Review of ‘Mercy’ by Michelle Larkin.

Mercy Parker is an FBI agent working in the Unsolved Child Homicide Unit in New York. She gets called in to assist in a fellow law enforcement daughter’s murder with no leads except for the one left only for her. As she finds a way to pursue this, another child goes missing. Mercy immediately recognizes her connection to both cases and the need to involve a retired FBI profiler, Piper Vasey. Piper is a psychic who has secluded herself after the death of her husband and a lifetime of being shunned by her gift. She has become another victim as Mercy tries to desperately reach her. Together with the help of a few friends, they must find a way to reach the missing child and prevent an evil form from annihilating the human species.

This book has some dark, haunting parts that some readers may find disturbing. It does lighten up somewhat as the two main characters start working together, providing some much needed levity and, at times, outright humorous dialog.

It becomes clear early on how there are metaphysical elements illustrated through several of the characters. There is also a second story line, based on the yin and yang philosophy, intertwined with the above mentioned one. This story is well defined, and very interesting as some of its support (albeit a small part) is based on true events. The power of good and evil are showcased in a different light and with a new set of grave consequences.

The author did a great job creating the characters. The leads have chemistry and, as I said, share some entertaining dialog. There are no boring or aggravating characters, and they all work well together to advance and enrich the story line. There is even a handsome chocolate Labrador that becomes integral to the tale!

I loved the cover design by Tammy Seidick. It has crisp colors with Mercy Parker’s FBI badge and a desolate building. The title in red font pops and alludes to a case file, which is fitting to the story. It is definitely eye catching, which is what a cover should accomplish.

Mercy was released last year and was Ms Larkin’s debut novel. I can’t wait to read more of her work. Overall, an interesting concept that will appeal to readers who enjoy action, law enforcement and the metaphysical. 4.5 stars.

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Review of ‘Cracking love’ by Emily King.

Pharmacist Janet Webber relocates to California for a new job. With the stress and travelling demands of her position, she has little hope of finding a partner. But when she meets walnut farmer Gail Lawrence things start to improve. Gail shows her the farming produce and Janet discovers the potential to start her own business. As their relationship develops, Gail is reluctant to trust Janet as she had her heart broken before. Will they have a happily ever after?

This is a well written debut book. The author herself is a pharmacist and has worked in farming in California so it seems that she drew a bit on her own experience to build these characters. I think that the mains needed a bit more polishing to make them completely well rounded but it’s a good effort anyway.

Having said that, in my opinion the author described with excessive detail certain activities like line dancing and cooking, while other more relevant parts of the plot didn’t get that much detail. However, the characters’ chemistry is good and the intimate scenes were well written and realistic.

Overall, a good debut novel for fans of line dancing and/or cooking. 3.5 stars.

ARC provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Snowbound’ by Cari Hunter.

Police officer Sam Lucas is working in a small British village during a severe winter storm. She ends up in a precarious situation while answering an alarm triggered by a robbery. Kate Myles is a medical doctor who lives in the village and works at the local hospital. She valiantly volunteers to tend to the injured hostage while the police try to resolve the crisis.

This novel seems to have a little bit of everything. In particular, it has the first responders, medical and action/thriller tropes with an underlying romance. All these elements were well written but I will admit I was surprised at how well the romance came through. The main characters were constantly under duress but somehow their connection did not seem forced nor the romance a leap. The organic evolution of the relationship without being obvious about it is, in my opinion, great writing. The medical details were also great, providing the story with instant credibility and showcasing the author’s knowledge on the subject.

The weather is an ever present element in this book. The frigid temperatures and snow worked well to help set the mood and enhance the feelings of hopelessness that prevailed through some key scenes. The cover by Bold Strokes Books’ Sheri further enhances the cold, desolate beauty of winter.

‘Snowbound’ was released in 2011 and was Ms Hunter’s first published book. Now a highly regarded author, her debut novel is fantastic and worthy of her current acclaim.

Overall an excellent story that will appeal to fans of medical and action themes. 5 stars

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