In ‘The pet boutique’ the dog steals the show.

Review of ‘The pet boutique’ by Suzie Carr.

Taylor Henshaw is an accomplished bestselling author suffering from writer’s block. To help her find her writing mojo again, her editor sends her to work in a pet shop that needs serious building renovations. While working on the project, Taylor meets Lexie Tanner, an attractive photographer and pet shop manager. As the refurbishment project progresses, Taylor and Lexie explore their budding attraction, but Taylor is a complicated woman dealing with bereavement and unsolved issues from her past. Will they have a happily ever after?

This is a slow-burn romance with the background of a building renovation and a cute dog as a co-lead. ‘The pet boutique’ refurbishment progresses as Taylor rebuilds her life and heals her old wounds. Both women leads are multi-layered and believable, their chemistry is built slowly but surely with the help of Cashmere, the dog, who acts as a facilitator in their relationship. Ms. Carr knows how to bring a dog character to life, to showcase their bonding with humans, their ability to support their masters in times of need and to understand the heartbreak of losing a pet.Read More »

Review of ‘Love to the rescue’ by Radclyffe.

This is book five of the ‘Rivers Community Romance’ series which focuses on the small community of Rivers and its hospital. It is a standalone novel but I recommend to read it in order as there are a few parts of the plot based on stories told in previous books. In this novel, flight medic Brody Clark comes back to Rivers after leaving town without a word ten years ago, to work for the Rivers Hospital newly established medevac team. There she meets Val Valentine, an old love interest of Brody’s, who is recently back from living in New York City. Both want to bury the bad memories that they have from their teenage years in that town but, as they get to know each other, they suddenly realise that they have more in common than they’d thought. Will they be able to face their fears and act on their mutual attraction?

‘Love to the rescue’ goes beyond the medical romance formula that Radclyffe masters so well and delves into matters of family, friendship and loyalty. Considering this is a medical romance, the highlight is more on the latter. I think it’s a pity that there aren’t many medical scenes as this author describes them very well, using her experience as a now retired surgeon. If anything, there are more descriptions of Val’s veterinary work and a special focus on Honcho, a retired war dog owned by Brody.

The story catches up with some of the other couples established in the previous books but mainly on Blake, a trans teenager dealing with his sexuality and society’s rejection. Blake is a secondary character who is growing literally and metaphorically with each installment of the series and I can’t wait to see where Radclyffe takes him in the future. Both mains are multilayered, especially Brody in her dark and broody personality that the author excels at describing. There is a small mystery subplot about her past that had much more potential but unfortunately was resolved a bit abruptly. All in all, it’s an entertaining book, possibly not Radclyffe’s best but worth reading anyway.

Overall, a good medical romance with a mystery subplot and a promising trans character. 3.5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘Perfect partners’ by Maggie Cummings.

Sara Wright is an elite police dog trainer fully committed to her job and happy to avoid any relationships with her coworkers. But when trainee Isabel Marquez enters her life with her gorgeous looks and charm, Sara finds very hard to stick to her own set of rules. Will Sara stay away from Isabel or give love a chance?

This is a sweet romance with the intriguing background of a police K-9 division training facility. Ms. Cummings, who is a police officer herself, submerge the reader into this fascinating world. It is interesting to see how officers and dogs train in different tasks for the detection of explosives. The author develops the bond between Isabel and her dog Chase in a realistic and, at the same time, charming way. Chase steals the show with his unconditional love and work discipline. Theirs is such a strong bond that casts a shadow on Sara and Isabel’s chemistry.

Regarding the romance itself, the attraction is ok but nothing off the charts. Their conflict makes sense in the scheme of things but I didn’t feel enough tension as it was solved fast. There is a bit of action at the end, but it felt rushed too.

Overall, a light and sweet romance with the intriguing background of a police K-9 division training facility. 3.5 stars.

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

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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 ‘L.A. Metro’ by RJ Nolan.

Dr. Jess McKenna is the busy ER Chief of the LA Metropolitan Hospital. She’s known for her impenetrable facade needed to get her through difficult cases and essential to guarding her past personal burden. Dr. Kim Donovan is a psychiatrist relocating after a disastrous stint at a hospital near her hometown in Detroit. Her ethics were questioned while working on a case and much to her devastation, everyone near her, including her closeted girlfriend, deserted her. Now her job is to liaison with the emergency department and the formidable Dr. McKenna. Can these two women help each other heal and move past their insecurities?

Confession time- I enjoyed this book more than I probably should have because of the hospital/medical setting. The book is well written with well defined characters, including a handsome Great Dane. There was no depth to the medical cases but enough said to be enjoyable and also propel the story forward. I also loved that Kim is a psychiatrist as it seems the majority of the hospital settings revolve around first-responders, ER and trauma specialties. Who knew psych would be such a novel and welcomed field?

The women had immediate chemistry and attraction. However, do not be fooled. This is a slow-burn romance. I enjoyed the characters’ journey was great and interesting. The only thing that I disliked was how many “inner thoughts” were literally shared and how at times they were simply not needed since the thought was obvious or even cliche.

This is the first of three full length books in the series. There are two novellas to go along with the first book and one prequel. Gaby reviewed the third and final novel ‘Wounded souls’.

Overall a good read that will appeal to anyone who loves medical romances. 4 stars.

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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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