‘In the palm’ won’t leave you stranded.

Review of ‘In the palm’ by Elna Holst.

This was a good read. I have wanted to read something by Holst for a while. When I saw she had written a lesfic novella about being stranded on a deserted island, I knew chances were good I would enjoy this. I’m not sure what it is but I always enjoy reading books and watching movies about people surviving on an island. I’m glad this held up to my expectations and I was definitely entertained.

The story is about a woman who wakes up on an island in the middle of nowhere. She has no idea how she arrived or even what her name is, but she does know she needs to cut her hand off if she is going to survive. This it, that’s all I’m going to say. Frankly, the beginning immediately captured my attention and I could not put this novella down. And while it is a novella, it feels like a good length. It doesn’t have that rushed feeling; it felt like a full and satisfying story.
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Review of ‘Meant to be me’ by Wendy Hudson.

Engineer Darcy Harris is on a quest to find long-lasting love and no one will stop her, not even a creepy stalker or her demanding best-friend. A chance encounter with Eilidh Grey has the potential to develop into something meaningful but as the stalker’s threats escalate, all three women get involved in a dangerous game in which no one knows who they can trust.

Ms. Hudson is consolidating her voice within the lesfic genre as an accomplished suspense writer with a British feel. After reading her excellent debut novel ‘Four steps’, I have to admit that I was a bit let down by her second book ‘Mine to keep’. However, I’m happy to say that ‘Meant to be me’ exceeded my expectations.

This novel is set in Inverness, Scotland, and the author’s depictions of the landscape perfectly set the tone of a suspense thriller. According to the publisher, this is a romantic suspense novel, but it’s light on the romance and heavy on the suspense. Don’t be fooled by the few first chapters that seem to set the tone for a romance novel, the love interest is more a plot device than an end in itself. There isn’t much development of intimacy and the only sex scene is fade to black. However, this makes sense in the context of the whole story and doesn’t make it less interesting.

‘Meant to be me’ is written from the point of view of everyone involved in the plot, including the stalker, so we get to know how their twisted mind work. This knowledge doesn’t stop us from being surprised by a few twists and turns that the plot takes, despite that a couple of them are a bit predictable. All the main characters are very well written and have their own distinctive voices coherent with their background stories. It’s good to see that the author took her time in the last few chapters and the epilogue to give the story the proper closure it deserves and, at the same time, keeping the reader interested.

Overall, a very good romantic suspense thriller full of twists and turns with the beautiful setting of Scotland. 4.5 stars.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Gallows Humor’ by Carolyn Elizabeth.

Oh yes, this was right up my alley! Corey Curtis is a forensic anthropologist working at Jackson City Memorial Hospital’s morgue. She performs autopsies and helps train residents which is when she first lays eyes on Dr. Thayer Reynolds. Thayer is starting her Emergency Department fellowship when she wonders to the morgue to check out the mysterious Curtis. The attraction is immediate, but before they can act on it, Corey finds herself in the midst of investigating the cause of death of one of her autopsies as there is not enough evidence for the police to take the case on as a homicide. Her investigation makes her and Thayer face dire events and consequences that put their lives and budding romance at risk.

The initial interactions between the main characters were funny and well written. One could feel the spark right away. Both main characters are strong women with no horrible past to keep them from acknowledging their feelings, thank you! Sometimes it seems all characters in lesfic have something to overcome or keep them from acting in a rational manner towards a new, fantastic experience. I found it refreshing, although wondered where the story would go then. However, have no fear, the author manages conflict in other wonderful ways!

This book has so many great elements. There is a first-responder feel to the story even though Corey is a morgue employee. There are definitely medical themes throughout the book, and I’ll be honest, I absolutely loved them. The author gets a chance to shine through her expertise in forensic anthropology, which is terrific as it gives instant credibility to her work. There is also some action, a gym, and let’s not forget that the characters’ connection is great too! The secondary characters are well done and in particular, I enjoyed the police officer, Collier. His banter with Corey was very entertaining and no doubt added depth to the story. On the downside, the mystery is straightforward and not meant to be the main focus of the book. This may disappoint some avid mystery readers.

This is Ms Elizabeth’s debut novel. I can’t help but be excited for her future work and hope she turns this story into a series.

Overall a great read that will appeal to science/medical and romance fans alike. 4.5 stars

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Review of ‘Unexpected Partners’ by Michelle Larkin.

Dr. Chloe Maddox is a cop turned sex crime profiler who has restarted her career at the Boston Police Department, where Dana Blake works as a detective. One evening, Chloe sees a suspect in the office that triggers lost memories from when she was abducted and left for dead two years prior. Dana immediately recognizes that Chloe has a connection to a previous case and is the only one capable of sending the psychopath to jail. As the suspect is arraigned and released on bail, Dana and Chloe find themselves running away from a serial killer. Can they survive and help each other move on from their previous traumatic experiences?

This book was intense, with crimes that are sexual in nature. However, a lot is implied and thankfully not described in detail. The two main characters endure many ordeals, yet are strong and have great, immediate chemistry. Even though circumstances are not ideal, the budding romance is not too much of a stretch as it’s skillfully written.

The story captures the reader right away and moves along  with several action scenes. I feel there was probably one too many of such scenes, but the book kept my attention all the way to the end. The secondary characters are well done and enjoyable. I also liked that, although the book lacks of a formal epilogue, there was complete closure for all the characters.

For all the animal loving readers, there is a wonderful canine in this one. Unfortunately some of the interactions seemed a bit far fetched and the veterinary medicine felt like it was pulled right from the human medicine side of things. Nonetheless, I enjoyed Taz and especially, the book’s dedication. I agree with Ms Larkin, humans are flawed and dogs love us unconditionally and do lead by example!

This is Ms Larkin’s second published work. I picked this one up after enjoying her debut novel ‘Mercy’ pleased to see law enforcement characters continue to be the main characters in her stories. I will definitely be looking out for her next book.

Overall a solid action, crime-romance. 4 stars

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Review of ‘Charming memory’ by E.L. Bossert.

Jamie Jordan is a famous actress whose son Max is saved from being run over by a truck. Max survived unscathed but the rescuer suffered severe head injuries. As a result, the savior lost her memory and has no recollections of her identity. Jamie is attracted to the mysterious woman who has a refreshing disregarding attitude towards Jamie’s fame and money. But under those strange circumstances, can they find a happily ever after?

This is a debut book and unfortunately the reader can tell. It would have benefited from
a more thorough editing process. The choice of an omniscient point of view with multiple characters without clear transitions confused me. I think that maybe writing this story from the point of view of both main characters would have helped in developing the story better.

Having said that, the chemistry between the main characters was believable and the intimate scenes were well written. The main plot idea was good in combining the amnesia and celebrity tropes but it just needed a better execution.

Overall, 2.5 stars.

ARC provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Bring Holly home’ by A.E. Radley.

Fashion magazine editor Victoria Hastings discovers while staying in Paris that her former assistant Holly Carter, who allegedly abandoned the job, is in hospital with amnesia. Victoria is adamant to bring Holly back home and help her recover but, in the process, both women will undergo a journey of mutual discovery of their feelings.

This is another novel based on the Devil wears Prada trope which normally features an age gap relationship and an ice queen against a more lively character. The peculiarity of this novel is that Holly suffers from amnesia which brings additional conflicts to the plot.

The novel is written in third person from the point of view of three characters: the leads Victoria and Holly and Victoria’s friend Gideon. While the main characters are well-rounded, I didn’t feel their chemistry until the very end maybe because the reader is told about the characters’ feelings more than shown by their actions. The secondary characters are a bit stereotyped and Victoria’s children sometimes act too mature for their ages.

All in all, the story is entertaining with some funny and humorous moments and a good twist at the end. Depite some situations feel a bit far-fetched, it’s a good read if you don’t take things too seriously.

Overall, an entertaining read based on the Devil wears Prada trope. 3.5 stars.

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