends yet has never heard anything personal about her. After leaving London and coming to play soccer in Seattle, he has not had any relationships with the local women. However, Alex would really like to become better acquainted with Harper, if he can just get her to open up to him as she always seems so guarded.

An event in Harper’s past has continued to influence her current life for way too long. Being around Alex makes her want to take a chance and let a man into her life once again, especially since the soccer player is so thoughtful to her needs. Harper does not realize how much he wants her to be happy, plus thinks he is the right man to make her smile more often. But first they must triumph over some past issues that are not easily forgotten.

BIG WIN deals with the subject matter of violence against another person. Harper lived through a terrible ordeal four years ago, and though she has moved on, the memories are still with her and can resurface without warning. I thought Ms. Croix managed to bring much realism into the story when her characters cope with challenging emotional topics, and I definitely thought every scene played out with much believability. Conversations are sometimes filled with humor when all the friends get together, and then there are the instances where discussions are exceedingly serious. I really like the group of people Ms. Croix has conceived for this series, as they get along so well and I enjoy when new details about them become known.

Harper and Alex are very attracted to each other, which causes their sexual relationship to be explosively fiery. Yet he is not one for talking about his feelings, and she is unsure where they stand at times. This leads to situations where feelings are confused, and my concern for them continued to grow. Alex is a true hero in the story, and when his protective instincts kick in, I wanted to sigh. BIG WIN is an emotionally rewarding romance.

I voluntarily reviewed the book and all comments are my honest opinion

Series:  Brit Boys Sports Romance – Book 2

Publisher:  Amazon Digital Services LLC

Releases:  May 2, 2017

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/m3xf995

Genre:  Contemporary

Author website:  http://jhcroixauthor.com/

Rating:  4.5 Stars

Taming the Hunter by Michele Hauf

The vivid imagination of Michele Hauf once again took me on an extraordinary journey into her world of the paranormal, where those beings that supposedly do not exist seem so real. In her new series called Decadent Dames, four witches run a brewery in Anoka, Minnesota, an actual place known for how it celebrates Halloween. TAMING THE HUNTER has plenty of humor for which Ms. Hauf is well known, and her characters come across as particularly genuine every time they make an appearance. I loved the supernatural aspects in the story, while the romance is convincing and often touched me on various levels.

Since he is a scientist, Dane Winthur enjoys his present career choice working for a group called the Agency. The organization collects information about possible paranormal activity, and he uses his scientific knowledge to prove whether certain weapons actually have supernatural capabilities associated with them or if they do not. When the hunt for a dagger with a personal connection to him is located, Dane goes to Anoka, Minnesota to learn the truth about the weapon.

There is a delay in inspecting the dagger, so Dane spends his first free night in the city by attending a winter festival. Some of the liquid refreshment is provided by the Decadent Dames brewery, which is owned by four witches. One of them is Eryss Norling, a woman who is hoping for a good future in this lifetime. She has experienced numerous lives in the past, and the same man has been there with her every time. Eryss begins to think Dane could be the one meant for her in this lifetime, yet worries if they could ever get along because of his beliefs. But she feels he is worth the risk to her heart.

One of the things I enjoy about Michele Hauf’s books is the fact that characters from her previous releases are often featured. It is wonderful to revisit some beloved individuals, and their presence still adds to your reading pleasure if they have not been met before. This story contains two werewolves whom I truly adore. Several details pertaining to the witches make them distinctive, yet their behavior had me thinking they could easily be living next door. What is going on in the lives of Dane and Eryss is also very cleverly conceived and executed. Tension associated with what will happen to them gradually builds as the story progresses, and I became extremely anxious about their fate before all was finally revealed. The dagger’s part in their lives is especially intriguing.

TAMING THE HUNTER is believable at all times. Whether something paranormal is going on or the relationship between Dane and Eryss is being explored, I felt as though the situation could really take place.  Ms. Hauf has a way of making her paranormal stories seem like fact instead of fiction, and her first Decadent Dames story is entertainingly realistic. I really liked Dane and Eryss from the moment each was met, and how these two interacted with one another had me wanting them to find happiness together. Both are very appealing, and they are witty yet sensitive to the needs of the other. When a new challenge came into their lives, I got insight into their personalities. I am counting down the days until the next book comes out.

I voluntarily reviewed the book and all comments are my honest opinion

Series:  Decadent Dames

Publisher:  Harlequin Nocturne

Releases:  May 1, 2017

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/lhllzfu

Genre:  Paranormal

Author website:  http://www.michelehauf.com/

Rating:  5 Stars

Pregnant by the Colton Cowboy by Lara Lacombe

The Coltons of Shadow Creek continuity series is about a group of siblings and how the actions of their mother could perhaps bring danger into their lives. In the third book, a man has been deeply affected by circumstances surrounding his birth, and he does not see his life ever improving. But when a chance encounter with a woman has lasting consequences, their lives are forever changed. I found this story to be packed with lots of genuine emotions and unforeseen jeopardy, where a person could be joyously happy one moment and then facing death in the next instant. Lara Lacombe has several harrowing difficulties cropping up in the lives of her main couple, and I never knew how everything would ultimately work out for the likable characters until all was resolved. PREGNANT BY THE COLTON COWBOY has numerous mysteries, tender passion, and heartfelt emotions.

Since his father was much more involved in how Thorne Colton was raised, he became a man with strong convictions and a calm nature. Dating is not a regular pursuit, but that does not keep him from fantasizing about Maggie Lowell, the woman who does his father’s bookkeeping. She also secretly longs to grab his attention, and an unplanned incident lets them fulfill what each had only dreamed about doing. To keep Maggie from being shunned like him, Thorne thinks they should never be in a relationship because of how his mother’s criminal activities have tainted his own life.

When Maggie’s car blows up and she is hurt, it leads to the revelation that she is pregnant. Thorne is stunned to learn he is going to be a dad, but nothing will keep him from watching over the mother of his child and keeping them safe from any further peril. As the days go by with Maggie living at the ranch with him, he wonders if his future could possibly turn out differently than he has always expected.

Although Thorne is a cowboy who works hard and has dedicated much of his life to raising horses, he still has a soft side when it comes to those for whom he cares. I really enjoyed seeing his reactions to learning about his impending fatherhood, and his decisions afterward showed his true personality. A talk with his father is very touching, and any conversations in the story are definitely lifelike. Thorne has a hard time communicating what he actually feels, but his deeds did convey how he felt when the words were not spoken. Maggie is a delight, as she is strong and does not give up easily, even when things seem rather hopeless. I especially liked the scenes where she and Thorne talked about important details, as their inner thoughts and strengths were demonstrated to me.

How the ongoing troubles dealing with mother of Thorne are handled is cleverly portrayed by the author, as Lara Lacombe gave clues but nothing concrete until near the end. I like being given hints as to what is going on, but must keep an open mind as all is not known. PREGNANT BY THE COLTON COWBOY keeps you guessing with realistic and compelling developments. Many of Thorne’s siblings do make an appearance, and I liked knowing what was taking place in the lives of the characters already met as well as those whose stories are yet to come.

I voluntarily reviewed the book and all comments are my honest opinion

Series:  The Coltons of Shadow Creek

Publisher:  Harlequin Romantic Suspense

Releases:  May 1, 2017

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/mxwo46n

Genre:  Suspense

Author website:  http://www.laralacombe.com/

Rating:  4 Stars

Under a Sardinian Sky by Sara Alexander

Thoroughly detailed scenes and a vast assortment of distinctive characters makes UNDER A SARDINIAN SKY highly engaging. Sara Alexander has created a story filled with emotional issues that are very true-to-life, and I was deeply drawn into the lives of individuals who came alive because of the author’s perceptive writing. I may not have ever been anywhere like the island of Sardinia, but after reading Ms. Alexander’s debut story, I certainly feel as though I am well acquainted with its past citizens plus many of their local traditions.

After her aunt died, Mina decides it is time to learn about a part of her family’s history that has always remained unspoken. Since she writes travel articles for a newspaper, she is going to use some of her skills to hopefully discover the truth concerning Carmela Chirigoni, another aunt who was Italian and lived on the island of Sardinia. Mina knows little about her relative except for the fact the woman went missing back in the 1950’s.

With World War II having been over for several years, those living on the picturesque island are looking forward to better times. Carmela is from a farming family plus she makes fashionable clothing for others. She has been asked to wed a man who could one day be very rich, but she is not too fond of behavior at times. During a big fiesta in her hometown, she comes in contact with an American soldier from a nearby base. They keep meeting at different places, and she ends up becoming an interpreter for Lt. Joe Kavanagh as she speaks some English. This decision will change many lives forever.

While reading UNDER A SARDINIAN SKY, I got a glimpse into what could have easily occurred to someone living in a region once greatly affected by war. Carmela is a spirited yet respectful daughter who plans to obey the wishes of her family, but she dreams of seeing other places and having a rewarding marriage. Her life may be shaped by the wishes of someone else, but it does not stop her thinking about improbable possibilities. People trying to get back to normal after a huge war can find themselves still being influenced by outside forces for years, and Carmela meeting American soldiers deeply changes how she envisions her future. There are many times when her inner feelings battle, as she knows what path should be followed but often would rather not. Her thoughts about her intended husband causes many worries, while sentiments connected to a particular American soldier double her uncertainties. Sara Alexander gives much insight into what leads to the reactions of her characters, thus letting me come to really know these individuals.

The story is told because Mina wants to uncover what actually happened to her aunt, and the author skillfully let me know all the facts through colorful historical descriptions. Italian customs are depicted with much fanfare, while the daily lives of the island inhabitants are also vividly portrayed. From meals to parties to work, I got a sense of what various people experienced while living through these events. Food preparation is especially interesting and often lively.  The images visually conveyed throughout UNDER A SARDINIAN SKY cause enthrallment and pure delight.

I voluntarily reviewed the book via NetGalley, and all comments are my honest opinion

Publisher:  Kensington

Releases:  April 25, 2017

Purchase:   http://tinyurl.com/kar2u2k

Genre:  Historical

Rating:  4 Stars