Review of ‘A bittersweet garden’ by Caren J. Werlinger.

4.25 Stars. This was another good book by Werlinger. It seems like every time I read a new Werlinger book, I have lower expectations than I should. She is a damn good writer and I don’t know why I keep forgetting that. I need to read more of her back catalog. She is too good of a writer to only remember her when a new book comes out. Anyway, this was a good, sweet lesfic romance with a paranormal twist.

The story is about Nora, who is spending a long summer vacation in Ireland. She is renting a cottage in a small town where her relatives are from. Nora quickly falls in love with Ireland and its people. She also can’t help but have an attraction to horse trainer Briana, who works for her cousins. While exploring Ireland and friendship with Briana, Nora realizes there is more to her rental cottage than meets the eye. The cottage is haunted and it seems like the ghost might have a message for her.

I really enjoyed this read. I was hooked after the first few pages and only put the book down because it was late and sleep could no longer wait. This book actually reminded me a little of ‘When the Stars Sang’, which I also really enjoyed. Of course, it is quite different because of the paranormal twist, but I think fans of that book will enjoy this one too.

The romance is very sweet. If I remember correctly the sex scenes are all fade to black. That is not my first choice, but the mains had a strong enough connection that I didn’t miss reading that extra intimacy.

Besides the mains, the secondary characters really added to the story. Werlinger is good at making you feel as a reader that you really are in a small Irish town. There was also a little mystery and suspense with the paranormal angle so this book had plenty to keep me entertained.

If you are a Werlinger fan or a paranormal-romance fan, I recommend this. I actually don’t think you have to be a big paranormal fan to still enjoy this. The book is so well written that the paranormal part doesn’t seem so unbelievable after all.

An ARC was given to me for an honest review.

Review of ‘The blood runs cold’ by Catherine Maiorisi.

4.50 Stars. I enjoyed the first book in the Chiara Corelli Mystery series but I liked this one much more. This is a tried and true mystery book. It had everything I like in a good mystery and I could not set the book down. While I always suggest reading books in order, I do think you could start here if you really wanted. There are a few small references to book one and some characters you would be missing a little background on, but the overall mystery is all contained in this one book.

This story is about a lead detective Corelli and her partner detective Parker. Corelli went undercover to take down dirty cops so she is still shunned by many in the department. Parker, due to her family’s political connections is a bit of an outcast herself. The two teamed up out of necessity to watch each other’s backs, but they make a really good team anyway. A new case with plenty of media puts Corelli right back in the spotlight. Can she find the killer and still keep her job?

As I mentioned in my first review these are not romance books. While I would still call this a lesfic book, only one of the mains, Corelli, is a lesbian. Do not go reading this book hoping for two partners falling in love. These books are for mystery fans. However, I did notice a possible love interest for Corelli in book one. That character is back but we are still at the very possible beginning stages. I have my fingers crossed for some romance in the next installment because I like the chemistry between them.

I made clear this is a mystery book and this is where this book shines. I thought the mystery was really well written. There are a lot of characters and names so you do have to pay attention, but it is worth it. It was not until the 90% mark that I had an epiphany and figured out the killer. Because I love mystery books (and have read a ton) I usually figure them out too quickly. So when a mystery author can keep me in suspense and guessing for most of the book… well, I love when that happens. Plus the killer was not out of left field either. All of a sudden the clues Maiorisi carefully crafted all throughout the book clicked for me so I felt like I was actually there solving the crime. It was just well done and I’m a happy camper.

Another thing I was happy about is that the character of Corelli seemed to grow in this book. She is finally starting to realize she may have PTSD and how she doesn’t always treat her partner well. While I did like Corelli in the first book, she is not always a nice person. She was much more likable in this installment. These books and the character of Corelli remind me a little of the Micky Knight books by Redmann. There is not as much life drama, but both have well-written mysteries with a main character you don’t always like but root hard for anyway.

This book is easy for me to recommend to mystery fans. It is a book to read carefully, but it was a good put-together mystery with a worthy pay off. I’m excited about a possible book 3. I sure hope one is planned because I really like the way the story arc is heading.

An ARC was given to me for an honest review.

Review of ‘A Lover’s Mercy’ by Fiona Zedde.

I was really looking forward to this book and I’m glad to say it met my expectations. This was really entertaining and I could not put the book down. While this is technically book 5 in The Superheroine Collection, you do not need to read four books before this. However, this is a sequel to Book 2 ‘The Power of Mercy’. I highly recommend reading that book first before you read this one. This book picks up where ‘The Power of Mercy’ left off and you would be missing out on a good amount of story including some important twists if you do not read it first.

This is a quick read and it’s so hard to tell on my Kindle but I think technically this is a novella, but the story is full and vibrant so it feels like a novel. These two books by Zedde are more hardcore superhero books. In fact ‘The Power of Mercy’ was a little dark at times. This book was a little lighter and focused more on the relationship between the two mains, but there is still violence and plenty of superhero action. Don’t read these books looking for a fluffy story.

After reading ‘The Power of Mercy’ I was really hoping for a sequel. Mercy or ‘Mai’ was still really growing as a person and I wanted to see more of her. I must admit I was a little disappointed this whole book was in the POV of X. I like first person so that’s not my issue, but I was disappointed not to get more from Mai’s headspace. I must admit while X is a bit of a hard character, after getting to know and connect to her more she definitely grew on me.

I don’t want to say too much more because of spoilers for people who have not read the first book. I will say if you are enjoying the Superheroine collection, absolutely grab this. If you liked ‘The Power of Mercy’, chances are you might even like this one better. Having more romance/relationship between the mains was a real treat. I don’t know if Zedde plans to write more in this series. A lot of loose ends are tied up so it could end here. But if she does write more I will absolutely read them.

An ARC was given to me for an honest review.