Painted Trillium: A novel of the Civil War by Robert Brandt

51dELHBM7wLPAINTED TRILLIUM is a deeply affecting story about tragedy and hope. Set during the Civil War, the novel exposes the struggles individuals faced on a daily basis, regardless of whether they sided with the North or South. I have always been fascinated with this emotionally chaotic period in American history, as I have ancestors whose lives were shaped by this war. Robert Brandt skillfully interweaves historical facts with his own fictional imaginings to create an extremely believable story of endurance. With each new scene, I became more connected to the main characters and what they had to live through. By the end of the book, I felt as though every occurrence just had to be true.

When the Confederate army retreats from Murfreesboro, TN in January 1863, it leaves the town and its residents vulnerable to the Yankees. Carrie Blaylock has already suffered much loss because of the war, as her brother is now gone along with the young man whom she would have eventually wed. There are many unknowns in her life now, and she worries about what the future will bring since so much has changed in just two years. With her future husband dead, Carrie cannot help but wonder if she could possibly live on her own some day and become a teacher, thus helping young girls get a needed education. But for now, the war rages on and her hometown is in constant turmoil.

A meeting with Union soldier Captain John Lockridge takes place because he wishes to discuss a problem with Carrie. They are cordial to one another, even though he fights for the North. With his army remaining in the area for months, the two start seeing each other occasionally to discuss books and enjoy some friendly conversation. Since he could move to another location without much notice, the two make the most of what time they have together, talking about their families and goals. But what could happen because of the war is never far from either of their minds.

It did not take long for me to feel totally connected to the many likable characters in PAINTED TRILLIUM. I admired Carrie for her determination to be independent, and John’s steadfast honorable behavior had me respecting him. It was definitely easy to love these two wonderful individuals who had such intriguing personalities. There are also numerous other people whose appearances contributed much to the storyline. All throughout the book, I could clearly recognize how loyalty to one side or the other altered how a person saw someone else. It is very difficult to conceive how drastically lives were forever changed during the Civil War, as friends and even relatives might have different views. The way in which the author conveys the feelings of his characters let me better comprehend what ordinary folks went through during this time in history.

The book focuses on how the Civil War influenced Americans from various walks of life, and all details come across as remarkably realistic. There was never a time when I did not think a situation really happened as described, because Robert Brandt’s attention to every aspect of the story is so thoroughly researched. Historical figures and battles that took place are factually portrayed, while correctly used terms of the period add to the realism. PAINTED TRILLIUM touches the heart while engaging the mind. The story will long be remembered.

Received copy from publisher

Publisher:  Wandering in the Words Press

Releases:  May 28, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/h726r4k

Genre:  Historical

Rating:  5 Stars

Wolf’s Mate by Chantal Fernando

51Iy4RPAw0LThe fifth book in the Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club series has plenty of emotional incidents that frequently tug at the heart. Whether it involves the appealing main couple and their current lives, or focuses on what has happened in their past, I always felt what they experienced during these often trying times. Chantal Fernando has created a truly mesmerizing world for her sexy bikers and the strong-willed women who love them, and I am just glad to have been along for the whole journey. WOLF’S MATE has engaging characters, lots of heartfelt emotions and lusty sexual encounters.

Although Vinnie is a member of the Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club, he still plans to keep his vow of doing a favor for the president of another club. While he will never fully trust the guy, not fulfilling a promise goes against his principles. So Vinnie will be spending a week doing the bidding of someone whom he does not see as a “brother.” When he hears the task given to him will be watching over Shayla, the cousin of the other club’s leader, he is skeptical at first because his duties sound too easy. Learning her imprisoned father was a crooked accountant makes the assignment more dangerous, but Vinnie is not worried. His biggest problem will more than likely be annoyance since Shayla is supposed to be self-centered.

At the first meeting between Vinnie and Shayla, she does come across as bratty. He also quickly recognizes some changes need to be made in order to keep her safer, and thankfully she does not disagree. As Vinnie spends more time with Shayla, he comes to realize the prior comments he heard about her are not actually true. Before his time of guarding her is completed, he feels a link with her that makes turning her over to another man almost impossible.

Brotherhood between the Wind Dragons is once again apparent throughout the story, where loyalty between these men and their supportive women is shown in different ways. Sometimes commitment is depicted when situations turn threatening, while other instances such as a birthday party are more lighthearted. I laughed at the playfulness of these very alpha males and their mates, yet nervously waited to see how a dangerous episode in which they participated would turn out. Some suspense does occur from time to time because of danger to Shayla, but much more of the story is emotional and pertains to her unexpected relationship with a motorcycle club member. Events in their lives are repeatedly made captivating by Chantal Fernando.

When Vinnie is given an unpleasant task, he only wants to complete the obligation connected to Shayla and return to his own club. But interacting with her causes emotional issues that he never anticipated, especially since he has never been a “one woman man.” When paired with Shayla who is totally opposite from him, there are many scenes where sharp-witted remarks are made and caused me to laugh. I really enjoyed seeing the teasing side of this intimidating biker, as I have liked him from his first appearance. Some of the discussions these two have with other club members are also hilarious, particularly when Faye is included. The powerful longing Vinnie has for Shayla leads to numerous situations of gratifying sex, where strong feelings for each other are clearly obvious. I am glad there is another book planned in this intriguing series. WOLF’S MATE entertains with fascinating predicaments.

Received copy from publisher

Series:  Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club

Publisher:  Gallery

Releases:  August 16, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/zl7lhbc

Genre:  Contemporary

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

Rating:  4.5 Stars

Bayou Shadow Protector by Debbie Herbert

51b3+v8gCoLAs more is revealed about the unique characters featured in the Bayou Magic miniseries, I become further captivated by their abilities plus behavior. Anyone who is a shadow hunter faces danger on a regular basis, where these brave persons put the safely of others before their own time and again. The heroine in the second book may be very different from this group that fights spirits with evil intentions, but she is also courageous and does not easily back down when threatened. Cruel beings definitely hide in the Alabama bayou, and two individuals may be all that stands in the way of them becoming powerful and causing much havoc. Debbie Herbert imaginatively brings her Bayou Magic miniseries to life, and BAYOU SHADOW PROTECTOR is original and extremely emotional.

Since the Fae know malicious spirits are threatening their survival, April Meadows has been sent to the human world in order to get help from Native American shadow hunters. Chulah Rivers is one of the warriors that watches over Bayou La Siryna, and finding a lone woman in the woods near his home is very unusual yet not alarming. But April has a specific mission to complete along with a personal task of her own, and she is determined to get Chulah’s cooperation as a shadow hunter while also gaining his trust. Perhaps using feminine wiles will work for her, as she does not want to use any Fae abilities.

To get the needed information to Chulah about the dangerous spirits that must be eliminated, April will get close to the man she has long admired. She already knows much about him, as she has watched this particular male for years. Though the Fae just want to use the gifted hunter so their enemy is finally gone, she dreams of him actually caring for her as she does him. Although April had thought her plan would be easy, getting Chulah to agree will take more cunning endeavors than she first thought.

When Debbie Herbert comes up with a concept for her paranormal books, the premise is always original and certainly entertaining. The Bayou Magic miniseries cleverly blends Native American folklore into a present-day problem, resulting in a story filled with innovative ideas and plenty of distinct characters. Chulah is a loner, and his preference to take care of things himself may have made him tougher but has also taken away his ability to feel some emotions. A past event has caused much guilt over the years, and not being able to fully trust April just adds to his personal troubles. She does make some decisions based on what she secretly saw, but knowledge does not always lead to success. There were situations where I ached for her as she so desperately wanted Chulah to like her. Though there is a real connection between the couple, sometimes even an electrifying one, a relationship needs more than desire so they experience lots of challenges.

The peril in the story is very real and goes along with the mythology. Debbie Herbert made me want to believe in the carefully played out incidents depicted with colorful details. I fretted over what choices either Chulah or April would eventually choose, as many lives could be affected if they decided incorrectly. Though the first book in the miniseries would not have to be read first, what caused the current troubles in the Alabama bayou would be known beforehand. BAYOU SHADOW PROTECTOR is inventively creative.

Copy received from author

Series:  Bayou Magic

Publisher:  Harlequin Nocturne

Releases:  September 1, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/goku22l

Genre:  Paranormal

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

Rating:  5 Stars

Enchanted Guardian by Sharon Ashwood

51LN7a65c-LMany of the predicaments that arose in the first book of the Camelot Reborn miniseries are still causing mayhem in the next installment. A long ago spell cast by Merlin had terrible consequences, making enemies who now want to be compensated in appalling ways. Though some of their malicious intentions are aimed at individuals who lived in the medieval period and have begun waking up from a lengthy sleep, any human could also be harmed by their destructive behavior. I was totally captivated by every gripping event in the previous book, and the paranormal elements are once again remarkably convincing. Sharon Ashwood has conceived a story about what might happen if the Knights of the Round Table existed in our current world, and each situation is creatively realistic with vivid imaginings. While I may not want the evil fae to actually be real, I definitely would love to meet the brave knights who have come back to life and the women standing by their side. ENCHANTED GUARDIAN is innovative and absolutely believable.

At the same time the Knights of the Round Table were fighting battles in Camelot, a female faery named Nimeuh was being affected by difficulties which still plague her. The warriors are now rising from a forced sleep in preparation of stopping the annihilation of humanity. Since Nim defied their enemy that is ready to overtake mankind, she is presently being hunted for her disobedience. But she does make sure a certain knight is found because his skills will be invaluable during physical clashes.

After joining forces with several other knights, Lancelot Du Lac secretly watches over the humans in the Pacific Norwest where the fae are becoming bolder. By working at the Medievaland Theme Park, he can dress the part and be ready for any conflict. When Nim and Lancelot accidently come in contact, both remember what was once between them. They had been lovers but his abandonment changed everything. Though he does not plan to leave her this time, she fears being discovered by those hunting her and does not want to be noticed. As the threats become more widespread, Lancelot and Nim find their lives are unexpectedly intertwined once more.

ENCHANTED GUARDIAN is an engaging story because of visual descriptions and lively characters. Sharon Ashwood certainly knows how to make scenes riveting with attention-grabbing imagery, and every depiction seemed so precise. I always felt as though I was right in the heart of a battle or an emotion-filled encounter, because reactions are genuine plus each detail is fully explained. How dilemmas play out kept me engrossed from the first hint of trouble until all concludes.

Nim, who is the Lady of the Lake from the medieval legend, is a wonderful heroine. She has lots of problems to overcome, and very few of them are easily worked out. When her whole future was riding on one choice, I suffered along with her. Lancelot has always been someone whose actions made him seem larger than life, but Ms. Ashwood makes him come across as a man with sincere feelings and heartfelt wishes. Though the relationship of Nim and Lancelot did not end well back in Camelot, neither has forgotten the other. Several of their scenes are intense with profound emotions, while others are heatedly steamy. There are also moments where some humor is evident, especially when Lancelot and Gawain have a conversation. I really enjoy the Camelot Reborn miniseries, and I hope there are more books to come.

Copy received from author

Series:  Camelot Reborn

Publisher:  Harlequin Nocturne

Releases:  August 1, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/zmnnv8m

Genre:  Paranormal

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

Rating: 5 Stars

Covert Alliance by Linda O. Johnston

51jmKKDMLrLIf there is no proof a crime has been committed yet a person feels threatened, then a special section of the US Marshals called the ID Division may be able to help. The individual is protected by being given a new identity, while an operative covertly looks for concrete facts. This fascinating concept makes the latest release from Linda O. Johnston interesting, especially when a woman is determined to find clues about her missing sister on her own, but the undercover agent working the case is a man who always follows the rules. COVERT ALLIANCE intrigues as the mystery builds.

When her sister disappeared and was presumed dead, the woman now known as Kelly Ladd changed everything about herself in order to stay safe. Since the person she feels certain is the killer was never charged because there was no evidence, her life was at risk because of her accusations. So she contacted the Identity Division organization where they altered her features plus gave her a new life. But when she realized her nephew is also in possible danger, Kelly returned to Blue Haven, California and became a waitress in the hope of keeping the boy from any harm.

While Kelly has come back for personal reasons to the place where her sister was last seen, there is also a man in the town who is secretly working for the ID Division. Alan Correy is looking for anything that will prove what was stated about one particular resident is true. But when he figures out the woman who should not be in the area is a café employee, he worries she will be spotted by others. When Alan confronts Kelly, they decide to let her stay for a time though he is not happy, yet perhaps getting what they need will go faster with two people looking.

Since threats for most of the book are only alleged and not actually backed up by any physical actions, there is a feeling of anticipation throughout the story of what might happen. As I waited for clues to be revealed, the mystery of what happened in the past just kept getting bigger. Linda O. Johnston gives a few indications here and there of the truth, making me appreciate each clever hint.

Though Kelly knows she should not have come back to the town, concern for her nephew overrode her own well-being. I think her unease is a big reason Alan went along with her plan instead of making her go back into hiding, and she is not a huge risk-taker which could have led to her actual identity being discovered. As they try to uncover any information about her sister and nephew, these two become more than a working team. There was something between them from the moment they spied each other, and the emotional pull only becomes stronger as they get to know one another. Although Alan is someone who never disobeys orders, his feelings for Kelly play a big part in making him go against what he perceives as a wrong. Personal feelings are definitely a powerful motivator for both of them. Though not a lot of action-packed suspense, the mystery of what previously took place in Blue Haven kept me reading. Numerous uncertainties in COVERT ALLIANCE add to the enjoyment.

Received copy from author

Series:  ID Division

Publisher:  Harlequin Romantic Suspense

Releases:  August 1, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/gut4t9u

Genre:  Suspense

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

Rating:  4 Stars

Enchanted Warrior by Sharon Ashwood

51gnSAWul5LImaginative developments and colorful characters make the first book in the Camelot Reborn miniseries constantly enthralling. The legend of Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table gets a creative twist when Sharon Ashwood gives them the chance to prove their bravery in the modern world. One of the most well-known knights, Gawain, comes back to life, ready to fight for what he believes is right. I have always been fascinated with this fable, wondering about any truths connected to it. After reading Ms. Ashwood’s ideas of what this individual might have been like long ago and the traits that he still possesses, I am even more in love with this fascinating myth. ENCHANTED WARRIOR is an unforgettable romantic story filled with riveting adventures.

When Tamsin Greene is confronted by a man inside a church located at Medievaland Theme Park where she works, he wants answers to several questions. As a historian, she does know much about the authentic structure which has been brought from England to the United States, but the strange actions of Gawain frighten her at first. His inquiry about tombs connected to the church does intrigue Tamsin, making her wish to uncover what happened to everything that is now missing. Though the man says he will be back to learn what she comes across, anything found out will be for her benefit, not his.

Gawain was a Knight of the Round Table and lived many years ago, but a spell by Merlin made him sleep until his services are needed once more. And they are currently necessary, as a long-lasting disagreement with the faery is about to cause much trouble to humans. Since time is short before these beings start causing even more chaos, Gawain must find the other knights who also served with King Arthur as they are the only ones who might be able to defeat this powerful enemy. But when he realizes Tamsin is a witch, he wonders whose side she will be on.

After reading ENCHANTED WARRIOR, I am very eager to learn what Sharon Ashwood will have happening in future Camelot Reborn stories. Her ingenious blending of incidents in the past with events in the twenty-first century results in a story which is believable with frightening possibilities. Supernatural beings with evil intentions are harming humans, and it is up to a group of knights who previously fought to protect the innocent to once again take up their swords and be prepared to die for a cause. Ms. Ashwood had me convinced that every scene could have occurred just as depicted, regardless of what type of creature appears or the abilities it had. When any individuals who might have lived long ago show up, I was excited to see how the author would portray them.

The relationship of Gawain and Tamsin is certainly complicated. Luckily, the spell put upon the knight let him be familiar with his new surroundings when he awakened, so this was not a problem for them to overcome. But her being a witch is a major obstacle for him, as he has a reason to mistrust the powers of someone like her. A knight is an all-time favorite hero for me, and Gawain definitely has all the qualities that make a man a true champion. Tamsin is also a wonderful heroine, as she can be gutsy yet is also compassionate when a situation calls for it. Passionate people, these two know what they want and are not afraid to go after their heart’s desire. The second book is highly anticipated. Originality makes ENCHANTED WARRIOR memorable.

Received copy from author

Series:  Camelot Reborn

Publisher:  Harlequin Nocturne

Releases:  February 1, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/jodvw6m

Genre:  Paranormal

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

Rating:  5 Stars

Where the Wild Things Bite by Molly Harper

516QfylailL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_When a business trip goes terribly wrong in the newest Half-Moon Hollow story, an obsessively phobic human along with a vampire with questionable intentions find themselves in a fight to survive. Any time I hear the words Half-Moon Hollow, lots of original characters are brought to mind. I cannot help but smile when I recall some of the individuals created for the paranormal books by Molly Harper, as they always have distinctive personalities and often unusual traits. For the latest compelling story in the series, the author gives us a couple who seem to have nothing in common except the will to not die permanently. With much of the book concentrating on the main two characters, it easily stands alone. But never fear, many of those beings who live in Half-Moon Hollow do show up and offer plenty of laughs the moment they start talking. Get ready to be highly amused when reading the hilarious WHERE THE WILD THINGS BITE.

A package being delivered to Half-Moon Hollow was too important to trust with just anyone, so Anna Whitfield had to get on the very small plane with its unpleasant pilot. But since the bibliographer wants to quickly get the book she has authenticated back to the bookstore belonging to Jane Jameson, there is no other alternative. When the pilot suddenly tries to take the valuable item from Anna, she knows her fears about flying are about to become even worse. Fortunately for her, there is one other person on the flight, and he keeps her package from being stolen. But things do go downhill when their disabled aircraft crashes.

Now Anna and Finn Palmeroy are somewhere in the Kentucky hills, with not much going in their favor. One big problem causing much anxiety is the fact her savior is a vampire with no available nourishment source except for her. As Anna and Finn wander through the wilderness with no clue of what will happen next, they grudgingly work together in order to hopefully be rescued.

If Molly Harper writes a paranormal story, then countless laugh inducing situations are assured. Poor Anna and all the things she feared had me occasionally feeling her pain because I am not the most adventurous person, yet several of the concerns are such outrageous possibilities that I just had to chuckle. I did like how she managed to overcome several worries when an incident turned threatening, as it showed her intelligence for remembering what had been read. Since the book is from her viewpoint, I came to know Anna very well. Finn is more of a mystery, as he was not as open about sharing his way of thinking, but he does gradually reveal a snippet here and there. Some information is quite surprising.

There are a large number of emotional issues between Anna and Finn. At first, her phobias are the main cause. Then his being a vampire adds to her doubts. And with the way her mind works, she comes up with a huge group of matters that need concrete answers to vanquish what theories have popped into her thoughts. While most of the book is written to cause giggles, a few serious events gave the story some touching episodes. More books are scheduled in the series, and I am overjoyed because I can never get enough of the Half-Moon Hollow characters. Comedy never ceases in WHERE THE WILD THINGS BITE.

Received copy from publisher

Series:  Half-Moon Hollow – Book 8

Publisher:  Pocket

Releases:  July 26, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/gvljf85

Genre:  Paranormal

Author website:  http://mollyharper.com/

Rating: 4 Stars

To Have and to Hold by Lauren Layne

418njPNHDZL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_As soon as the enchanting Wedding Belles prequel was read, I was eager to see what happened to another wedding planner at the exclusive New York City shop. In the first full length story of the series, I was treated to lots of amusing conversations plus some very lifelike emotional troubles, where numerous characters drew me into their fascinating lives. From professional colleagues to good friends to lovers, I wanted to discover much about these individuals as their lives became intertwined. Some moments are exceedingly happy while others are totally heartbreaking, where each instance is portrayed with realism. The Wedding Belles series is off to a compelling start, as Lauren Layne has created delightful characters with whom to connect. TO HAVE AND TO HOLD keeps the entertainment flowing with laughs and sighs.

After Seth Tyler became the CEO of Tyler Hotel Group when his father suddenly died, he has made certain that all dealings run smoothly. But when his sister, Maya, unexpectedly announces she is getting married and is over-the-top excited, he has suspicions about the future groom yet tries to appear thrilled for her. When his sibling manages to get Wedding Belles to coordinate all aspects of her upcoming marriage, she knows it will be a very special event. The newest wedding planner, Brooke Baldwin, will be working to make sure every step is completely enjoyable.

When Brooke left Los Angeles and moved to New York City, she wanted to leave any feelings related to the man whom she almost married back on the west coast, as he was a skillful liar. Just hired at Wedding Belles, she is ready to prove her abilities by making her first client’s ideas come true. Though the bride and groom seem agreeable, the older brother of Maya is more than a little tense, but Brooke guesses the wealthy tycoon wants to know where his money will be going. But the real reason Seth keeps showing up during every occasion where decisions are made is to uncover the true motives of the groom. If he could just get the tempting Brooke on his side, it would make determining the truth easier while letting them get closer.

Lauren Layne is known for writing humorous scenes, and her talent can be seen all throughout TO HAVE AND TO HOLD. Whether it is a chat between Seth and his best friend Grant, or a discussion where Brooke and the controlling brother of the bride have some sharp words, the dialogue is often cleverly funny. The two men are especially hilarious, as some of their talks are just as I would imagine occurring when males are together. There are also some incidents where emotional turmoil takes place, as Seth and Brooke do have some serious conflicts from time to time. Occasionally, the issues deal with how they react to a problem connected to his sister, while other battles are concerned with more personal matters. I definitely felt for each one of them when a predicament seemed hopeless, as I could sense how deeply they were affected. Sexual tension is high, causing encounters to be particularly heated.

There is also some drama associated with the wedding of Maya, and I found this secondary plot to be interesting as I did not know how everything would end. The other employees at Wedding Belles are very intriguing, and I am glad the next book comes out soon. A wonderful start to a captivating series.

Copy received from publisher

Series:  The Wedding Belles – Book 1

Publisher:  Pocket

Releases:  July 26, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/jldf59y

Genre:  Contemporary

Author website:  http://laurenlayne.com/

Rating:  4 Stars

Killer Countdown by Amelia Autin

51Yqay5eZFL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_There is always an abundance of sentiments in a story by Amelia Autin, and KILLER COUNTDOWN has heartfelt emotions from the opening scene until the very last event. The author makes certain any reactions are genuine, as I never stopped to wonder why a character would behave in a certain way. This commitment to accuracy has the latest Man on a Mission installment being not only riveting but also deeply affecting. I could easily sense what a character was feeling, and a wide range of emotions are definitely expressed in the story. There is plenty of dangerous peril from almost the beginning, and the jeopardy to Shane Jones and Carly Edwards only escalates as each hour passes. Though the reader is privy to some possible risks, I certainly did not know how episodes would turn out when plots were put into motion. As the threats increased, so did my unease of any incidents to come.

After suffering an unusual health problem, Senator Shane Jones receives a shocking verdict for his symptoms and cannot help but feel distraught. When he was no longer a US Marine and then became a senator from Colorado, he made it his goal to make good decisions at all times. Now he fears this career may be over, and for at least the present, Shane is going to keep his ailment a secret. Buy a clever TV reporter manages to learn what he is hiding.

When it comes to getting the news and letting the public know the facts, Carly Edwards is one of best. Yet what Shane reveals has her making a deal with him, one benefiting them both. But it is soon apparent there is even more pressing matters linked to the senator when several situations could have had deadly outcomes, and Carly becomes caught up in the circumstances. Not knowing the reason for the attacks, Shane can only speculate about the motive. Until facts are uncovered, he wants to keep Carly close, especially when it becomes evident both are being targeted.

From the start, KILLER COUNTDOWN drew me into every single aspect of the story. From an unexpected illness and all its potential consequences to the danger resulting from growing threats, I was eager to discover what would be the end result. Details about Shane’s physical troubles are realistic, and his responses are very candid. How Carly reacts to his condition is also convincing, as her feelings can often not be completely concealed. While this couple may not let their every inner thought become known to the other, they are refreshingly honest about many important occurrences that happen after they meet. Since I respected Shane and Carly so much, my concern for them was sincere. The one part of their relationship in which they are exceedingly upfront is how they connected sexually, where they put their whole hearts into any intimacy because of how much they cared.

Amelia Autin skillfully lets the reader know what peril might be in store for Shane and Carly, but nothing is ever assured until all plays out. The information given about those who want to cause harm to these two was just enough to let me get an idea of their aims, yet still did not divulge all the specifics. This had me constantly fearful for these likable individuals. Sometimes I love everything about the romantic couple, and this is certainly true for Shane and Carly. KILLER COUNTDOWN is intriguingly believable and emotional.

Received copy from author

Series:  Man on a Mission

Publisher:  Harlequin Romantic Suspense

Releases:  August 1, 2016

Purchase:   http://tinyurl.com/hkbzg2v

Genre:  Suspense

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

Rating:  5 Stars

Unwanted by Jennifer Estep

51XS1WbM3tL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Though Finnegan Lane often comes up with a comment that expresses his opinion about a subject, his statements are more than likely to be supportive of his foster sister, Gin Blanco. But in the last Elemental Assassin book, the suave banker made a terrible error in judgment, one which cost not only lives in the city of Ashland but also his reputation. Now Finn is seen as someone who cannot be trusted. I am truly delighted to get the actual views of this much-loved character straight from him, especially since his life has undergone such recent drastic changes. Jennifer Estep does not let Finn off the hook without paying his dues for a huge past mistake, and I am just glad for the opportunity to discover how he was really feeling because he is a master at hiding his reactions. UNWANTED is an emotional journey of seeking redemption.

His competency as an investment banker has made the career of Finnegan Lane very successful, and many townsfolk in Ashland want him as their financial advisor. But everything changed one day when the truth was finally revealed and events turned tragic. Finn had believed the lies told to him by a close relative, and it resulted in the deaths of people with whom he worked. Most everyone blames him for what happened, and no one is more unforgiving about his choices than himself.

One of the most disheartening obligations Finn has to do is attend the funerals of the killed bank guards, as he can see the shattering outcome of his actions. He has vowed to himself that he will take care of the families belonging to those slain, no matter what they need. Right after the last funeral is held, a disturbing occurrence involving a greedy giant takes place. Finn knows the time has come for him to offer his assistance, whether it is desired or not.

While Finn has been a prominent character in the Elemental Assassin books, the main focus is always on Gin. So it was interesting to finally see a situation from his perspective, troubled feelings and all other notions. He may have remained a fashionable dresser, but much else about his life is certainly not the same. Jennifer Estep takes Finn through one emotional episode after another, where he can learn from his devastating miscalculation, or become someone who wallows in self-pity. The author definitely had me caught up in the circumstances that unexpectedly arise, and wanting to know how everything would turn out kept me reading the story straight through. Although not long, Finn’s story has a big impact on what to expect from this wonderful character in the next Elemental Assassin book. UNWANTED intrigues with compelling experiences.

Copy received from publisher

Series:  Elemental Assassin – Book 14.5

Publisher:  Pocket Star

Releases:  July 18, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/j3stpsf

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

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

Rating:  4.5 Stars