‘Crowned and Dangerous’ by Rhys Bowen

cad-rbSTORY: Nothing is simple when you’re thirty-fifth in line for the British crown, least of all marriage. But with love on their side, and plans to elope, Lady Georgiana Rannoch and her beau Darcy O’Mara hope to bypass a few royal rules…

With Darcy driving me out of London in a borrowed motor car, I soon discover that he isn’t planning to introduce me to the pleasures of sinning in secret—as I had hoped—but to make me his wife!

Of course, there are some quibbles to be dealt with, such as my needing special permission from the King to marry a Roman Catholic and the question of where we might live after the honeymoon. Though he will inherit a title, Darcy is as broke as I am. Even his family’s Irish castle has been sold to a rich American who now employs Darcy’s father as a hired hand.

Throwing these cares to the wind, nothing could deter us from our mission—except perhaps the news that my future father-in-law has just been arrested. It seems the rich American was murdered and Darcy’s father had more than enough motive to do the deed. With the elopement postponed, we head for Ireland where he insists he’s innocent, and it’s up to us to prove it—for better or worse.

REVIEW: November 1934

Lady Georgina (Georgie) Rannock and the Honorable Darcy O’Mara are in a motor car heading north from London having just attended the wedding of Princess Marina to the Duke of Kent. Now, Georgie and Darcy are headed to Gretna Green to be married.

When a snowstorm stops them followed by news that Darcy’s father has been charged with murder, once again Georgie and Darcy must go their separate ways.

Back in London, Georgie receives a phone call from Darcy who breaks off their engagement. As she is 35th in line to the British crown, Darcy does not want to risk her reputation by having her involved with him. Georgie refuses to accept this and travels to Darcy’s family home, Kilkenny Castle, in Ireland.

Darcy’s father had been overwhelmed with financial problems and agreed to sell the family Castle to a wealthy American while Mr. Darcy remained the head of the stables with an excellent line of horses. After the death of a horse from doping before a race, the American fired Mr. Darcy. Shortly after, the American was found clubbed to death and the club had Mr. Darcy’s fingerprints on it.

Now, it is up to Darcy, Georgie, other family members and friends to try and find the true killer. Thus, we begin yet another adventure in Ireland and the countryside.

I have followed this series for a long time and have read most of the author’s Royal Spyness Mystery series. These are great characters and the story is always a good mystery. I highly recommend the entire series.

Connie for b2b

‘The Widower’s Wife’ by Cate Holahan

tww-chSTORY: Ana Bacon, a young housewife, tumbles off a cruise ship into the dark and deadly waters, but did she take her secrets with her?

Investigator Ryan Monahan is a numbers man. So when his company sends him the Bacon case, which could net a ten million dollar payout, Monahan doubts that her death is just a tragic accident. But the husband has a substantial alibi and a number of witnesses claim to have seen Ana fall. So the official ruling seems to be substantiated.

Still, the more Monahan uncovers about Ana’s life, the more he realizes how many people would kill to keep her secrets hidden. And the closer he gets to the truth, the greater the odds grow that he, too, will take a fatal fall.

REVIEW: Ryan Monahan is an ex-cop working as an insurance investigator checking on an insurance claim for the death of Ana Bacon, age 31. She reportedly fell off a cruise ship at night in the middle of the ocean and neither she nor her body has been found. The double indemnity policy on her is for $10 million.

Ana was married to Tom, age 34, at the time of her death and the mother of a young daughter, Sophia.

Ryan does not think that Ana’s death was suicide but he also realizes that there is not enough evidence to prove Ana’s death.

Tom Bacon had lost his job as a well-paid stock trader due to a bad call. Something like this means he will probably never be able to work in the business again.

Ana has had to get a job as an administrative assistant. However, the salary she is able to make will not cover the expenses of their lavish home and lifestyle.

As Tom and Ana become more desperate for money, they devise an elaborate plan but not everything works as they had thought.

The characters in this book are well written and the plot is brilliant. Be prepared for a story that will keep the reader turning pages and learning a lot at the same time.

Connie for b2b

‘Long May She Reign’ by Rhiannon Thomas

lmsr-rtSTORY: The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.

Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

REVIEW: I’ve never read a YA story before and thought to sample one with this story and author I’ve never read as well.

What I found in it was intriguing, at times entertaining and part of the time slow moving, but all in all, not bad.

I enjoyed the young heroine’s character a lot and most of the characters in the tale, but I also liked the prose as well as the mythical Kingdom, but if you’re looking for complex within the pages of this book, you’ll not find it. But then again, sometimes less complexity within the pages is good. Once in a while, lighthearted stories can give you just as much satisfaction as the complex, heavy stories.

In the end, I do recommended for its mystery and many interesting and entertaining characters.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Other Widow’ by Susan H. Crawford

tow-shcSTORY: Everybody’s luck runs out. This time it could be theirs . . .

It isn’t safe. That’s what Joe tells her when he ends their affair—moments before their car skids off an icy road in a blinding snowstorm and hits a tree. Desperate to keep her life intact—her job, her husband, and her precious daughter, Lily—Dorrie will do everything she can to protect herself, even if it means walking away from the wreckage. Dorrie has always been a good actress, pretending to be someone else: the dutiful daughter, the satisfied wife, the woman who can handle anything. Now she’s going to put on the most challenging performance of her life. But details about the accident leave her feeling uneasy and afraid. Why didn’t Joe’s airbag work? Why was his car door open before the EMTs arrived? And now suddenly someone is calling her from her dead lover’s burner phone. . . .

Joe’s death has left his wife in free fall as well. Karen knew Joe was cheating—she found some suspicious e-mails. Trying to cope with grief is devastating enough without the constant fear that has overtaken her—this feeling she can’t shake that someone is watching her. And with Joe gone and the kids grown, she’s vulnerable . . . and on her own.

Insurance investigator Maggie Devlin is suspicious of the latest claim that’s landed on her desk—a man dying on an icy road shortly after buying a lucrative life insurance policy. Maggie doesn’t believe in coincidences. The former cop knows that things—and people—are never what they seem to be.

As the fates of these three women become more tightly entwined, layers of lies and deception begin to peel away, pushing them dangerously to the edge . . . closer to each other . . . to a terrifying truth . . . to a shocking end.

REVIEW: Dorrie is meeting Joe Lindsey and the weather in Boston is quite bad. They are driving along as he tells her they must stop seeing one another and their affair must end. He starts to tell her his is afraid of something when the car skis and slams into a tree. Dorrie is alive but Joe has died. She has to get out so no one will know they were together. He wouldn’t want his wife, Karen, and their two sons to know he had been having an affair with Dorrie. As she flees the wreckage, she sees a car coming right at her.

Karen Lindsey works at a bookshop with her good friend, Alice, and they have just had dinner together. She thinks Joe is out of town, but when she gets home, the phone is ringing with bad news.

Dorrie had worked with Joe at his home renovation business. She is married to Samuel and the mother of a teenage daughter, Lily. Due to his drinking, Dorrie and Samuel have not had a good marriage for the last few years.

After the funeral, it is found that a million dollar insurance policy was taken out on Joe not long before he died. Thus, Maggie Brennan, who works for the insurance company, is tasked to look into the claim to see if Joe’s death could possibly have been suicide.

We learn more about the characters and see their lives intertwine. What was Joe afraid of that he was mentioning just before he died? Are there extenuating circumstances surrounding Joe’s accident?

I found this to be a very well written mystery that knitted together very well. It’s a tale that keeps the reader’s interest too. I highly recommend it.

Connie for b2b

‘Heroes Are My Weakness’ by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

hamw-sepSTORY: The dead of winter.

An isolated island off the coast of Maine.

A man.

A woman.

A sinister house looming over the sea …

He’s a reclusive writer whose macabre imagination creates chilling horror novels. She’s a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids’ puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill with laughs.

But she’s not laughing now. When she was a teenager, he terrified her. Now they’re trapped together on a snowy island off the coast of Maine. Is he the villain she remembers or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.

It’s going to be a long, hot winter.

REVIEW: I am still new to this author and thus am feeling torn about this story. I have a feeling that if I were used to her writing voice, some of the things would have “fallen into place” much more easily.

What made this a disappointment for me was the lack of chemistry between the two leads. Try as I might, I just couldn’t get them to click in my mind’s eye. On the other hand, I liked both characters and their individuality. So, separate, they were kind of cool, but together, they were just blah.

Plot wise it wasn’t bad. It was interesting and at times entertaining and funny, but because of its slow pace, I enjoyed it less.

In the end, if you’re a fan of this author, I have a feeling you’ll like it much more than I did.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the

‘The Couple Next Door’ by Shari Lapena

tcnd-slSTORY: You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.

You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?  

REVIEW: Anne and Marco Conti live next to Cynthia and Graham. Cynthia is flirting heavily with Marco at a dinner party. Anne has drunk more than she should – as all of them have. But Anne can’t help but wonder if Marco and Cynthia are having an affair. Mother of a 6-month-old baby girl, Cora, Anne is fighting postpartum depression. Since their neighbors have no children, they asked Anne and Marco to leave the baby at home. Since the baby sitter cancelled at the last minute, they reluctantly leave the baby in her crib and take the monitor returning to check on her every half hour. But when they return home at the end of the night, they find the front door unlocked and the crib empty.

Detective Rasback is working the case and knows that in many instances like this, the parents are guilty. Anne’s parents are wealthy and she wonders if someone took the baby for a ransom.

As we delve further into the story, facts slowly emerge – each one bringing a new shock. What really happened to baby Cora? Where is she and who is guilty?

This is a wonderful mystery that keeps the reader glued to the book turning pages. I loved how the author created this story and cannot wait to read more books by her.

Connie for b2b

‘A Good Debutante’s Guide to Ruin’ by Sophie Jordan

agdgtr-sjSTORY: The last woman on earth he would ever touch . . .

Declan, the Duke of Banbury, has no interest in ushering Rosalie Hughes, his stepsister, into society. Dumped on him with nowhere else to go, he’s determined to rid himself of the headstrong debutante by bestowing on her an obscenely large dowry . . . making her the most sought-after heiress of the Season.

. . . is about to become the only one he wants.

But Rosalie isn’t about to go along with Declan’s plans. Surrounded by fortune hunters, how is she supposed to find a man who truly wants her? Taking control of her fate, Rosalie dons a disguise and sneaks into Sodom, a private club host to all manner of illicit activity—and frequented by her infuriatingly handsome stepbrother.

In a shadowed alcove, Declan can’t resist the masked temptress who sets his blood afire . . . any more than Rosalie can deny her longing for a man who will send her into ruin.

REVIEW: This is the first story in the Debutante Files series from Sophie Jordan, and since I’ve read this author before, I fairly knew what to expect.

As her previous books, this was a fun and very entertaining story with couple of interesting and well rounded leads.

But what most of you will like is the chemistry between the two, which was scorching hot. I mean, WOW! This book should be on every author’s list to be read just so they could learn how to write sensual scenes.

If you’re in a mood for an easy, fun and hot romance, get it!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher